Saudi Arabia: Are Times of Prayer Abused?

Tariq Al-Maeena is not only a friend but remains one of my favorite columnists.  The subjects he chooses on which to write are valid issues that few dare to speak out upon so openly and with great candor.  A recent article published in his regular column discusses the reality of the breaks for prayer during which shops, businesses, schools and even pharmacies will shut down for up to one hour each time the entity is open during prayer times.

As Tariq states, prayers generally do not extend for more than 10 or 15 minutes other than an exception for Friday Jumah prayers. Yet entities are given wide leverage and permitted if not encouraged to close their enterprise for one hour during each time the call to prayer is heard.  Tariq’s article, which I encourage American Bedu readers to view, has valid points how some residents in the Kingdom take advantage of an extended prayer time and the resulting hardships to women and consumers.  Even Muslim expatriates or visitors to Saudi Arabia from  other GCC countries are taken by surprise on the grace of time entities are permitted to be off-duty for prayer.

What Tariq’s article does not mention but can make one think about is also the economical loss and productivity which builds up from an extended absentee time during prayer.  If each prayer takes 15 minutes but entities are allowed 60 minutes that results in 45 minutes of “excess” time.  Prayers take place five times each day although consumers may feel the impact of closed establishments or services mainly during four of the prayers.  Therefore, 45 excess minutes four times per day results in 180 minutes or 3 hours per day.  Taking into account a 5 day work week this is 15 hours per week which adds up to 60 hours a month or 720 hours a year.  Now factor in that the Saudi work week is Saturday through Wednesday which is distinct from the majority of the world.  From a global business perspective excessive time off for prayer where there are already challenges of lost time and distance due to incompatible working hours, what can be seen as excess of time adds more salt to an open wound.

Like Tariq stated in his article, my comments are in no way meant to be disrespectful or an “attack” of taking the time for prayers.  It is to highlight how some entities take advantage of excess prayer times and resulting impacts of such actions.

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83 Responses

  1. Forcing (herding) people to pray has nothing to do with religion and more to do with spying on people 24 hours a day.

    The ferocious religious police (thugs) are hired, instructed and equipped to terrorize people and ensure their submission not to god, but to the authority.

    Religion is a belief and should be left to the individual to pray or not, to fast or not, to believe or not to believe.

    Can a person, in any religion, can be a true believer if he/is forced into worshiping? The people of my motherland have no choice in anything even worshiping.

    Am I wrong? If so tell how?

  2. I dont believe it takes up to one hour, i mean i have never experienced such thing in my life, muximum time would be 30 mins. Such exaggeration does not help you guys:) One more thing, I dont believe we should FORCE people to pray, but people should respect our RELIGIOUS laws; like we have to respect man made ones everywhere in the world..

    I wonder why do our religious laws seem to offend many?

    peace:)

  3. Saudi Woman, are you saying that it is your ‘religious law’ that the stores be forced to close for an hour for prayer time?

  4. Lynn, i think what she is saying is that it is ridiculous that stores close for that length of time, however, many complain of them closing at all, so she is saying that the fact that they close should be respected by those who choose to live there. She’s asking why people complain about things like the stores closing for prayer (but not advocating that they should be closed that long).

  5. I remember when I first got to Kingdom and suggested to my husband that we go into town during one of the prayers since there would – obviously to me – be little to no traffic since everyone would be at prayer. Little did I know that traffic during prayer times is actually worse than at any other time of day. All those people leaving work for prayer are – oddly enough – headed in other directions! (The exception, of course, is in the malls where Hai’a bully people until most seek shelter in the prayer rooms.)

    From a strictly efficiency and productivity perspective, these five breaks each day can cripple a company and an economy. As the writer notes, a 10 minute prayer results in a 60 minute absence, and as prayer time draws closer to quitting time, more and more folks just fail to return to work. Multiple those hours by the number of employees and suddenly you have a whole lotta paid vacation and very little time in the seat!

    I applaud Tariq for tacking this subject and hope he doesn’t fall victim to the new decree on journalist who shed light on the darkness here in Kingdom.

  6. i agree with a saudi woman.

    and after prayer most shopkeepers arrive at their shops before my husband does. i’m always waiting for him.
    it must be a man thing to think that 20mins feels like an hour…lol. men hate to shop. usually.

  7. This is an interesting topic, and I am glad to hear others’ points of view on it. However, I do think things could be worse. I remember when I lived in southern Spain and there were stores I really wanted to visit, but that never seemed to be open! For example, one store in particular was always closed on Sunday, was open for 1/2 a day on Saturday morning, was closed for 2 hours every day for “siesta” and had varying hours during the week so that it only seemed to be open for about 3 hours a day!! How can you even make enough money to pay your store fees on that?! At least in Saudi they seem to be all regimented to the same times so it isn’t a guessing game, lol.

    Oh, and gia, not all men hate shopping – I think my Saudi likes shopping waaaay more than I do!! lol!

  8. that’s funny! cute.

  9. I am surprised to hear that shops close for an hour. I have never seen tha happent. While I am shopping, during prayer times, traders re-open as soon as prayer is over. Masjids are located everywhere and one does not need to drive to the mosques. There are about 3 to 4 masjids nearby.

    Most malls have their own masjids inside so its hardly 20-30 min max. I don’t understand why this is a problem for women. We go to pray as well and I have seen most women who are not praying, taking a break, resting for a while, dealing with their kids’ toilet needs or changing babies. Most return fresh for another round of shopping.

  10. Many shops do not reopen right away, and still more establishments close after noon prayer and remain closed until after 4pm. So, an entire afternoon is wasted. By the way, the Saudi work week for many expatriates is Saturday through Thursday, not Wednesday. Most expats work six days per week here…just sayin’.

