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Muslim Prayer Times or childcare responsibilities?

(33 Posts)
suchafuss Mon 30-Jan-17 21:58:01

I have to do a group presentation as part of my degree and we have all been given groups to work in. We are on placement 4 days a week and only in university one day per week when we also have lectures. In my group we have several mums and several muslim students. The mums struggle to stay late due to child care responsibilities and the muslim students are suggesting different times as otherwise it interfers with their prayers. This is NOT a muslim bashing thread at all, I just wander if there is any leeway with prayers or if it would be a good/bad idea to speak to tutors about reassigning groups so that we can all manage our commitments?

alteredimages Mon 30-Jan-17 22:12:43

Hi suchafuss. I am not sure exactly what the prayer times are in your part of the country, but basically there are five prayers a day and each prayer needs to be done before the next one's time starts. The first is at dawn, the second at around noon, the third mid afternoon, the fourth at sunset and the fifth in the evening. Each place has different prayer times because they are calculated according to the movements of the sun.

Some muslims are really strict and like to pray immediately once the prayer is due since this was recommended by the prophet. Others don't bother as long as they make it before the next prayer and others pray all of the prayers late once they get home. The last one is not technically meeting the requirements but sometimes there just isn't anywhere to pray.

In wintertime with the shorter days the prayers are much closer together and so sometimes you do end up missing prayers if you have something on in the middle, but it does sound as though there is a bit of inflexibility here. The prayers in the afternoon all have about 2 hours between them. How long would the group work take? If you could arrange to do it in the morning that might be best since dawn prayers are at around 6:10 am and the next prayer isn't until around 12:20.

suchafuss Mon 30-Jan-17 22:16:37

Thank you so much for that information it is so useful and was really worried I would come across as culturally insensative for asking! smile

alteredimages Tue 31-Jan-17 09:12:48

No problem. Don't worry about being culturally insensitive, it's always better to ask!

Thefitfatty Tue 31-Jan-17 09:17:08

Prayers don't take very long. It's perfectly plausible for them to excuse themselves for 5 or 10 minutes and go pray.....That's what my co-workers do...

Birdsgottafly Tue 31-Jan-17 09:18:47

I was at Uni with people who follow the Muslim religion and I've worked alongside many. I also holiday frequently to mainly Muslim countries (North Africa).

I've never known this issue, they have all adjusted prayer time around essential work/study, as is allowed.

Whereas you can't manic childcare out of nowhere.

alteredimages Tue 31-Jan-17 09:24:07

Agreed. There is no need to make special arrangements for prayers, after all it is something they do every single day and that has to be managed around their commitments.

I was suggesting the morning just because there aren't any prayers then so they have absolutely no excuse but I do think asking to make special arrangements because of prayers is a bit precious and completely unnecessary.

Thefitfatty Tue 31-Jan-17 09:25:57

Sorry, is the day you can meet on Fridays? Friday prayers are a bit longer, and many people prefer to attend a mosque....

alteredimages Tue 31-Jan-17 09:42:56

Yeah, Thefitfatty but friday prayers would still fit in to a one hour lunch break unless the mosque is the other side of town.

Thefitfatty Tue 31-Jan-17 09:46:21

Yeah, Thefitfatty but friday prayers would still fit in to a one hour lunch break

True. It's different living the ME as many want to spend time with their families after prayers, so Friday is a no-go day for trying to organize things. But I assume it would be different in the UK.

brasty Tue 31-Jan-17 09:54:35

I have worked with some devout Muslims. They have just excused themselves for 5 minutes to pray. No more disruptive than working with smokers.

crystalgall Tue 31-Jan-17 10:00:48

What time do you want to meet to do the group work?
This sounds very odd. You can still meet up and have a break where they go off to pray for 10 minutes. Shouldn't be a big deal at all.
Today daytime prayers are around 12 3 5 and 7. You can easily meet at in the morning between 9-12. Or You can meet at 1 and have breaks for the 3 and 5 pm prayers.

What are the childcare limitations? I think they trump prayer times.

