Partner - Risk Management
Strategic Business Management Includes Revenue
Manager - Human Resource
Hr & Administration Specialist
Hussain Zulfikar
Hris Implementation, Payroll, Recruitment,
Head Of People Relations
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
Sr.executive Hr
Hr Generalist
Office Administration
Hr Professional
Assistant Hr Manager
Company Exective
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Dear Peers,
Pls suggest whether we can allow employees to do namas (prayer) during office hours. In our branch few employees are doing this on daily basis for which they take nearly half-an-hour for one time. I have also noted that they well utilize the office working hours that they dont even use the lunch hours.
I want to know whether it is permissible or not and if not how can we correct them without hurting their religious feeling.
28th May 2011 From India, Bangalore
What is your organization is it Ownerbased or Limited
Either of the above two what is your boss take on the same???
I think if it is allowed then other community/ religion employee will ask for time-off ..................what is your experience so far???
28th May 2011 From India, Pune
Dearest Vanitha,
A very simple answer to your question is that u cannot stop someone from doing his/her religious prayers as it is a question of religious feelings and sentiments of the employees working.I was facing this problem in my company to..........! the only solution to this is fix up the time and the duration for which they can offer prayers........! After all its a question of someones religious sentiments which we do not have the right to hurt..............!or you can designate a place for them in your company itself where all of them can offer their prayers for a pecicific time and duration.
For any further queries you can always stay in touch
Thanks and Regards
Ravibhushan Pandav
Human Resources Officer
28th May 2011 From India, Pune
Dear Prashant,
Ours is a private limited company.
Our boss definitely will not encourage all this, he treats everyone at par.This is being done without his knowledge.
So far there is no complaint from other employees, but i feel this issue will blow when there is heavy work schedule.
Pls suggest how this can be dealt.
28th May 2011 From India, Bangalore
Dear Ms. Vanitha
Kindly do revert to queries raised by Mr. Prashant.
With reference to your queries, there are people who pray regularly and also there are people who pray occasionally.
Those who offer their prayers regularly, will not take more than 20MINUTES at the max, even if they have to travel to the near by mosque. Sometimes, you may also find people praying just to kill their time or to escape from their responsibilities, which is unethical and considered as CHEATING in ISLAAM.
Kindly do have open discussions with those employees while trying your best to make them understand the purpose for employing them and the value of salary which they are receiving. Please educate them in the most professional way.
They should deliver their work on TOP PRIORITY BASIS and at the same time, they are allowed/permitted to offer their prayers based on the facilities available without taking much time.
Please understand your employees PSYCHOLOGY/MENTALITY
With profound regards
28th May 2011 From India, Chennai
Dear Vanitha,
Please call those employees & ask those to avoid the prayers ( Namaz ) in office hour & if possible ask them what can be done to avoid this problem?/
Please negotiate with them then please confirm so that I can suggest you further!!!!
28th May 2011 From India, Pune
Hi Vanitha

With reference to your query, you may first discuss with your senior or top management (Owners or Management) and then draft a clear policy regarding taking breaks during office hours, considering Labor Law points, religious freedom and work schedules.

I understand that Offering Namaz (Prayers) takes a little while, but 30 minutes is a fairly long time. depends from person to person, however, 10 - 15 minutes is enough to complete prayers. Also employees shall be prompt in completing the prayers.

Schedule the breaks timings aligned with prayer times.

I m also of opinion that, if productivity is not hampered and targets are met, then employees may be allowed to manage thier work and activities as they are comfortable.

Research or survey on all types of breaks taken by employees - Coffee breaks, prayer breaks, lunch breaks, smoke breaks etc .. and schedule them accordingly.

Ensure clear work allotment to employees, so that thier time during office hours are fully utilized.

