Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Being shariah compliant in a western work place

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Working in a western environment can be challenging for a practising Muslim, as well as testing. Alhamdulilah I enjoy where I work, and although all my work colleagues are non-muslims they are considerate and understanding to my religious needs.

I have a few issues that I would like some clarification on:

1.  My lunch break is sometimes earlier than other colleagues, and at times my colleagues would request me to get some lunch for them (obviously they pay for it).  Now this isn't usually a problem, as it occurs to all those who sometimes have lunch early.  The issue is that some of the work colleagues want a bacon/ham sandwich, or a chicken/beef sandwich baguette etc.  Is it allowed for me to get such foods for colleagues or are there exceptions such as not the pig meat, but other is ok even though it isn't halal as well, or is it forbidden for me to get food like that?

2. Does my wudhu break my hand has contact with a female colleagues hand, which is in no way sexual or perverse.  Such as shaking hands or sometimes, when we do a good job or achieve target, we will high five each other for a job well done, or clash the knuckles, or a colleague would be cold and touch my hand just to show how cold she is (don't know why, and can be annoying, lol, but it don't stop her, she is well old, married with children, although that shouldn't matter, but it is in no way sexual). Does my wudhu break in all these instances or just some?

3. I am able to read my zuhr salah at work during lunch, and at times unable to pray asr. Is qazaah justified in these situations?

4. During birthdays etc, everyone contributes a certain amount of money to buy a gift for people whom the event is for. Although I make it clear that my contribution should not be towards any alcohol related gift, however  I can never be too sure.  Is this ok?

5. Is it ok to go to lunch with colleagues on team building days etc at a restaurant where alcohol is served and colleagues are also drinking it?

Jazakallah khair in advance for all your responses.

~Servant of Allah

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5 Responses »

  1. Walaykum assalaam Brother,

    Your questions are very interesting mA.

    Let me try answering them.

    1. Last week I came across the hadith written by Imam Nawawi about the issue of serving non halal food to anyone. The commentary of that hadith was, we should not serve haram food to any human being. Doesn't matter if they are Muslim or non Muslim. We should give others the same food what we eat.

    2. I think your colleagues are aware of your religion. So you should have mentioned that its not allowed in our religion to shake hands with strange women. In Hanafi madhab your wudu doesn't break if you accidently touches a strange women, but in shafai madhab your wudu breaks right there.

    3. I don't think praying Asar or any salath at work is issue at all. Coz when you go to bathroom/ washroom I am sure you will take few mins out of your work and spending 3mins for salath shouldnt bother your work at all. Even I does the same.

    4. Usually or always I try not attending these parties from my colleagues or work. Not because I hate my colleagues but for various harms I might have on myself. Like there will be so much opp gender interaction, haram food will be served and etc. I know you might not do these bad things but by witnessing these things around you means that you have no issues with haram. Their is a hadith which says when you something bad try to stop it by hand or by words, still if you can't do any of these two then atleast have a thought that it is bad.

    5. I think my 4h point addresses this.

    And Allah knows the best.


  2. Salaam brother, i worked in a similar enviroment to yours for some time and i will explain my point of view to you.
    In terms of buying food for your colleagues, i would say their is no harm since the food is inside packaging and you dont handle the actual food, and because you are paid to purchase their items, you are merely a transactor and personally have no involvment in the food choice or pay for it.
    Your wudhu wont break by shaking hands etc, since you do it in a business and professional manner and it is not sexually inclined or anything along those lines.
    Yes you can pray the asr later, since you do have intention to pray and due to work rules your unable to.
    When you contribute money, you have said it is not to be used on alcohol, your intention made if they do, then its not your fault, since you told them before hand.
    I disliked team building days and going out for meals with colleagues, since the atmosphere was not professional and their was no barrier, i feared i may well sin, being young at the time the opportunity of potential relationships was evident, and i didnt want to go over that professional barrier, so i refused to attend most the time, my advice is avoid it, since their is no control in the enviroment.

    • I think we should not comment on fiqhi maslak with our own intellect. We have muftis to give rulings. The statement which you said is huge. No scholar on this earth had ever said delaying salah is valid. Their are ways to catch up ourselves and find time for salath.

      • Brother it was my point of view, and i have taken in the views of religion of course i am not saying he should delay it intentionally, but if he cant due to work then he has problems.
        Many scholars say that if you have the intention of making them up and not neglecting salah, then Allah will forgive you, you repent and then make up the Qazah salaah. And, Allah is the Most Merciful.
        He says only at times he cannot pray asr, and i am sure he dosent go to work with the intention that today my asr will be qazah and i will not make effort to pray it, if he gets chance then he will, in which case he is not neglecting the salah.
        On a more general note, muftis these days fight over many things, so you find one which agrees and another will disagree, i ask you to go to masjid when their is a jalsa or gathering of 2 scholars, you will leave even more confused than when you went in, im not saying dont follow but simply referring to your point 'We have muftis to give rulings', well the rulings contradict many times, so one must follow a basic guidline and not dwell too much into the debate, since you will never get a answer that everyone accepts to be same.

  3. I am sorry, but it's hard to answer this without knowing the country you are in. If you are in the US we have laws in place with prohibit your employee from telling you that you cannot do salah (as long as you do it quick!) at the workplace. We also have laws in place that say you're able to say no to touching a woman's hand as it's against your religion and it's not necessary for the work environment.

    In regard to the food, who is buying it? In my opinion it is permissible for you to serve haraam food as you are not buying it. The issues comes when you are buying it since you're seen as supporting something that is haraam. You also have the right to refuse haraam food and drink under the same clause I mentioned above.

    It is not your fault if your co-workers break their world and buys the person a haraam gift. If you want to prevent it from occurring 100%, why not ask if you're able to contribute a small gift instead of money?

    If you are going to place where alcohol is served, it can be seen as bad that you're buying from the person who is also selling alcohol as your money can go towards haraam thing if your purchase is halal. Another way to look at it is to think you're making the restaurant stock more halal things as the demand for halal has increased while the decreased for alcohol has deceased. Many brothers and sisters say you should not go to a restaurant or place that sells alcohol, but nearly every grocery store in the States sells alcohol as well as other haraam things. It is not practical, and many times just not possible, for Muslims to shop exclusively at halal markets. If your co-workers are drinking around you, think about how you're showing a good example of someone who does not drink and maybe this will motivate them to cut down on the drinking.

    Remember to not make things haraam that are halal, and to not make yourself a bad example of Islam to the non-Muslim community.

    Here is some news about your rights in the workplace (if you're in the States at least)

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