  11. When i was there the 5 times closeing didn’t bother me, Hospitals seldom did, i mean they prayed and all , but we didn’t shut anyone down for extended times.

    But there are people everywhere who will try and get away with what they can. so if they get a break from work fo r15 min 4 times a day, they will take advantage and extend it or leave early etc., No justification, but employees do no usually see the big picture in terms of loss of labor etc.,
    it would be a great idea to stop closing shop and everywhere who wants to pray can pray wherever they are, get cleaned up , spread your mat at your workspot and pray away !!! those that don’t have to or want to do whatever they want without disturbing the praying folks…is this so hard ..why can’t it be a choice?

  12. It is one thing my husband and I just shook our heads over. You can’t force people to pray and closing shops for prayers is just beyond reason in my opinion. Nonsense!!!

  13. Quote: I wonder why do our religious laws seem to offend many?

    Saudi Woman, you have to be kidding, right?

  14. Irritated, that’s pretty impressive how you know exactly what A Saudi Woman was thinking.

  15. The shops closing for prayer have never been a problem for me, and like others have said it usually does not take more than 15-30 mins.

    From what I’ve seen no one ever forces anyone to pray. In fact I see many Muslim guys walking around the malls while others are praying.

    What I do find kind of annoying is that most shops are closed between 1-4pm. But you just learn to schedule around it.

  16. Lynn, I was interpreting my understanding of what she said since you so clearly decided not to and confront her about something she obviously didn’t say.

  17. Whaaaa? All I said was:
    Saudi Woman, are you saying that it is your ‘religious law’ that the stores be forced to close for an hour for prayer time?

    I didn’t ‘confront’ her about anything. I asked for clarification of what she was saying. Different people have different opinions on what ‘religious law’ means and I was asking if she considered it a religious law that everything must close down for prayer. Where do you get the ‘confront’ business?

  18. Because she made her position that closing for an hour for prayer was unacceptable. You asked her if religious law meant that everything close down for prayer “for an hour at a time”. I backed her up in a respectful way clarifying what was her obvious intention and you then responded to me with sarcasm. Here I was thinking I was being nice….. my mistake.

  19. Clearly I didn’t understand her to be saying that. Perhaps she was accusing them of lying, that perhaps she didn’t believe that people would take that long of a break for prayer? Why would she, in the context of this post, be accusing people of not respecting ‘religious law’?

    I was just asking her for clarification rather than just jumping to conclusions when it could just be a misunderstanding.

  20. From my understanding and study of the triology … koran, hadees, prophet’s seera …. there is no mandate of congregational prayers during the week. Except on Fridays, when it required.

    Also, there is no hadees or a verse in Koran which mandates closing of shops and businesses for prayers. Fridays, of course, are a holiday.

    Forcing people to pray goes against the koranic verse: “there is no compulsion in religion”.

    As Carol has so many times, KSA is a land of contrasts and contradictions!

  21. I am curious to find out if taking a 10-15 minute break at prayer times (whether or not one actually prays) helps people focus and work more effectively, and if so, in what sectors of work would adding additional break times (for prayer or whatever) aid in an increase in work output.

    I like the comments made by AzurEyes and Radha. Seeing places closed on Sunday and/or have limited hours in Europe just made me appreciate the comparatively long hours of stores in the US that much more. I used to complain about stores not being open late enough here until I went to the UK. 😀 I see the open hours more as a cultural thing, although I could see how it might be frustrating for stores to close periodically during the day.

  22. @StrangeOne,

    The difference between the 2 is one is forced and the other is not. In Saudi people are forced to close, it is not a decision a business owner or a shopper make by choice.

  23. I’ve always wondered if the shop assistants actually get any other breaks during their work day other than for prayer? My expectation was that if these shops didn’t close for prayer a few times a day their workers would never have any breaks. That of course is coloured by my impression of the Saudi labour system.. and is not necessarily accurate, which is why I’m asking.

    As for 60 min breaks, I’ve only really been frustrated by one SACO that routinely closes for this period of time (close 20 mins early, open 10 mins late). I understand bigger shops having to close up 10 mins early coz if they didn’t they’d take the whole prayer time to clear the remaining shoppers. Though the more I think about it I have to agree that there are obviously some who take advantage of the closing time and make no effort to return in a timely manner.

    I personally find prayer times inconvenient, but in no way offensive. I don’t see why someone voicing a negative opinion has to be taken so far as to offense.

  24. It’s all about personal responsibility and proper planning.

    Smaller shops usually do not have prayer rooms. People who frequent these shops need to keep this in mind and take note of the time. If people find themselves “booted out” half way through their shopping and are forced to wait on the sidewalk, well then serves them right for poor planning on their part!

    Larger malls will close down the shops but people are allowed to stay inside other areas of the malls during prayer times. Malls always have prayer rooms. Both men and women are able to pray comfortably. No one actually twists their hands and forces them to go to those prayer rooms. The mutawa can only do so much and many people ignore them anyway. People do have a choice in the matter. Tariq mentioned witnessing salesmen chatting and smoking during prayer times. Alarm bells! These men are either A: not Muslim or B: choosing not to pray during an allotted break time for their shop. How can they be blamed? If some shop owners dislike closing down during prayer times then they shouldn’t have established their shops in a Muslim country where this is law.

    Let us not forget that many of the foreign workers running these shops are in fact non-Muslim. So it does indeed serve as a resting break for them, much deserved I might add. Of course if these employees (Muslims included) are meandering about after the alloted break has finished then their pay should be docked.

    I know of many shops that will close around 2pm, not reopening again until after Asr, 4pm. I do find this a bit frustrating, however outside of this I have never witnessed shops being closed for up to one hour for prayer. At most it is 30 minutes which includes the following:
    -athan,
    -10 minute waiting period after athan,
    -iqahmah,
    -immediate prayer 10 minutes,
    -10minute waiting period for shops to reopen.