Hope this is helpful

Best Wishes
28th May 2011 From Kuwait, Salmiya
Dear Mr.Shaik,
Thanks for your suggestions.
For prayers they are taking atleast half-an-hour which i have personally observed.
Particularly a female, whenever i saw her either she will be chatting with other employees or she will be performing namaz or simply standing in the terrace. She doesnt seem to show any kind of interest towards her work.
As suggested by you, let me have discussion with them asap.
28th May 2011 From India, Bangalore
Dear Mr.Hussain,
As per our company's HR policies, we dont have any specfic rule for this and moreover im willing to sort out the issue within ourselves.
Have noted your suggestions.
28th May 2011 From India, Bangalore
Firstly there has to be a clear cut policy before to implement any options, which has to be inline with labor law of the country & keeping in mind the operation runs smoothly.
According to me the best way to solve this is to designate a place for employees within the company itself where all of them can offer their prayers for a specific time and duration which can be scheduled within the breaks timings.
Sandeep Pathania
28th May 2011 From Qatar, Doha
Dear Ms. Vanitha
I would like to understand your role in your organisation. I am glad you are willing to sort out your issues within yourselves.
1 ) I am not able to understand, how come an employee can remain idle - either he/she has no work to do or i am sure NO ONE is MONITORING - EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY/OUTPUT at your workplace. Find out, to what extent FRONT LINE SUPERVISORS are delivering their roles, effectively.
2) Try to understand, why your employees are behaving in this manner. Is your organisation trying their best to motivate your employees for smooth operations leading to better productivity or meeting targets?
3) Try to be soft and handle issues with PROFESSIONAL APPROACH. Try your best to educate them about their RESPONSIBILITIES, PROCEDURES APPLICABLE AT WORKPLACE WHICH THEY ARE BOUND TO FOLLOW.
With profound regards
28th May 2011 From India, Chennai
Dearest Vanitha,
10 minutes is the time that we have fixed up in our organization. you can fix up a time of 10 minutes in your company wid a place designated to them for their holy prayers............! trust me,we have implemented it and we were really successful in wat we did wid the permission of the Vice Prisident-Human Resources.And when it comes to religion and beliefs of a community of certain people working in the organization there is no boss who says no.........! do not go into much technicalities as people are asking you ur role and stuff which i think is not at all important........! its not a big deal believe me.and does not need hi-fi HR fundas which many of them r asking you here which does not play any role in solving out such a simple problem..........! Go and Try it and i will bet that u will succeed with employees being more than happy as they do not have to go to out at all and everything is inside the company itself........!

For any further queries please be in touch

Thanks and Regards
Ravibhushan Pandav
Human Resources officer
28th May 2011 From India, Pune
Dear Vanitha,
I have read the exchanges with interest. Kindly make sure that in a secular state you ensure that all are treated fairly. What will you do if a person who follows some other path says that he needs to pray and wants a prayer room and time off?
Hence, try to include higher management to institute a policy. Khadir has raised valid point, as always; hence, please consider the points raised by him. Also, Ravibhushan Pandav has given you ideas that are working for him. Any action taken without management involvement, in matters such as this, could lead to more problems in the future. You may be only "tackling the symptoms of a disease and not curing it", as the saying goes.
Have a nice day.

28th May 2011 From United Kingdom
Dear Vanitha,
Put up a notice on the notice board in hindi as well as english and write it when will the rule be effective from and also the consequences if it is not followed as organization is being leberal and so it also expects that the employees follow wat is being conveyed to them..........! do it with all the other things that i have mentioned in the post above,you will observe that u will succeed............!
For any further queries pleace be in touch
Thanks and Regards
Ravibhushan Pandav
Human Resources Officer
28th May 2011 From India, Pune
Dear Mr.Shaik,
My desg is asst.manager but i have restrictions & interruptions by our manager. Im likely to take charge from 1st of Jun as Branch manager. Hence i just started observing the irregularities inorder to resolve and to ensure that everything is in place.
For the current position we have enough manpower and that may also be the reason for this. Come what may, is it good to spend most of the time out of the seat?
The problem is not with the organization but with the people who handles it.Here some people are treated special and others not and because of that they dont seem to bother anything.
28th May 2011 From India, Bangalore
In my experience, break for prayers is not prevalent in most of the organisations in India. It is prevailing in Gulf/Islamic countries.
It is not advisable to grant some previleges to particular community which may create discontentment among other employees. What will happen if a pilot or Train driver goes out for prayers while performing duties? Customs and practices shall be flexible in the current context.
28th May 2011 From India, Lucknow
Dear Vanitha,
It's like stabbing in the dark when people are asked to give advice without enough background information about the situation. When you say you will be taking charge as Branch Mangaer, I would like to know how many branches does your organisation have?
What do you mean by "i have restrictions & interruptions by our manager."? What happens to the manger, when you take up your new role?
Have a nice day.
28th May 2011 From United Kingdom
Ther is no any such Law to permit the religious prayer during the working hours. If you permit one community for paying Namaj , then other will ask for Maha Arati, ... Going to prayer in Agyari.... and so on.
It is better to dont entertain any request which is related to religion.
Our focus should be to unite all these members as a family of the organisation who are working under one roof of the company & one family has one religion i.e. progress , development .... of the organisation.
28th May 2011 From India, Pune
Dear All,

