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  1. MashAllah, very important article – as many of us Muslims are working in the office environment – especially helpful to sisters. JazakAllah!

  2. I would like to add — try not to make eye contact with the opposite sex (lower your gaze – as said in the Quran). It really helps, i’ve tried it.

    • But on the other hand in most Western societies not looking a person straight in the eyes is a major sign of lack of confidence..!

      • It doesn’t matter what Western societies think, what matters is what Allah thinks about us. They also think being semi-nude/nude is a sign of confidence while this is nothing but an abhorrent act for us.

        Honestly, I am guilty of being unable to lower my gaze while talking with opposite sex, so this is first and foremost a grave reminder for me. However, I found that whenever I can lower my gaze, I remain free from a lot of mental stress and temptations. This, in itself, is a proof that each and every Islamic ruling is for our own benefits. Subhanallah.

        • I am a designer designing an office where 80% of the staff are Muslim. I came across this website doing research as I want to design a space that meets the needs of Muslim office workers. From my cultural viewpoint to describe being semi-nude as “abhorrent” is an extraordinary statement. I assume that you do not go to the beach, the swimming pool or the National Gallery? Whereas a lot of nudity, eg page 3 in the Sun, demeans and exploits women in particular lets not get too extreme about judging semi-nude / nude as something evil per se.

        • firstly, I have never heard anyone in the west claim that being nude is a sign of confidence. Secondly, you did no wrong by not lowering your gaze. Lowering the gaze refers to not lustfully looking at the opposite sex. That’s it.

    • Truely said. Whenever if required to speak with opposite sex, ensure that lower your gaze. Do not make any eye contact. Look down and speak…

    • That’s so stupid. Not making eye contact is necessary for a conversation. When the Quran says to lower the gaze it means not to look lustfully. So please stop spreading false information.

  3. This article is really helpful for my situation. I have trouble with finding suitable job for myself and i need your guidance brothers. I live in Turkey and although most of Turkish people are Muslims, they don’t practice their religion, when i go for a job interview and explain that i need time for praying and a break for Friday, they don’t want to get me to the job. What should i do i am a software developer and i don’t have any doubt about my skills. Which one is effective, telling that you are a prayer at your first interview or telling it after they decide to get you to the job. Because in Turkey most of employers have prejudice about prayers.

    • Assalamu’alaikum,

      Thanks for asking!

      You’ll find answers to this type of question on Islam-qa.com which I hope will be beneficial for you.

      – AbuProductive

    • This is a problem.
      I involved with Turkish textile machine producers company. Thus I came to contact some of with ur country men.
      Dear Sister, I pray for u to All Mighty Allah Rabbul Alamin,,
      and request to all brothers & sisters to cooperate U & also to each others in Halal earnings,,
      please hold patience ,,
      U r not alone ,,,,

    • Asalam aleykoum may Allah help you and all Muslims every where. Just keep in mind that Allah tests His believers reaching jennah is not an easy but remembering Allah through duas is ,Allah knows it best, the purpose of all hurdles we meet.

  4. Brother,

    Can you please give a few more tips on how to deal the situation of ‘not shaking hands with the opposite sex’?

    I mean– I never & I’ll never (InshaAllah) initiate such a thing on my own. But, what if there arises a situation like ‘I got some promotion/bonus’ and then everyone comes to congragulate me. People will come one by one & its going to be random (not like all men first and then the women). So, how do we handle such a situation?

    Thanks…

    • Wa alaikum assalam,

      The best way I sort it handled is a person respectfully pulls his business card and whilst offering them to the person explain courteously about the Islamic etiquette and manners about not shaking hands with the opposite sex.

      If you have nothing in your hand, then a simple raise of the hand and smile, whilst explaining why will do wonders.

      – AbuProductive

    • When a person from the opposite sex extends his hand to shake mind, I smile friendly and do the handshake gesture, but to an imaginary hand. 