    These are only my personal estimates from what I have witnessed in my area. I would love to know what area and what shops Tariq is referring to. As he witnessed himself in Mecca and Medina, not all shops are guilty of such so I think we need to be clear on this point. It seemingly depends on the shops and areas, it is not all of Saudi where this occurs. I disagree with the picture that Tariq is painting here: insinuating that the prayer time is always being abused and that it is not a rest break. It is in fact a spiritual rest break for the Muslim. It is a time to calm his heart and mind from his worldly duties and reconnect with Allah. For the non-Muslim (employees) that happen to be around during those times, well then it’s a bonus break for them, I’m sure they’re not complaining too much.

    Bottom line is this: THIS IS A MUSLIM COUNTRY! In Saudi specifically they close shops down for prayer. Obviously the prayer is a fundamental part of Islam that this country wants to preserve. No need to be offended-how could you be offended? You can either accept it, learn to adapt and adjust your schedule or leave. Simple as that.

  25. @stacy, I have always been able to continue my shopping during prayers times at Saco. They have prayer rooms upstairs for those who want to pray. I have never been asked to leave and have never witnessed them being closed for an hour. I frequent two different Sacos and have never had this problem.

  26. Why are the rest of my comments not showing?

  27. @Harry, I’m afraid you are mistaken. It is in fact mandatory for Muslim men to pray in congregation for their five daily prayers. The exception to this would be if they suffered a severe illness or held a special occupation. For example, someone on bed-rest can pray at home or a surgeon can combine his prayers. So these two would be excused from the congregation because they had a legitimate need for missing it.

    A quick google search and these links came up:

    http://www.sunniforum.com/forum/showthread.php?50136-is-it-compulsory-for-muslim-males-to-pray-at-a-mosque

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=1135&CATE=239

    Personally, I do not view the simple closing of shops for prayer time as “compulsion to pray”. I would only ever view it as compulsion if a person was literally dragged to the masjid and forced to pray. Rather I view the closing of shops as a reminder of the prayer time for those people who want to pray.

  28. Lilly,

    Then you haven’t been to the SACO at Rimal Mall in Riyadh.

    Again, why is the standard response to someone voicing concern about a practice followed almost certainly with the response “This is a Muslim country. If you don’t like it leave!” If you have confidence in your reasons then there’s no need to be aggressive. Saudi Arabia is not the only Muslim country in the world and these practices do not occur universally in other Muslim countries. So why not discuss the peculiarities of this country’s religious rule? If there’s nothing to be ashamed of then there’s no reason to get angry.

  29. One question I have and do not know if this has been addressed in the blog but HOW are muttawa’s chosen? What is their background? Seems to me they run the country more so than the ruling family. Just curious. I remember when I went to Oman the call to prayer was announced but Hulu Market stayed open. There was a prayer room there for people to go….are other Arab countries like this (shutting down their businesses) to the point where the economy slows to a crawl? I do commend people for taking time out to pray but yes….for expats who are not Muslim and for the general world business community how does this affect Saudia?

  30. I got a nice little virus attack when I clicked on that first link of Lilly’s. So be warned! Don’t click on what you think is your virus protection program, just power off completely.

  31. marianna68, *HOW are muttawa’s chosen? What is their background?*

    Anybody who wants to qualify for the important job of Muttawa needs to have special qualifications to shoulder the burden of this important and responsible job.
    Here is the link to an article with a quiz which will not only explain all, but if you do the quiz you will find out if you are equipped with the necessary qualifications…

    http://clouddragon.wordpress.com/2008/09/05/the-muttawa-compatibility-quiz/

  32. That was an awesome quiz Aafke 🙂 Absolutely delightful 🙂 (& btw: -250{me} & 870{fun} lol)

    As for the rest, it is nice to hear the varying points of view and experiences, but there is no way I’m entering into that argument, lol. I’m kind of middle-of-the-road about it myself, anyway – for now.

  33. Not bad, those scores :mrgreen:
    Glad you enjoyed!

  34. I remember my Saudi husband telling me an experience back when he was still a young University student. He was friend’s with a newly arrived expat who was managing a construction project in Jeddah. The expat complained to my husband his frustration of the hourly breaks lasting 20-30 minutes for prayer time and how the project was falling further and further behind projected deadline. My husband was appalled to hear how the workers, led by a Sudanese expat, were taking advantage of the new manager’s lack of knowledge of Islam and prayer. As a result, my husband came to the construction site specifically during one of the “false” prayer times. Although a student and young, he still made a formidable presence showing up in his traditional dress and no doubt to the workers that he was a Saudi. Just by seeing him, they quickly jumped up from drinking tea together and resumed working. Yes; they also would claim to the manager it was a prayer time but did not always prayer the Islamic way. They were simply taking excessive breaks. After my husband’s visit, that stopped.

  35. Carol — that touched a funny bone, i had a similar incident happen to me, when i first started working there and everyone thought i was a green expat , 2 of my reporting staff claimed to be praying 5 times a day between 9 and 5 🙂
    that too for about 30-35 min.. gossiping probably . they were the wives of some imp men,
    They stopped embarrased when i pointed out F to them 🙂

    so yes in effect they will take advantage if you don’t know , nd this happens everywhere and anywhere…

  36. Seems as though personal integrity is not something that is heavily stressed upon in the Islamic world.

  37. @stacy,

    Then go to a different Saco, problem solved!:) By the way, I’ve never heard of Rimal Mall, there are too many malls here to keep track of!:) I go to Saco located at exit 5 and exit 14 but they are independent stores and not located within a mall.