In India, though we'R a secular country there is no formal guidelines in any organisation to permit religious prayers for any sect. let it be hindus or muslims or X'ians or any other sect. It is not healthy for any organisation to encourage such things. Even if permitted by default earlier, it should be closed by now to avoid future complications. U know, there is separate places of worship for every one and prayers should be perfomed there whatever may be the time it requires.
Of course, in India, in atleast may be 90% of the organisations perform only Ayudha pooja & is performed for that particular festival which is a closed/paid/official holiday declared by the Govt. Mind U it is once in a year but not a daily prayer, it is a festival commonly applicable to all the sects whether other sects like it or not.
U know non muslims' prayers are very simple and not much time is reqd. and there is no compulsory timing. Whereas Muslims require considerable time and procedure and at particular timings. I don't think any firm permit such things officially though some muslims run firms may permit here and there as most of their businesses are closely held. Gulf countries do strictly permit prayers and declare Fridays holidays. We are discussing about India U know. It is not advisable.
28th May 2011 From India, Bangalore
Dear P S S
I hope you don't belong to this world. We are living in 21st CENTURY where many organisations are PROMOTING - OPEN WORK CULTURE. Every individual has got his own religion to follow. Problems due to RELIGION is more in INDIA than any other country in this world and this is because of LACK OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN HUMAN BEINGS and our STUBBORNNESS/RIGID NATURE for not accepting certain facts.

Kindly try to understand RELIGION is personal and there are LOYAL/SINCERE/HONEST/DEDICATED/HARDWORKING PROFESSIONALS/EMPLOYEES at all levels in India and across the world who are performing their prayers IN-TIME without disturbing WORK CULTURE, as many organisations(MNC'S, MEDIUM/SMALL SIZE) in INDIA and across the globe had permitted MUSLIMS to perform their OBLIGATORY PRAYERS, while giving PREFERENCE to ORGANISATION'S OBJECTIVES/GOALS to be achieved or to be met.

For your kind information, the percentage of Muslims who perform their prayer are LESS.

There are countless employees in India itself who are doing their best while performing their prayers IN-TIME.

Kindly do remember that, Its employees BETRAYING ATTITUDE's which is creating hurdles in organisations. Every PROBLEM has a solution and it is the responsibility of the TOP MANAGEMENT to look into every issue and provide a OPEN SOLUTION that can help EMPLOYEES to feel proud as PART OF THEIR ORGANISATION.

NO wonder, every organisation's goal is to progress aggressively but organisations cannot be SELFISH. Its EMPLOYEES that form AN ORGANISATION and you have to take care of your employees. When you address all employees working under one roof as "A FAMILY", then do understand how to make your FAMILY MEMBERS to PRODUCE BEST RESULTS in favour of their organisation while giving them facilities at workplace to perform their SHORT PRAYERS termed as OBLIGATORY, but not to misuse the same.

As i wrote earlier, one has to understand EMPLOYEE(S) PSYCHOLOGY/MENTALITY. At workplace promote BROAD MINDEDNESS, OPTIMISM, ENHANCE MATURITY LEVELS and lot more rather creating issue in the NAME OF RELIGION. I am sure, you'll definitely find different kind(ATTITUDES) of employees.

If i had an opportunity to solves issues in any organisation, across the globe, let it be anything/any issue, i am ready to travel extra mile to get things sorted without any making organisation to INCUR ANY KIND OF LOSS. - TERMS & CONDITIONS are applicable.