    • Here in India, I simply fold my hand, smile and wish them. N politely explain them it is not allowed in my religion. My experience is people respect it.

    • Assalam Alaykum,
      This your question has been answered in the article, from the first day if your colleague knows that you are the type that doesn’t shake hands with opposite sex, the opposite sex will not even try to shake you even when congratulating you in case of promotion/bonus. What really matters is how you first present yourself to them.

    • This usually works for me:
      If a man puts his hands out to shake yours, put your hand on your chest as a gesture, and say something along the lines of: “sorry, I won’t shake your hand, but it’s really nice to meet you” (smile) and hopefully he will copy the gesture and place his hand on his chest as well.

      This makes it less awkward as usually when you refuse a handshake, their hand just falls awkwardly limp to their side.

  5. Regarding post # 5, I used to study with a girl who ALWAYS told me all her stories even though I never really commented on them – so that she wouldn’t continue. But apparently my lack of comments just made her think I was a great listener. Eventually I of course got really sick and tired about hearing about her escapades, so I hinted to hear that I don’t need to hear everything in a jokingly manner. What eventually finally made her stop was that, whenever I knew I was going to meet her, I made sure I had a newspaper with me which I was looking in when she came over, so I would just bring up random stories I had read there, focusing our subjects on the news in stead of her personal life – worked wonders, alhamdulillah!

  6. JazakAllah Khair for such a great post . I think many people will be in need of these kind of posts.
    I wana add one suggestion to this post ,
    Brothers and sisters  Try to be best at you work , meet the project deadlines , focus on the work  and the Rest becomes easy ….

    I am a software engg, working for a Japanese based comp and do my prayers in the office(I pray in office conference room) and i follow all the muslim responsibilities like not sharing hands with opp sex etc .. I have never face any problem with the people , I have good relations with all the people .AlHamdullah,In-fact many non muslim girls  inc Japanese  girls , They like my hijab :).
    If we are strong in our believes people respect us. 

  7. When I first started working I never wore my headscarf, now I have been wearing for over 3 years and Alhamdulillah I have noticed a huge difference in the way my colleagues act around me. I also pray my thuhr salaah and in my own way I have made them aware of my lifestyle. I think practicing your Islam in everything you do is the way, don’t talk about it – do it!

  8. The scholar Sheikh Ahmed Kutty has said its fine to shake hands with the opposite sex as long as there is no desire or lust. Which is true. I’m in school, and for projects we shake hands, there’s many times where I’ve felt no lust. When the Quran says to lower the gaze, it means when you feel desire and lust. So, I see it as aright.

    • Assalamu Alaikum,
      I just want make an observation based on the comments made by Brother Edmcapitals, the truth of the matter is that there is no any way that shaking hands with opposite can be fine in Islam, whatever is Ha ram remain Ha ram until you have an authentic rule that contradicts its based on Quran and Sun nah. What he told you its his opinion not Islamic principle. My advise is always try to work with the Islamic principles and keep away people’s opinion.
      May Allah guides us in the right path. Ameen
      Jazakumullah khairan.

    • The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “It is better that a steel nail is driven into your head than for you to touch a woman who is not permissible for you.” [Tabrani]
      I don’t know the authenticity of the hadith. But what I think is it is too difficult to avoid lust when shaking hands with opposite sex. If one continues it without lust as u say I fear one day shaitan will get hold of him. When prophet sallallahualaihiwasallam has forbidden us even to look at non mahrams saying it is one of the arrows of shaitan how can we think of shaking hand.

      • Neither the Prophet nor Allah has said to not look at non-mehrams. What they have both said is to lower the gaze, and tafseer tells us that this refers to not lustfully looking at the opposite sex. That’s it.