    As for what I posted earlier, I was not angry; maybe just a bit frustrated with people moaning about this particular topic. I felt I stated my opinion rather calmly. Perhaps the all caps was over-kill?:) Aggressiveness certainly wasn’t my aim. I specifically stated this (shops being closed for prayer) is how things are done here in Saudi and people should accept it. I did not say it was this way in other Muslim countries. In all honesty I believe if all people can do is complain about the way things are done here in Saudi (specifically) then they can either accept it or leave. How many times did people tell me “if you don’t like it then lump it and leave!” when I was in the UK/US complaining of this or that? You know, when in Rome…so many of us forget that.

    If people choose to live here then they must accept this country for what it is, warts and all. I have confidence in everything I have stated. I have nothing to be ashamed of for stating my opinion, why would I? And if in the future I should happen to voice my opinion while feeling angry that too should be held against me? This is not a free forum? Where countless people voice their opinions (sometimes deplorably!) everyday. Yet I should feel ashamed? Very odd thing for you to say.

    @Lynn, I do not know much about the links I posted, so if it has a virus I don’t know anything about that.:( I just Googled a phrase about men praying in congregation and that’s what came up. I did not have time to really research that topic for Harry. If he wants more info he can do that himself and find other links that do not have viruses I’m sure.

  38. “personal integrity”…..@Lynn, ditto for the non-Islamic world! There is however good within us all I believe!

  39. Lynn, on March 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm said:
    Seems as though personal integrity is not something that is heavily stressed upon in the Islamic world.

    I have a difficult time understanding the fact that if the purpose of islamic prayers is to seek personal communing with God thereby having your sins washed away, then doesn’t cheating on prayer times nullifies it all? I hope folks who cheat on prayer times recognize that they are being sinful in the eyes of God and earning His wrath.

  40. Lilly…

    Should the West take the same attitude when Muslims in the West say something that they don’t like? Like this is a Christian country if you don’t like it… leave? Why wouldn’t that fly here for Muslims but when a non muslim says something Muslims take that attitude and feel justified? Instead it is bend over backwards in the west and take or leave it in the Muslim countries…nice!

  41. BTW…I am a believer in the “when in rome” philosophy. If that is saudi it is saudi…the problem arises when people who would claim that about saudi ie: you must accept it warts and all (and I am not saying you) but then would get offended when they encounter that when in rome atttude in a non muslim country and demand what they want. If it is applied in KSA and expected to be accepted then it should be te reverse.

  42. oby, on March 30, 2011 at 12:38 am said:

    Should the West take the same attitude when Muslims in the West say something that they don’t like? Like this is a Christian country if you don’t like it… leave?

    Oby, I couldn’t agree with you more and then some. Let’s not forget, though, that in the west we have useful idiots like ACLU and CAIR who will file a lawsuit on individuals and/or organizations, in a jiffy.

    Sadly, on the other hand. non-moslems in moslem countries don’t have that same luxury.

    I better stop here since I am too ticked off to go any further ….

  43. “Instead it is bend over backwards in the west and take or leave it in the Muslim countries…nice!”…@ oby, I don’t make the rules, I just go with the flow. I’m so sporting a toga right now! 🙂 As I posted earlier, plenty of non-Muslims have told me to like it or lump it when I (a Muslim) complained about certain things in the UK and US, there was no bending over backward to accommodate me. So, I’ve learned to accept things the way they are, keep my complaints to myself no matter if I’m in a Muslim country or non-Muslim country. Shops being closed for prayer time is a fairly minor issue here but many people still complain about it, seems petty really and I posted earlier how I felt about Tariq’s article. Back to the toga wearing (I so love purple, please can I wear it?:)… we are in agreement that it should be the reverse but unfortunately that sort of mentality will take time here among Saudis. Although, I suppose you could say many already do in regards to hijab specifically, a lot of Saudi women remove it and do as the Romans when they travel abroad:)

  44. Although on second thought the abayah is akin to the toga with the exception of the color!:)

  45. I think one of the differences some aren’t seeing is that in many westernized countries, there is more emphasis put on independence as opposed to interdependence. Therefore, people are more likely to feel and have more freedom to express themselves as individuals, especially if there is more separation between religious organizations and government.

    However, in the US in particular, what you will see a lot, especially in certain cities, is the idea that “Time is money”. Not saying it’s right or wrong, just saying that this IS something that is different, and something that we expect people to adapt to. Also, there are still other regulations placed on when certain businesses are allowed to be open. It just isn’t the same as Saudi Arabia or European countries (which vary amongst themselves) for that matter. On the plus side, though, at least (from what I have heard) Saudi stores are open later than most stores here. There are many times I wish stores would be open that extra hour or two at least. >_<

    Even if it isn't religious based, people from countries like Saudi Arabia are still expected to conform to our ideals of living while here. I think this is normal behavior for most citizens of any country. In other words, locals most places have the idea of "Why should we have to change? Why don't you change- you're the foreigner?!" whilst also being a bit awed at the differences in culture/behavior at first, treating the outsider as a shiny new toy in some cases. (I was treated as an "outsider" without ever leaving my country. LOL.)

  46. to a degree I do agree with strageone..when a person is in another country, even if they moved there pemenently I think to a large degree they have to adapt and and do so gladly.(or they will always feel resentment)

    My husband has a practice that employed a muslim doctor. A very nice fellow whom everyone liked a lot, but he wanted to take Friday off and work on Sundays. Ultimately the group, who votes on most things, said “no”. They didn’t have a problem with him having some time for prayer before or after work or even during maybe on lunch,(the practice is super busy and taking 20 minutes while patients waited can really be detrimental as it totally messes up the schedule and is not fair to all the patients) But their point was this is a country whose weekends are on Sat and Sun. You cannot close on a working day and open on the one day that everyone else is off. Unfortunately it didn’t work out as he insisted on praying on schedule and it really caused a bottleneck and affected the flow of the practice. They had to let him go. People would see this as discrimination but it wasn’t because he was Muslim per se, it was because his behavior caused problems within the practice and tied everyone up. In this case the man should have adjusted his schedule to accommodate the work environment. They went on to hire another Muslim doctor who does not stop to pray through out the day and things have worked out quite well.