With profound regards
28th May 2011 From India, Chennai
As Khadir says Islamic prayers should not take long. If people misuse the facility then it can lead to a lot of problems; for example see the debate at
How does Muslim prayer work in the office environment? Do they get paid during that time? - Yahoo! Answers
28th May 2011 From United Kingdom
Dear Repected Members,
Hear in The Gulf it depends on the type of Organization
1. Private Sector : Offer One to Two hour lunch break during Afternoon Prayer Call So the employee gets to go for Lunch and pray without using company time and they have designated wash rooms with adjacent prayer rooms for male & female – This Sector usually work from either 7.30 am to 4 OR 8 am to 5 and depending on how long is your lunch break work can be extended up to 6.
2. Government Sector: They do not offer lunch break as they start 7.30 am to 2.30 pm so you can either take 10 minutes break go for prayer and back to your office Or join the group that pray immediately after calling for 15 minutes in the mosque all government organizations have designated areas for prayers for men & female or u can choose to pray in your office.
28th May 2011 From Oman, Muscat
I think this thread is leading somewhere.
comparing Gulf countries with India does not hold water coz they belong to a particular religion where their religious practices over rule the modern systems. Had it not been Oil economy, they would have adopted the systems which are being followed universally.
As far as I know, such practices (giving break to Prayer, be it whatever religions may be) are not followed and encouraged by any decent organisation.
28th May 2011 From India, Lucknow
Hi Vanita,
Agreed to what Hussain have mentioned,You actually need to speak to your management and draft a policy on offering Namaz(Prayer) which shouldnt take more than 10 to 15 mins.
One has to hasten his prayers if time is short or not permissible,however taking advantage out of the same and unnecassary prolonging is totally not acceptable.
As to the question wether or not time should be given for prayer is totally depending on the ethics of an organization.
Noorul Haque
28th May 2011 From Saudi Arabia, Jiddah
Dear Vanitha,
In my previous company, as their were only few employees who used to for prayers, we had given them 1 hr break for friday prayers only in the mosque that also during lunch hours. This was for staff employees having w/off on sunday. Those who were in shifts, we manage to prepare shift schedule as such that they were provided w/off on friday.
In your case u will have to check the no. of employees plus whether they need to do daily prayer or on friday.
28th May 2011 From India, Bareli
Dear Readers

The views and opinions shared by certain respected members here are deviating from the main concern. The company in question here is India Based and cannot be entirely compared with Companies in Gulf or other countries.

Taking prayer break, be it in any religion is not a crime or indecency, so please stop blowing it out of proportion. There are employees who take gala breaks in name of smoke break, coffee break, lunch break etc, the sincerity and dedication of employees to work comes from within, which was conveyed by Mr Shaikh, get to know the employee mentality, employees who are hardworking, motivated and dedicated will eventually perform and contribute towards the organization.

If certain employees (bad apples) are misusing prayer break as excuse to shy away from work or they are unproductive, they will remain so even if prayer breaks are banned, they will find some other reasons.

Islamic prayers (Namaz) don't take hours or special preparation to offer. its a simple 10 minutes task. which any devote person can pray and get back to work judiciously. A small clean corner is enough for one person to offer prayers.

During 9 - 6 shifts, prayers time occur 2 - 3 times, which I feel is acceptable, if employees manage to complete this break within as short time as possible. Even other employees take breaks, chit chatting near coffee machines, sharing grapevine at smoke breaks, or big fat pot lunch breaks. Any one wanna discuss that as unproductive breaks taken by employees ??

Allowing religious freedom is a fundamental right provided by the Constitution of India. including for those who are employed, after all they are located on Indian soil.

There are devotes who like to thank god in their own special way which is not wrong be it person...

Lighting an Agarbatti and doing a small Pooja at the beginning of the shift.
Offering Namaz, giving 10 minutes to pray is no big deal, or dent in productivity as people here are claiming it causes company losses.

The actual problem is employees taking prolonged breaks and misusing freedom from management be it prayer breaks, coffee breaks, lunch breaks or smoke breaks.

Thanks for reading.

Best Wishes
29th May 2011 From Kuwait, Salmiya
Hi Vanita,

Gone through the discussion, its seems that many have different opinions on the issue:

In my view following points should be considered while dealing with such situation or formulating any policy on such matter irrespective of ur position or management view:

1. The contract of employment does not generally give such permissions to any category of employees, hence can be denied.

