With many of us now returning to work after the lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we decided to write a helpful guide for praying at work. If you’re a new revert, just starting work or perhaps just want some advice to help you pray at work. Then this article is perfect for you! We’ve included tips for ways you can fit praying in the middle of work and advice on how to not forget to pray even when you’re busy!
For years I’ve worked in busy work environments and it can be really tough trying to find the spare time when you have meetings all day or you become so busy that you forget. Though it isn’t a sin for forgetting! But of course, we have to make it a priority and keep up our Salah that is the foundation of Islam.
While many of us understand that prayer should come first, sometimes we get a little side-tracked by the Dunya! That’s why it’s so important to find a good work-life balance and make sure we don’t neglect our duties and spiritual side. There are definitely some practical steps we can take to help.
We previously wrote about the importance of self-care so make sure to check out that too. We wrote it during Ramadan but self-care is important all year round!
Sadly, across the world, spirituality has taken a back seat in our lives. We might have not very understanding management when it comes to allowing us to make time for our prayers. So here are our best tips for managing your daily prayers while keeping up with your hectic work schedule.
Put the prayers times into your work calendar
This is the first step and putting all of the prayer times into your work calendar. That way you don’t accidentally book a meeting when you need to pray and you can schedule tasks around the prayer times. You may not always have total control of your calendar and that’s okay. Praying as soon as possible is fine. Pray within the time window, there isn’t a sin. Though it’s important to not unnecessarily delay the prayer due to work. Forgetting also sometimes happens but by putting them in your calendar, Inshallah hopefully less!
Go earlier or later to work if you can
Quite a few workplaces now offer flexible hours so if you’re able to, come in earlier after Fajr prayer. This depends on they prayer times, if it’s Summer and you’re in a more Northern country. It might work better to stay awake for Fajr and go to work later. The rest of the year, try staying up after Fajr and going to work earlier. This way you can finish earlier in time for Maghrib and maybe even Asr. Then just keep your lunch break at Dhuhr time. This will make life easier for fitting in the prayers. The same goes for shift work, try to fit the shifts around the times which would make it easier.
Download a prayer reminder app
When you’re running around or have a million tasks to do, this will play the athan out loud or buzz a notification on your phone. My favourite application is Muslim Pro. It’s available for iPhone and Andriod. You can also check the upcoming prayer times including for future days. It also lets you check off when you’ve done your prayers. There’s many more features with this app, including a Quran you can read, Islamic calendar and Duas. Giving you useful little ways to remember Allah through out the day. It is super handy for reading Quran on your lunch break on top of helping remind you when it’s prayer time.
Use short breaks
If you have a boss who isn’t very understanding, just take a small break. If you prefer not to make it obvious when you pray or work isn’t the easiest for taking breaks, then there’s no need to say where you’re going. Most will just assume you took a bathroom break. You might feel like if you’re gone for a long time and that people will notice but you’ll be surprised by how many people don’t. So make sure this doesn’t become an excuse for why you put off praying. Especially as a new muslim, we can be shy about going to pray or that someone might find out. I’ve gone for months of quietly going of to pray and no one really noticing despite being in a very small office. If you decide to later be more open about praying at work, they’ll probably say “Oh I never noticed!”
Ask building security if there’s somewhere to pray at work
If you live in the Middle East, it’s not an issue as most offices have prayer rooms which security will know they are. In western countries you may be lucky and have a multi-faith prayer room in your office building. So again security will know where these are. If there isn’t a dedicated room, then security might know where there’s a quiet place suitable for praying at work. If they don’t, then take some time to explore your office and building in order to find the nearest possible place.
Try not to use a stairwell as people passing by might mean you get disturbed frequently and it can create a negative effect for others as you might get in the way. As Muslims we try to always have good manners. In addition, stairwells can be noisy with voices echoing up several floors. So always a stairwell should be a last resort. Unused meeting rooms are a great option. A quiet corner in the office or even a storage room. Use a movable whiteboard or other office items as a screen if you want more privacy. Don’t be afraid to be a little creative if you need! If there’s no where suitable in your office, try quickly popping into a nearby clothes shop with a dressing room. Last but not least, speak to other Muslims and find out where they go.
Be prepared by carrying a prayer dress and prayer mat
There’s lots of travel versions available which are perfect for keeping them with you. I have a prayer dress that fits into a little bag for carrying around. Having all these items prepped with you, makes it so much easier to fit in prayers while on the go. Depending on whats easier for you, you can keep it in the car or in a bag. Planning where you can pray, knowing the prayer times ahead of schedule and having the items necessary. These all together will make it easier praying at work.
Do your wudu before you leave for work
Getting up a little earlier, eating breakfast and having your caffeinated drink. Go to the bathroom, do your wudu and then go to work. If you do need to go the bathroom, re-do your wudu quickly in the bathroom so that it saves you needing to do your wudu later. This will save you quite a bit of time when you do need to pray. Making praying at work both quicker and easier.
Work out the amount of time it takes you to pray
Start your stop watch on your desk, go to where you normally pray. Pray and come back. Stop the timer. How long did it take? This will help you when scheduling it into the calendar. When I timed mine it took me around 15 minutes from leaving my desk, getting to the prayer room and then getting back to the office. Including doing wudu. If you’re wudu is valid, then this will make it quicker to pray. It’s important to get that balance and not rush your prayer. Though the most important is doing them. Again it’s okay if we occasionally are a little rushed but we should try not to make it a habit.
Make your salah a priority
Remind yourself it only take a few minutes and is essential for your mental health. It as a necessity which helps calm you, can increase focus and increase productivity. All while deepening your relationship with Allah. Try to focus on the positives. If you stay a little later at work in order to pray after work, it might meam you have less traffic on the way back home. The same for getting to work early.
Maghrib can be the toughest during certain times of the year, as the time window is very short. So while we plan to get home and pray, we might end up delayed or stuck in traffic. If you’re close to Maghrib time and you’ve already finished work. Then stay and do a little bit of extra work so you can pray before heading home.
If that isn’t possible then having a valid wudu for the communt can also help. So that you can perhaps find a quiet place to pray during the journey. If you’re driving, this might be pulling over somewhere and praying. Make the most of google maps and see if there is a Mosque/Masjid on the route home. As the saying goes; “where there’s a will, there’s a way!”
Hope these practical tips help you with praying at work and inshallah may we all do our salah at the prescribed time. Let us know if you have any tips you’d love to share with us in your comments.