  47. @Oby: But their point was this is a country whose weekends are on Sat and Sun. You cannot close on a working day and open on the one day that everyone else is off.

    Yup, that is the crux of the problem. Moslems have an “expectational demand” that everything revolves around them and for folks to meet their religious requirements; in the US and the west. However, there is no such reciprocity to accommodate a non-moslem’s religious requirements in Saudi Arabia and in the rest of the moslem world; or for that matter in the west. It is strictly a one way street!

    This takes me back to September 11, 2001. Because of understandable American public emotions running high soon after, many churches and synagogues (including many like myself who are athiests, and hindus, sikhs, buddhists, etc), started keeping vigils around mosques so that nothing untoward happens to moslems’ places of worship. This happened throughout America, including Seattle-Tacoma metro area.

    During that time, a few mosques had a need for holding their Friday prayers, for safety reasons, for a couple of months. Many churches gladly accommodated their needs, even changing their own programs and schedules.

    Couple of weeks ago, a church in Seattle which was going through renovation, requested a mosque nearby if they would accommodate them for a month. The answer from the imam was an emphatic NO, stating that their islamic faith does not allow kafirs to bring any crosses, figures of Jesus and Mary, into the mosque, since it will defile the mosque.

    Yup, it is a one way deal with moslems!!!!! And yes,
    Islam is a religion of peace???

  48. Lilly, what I said was ‘Seems as though personal integrity is not something that is heavily stressed upon in the Islamic world.’

    That is not the same as saying there are no Muslims that have personal integrity in spite of it NOT being stressed as highly valued. I happen to have personal experience as a witness to the transformation of an honest, moral, compassionate person who was raised to value personal integrity, into an apparent lying and deceiving heartless Muslim (at least towards non Muslims). So, I’m just sayin…

  49. @oby – I totally understand why they had to let him go. We had a similar situation, In our case the lady was back after maternity and needed about 4 breaks for 40 min each to pump during a work day.She didn’t have a problem staying late but that doesn’t really work, it obstructs the process flow and causes the whole system to break down. Didn’t affect my patients but she was int he Neuro space and would mess up F shedule on a regular basis, everyone tried to be accomodative considering we push brest feeding so much in our practise but when a surgery got delayed thay had no choice but to tell her to pump around the schedule, which as everyone knows messes up her supply, basically she dropped allsurgeries and support till her baby was 8months…and came back full time then.
    so it’s not only prayer, any long frequent break will disrupt the flow. especially in a busy practise. the best solution for such folks with diff needs would be to go into a hospital employment 🙂 but frm the outside it does sound so discriminatory.. i agree

  50. @Oby, Radha:

    I appreciate both of you pointing out the impact on the medical sector when schedules and surgeries are disrupted whether for taking time out for prayers or other reasons such as pumping. Those are good points.

  51. I thought that Islam had all kinds of built in concessions and forgiveness etc if your intention is there but something interferes with prayer like travel, illness etc. I would think that saving lives would fall in there somewhere, no?

  52. Oh yes, since we are talking about time and prayer, would some Muslim explain to me where exactly in the Quran does it specify 5 times a day for prayer, and what are the specific times for this rather (useless) activity?

  53. Now, now, Jay, some people find prayer to be very useful to them (as this post should have proven lol)

  54. @Jay,

    We should be happy that shops and businesses do not close all day. As you know the original requirement was 50 prayers, if it was not for the superior negotiating skills of the prophet. Muslims received a 90% discount. Getting such a huge deal negotiating against an Omniscient being is proof enough of prophesy.

    And of course it is all only in Hadith.

  55. Moq, your humour is terrible (in the French sense).
    Of course the “five prayers a day to keep Satan away” is in the hadith – but the Quran only mandates 3 as far as I know, even if nobody is sure which three.

    Actually since they only have to do 3 prayers a day per Allah, and many Muslims do 5 per Mohammad, this means that the faithful will get 66% more virgins. That is a deal that makes your 90% discount insignificant. Top that!

  56. Irritated, I am really pissed off at you guys. I have been following this story

    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/29/bangladesh.lashing.death/?hpt=C2

    http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/when-a-girl-is-executed-for-being-raped/?scp=3&sq=Bangladesh&st=cse

    Things like this make my blood boil. It gets worse. Just as bad as the evil done to that little girl is the almost total lack of concern / care / dismay I see in the Muslim community for these things. I am talking about the good, moderate, kind Muslims.

    You pretend that this malevolence has nothing to do with Islam or that because it is far away in Bangladesh that it is not your problem or not even a problem to you. I won’t go into the medical and physical agonies the poor child suffered, but they are unspeakable.

    I have looked around at Muslim news and blog and there are very few condemnations. It gets worse. No Muslim seems to be willing to ask why these things happened or on what basis was this done – even when it can be directly traced to the Quran and hadith.

    When oh when are Muslims going to face these issues? Do you care so little for innocent children that you can ignore this or shrug your shoulders as if it were little green men from Mars that ordered this atrocity based upon their interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood? Is that it? Just saying it was a “distorted interpretation” of Islam is not enough. There are more questions to be asked.

    Muslims here throw out hundreds of words defending the Muslim Student Association (MSA) or arguing about how little or much Islam / Christianity is persecuted / persecutes the other – yet these horrible things mean nothing. I am pissed.

    The same is true for prayer. For me, it is basically worthless. You can pray 50 times a day, or even 23 hours and 59 minutes every day, but that means absolutely nothing if you do not care about these things, or care enough to ask why this happens. As far as I am concerned, if a person cannot confront evil, he/she becomes associated with it. It is that simple.