2. In any decent oragnisation the goal of employees are alliened with that of corporate objectives and hence I think such type of special permissions should be avoided which are not in the interest of the organisation.

3. Offering prayer at workplace should not be treated as right by employees, even if some organisations are permitting them to do so.

4. Model standing orders of any state in india also does not contain any such liberty for any category of employees.

5. Developing a culture to support any specefic community shoud be avoided as it can have detterent effects on others and finally on organisation.

6. As far as I think, ur organisation must be a business organisation and not an NGO promoting such type of things.

7. Business jurisprudence also does not allow such type of things.

8. Freedom should not be intepretted as unlimmited freedom.

In nut shell, I don't think it is viable to permit such things for longer and larger public and business interests.

Please do share your / company's final decision on it.

Best Wishes,

Manoj Thakur
29th May 2011 From India, Mumbai
Hi Readers

I agree with certain points put forward by seniors here in dealing with the issues. However when a management grants certain amount of breaks to employees, its upto employees how to use them. if an employee is using the break time to offer prayers, this cannot be considered against office culture. however I agree that, no special break or consideration may be given to offer prayers. employees can accomodate that personal practices during approved breaks.

Regarding the rights and previliges granted by companies, its put forward in a very harsh manner here, Employees are not slaves or servants that cant do this and cant do that, be it from any religion.

Organization should be secular and neutral in all aspects of operation. at the same time, restricting personal freedom will lower employee's morale. I say again, I m talking about those who are dedicated to work and not who take religious excuses to run away from work.

Some post mentions that, "Any decent organization will not allow this prayer breaks" if an organization allows its employees to use breaks to offer prayers what is so indecent in that. I m wondering, why call it prayer break ? .. let management allows breaks to be taken as per the work schedules and requirements and leave it to the employees to decide how they want to use the breaks.

Some rule can apply such as :- Not leaving the office premises, encourage to finish break within the allowed time, no nuisance to other employees and KRAs should be taken care of.

Any employees who are misusing breaks should be disciplined be it for prayers, coffeee, smoke or lunch. and yes all the secularity, social fabric, business jurisprudence, office decency, Business Ethics, can be taken care of.

Suggestions of the readers are as if employees are working 9 - 6 straight, without taking any breaks or idle time, its only muslims who are wasting time at the office is it ??

Thanks for reading
29th May 2011 From Kuwait, Salmiya
in some of the organizations i have seen muslim employees doing namaz
if you people are utilizing less time for lunch and are good in their regular duties when harm does it does to you.
pl allow them 1/2 hour which is reasonable and adequate as namaz takes more time. for Hindus 15 minutes is adequate. then they themselves will make up that 1/2 hour time elsewhere.
self committed, work conscious people will always work. if transgressors are there - take individual action
29th May 2011 From India, Hyderabad
Dear Vanitha
It’s a religious issue I propose you not to stop them, it will bring you more what you feel losing, God bless you on it, only the difference in I slam from other religion is they pray five times a day to thanks God for their health, food, job etc…… God will shower his blessing on you by not stopping them.
Best regards
29th May 2011 From Saudi Arabia, Jiddah
As Hussain Zulfikar has opined, many workers waste time in smoke breaks, etc. However, organnizations should not discriminate or legislate based on religious belief in a SECULAR state. Thus, your contention that 30 mins is reasonable for Muslims and 15 mins for Hindus (How many minutes for Sikhs, Christians, and Buddhists, etc?) is untenable.
As Zulfikar and Khadir say, work comes first and as long as work is not hampered, some arrangement can be made to cater for employee needs. Prayer is also supposed to calm the mind and may lead to personal satisfaction.
Have a nice day

29th May 2011 From United Kingdom
Dear All
I am really shocked, after coming to know about the mentality/pessimistic nature/perception/interpretation level of various members who has posted their views.

I am employed in QATAR since SEPTEMBER 2010. When i compare myself with INDIA, i found myself as if living in the best part of the world because Its a PEACEFUL and CRIME FREE COUNTRY where various religions/nationalities are working together for COMMON GOAL. I love MENTALITY of locals and all those EXPATRIATES working here because NO ONE LOVES TO INTERFERE IN OTHERS MATTERS - PERSONAL/PROFESSIONAL/RELIGIOUS, but still everyone wish to retain A DECENT RELATIONSHIP-whatsoever it may be.