RB68 Tue 31-Jan-17 10:05:57

Frankly you would be unlikely to organise on a sunday so why a friday. Its well known that Friday is a no go day for more than one religion

melj1213 Tue 31-Jan-17 10:16:49

Frankly you would be unlikely to organise on a sunday so why a friday

Other than the obvious fact that Friday is part of the work week and Sunday isn't, the OP and her cohorts are only at University for lectures on one day a week and therefore should be able to schedule meetings on that day, whether it be Friday, Sunday or Wednesday. .

MissMrsMsXX Tue 31-Jan-17 10:19:28

We really really must make all allowances possible for all students if you allow one religion dictate what you do at all. I think it's best to steer clear of all of it, it's an academic course. you only know about these students religion because of their declaration or outerwear. What if you had a JW who couldn't come for coffee or chat during the break? Would you ban all chatting in the break?

Frankly you would be unlikely to organise on a sunday so why a friday. Its well known that Friday is a no go day for more than one religion

My Muslim children go to school on Fridays and my Muslim DH works. (Christian shopworkers work on Sundays). If the meeting is arranged on a normal weekday other than Friday lunchtime or after dark on a Friday if any of the group are Jewish what is the problem. As suggested above a meeting on Friday morning is unlikely to be a major problem from a religious perspective.

icanteven Tue 31-Jan-17 10:31:46

You're wasting time giving this any thought. I would just create a Doodle and see what comes from that. Presumably people will cotton on to the need for compromise quickly enough.

If Friday is the only available day, then the Mums and Muslims are just going to have to work it out. As you appear to be neither, then it is not for you to negotiate, unless this is your role in the group. Are all the mothers single, and have no partners to deal with children on Friday evening? Are all the Muslims massively devout and have to say their prayers on the absolute stroke of the hour? Seems unlikely.

Having a degree will be no help to anyone in the workplace later on if they can't learn to manage basic scheduling and compromise.

icanteven Tue 31-Jan-17 10:34:05

Frankly you would be unlikely to organise on a sunday so why a friday. Its well known that Friday is a no go day for more than one religion

Yes, if I lived in a Muslim country. But as (I presume) the OP is posting from a non-Muslim country, I feel that the Muslims in her group are probably accustomed to the fact that Friday is a fully operational day here.

brasty Tue 31-Jan-17 10:38:35

Also Sunday for most people in Britain is not a no go day for religious reasons, but because for many it is a non working day. Even then very few devout Christians would object to working after church on a Sunday for religious reasons.

CommonFramework Tue 31-Jan-17 10:42:42

I'd say you can make time for prayer anywhere. Prayer is more flexible than children: if you need to be home for childcare, then so be it.

specialsubject Tue 31-Jan-17 10:42:57

Do the Muslim students walk out of lectures to pray and so miss parts? Seems unlikely.

Presumably they also fit prayers round their placements, in breaks.

They must have a method for everyday life in this non Muslim country.

CommonFramework Tue 31-Jan-17 10:43:38

Frankly you would be unlikely to organise on a sunday so why a friday. Its well known that Friday is a no go day for more than one religion

But this country is Christian.

TitaniasCloset Tue 31-Jan-17 10:49:28

I'm Muslim myself and there is also the option of combining noon and afternoon prayers or sunset and evening prayers in an emergency.

There is a lot of flexibility in Islam and it wouldn't be the end of the world if they missed one Friday prayer either. Friday prayer is only compulsory for men anyway, women have a choice to attend or not.

In this case I would support the mums with childcare issues because finding suitable childcare can be almost impossible especially for single mums.

TitaniasCloset Tue 31-Jan-17 10:51:52

Let us know how you get on, in my experience some very young Muslims can be quite argumentative as they think they know everything about Islam having been to a few talks. I hope you don't find that.

TitaniasCloset Tue 31-Jan-17 10:54:33

Oh and praying doesn't take longer than a coffee break, five minutes to go to the loo and perform ablution, then walk to the prayer room and pray for another five minutes. It just depends how far away the prayer room is,or they could pray in the classroom while colleagues go fetch some coffee etc.

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