    I have been thinking of this since I replied to your comments here
    http://americanbedu.com/2011/03/26/saudi-arabiaworld-who-is-facing-the-greatest-persecution/

    I really don’t understand it. How can people who I believe to be good people not care about this enough to consider the source of the problem? Is it that the implications of thinking about this are too dangerous to consider, so the problem must be ignored? Is unquestioned support of a/any belief system more important than a child’s suffering?

  57. So if you do the original 50 prayers a day you’s get 720 virgins?
    The men I mean, it’s never become clear to me what a woman gets out of all this apart from watching her men and his 72 virgins….
    Can it be that God is a bit male-orientated?

  58. Jay. I agree. What a horrible story.
    Again.
    And yes, I agree, why do we see death and mayhem all over the world because a non-muslim cartoonist makes a drawing of Mohammed, And women and girls get tortured and killed all over the world in the name of Islam , and there’s no public protest of Muslims anywhere?
    That is the reason for me not to trust the Muslim ummah to be able to do anything to protect human rights, or women, or to stop Islamic terrorism, to stand up for what is right. All over the world I see only demonstrations for what is wrong. I never see demonstrations which address crimes against humanity, against women and children. Islam is very suspect in my eyes because of this.

    I am sorry if Muslim readers don’t like this, but unless you have been on the streets in Muslim countries, protesting against girls being tortured to death, children being sold into sexual bondage, women being punished for rape, suicide bombers killing the innocent, unless you stand up and loudly and publicly denounce these practices, stand against the scholars and their fatwas, you have no right to be upset about non-muslims not trusting your religion.

  59. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12940014

    And today they are killing UN Staffers because ONE nutcase expressed his opinion on the Quran by burning it?????? argh!

  60. For the last few months I’ve been trying to deal with some associates here in Canada who are very frightened of Islam and of the increase of same in Canada. I was trying to tell them they have nothing to fear but I am wrong. One of the questions most asked is why don’t the ‘good Mulsims’ speak up and do you know that I have absolutely no answer for it. I have been trying very hard to tell these people that it will be different and better in Canada but I think Canadians have every right to be concerned. We also need to be concerned that our government may allow for Sharia law here. We are a secular country and must stay that way for the good of all the people in our country. Why won’t the ‘good Muslims’ speak out against the atrocities done in the name of Islam. They will not fight against the extremists and will not speak out in public in large numbers against these deeds. I could go on and on and on ….

  61. You do not need to look far into just how “good” Islam is for people in general and women specifically. Point to one so called Islamic/Muslim govt today that treats its citizens with anything close to diginity and respect…and dont get me started on how women are started.

    If anyone answers…well that is the govt doing that…they are not following true Islam. Exactly. So why call themselves an Islamic country? Why call themselves Muslims? Why get bent out of shape when Muslims in nonMuslim countries are treated badly (according to them) or Islam or the prophet is slammed (according to them) and yet they themselves cannot live up to the ideal they propose Islam claims.

    All Islamic countries are hypocritial mysogynistic hot messes that claim to base their ruling on Sharia or some form there of….they cant seem to find compassion, empathy, or respect for human rights anywhere in this Sharia they follow…so apparently it doesnt have it in there as none of those countries even come close.

    Anyone see a pattern here?

  62. women are *treated*…not started. grrrr 😦

  63. IMNSHO, USA and the West are far more “islamic” and “muslim” in the treatment of all its citizens and residents than the so-called islamic banana republics. Even Imam Hamza Yusuf, an influential islamic cleric has told his followers: ‘If you hate the west, emigrate to a Muslim country’.

    Western nations are known to be tolerant, avoid inhumane treatment of their citizens, giving their citizens just rights, and their laws are mostly just and very close to Islamic laws.

    At the same time you see Islamic countries with laws such as stoning, with their citizens being treated like dirt, all their rights taken away from them, they are being tortured, silenced, and killed for opposing their governments. Not to mention the unjust treatment of minorities etc.

    The Religion of Peace has been bombing, shooting, stabbing and blasting peace all over the globe in prolific fashion; killing and maiming tens of thousands in at least sixty different countries. One can say that more than a thousand deadly Islamic terror attacks are reported in the media each year although the true extent of the violence is certainly much higher.

    Imagine what isn’t caught in the dark corners of the planet, particularly those countries in the Muslim world that keep the press from shedding light on the sort of atrocities that would be front-page news in the West. More than one million dhimmis have been killed in the Islamic Banana Republic of Sudan over the last twenty years, for example, but they are no more remembered than are the many millions of other victims who began accumulating under the Prophet’s own sword fourteen centuries earlier.

    Despite the carnage that Islam dishes out around the world each year, many make the mistake of trivializing the violence, since the number of casualties is measured only in tens of thousands these days. They forget the enormous amount of resources that are committed to contain the threat. Yet, in spite of the many billions of dollars spent and the hundreds of security personnel that pay with their lives in places like Kashmir and Iraq, Muslim terrorists still manage to kill more innocent people every 12 months than the Spanish Inquisition did in 350 years.

    What would the casualty toll look like if we weren’t spending so much in money, technology and blood to protect ourselves from the Holy Warriors of Islam – those dedicated fanatics who spend their time memorizing the Koran and dreaming of ways to circumvent security and amass piles of dead bodies. While our politicians debate the legal niceties of wiretapping terror suspects, our enemy is actively seeking chemical poisons and nuclear material to maximize our suffering and death according to their interpretation of Islam.

    How would you feel if these architects of misery were acting in the name of your religion? Would you brush off the violence with a casual dismissal and turn your attention to petty complaints of personal slight? Amazingly, this is the sort of moral disconnect that we find in the Muslim world. While people of other faiths would be horrified by such terror and resolved to ending it before raising issues that are trivial by comparison, the Islamic community distinguishes itself with a near absence of moral objectivity.