Whether an organisation permits one to PRAY or not, i am sure, the one who wants to offer prayers IN-TIME will offer PRAYERS on PRIORITY BASIS while giving TOP PRIORITY for ROLES/RESPONSIBILITIES/JOB because, such kind of employees doesn't like to earn FOR DOING NOTHING(known as HARAAM) nor they believe in CHEATING SELF OR OTHERS, just to earn their BREAD & BUTTER, ILLEGALLY.


With profound regards
29th May 2011 From India, Chennai
Dear All,
Without taking part of any side, Let me brief of Namaz in Office hour. In 9:00 to 6:00 schedule, Namaz will fall twice time;
1. Afternoon Lunch time (Zohar's Namaz time, 12:30PM to 2:30PM usually) They can adjust Lunch time and Namaz within the Official given time (Namaz will no longer take time much more than 20 Minutes)
2. Evening Snacks break(Ashr's Namaz time, 4:00PM to 5:30PM usually) Namaz will take hardly 10 to 12 Minutes,also adjustable with Official given refreshing time)
As per Mr. Quadir, and Mr. Zulfikar, If someone killing their time or to escape from their responsibilities, behind this reason, which is unethical and considered as CHEATING in ISLAAM.
Satisfied personnel are more productive.
Hassan Ashraf
29th May 2011 From India, Mumbai
Dear Ms. Vanitha,

If you look at the timings for the prayer fall due during day time, you can handle the issue in a better manner. Out of 5, mainly 2 prayers (2nd & 3rd) falls during day time. The 1st & 5th prayers are out of office hours. So we consider 2nd, 3rd (& 4th) mainly.

2nd prayer : In India the 2nd prayer is mostly between 1 to 1.30 pm. (depending on Seasons & regional time zones). This paryer take little more time than 3rd & 4th prayer, say it takes around 20 min. In some cases, this time happened to be a lunch break. So this can be easily handled if your lunch break is around this prayer time.

3rd prayer: This is a shortest prayer. It hardly takes 10 minutes. This is mostly around 5 p.m.

4th prayer: This is generally around 6 or 6.30 pm. It takes 10-15 minutes.

If your office is closing before this prayer, then this is out of question.

It seems some people takes longer than the required time, this is due to following reasons in some cases.

One important point in offering prayer is that the person should be free of natural calls and must be in a state of ablution (cleanliness) which takes him/her towards rest rooms which also involved some extra time. Due to this, prayer time seems to be long (this same activity is being practiced by both muslims & non-muslims staff during office hrs which hardly matters and no one can avoid natural calls).

So here both the Management and the employees to cooperate with each other for a common understanding. MANAGEMENT should also consider that there are many kinds of breaks employees need/misuse or they just sit idle on their seats doing nothing (already mentioned by other members). But prayer is an obligation of that particular faith. So while treating 'prayers' as burning issue, it should also consider many other uncalled for "breaks". EMPLOYESS must also demonstrate sincerity and sense of responsibility & should not take more than the required time otherwise their prayers may not be valid. To be really sincere, they can compensate this time by sparing some extra productive time to the Company.

The challenge of HR is to bring together Management & Employees by solving such issues. Hope you will face the challenge successfully by balancing both the sides.

29th May 2011 From Oman, Muscat
Dear Vanitha,
Being a HR professional we must try to find a win-win solution for this. Certainly taking long breaks wouldn't be needed. In my opinion have a clear policy on breaks after a discussion with your top management and Call for a meeting and brainstrom with the group of employees too, hence you can decide upon the future course of action without demotivating the employees.
Mujeeb uddin.