    • It’s not just about you, the other person may feel desire and it’s not certain to feel desire after every time of shaking hands but it’s better to avoid it

  9. He’s from askthescholar.com, and frequently posts on onislam.net
    The lowering the gaze part, I got from the fatwas on sunnipath

  10. I am female.I always explain politely that I don’t shake hands and keep distance from men.
    Avoid religious arguments.Prove my actions & character …not by fights.

  11.  Abu productive: I would like to draw your attention towardss a mistake in this article,t you mentioned the verse for suspicioun and backbiting is from Chapter 49 (surah: Al-Araaf) please correct it and repost if possible, and my humble request is for all brothers and sisters that Plz check the refference first whenever they come accross with a verse of the Quraan Jazzaak Allaahu Khairan 
    Ma’assalaam

  12. Subhaan Allaah very beneficial post may Allaah reward you Khair but I will share this one with other by copy and pasting coz the reference of the Quranic verse  needs to be corrected as I mentioned before, and plz brother don’t mind for I mentioned a mistake its natural we human beings tend to mistakes but what I did is what needed being a muslim, hope you may understand 

    Assalaam alaikum 

  13. I started work today and found this to be very useful and helpful. I hope to be able to implement them insha Allah. Alhamduu lilah!! Jazaakumullah khairan

  14. A very nice and useful article. Just to add my experience,I am a hijabi and wear a abaya. I have been working in a corporate house and dealing not only with my fellow colleagues but also seniors like the Managing Director, CEOs, Head of the Board of Directors. Maintaining a line of communication, remaining in your Islamic boundaries and yet being friendly with your co workers, is something I have learned here. I would like to state some points here covering few topics, I hope it helps many of my sisters:
    1. Shaking Hands: Recently I met a CEO of a big company, he offered me his hand and I politely refused and explained him in a single line ” My religion doesnt allow me to shake hands”. It was good to see that he accepted it with a polite smile and respected my beliefs. Not all are same though so I would like to state here that my Hijab(abaya) really supports in such situation, It acts as my Islamic identity. Many people hesitate in offering their hands to me. And secondly, whenever I meet someone, I stand three steps away from him and remember to fold my hands. Such gestures really helps in making the other person understand.
    2. Offering Prayers: It is very important to maintain this when you join office. Ask someone senior or preferably from the HR department for a place where you can offer your salah. If some one really objects or points it out, dont hesitate to reach your reporting manager and sort the matter.
    3. Maintaining good communication with your colleagues: It is not that a big task as it seems. In today’s times we are all working in mixed environments and it gets difficult to avoid talking to your fellow male colleagues unless you will be called rude, egoistic etc etc. Anyways, best it to get to know some good female co workers, try to make friends with them but at same time, if you are interacting with any of your male coworkers in relation to any work, please follow basic manners of Thank You, Please and sorry. This will definitely improve your work life without crossing any Islamic Boundaries. Sooner or later they will know where to draw lines while interacting with you. I did the same and my friendly relation with my female co workers group is like making my workplace nicer for me. :) It helps me in completing my tasks and also giving a good islamic image for my office staff.

    I hope this is worth reading. I have just written my experience here. May Allah strengthen our belief and faith. Do remember in duas. Jazak Allah Khair

  15. These are very useful tips , I am already practicing some of them and will inshallah practice all of them. Jazakallah

  16. Machaallah. Its very important beacause in france we’re exposed by these sitiations every day at work. Thank you soo muuccchhh :-)

  17. Assalamu Alaykum all,

    I really like Productive Muslim articles , signed up for years now . But I want to ask this

    Are you not being a bit strict?

    I work in an open office environment , and I do not understand why the article says it is a ‘non-halal’ environment

    I believe since ancient times, men have been working along with women whilst maintaining the limits .

    Even in Meccah and Medinah, men and women pray together in the same place. Same case with wars, they would fight together .

    So , there is no sound proof that open office enviroments are non-halal in any way.

    Anything that can be haram , has nothing to do with the design of environment. E.g. TV , the Internet , etc . Are they haram or is it rather how we deal with them that determines this?