    When Muslim snipers rampage across America and children are blown to bits in India (and dozens of other countries) Muslim-American groups like CAIR and MPAC are far more concerned with a handful of dead fish that appear in a mosque parking lot, and exhibit more outrage over terror financiers being denied entry into the United States.

    While the elderly are having their throats slashed by Jihadis in Thailand and women in Europe are raped by Muslim immigrants, these self-absorbed groups are rallying in support of admitted terror suspects.

    This selfish immaturity and disregard for human suffering is almost universally characteristic of Islam. On their site, CAIR disingenuously asks visitors to sign an online petition called Not in Our Name, which serves a public relations function while their real interest is in publicizing perceived insults and obscure rumors that impassion hatred against the U.S. overseas, fueling the violence and disorientation.

    Is it any great mystery why Islamic terror continues year after year with no end in sight?

    What’s wrong with these people? What’s wrong with this religion?

  64. AA,

    I agree. Think what you want of me, but I cannot understand the hold that Islam has on Muslims. It is as if people agree to never use their brain again when they become Muslims. It is as if they promise not to ever apply the same logic to Islam that they use in other situations. It is as if once they accept the creed that “islam is perfect” then anything that might suggest otherwise must be ignored, explained away, or destroyed.

    I don’t understand. I know there are good Muslims, but I cannot reconcile that with Islam, its teachings and what Muslims do.

    I have never heard a Muslim say that Mohammad did evil things, even when the hadith are full of things that would be condemned by Muslims if it were those horrible infidels doing those deeds. Go figure. Oh course, if a Muslims were to say that, he/she would not be a Muslim, so being a Muslim is more important than honesty and justice. Scary!

    Maybe it is because I am old, but I can’t get a handle on this.

  65. Lynn,

    The tragic death of the girl was yesterday’s story. Today a bunch of UN workers had to die horribly because of the actions of a publicity seeker idiot in Florida.

    But it is the same story. How can Muslims do this? Where do they get this? Was it so difficult to see that thge UN people had nothing to do with the stupid preacher? How can a bunch of people torture a girl to death in the name of a dogma of a religion and how can people in that religion ignore this?

    Obviously the important thing was rage. Just killing, killing anybody, served the purpose of these people. It was a statement. Rage gives them meaning. I am outraged, therefore I exist. I have rage, I am important. Rage gives them respect and meaning to their otherwise empty lives.

    But why is this so easy in islam? Where is the “thou shalt not kill”? Why don’t we see Muslims asking the hard questions? Why can’t they link A top B?

  66. Wendy,

    The good Muslims do speak up; they do condemn terror – but it ain’t working! So now what?

  67. They do not speak up very loudly or very often, Jay. I asked my husband if the Imam made any mention of the terrible and uncalled for deaths of the UN workers during Friday prayer/sermon and not one word was said. He agreed then atrocities are seldom condemned never mind even mentioned when he goes to Friday prayer.

  68. Hey, Wendy, ask your husband how often they bring up Israel.

  69. He said the Imam stays away from ‘politics’. When I said that the killings were not politics but acts of terror he agreed and said it was very definitely not right and very disappointing that nothing was said.

  70. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall of the mosque that those protesters that attacked the UN came out of. I can see where that condemnation could be skewed to seem ‘political’ since it was the UN that was attacked. But then, I guess that EVERY act of terrorism gets skewed to be ‘political’ rather than ‘religious’.
    ‘They did it to draw attention to Israel’s atrocities’
    ‘They did it to get foreign forces off of Saudi soil’
    ‘They did it because the US is in Iraq’
    ‘They did it because the US is allies with Israel’
    ‘They did it to protest against all of the $$$$$ that the US gives in AID to their ‘developing countries’ ‘
    Oh, that’s right, they conveniently forget all that! grrrr!

  71. Who was it that said:

    “I traveled to the West and saw Islam but no Muslims, then I traveled to the East and saw Muslims but no Islam.”

    I remember reading this somewhere…

  72. Who ever said that did not read the books of Islam very well. Otherwise he or she would have understood that all the hypocrisy, misogyny, and mindless killings are exactly what Islam propagates. The current Islamic countries with their suppression, their hatred of women, independent thought and freedom are perfectly well adjusted to Islam.

    Today a mass murderer blew himself up inside a sufi mosque. Sufis are of course not proper Muslims, so it’s ok to kill them. Death toll up till now 42.

  73. Of course if somebody has some private rosy, semi-Christian view of Islam and is really good in Intellectual Acrobatics then of course they would see Islam in the West where there is freedom and secular governments making sure there is justice, freedom of mind, laws, and where women have rights.

  74. Well, I still can’t remember where I read that quote so I Googled it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Abduh

    Make of it what you will.

  75. Thanks for posting this. What a wise man. We wouldn’t have the mess we have now if we had more like him.

  76. @Lily – I like the quote. It does make one stop and contemplate the distinctions.

  77. i just want to point out that although the “law” enforces prayer and closing shops during prayer time it is the WORKERS who abuse this. I noticed this by seeing shops open 10minutes before others. In my opinion those who want to pray should pray in the store for the 10-15 minutes it takes and not close 5-10 min before prayer time to get to the mosque which is at least 5min walking distance away to pray there (praying in the mosque takes longer than when you are alone), and then get back have a cigarette and start working.

    Personally i believe this abuse is against religion, god did not say negatively affect your business in order to pray, and you are not obliged to pray at the mosque therefore it is the owners of businesses who should be blamed for letting their workers do that.
    I am muslim and i respect my religion and prayer times but this is bullshit because it only exists in saudi arabia and not because mecca is here dosent mean that they are better muslims or stronger believers and for the people who do not know this already, the thob (male white “dress” you see and the abaya “female black dress” are TRADITION and NOT religion).