29th May 2011 From India, Hyderabad
Dear Mr.Pandav,
Your comment upon this is not supported by any law,rules or regulation.An industry is a corporate structured which runs by rules and regulation.If you are right then why any govt not provided such facility? An employee is entered in to a agreement of mutual acceptance while joining with any employer.Such agreement does not allow to spend the working hours in any religious activity.More to this subjecte employees are offering their lunch timings for this.This will affect he heath of the employee and as a result to the out put from these also.Hence my sugession is that do not allow such activity in the premise of the company and in the working hours.
Mangesh Wakodkar
29th May 2011 From India, Pune
Dear Ms. Vanitha,
Being the religious duty to perform his prayers on time is cumpolsory as a true muslim, which can be performed at his work place also. But a true Muslim cannot misuse his/her work time to extend the prayer time for half an hour. Indeed the company can have rules in place and the prayer time to be excluded from the total work hours. So the employee having to work for 8 hours a days with one hour lunch break (The lunch break can be divided to 45 minutes for lunch including noon (Dhuhr) prayers, 15 mins for Afternoon (Asr) prayers). If he/she is working in other shifts then you can plan it accordingly. Or the employee should work for the extra minutes consumed for prayers apart from his normal breaks. The employee performs his duty for the fixed working hours as stipulated and agreed in the contract for the said salary. Logically, he has to complete 48 hours of work to make his salary halaal, failing which the salary drawn for the period he/she has not worked becomes haraam on him/her.
As we are working in Saudi Arabia, we have rules that clearly states 8 hours duty excluding breaks and prayer time. So we take 45 minutes for lunch including noon prayers and 15 minutes for afternoon prayers( so 1 hour lunch break is adjusted.

I hope you can introduce this way and am sure it should not hurt ones religious feelings as far as it explains what is halaal nd what is haram.

29th May 2011
Dear Ms. Vanitha,
In addition to my comments, please note that if you are talking about Friday noon prayers then it should be different and here usually we have holiday on Fridays and employees on duty go for Friday prayers including their lunch break with a little extended time for their cafeteria meals.
29th May 2011
Dear Vanitha,
As already opined by almost everyone, it is a religious obligation and it is unwise to stop employees from fulfilling it. However, i do assure you that the matter can be sorted out through a healthy discussion with them. The prayers have to be offered within a stretch of time. this makes it flexible. the employees can be asked for their consent to offer namaz within a specified duration of the day. Also, if they are provided ample space and time for this, they will be more at ease and will be willing to cooperate.
Employees taking breaks for namaz and idling away their time should be criticized. you can probably ask them to be accurate with their timings and also with the work targets alloted to them. As khadir already pointed out, misappropriating time is itself prohibited in Islam.
I am sure you will be able to sort out the matter soon.
Arham Husain
29th May 2011 From India, Delhi
Dear Vanita,

First of all, offering Namaz is a religious duty. Muslim has to do it for 5 times a day. It is allowed during the office hours in Islamic country. India is a secular country, therefore the Namaz Timings are fixed as it should not disturb the official Timings.(Except Friday Prayer). Mostly offices in India starts at 9:30 or 10 AM to 5 PM and lunch break from 1 to 2 PM. The Noon Prayer(Dhuhar) is organized in between 1 to 2 in all Mosques. After that Post Noon Prayer (Asar) is organized between 5 to 5 :30 PM. So the true Muslim can do his duty and as well perform Namaz without disturbing his official duty hours.

If you sold something, you have no right to use it again. Convey this message to your employees that as they have sold this time for the company, they have to use it for company. Like they want to do Namaz as their duty, they have to do their job also like their duty. This what Islam says.

Regarding Friday Prayer, there must be some extra time, but if he is a real Muslim he has to work some extra hours for the Friday. If any one is offering Prayers during office hours, that is not fair enough with the company. Their time is for company use, not for personal use.
29th May 2011 From Saudi Arabia
This is a very sensitive subject and needs adult attention. An office or workplace is religion neutral place if it is anything else that organisation will come to grief sooner or later.
Religion prayers are very personal and private matters and cannot be worn on a persons sleeve. Every workplace has to remain religion neutral and not allow any act which gives rise to a debate or invites attention from any other members in that workplace.
29th May 2011 From United Arab Emirates, Dubai
Some things are religious are are mandatory and they should be allowed because if u are measuring them professionally and religiously then it impact the companies name big time saying that this company compares a apple with orange. hope the concept is clear mam.
29th May 2011 From India, Mumbai
Dear Vanitha and others,

First: Oganizations should respect religious beliefs and sentiments of its employees.