    Also, as far as I know, our religion does not state that shaking hands with the opposite gender is considered haram. My knowledge is that Rasul Allah said that he does not shake hands with women, we can abide by our dear messenger and do the same. But that does not mean that if we did shake hands, that we are doing haram?

    I myself as a Muslim girl do not usually make any handshake initiations , but when others do start handshaking I can shake back in return. It is especially a sign of respect when the person is from the family(but a non mehrem) or a respectable person. I mean, I would not prefer doing it but if it is offered- it is not like it is a sin and that I should retreat and make explanations.

    Lowering the gaze as far as I understand, does not mean NOT making eye contact with the opposite sex. Allah Almighty said to lower FROM our gazes and not completely avoid eye contact . So that we may maintain purity in our thoughts and hearts as much as possible.

    Smiling is a great act in Islam. I understand that smiling can be perceived with an evil intention. But I do not believe this should prevent me from smiling to others whether colleagues, work mates, office boys, etc in a natural & pure way.

    Being attracted to someone from the opposite sex, is not a sin as far as I understand. This is naturally human and we pray to Almighty Allah to destine for us the pious partner who suits us most and helps take our hands towards inner peace and satisfaction in dunya and Paradise by Allah’s mercy in the hereafter.

    I have a lot to say but this way , my comment will be way longer than the main article and people might get lazy or bored to read this all.

    I ask Allah to guide us to the straight path and to clearly know right from wrong and act upon our knowledge- without being overly strict or loosened. For strictness in Islam is a hateful act that has its negative effects on the person being strict. The messenger of Allah said
    الدينُ يسرٌ ولن يُغالِبَ الدينَ أحدٌ إلا غلبه I could not effectively translate this Hadeeth into English and I do not wish to make faulty translations of my own.

    Gazakum Allahu Khayran

    And Allah Almighty knows Best

    • @Shaimaa – Assalaamu alaikum and thank you very much for your input.

      I have to say, I cannot respond to your questions as I’m not an expert in this area. Both you and I need to consult the guidance of authentic scholars of Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence). What I do know is that our deeds will not only be accounted for based on their intentions but also their compliance with what Allah (SWT) had permitted.

      I can see how somethings may be viewed as being too strict, and I understand that things are being labelled permissible/impermissible too often. However, it is also increasingly common that people are beginning to rationalize their views – whereas Islam is about simply submitting to Allah (SWT) and following what He has asked.

      Now what has He asked is the question. That’s where you and I should consult the scholars. :)

      As you say, indeed, Allahu a’lam. May Allah guide us all.

      – Productive Muslim Team member

  18. Assalamu alaikum,,

    Great one n need most..
    all advices are look comfortable and easy to follow..
    most of them we do.

    but i want to know about duha prayer…. whats the time for it?
    because my work start at 7 am.. after the 1.30hour of fajr..

    its sunrising time too..

    jazakallahu khairan for all ur words..

  19. alhamdulillah.we must not wait until we get into the labour market(or open office environment) before we do all this,this are parts of the duties of all muslims.we must be muslims everywhr and anywher we find ourselves; schools,market,shopping,hospital,in the bus etc.jazakallahu khaira.

  20. Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullah
    I would like to share the views of Shaima. I think today the Muslim community is led by fear. We talk a lot about haram and halal when those are obvious. I believe we should all do our best at the level we are. Of course, it is important to remind each other in a positive and constructive manner. What I see around me today is actions and thoughts led by fear. As you know, Islam is a balanced religion between hope and fear and our actions are judged by their intentions.
    So whatever your intention is, please don’t put fear in people’s heart. Ask them rather to check their intentions. I work in an open office and I am the only Muslim, and believe me, my religion is not burden, it’s just the way I am. Salah and fasting are compulsory, so I made it clear since the beginning that I will need some time and space for salah, that my breaks might change when I fast, etc. And now, Subhan Allah, my non-Muslim colleagues remind me about my salah space when we are not in the office. I also communicate with them in a simple and polite manner about my voluntary fast and any other acts of worship…please remember Islam is easy, not a burden on us, the most beautiful religion for all times and space and mankind whether in America or Indonesia. And shaytan has been created weak, so don’t create for yourself more difficulty than we may already have. Allah SWT has bestowed upon us the most beautiful ni’ma, blessing by making us Muslims. For me, that’s enough to know this. Alhamdullillah ya Rabbi al ‘Alamin. May Allah SWT guide us all on the straight path (there is only one straight path), and carries us through our lives with His immense and unlimited Mercy, amine.

