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RE: Praying at the Office – It just isn’t possible sometimes!

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf Mangera

Most Muslims in America have had this problem [i.e. praying sitting or delaying prayers at the office – see answer below]. Fortunately for me, I find some place in the office to pray where I cannot be disturbed. Praying in one’s office while others are present is NOT acceptable and in my opinion should not be done.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalamu alaykum

In the name of Allah, the Inspirer of truth.

My dear brother, our religion has made it easy for us to fulfill our obligations. If a person cannot pray standing then he should pray sitting, if he cannot pray sitting then he should perform prayer lying down. This is a very good example of how the Din is easy. Salat according to many hadiths has been explained as being the “integral of this din,” the “pillar of religion,” the “first matter to be accounted for on the Day of Judgment,” a “distinctive factor between belief and disbelief” (See Riyad al-Salihin and other hadith works, chapters on Prayer).

As such, the following is a very bold statement:

“Praying sitting sometimes is the ONLY way to perform salat at work and may Allah accept the salat of those who do so out of necessity. Praying in one’s office while others are present is NOT acceptable and in my opinion should not be done.”

The religion is not based on our own opinions and upon what we see to be most appropriate, righteous or humble. In fact, I have not come across any scholar who states that it is impermissible, prohibited or even disliked for men to pray in an office in the presence of others. Yes there may be cases where it may be best avoided if one has a strong fear of being ridiculed or pestered while in prayer, then one must look for a more suitable place to pray. In most cases in North America, it would actually be a wonderful way of showing the beauty and spirit of Islam and a way of da’wah. The messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) prayed in the Masjid al-haram during the Makki period of Islam in front of the kuffar leaders of Quraysh. the first caliph Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) performed prayer in his yard where the women and children of the disbelievers would come to listen to his recitation. The uncompromising nature of the second Caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) is also well known in this regard.

Hence, it would certainly be superior to perform the prayer in front of others than to miss it out altogether. However, for the sake of concentration, a person may look for another space to pray. If decisions in religions were not left to the scholars, then each one of us would personalize his religion to what resonates with us (sadly a problem many have fallen into). We would then be split into many small factions as have the Christians and other, from Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Church of England, Evangelicalism, to the various branches of Protestantism. May Allah protect us.

In regards to the issue of foregoing the prayers in an IT emergency, it would require a critical emergency like one in which lives would be lost, or severe injuries would take place, for instance, in a health center, hospital, or during blood transfusion, surgery, or the like) to allow one to miss their prayer for it, not just an “emergency” in which some company’s server start running too slowly, or an ecommerce website’s server is hit by a bug and transactions cannot be performed, or something of that nature.

Furthermore, Allah has provided extended times for each prayer. No prayer has a time span of less than one hour in most parts of North America at least. Hence it should be reasonably possible in most cases to start the repair and let another technician watch it while one goes to prayer (which can take as less as five to ten minutes and does not need to be made lengthier). Insha Allah, when there is a will Allah will make a way. Having said this, we do not forget that Allah is also forgiving if one sometimes fails to fulfill an obligation despite honestly attempting to do so. However, making a habit of such cannot be sanctioned.

And Allah knows best.


Abdurrahman Ibn Yusuf

p.s. Mufti Umer Ibrahim, of Texas (born in Canada) is a North American scholar, as are others who answer on this list.

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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