Second: Muslims are required to offer Namaz on time and in group either in a masjid or can be performed in group (2 can also forma a group and is permissible in islam).

Third: Before offering Namaz who should perform ablution which takes no less that 3-4 minutes if the place in not crowded. If a person goes to the toilet before the ablution then again you can add another 5-7 minutes. Altogether it will take approx 10-15 minutes (toilet and ablution activity). A compulsory (farz) namaz will not take more than 5-7 minutes. I think 30 minutes is fairly sufficient for a person to offer prayer even if he goes to a nearby masjid. I would suggest the management makes this clear to the employees that they pray in group without disturbing others and allocate 30 minutes for this activity.

Fourth: there are only 2 times a person has to pray during his normal working hours (day shift) its noon (Duhar) and Afternoon (Asr). For this 2 prayers emploees can stay extra hour to compensate for the office time they utilised for their personal and religious obligations.

I am a muslim and run my own business. I respect religious beliefs. In the past i had hindu and christian employees working for me and i had no problem with they performing their religious duties. I think it helps a lot and nurturs understanding and team work.

Best regards


(jeddah, saudi arabia)
29th May 2011 From Saudi Arabia
Dear Amjad,
Sorry for digressing from the topic. Please excuse my ignorance or rather miconceptions based on what I have read or been told by friends. Are Hindus allowed to bring books with the pictures of Krishna or Rama, or bring small idols to SA? Can Christian bring a Cross?
Have a nice day.
A retired academic in the UK.
29th May 2011 From United Kingdom
Dear Simhan,
I have offices in Chicago and in India. I have absolutely no issues with my staff in these two countries. In my Jeddah office i do not have anybody other than muslim staff.
With regard to bringing idols or books of other religion into saudi arabia - no it is not permissible by the law here. I suggest you write to His Royal Highness King Abdullah directly to answer your question.
Remember there is big difference between monarchy and democracy. I am a citizen of India, but i work in Saudi Arabia and i respect the law of the land.
Best regards,
29th May 2011 From Saudi Arabia
Usually Salat (Namaz) needs 10/15 minutes to perform. If Lunch time & evening break is fixed by half an hour 10 minutes respectively, Problem is solved. If someone wants to perform religious part, there is no harm to do the same with that stipulated time. Motivated 15 minutes of work is better than demotivated 15 hours.
29th May 2011 From Bangladesh
Dear Mr. Simhan
With reference to your discussion with Mr. Amjad, let me provide you certain information which is missed by Mr. Amjad.
1) SAUDI ARABIA being the (only) HOLY COUNTRY/LAND for MUSLIMS, it will never permit any activity against ISLAAM because IDOL WORSHIP is strictly PROHIBITED in ISLAAM.
2) Inside these cities MADINA & MECCA, no NON-MUSLIM is ALLOWED under any circumstances.
3) Regarding PICTURES, BOOKS, and CROSS, people had carried with them, except IDOLS.
We need to understand RELIGION(s). To what extent one is practicing or following RELIGION honestly, is left to individuals because it is PERSONAL.
With profound regards
29th May 2011 From India, Chennai
Please do not encourage religious sentiments to seep into the work environment. If you allow Namaaz, then you will also have to allow time for prayers by members of other religious sects.
Respect for all religions is fine, but do not allow religious practices to be done in Office.
Vasant Nair

29th May 2011 From India, Mumbai
Dear Vanita,
One should not forget the difference between privilege and right. Pls remember that while granting a privilege, whether you will be able to manage if all employees demand the same in some or other way.
I suggest report the matter to your Boss before the situation blows out of proportion.
(Ganesh P Sharma)
29th May 2011 From India, Mumbai
Ms Vanitha The points made by skhadir are very relevant and thoguht stirring. There are various perspectives put in by different people. These perspectives are relevant to particular context. Ms Vanitha you have to take this inputs and decide what is best for you, because YOU and YOU only can appreciate the aspirations and sentiments of the people working under you. So kindly think broadly and take a decision based on what is good for you. One has to open minded and not restrict himself to what is happening or followed elsewhere.
It is good to see different view points and i am sure you will be able to take appropriate decisions which is WIN-WIN for both employees and the organisation.
29th May 2011 From India, Delhi

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