  21. How to deal with greetings during a hiring process? I have reached final interview stages but didn’t get offers because I did not shake hand with females, who are generally HR. I tried both notifying them by email the day before meeting in order to avoid embarassing situation for them so they don’t get offended, and I tried without prior notification, i.e. she holds out her hand and I tell her nice to meet you, sorry it’s nothing personal but I don’t shake hand with opposite sex. Neither worked, no job offers.

    • @Muslim Whether you get the job or not has nothing to do with shaking hands or not. Simply Allah has better plans for you and did not wanted you to be working in those environments.

    • Ah yes! This is definitely a difficultly faced by many Muslims. With regards to the proper etiquette in what to do in such a situation, unfortunately we cannot comment on that as it is a fiqh-related issue for which there are varying opinions. Nonetheless, your willingness to not compromise your faith and stick to what you believe to be right is definitely commendable. Looking at it from another angle, perhaps it is a good thing that you did not get these jobs because they may have put you in other situations where you may not have been able to say no to shaking hands. Of course, Allah knows best.

      Keep in mind this verse: It may be that you like a thing But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not (2:216).

      And this hadith: Narrated Abu Huraira (r.a): Allah’s Apostle (a.s) said, “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials (Bukhari)

      Even though you may have really wanted these jobs, continue to hang in there! And remember that its definitely not worth sacrificing your personal values for success in this world when our ultimate success lies with Allah :) So continue to maintain your limits in such situations, have full faith in Allah – the best of planners – and in sha Allah, you will land an amazing job!

      “And [Allah] will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” (65:3)

  22. Salam.
    Alhamdulilah currently I have a job and I work in a school. Right now what I noticed the only problem is that it is not an islamic school and tries to follow international standards and inthat procesx I noticed there are pi tures of cartoons and animals in the display walls of the building and photographs inside. Such things that I noticed made me feel uncomfortable and worried about my Deen. We even pray in that building. Do you think I will be liable for this even if I dont have anything to do with this? Everything else see s to be fine ok Alhamdulillah. It is near to my home so convenient i’m thankful.
    Jazak Alah Khair.

  23. Living in a country where 99% of the population is Muslim, I cannot fully understand the challenges which the article talks about. However, I pray for everyone that Allah make means for them to earn halal income. AMeen

  24. Asalamu alaikum….
    I felt the above tips are very useful. I work in a office where there are only 2 muslim employees along with me. My manager and seniors under whom i work are non- muslims and the always show bias and treat me very badly. Job is very important for me and i cant switch my job immediately. So can any body give me some tips how to handle such situations.
    Jazakallahkaizan

  25. Jazak Allah khairen brother for sharing some of very benefitial advice and tips. I would add that learning and practicing sincerely this religion from early age does help a lot because the smile you practice from an early age does wonders.
    Again, Jazak Allah khairen.

  26. JazaakAllahu khayran. I came across this article, because my husband is working as a robotic engineer here in Paris and I wanted to find useful tips for him.
    In France, praying in public is forbidden by the law. His french supervisors are not open to Islam, praying at work or not shaking hands is a form of radicalism for them.
    He was able to pray secretely in the vacation time when there weren’t many workers.
    Any tips for this case? BarakAllahu feekum

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