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Does an employer have to give time out for Muslim workers to pray at the mosque?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi

What is the right position on giving employees time to perform prayer at the masjid during work hours? Is the Muslim employer bound not only to let employees pray but also for them to go to the masjid? What if this affects productivity in a competitive industry?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Wassalamu `alaiykum wa rahmatullah

The answer to your question follows:

In the situation you mentioned, the Shari`ah does not oblige the Muslim employer to give time off to workers to go to the Masjid (Hudhur al-Masjid) to offer prayers, yet, however it does oblige him to provide the workers with an area within the workplace so that they can pray their daily prayers in congregation (Jama`at) with ease.

The employer can either locate a certain area within the building as a Masjid, which will be treated as a Masjid (hukman), or allow workers to utilize some area of the workplace at time of prayer. In the former situation, the workers will receive two rewards, a reward for congregation and a reward for praying in the Masjid. In the latter situation where the located area is not treated as a Masjid but is used for prayer on a temporary basis, the workers only receive the reward for praying in congregation.

Bear in mind that I have differentiated between the two; going to the Masjid (Hudhur al-Masjid) and praying in congregation (Jama`at). The employer must not abandon congregational prayer since it is highly important in Islam, to this extent that some scholars have considered it wajib and even fardh! (Both are unified in the practical sense). If there are many Muslim workers, the employer can allow more then one congregation to suite work timings and compatibility.

As for Jumu`ah prayer…

Several scholars have issued the fatwa on the permissibility of praying Jumu`ah at the local work industry if in a situation you mentioned. A renowned Hanafi scholar from Karachi, Mufti Muneeb al-Rahman in his excellent modern fiqh text titled ‘Tafheem al-Masa’il’ endorsed this fatwa. He comments to say that ‘full permission’ (al-Idhn al-`Aam) and open invitation to the general public is among the pre-requisites of Jumu`ah prayer but in a situation where businesses have developed strict security policies, they are not obliged to keep their doors open for the general public.

Sayyidi `Allamah Ibn `Abideen, a major Hanafi Jurist, mentions a specific issue of this kind in his acclaimed Radd al-Muhtar that denotes the permissibility of praying Jumu`ah in an isolated area so as long as nobody within that place is not abandoned from praying, for example, praying Jumu`ah in a castle is permissible in it as long as every one in the precincts of the castle is openly permitted to pray and it is not necessary to open the castle entrance for people to attend and offer prayers. Nowadays, likewise is the situation with universities, colleges and even industrial estates.

If the Imamate and other Jumu`ah conditions are fulfilled, the Jumu`ah prayer can be held at the local wok place. If the conditions are not met, the Shari`ah compels the Muslim employer to give a certain period of time off to the workers in which they can pray at the local Masjid and return easily.

The employer can consider enforcing a strict time policy in which the workers must return to work and even consider increasing work hours for Friday as an exception, if the business is seriously going to face a loss. There are other ways the employer can consider to avoid any potential loss. Wallahu A`lam

I hope this information is of good use to you.

M u n a w w a r

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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