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FAQs & Fatwas Purification

Working for a Trash Company Hinders Prayer

The Question:

I work for a trash company and by mid-day trash tends to be all over my clothes. I’m not able to change my clothes and 4389778681_74f272eb85_oobserve Dhuhr prayer and was told that I should wait until I go home to pray Dhuhr with `Asr. Another person told me to simply quit my job and look for other work. In today’s world that is simply not an option, as I have children to feed, and cannot risk losing my source of livelihood. What do I do?

The Answer:

I was taught by the scholars at the Egyptian House of Fatwa that there are eight factors that influence a ruling. One of those factors is the reality of a person’s situation. Your case definitely falls under that condition; regard must be given to what is most beneficial for you in this life and the next (maslaha). Scholars of the Maliki school have noted that those who cannot escape being filthy due to their employment are excused. They contend that for such a person, they should observe the ritual prayer as normal, while wearing their work clothes (the filth on the clothes being excused).1 This is an important fatwa in the school because it brings together the realities of the texts and the universals of Islam, keeping what is most beneficial for a person in this life and the next in mind.

Allah knows best.


  1. Al-Fiqh al-Maliki al-Muyasar, pg. 14.

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship.

Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010 and his website, www.SuhaibWebb.com, was voted the best “Blog of the Year” by the 2009 Brass Crescent awards.

Suhaib Webb has lectured extensively around the world including in the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America. Upon returning from his studies in Egypt, Webb lived in the Bay Area, California, where he worked with the Muslim American Society from Fall 2010 to Winter 2011. He currently serves as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston’s Cultural Center (ISBCC).

Add Comment

  • Every Muslim prays to Allah (swt) each and every day, atleast 32 times asking him to, (show us the straight path) [1:6 AL-FATIHA]

    Why do arrogant people claim “we are guided and everyone else has gone astray!”
    Only Allah (swt) out of his Mercy, decides whom to guide.

    So stop claiming you are guided and keep asking!

  • JAK Imam Suhaib for clarifying that. It is so frustrating to hear people tell others to quit their jobs, when they have no real knowledge of the situation. Ignorance is painful.

  • I have witnessed a similar discussion before, but the industry was banking (which is all based around interests), however, people helplessly mention to quit a job but that is not always the right thing to do or feasible action to take.

    On such situation its vital for the individual to seek guidance from a learned person, and a person of knowledge in Islam and avoid bringing up the topic amongst people who do not posses such authority – since this creates negative feelings and thoughts and can lead to a discussion where many might get the wrong end of the stick.

    It is more important for us to seek guidance and to stay close to our guides, simply because in the west there are many situation that we will come across which will need input from a learned person.

    • Salaam, I think banking is a more contentious issue… because it is more to do with having a halal income. I can’t be a drug dealer and say “I have children to feed” (to use an extreme example!).

  • I like this opinion, Shaykh. I believe Islam is practical and realistic; there are ways to fulfill both our religious and civic obligations when they clash, as you pointed out in this fatwa. Barak Allah Feek.

  • May Allah swt make it easy for the brother

    You might also consider wearing a water proof apron suit that would cover and protect the cloth underneath and you can remove it during salah or for example when you have to go eat lunch or take your breaks , I mean just for your personal hygiene as well.

    The shaikh answers makes a lot of sense too since Islamically nothing should stop us from praying.

    jzkheir

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