  78. A lot of the hate filled posts here seem to keep asking why Muslims dont keep condemning all the atrocities the media reports…

    Hmmm i guess all the imams dont take all our leads from the media

    Local imam should address their local problems.

    We dont have to keep taking the cue from the media of what the next hot topic is.

    Hey, if all us westeners followed that too maybe we would finally wake up.

    911 conspiracy for starters.

  79. 911 is an inside job and is no more conspiracy. It is a fact. Rockefeller told Russo about this plan a year before 9-11 happened. It is just too obvious.

  80. Sarah,

    Respectfully, as I said in another post to you, the Rockefeller/Russo thing is a very simple scam. Do a little bit of research and you will find that there is no truth behind this, no matter what the youtube video you watched said. You will find that it is a transparent hoax.

    But you say it is too obvious, so I wonder if you mean there are other reasons that you believe 9/11 was an inside job. I would be interested to hear your evidence if you have the time!

    TE

  81. TE,
    I understand what you are saying. I have been saying for years on this blog about 911 hoax. Its the biggest deception in history. Yes there are many evidences even slips made by Bush, so many clues that bombs were planted, things that do not fit ..etc.

    I guess you are too good and sweet. 🙂 You see the surface only. But there are many things going on under that surface. You need to listen to the speeches made by people in charge, read the history, find a pattern, body languages …etc. You will learn a lot more than what you see on the surface.

  82. Sarah,

    It is kind of you to attribute what you consider my logical shortcomings to something positive! I will accept the good and sweet thing, thank you, but consider:

    Even though I’ve grown up in America, I was, probably from the start, the least patriotic American you could find. At 14 was when I first believed the conspiracy theory thing. I watched this actually fantastic video that tried to claim that 9/11 was a conspiracy, one that was quite popular and got some people thinking.

    However, when I went and tried to discover more, objectively and with evidence, not just suspicion and the feeling that America is just this evil, corrupt government (which, I did believe that, and I still think that one of the most exciting news days of my youth was when George W. had to dodge not one but two shoes thrown at him by that Iraqi reporter), I found that the claims on the theory side were not very substantial.

    The one that I hear very often is the bomb thing. The idea is that that amount of destruction could not have been achieved by the planes alone, that there had to be a bomb on the plane or on that floor or whatever. I’ve heard all sorts of “evidence,” like my favorite: “It LOOKS like a bomb went off when the plane hit.” This is rife with problems, and has been debunked numerous times. There is no truth to the idea that a plane couldn’t have brought down a tower but a plane with bombs could. Again, it defies logic and, most importantly, physics.

    I respect your decisions if you hold these theories close to you or in high regard (although, really, please reconsider the Rockefeller one, because that one is particularly easy to debunk), I think if you have time you should try really researching each and every “claim” or “proof” that you hear for the hoax side. Do not take the word of people with a bias.

  83. I live in Saudi Arabia because of my work. The money is good for 1 thing, saving it for a better future away the hell out of this dump. I’ve made plenty friends here both expat and Saidi nationals but in the street the locals can be nasty, rude and downright filthy. I’ve been around enough countries and cultures to make a judgment call, one example I use is that you can often tell how a culture is by using their public toilets. I do not recommend anyone tries this logic in Saudi if you have any other choice, just don’t do it lol.

    On the prayer breaks thing, I’ve been here 5 long years and I still haven’t got the actual hang of the prayer times. I am loathe to get some shitey app on my phone that tells me the prayer times (before some smart ass tells me how regular they are, they change every day so shhh) but the best I get by with is having a bookmarked web page (using the shittest yet most expensive mobile internet known to man) which today told me Magrib Isha prayer was 6:28pm so when I arrived at my local barber to have my hair cut at 6:10pm I was happy I made it in time before prayer. Ofc I was thwarted when the typically vain tit of a Saudi in front of me insisted on having the longest shave and demanded the barber got this bit and that but and ‘ooh but can you just adjust this but of my hair’ bla bla and ofc time ticked away and it was prayer time! Oh yeah ladies, it’s my fault because I should have ventured from my compound villa with my wife and 3 month old son an hour early incase some pretentious prick decided to insist that my barber work miracles to turn him pretty.

    I’ve lost count how many shop doors have been closed in my face 15 full minutes before the actual call to prayer, and how many retards I see smoking at petrol stations when they’re supposed to be ‘praying’ and they are muslim and they are Sunni (who are compelled to pray 5 times a day) regardless of what their abrogated (look it up kids) qur’an verses may say about compulsion. There is ONLY compulsion in Islam since every aspect of a muslim’s life is dictated to them in the Qur’an and not to submit is unislamic.

    I also cannot count how many times I’ve walked off and left a packed shopping trolley in Carrefour which is a crappy shop anyway, we only like the bread in there and the convenience of it’s location lol. However, one day recently I went to the electronics area in Carrefour and asked a nice Indian guy if they stocked any of those fab new soundbars, he wasn’t from that area but quickly called on two guys who were walking in the opposite direction. They turned back and walked towards us and I said “hi lads, do you guys stock…” but before I could finish my sentence, one had about-turned and the other flicked his hand at me and said ‘salat salat’ rather nonchalantly, very rude and made my blood boil. 10 years ago I’d have punched the back of his stupid looking head in! He’s lucky I’ve mellowed out lol. So I looked at the polite Indian who had a rather shocked look on his face, and seemed concerned that I was stood over him and might be annoyed. I simply said “well it doesn’t look like there are any here on the shelf anyway so screw those guys” and walked off again to find the wife who was shopping for our weekly supplies.

    Anyone here who has managed to ‘integrate’ has done maybe a little too much ‘integrating’ for my liking. Even my Saudi friends discourage me from spending my money here on frivolity because they know I have a better future….out of this hell hole. We are taking one for our better futures 🙂

    Take care everyone

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