I had some nice news today. I recently asked my new employers about a prayer space or room and my manager said she would for arrange me a temporary space and ask the planners for the new building we are moving to about a more permanent area to pray in. She told me today that the new building would have a room set reserved for this purpose.
This reminds me of what had happened with my last employer. I used to miss all of the salah due during work hours and pray qazah at home at the end of the day. One day I felt I couldn’t go on like this and decided to find a back stairway or fire exit and pray there or perhaps sneak into the prayer room of a nearby university. That day at work an e-mail was sent out to all staff by communications asking if anybody would be interested in a multi-faith room. Of course I responded enthusiastically along with others and soon we had a comfortable, private place to pray alhamdulillah.
That wasn’t necessary the end of it though. The idea of a “multi-faith” room requires mutual respect and goodwill from its users and also responsible use considering you are still in the workplace. When a person decides their desires are more important than the rights of others, trouble is not far away. When a lady decided she wanted privacy from the men, it caused difficulty because it restricted when people could use the room. Then another group (non-Muslim) decided that only they would use the room on Wednesday lunchtimes for prayer meetings, everyone else agreed to this, except for one person who didn’t see why they should and caused bad feeling between groups of users. Another example was when a manager complained that a staff member had gone AWOL for two hours, on being questioned about this she declared she had visited the prayer room and was allowed to do this!! The person in question was not known to be a user of this facility. One brother, who did use the room regularly, was being told by his manager he could not use it during working hours and must pray in his lunch time (my manager had no problem with me being away from my desk for 10 minutes during work time to pray thankfully). In his anger the brother put up some general guidance for managers from the internet about use of prayer rooms on the room door. This caused the Chief Executive to go abso ballistic and declare that policy would be reviewed. The net result was that staff were told that they must pray in their own time. Good will was lost and managers began to use the multi-faith room as another meeting room with the result that the prayer space was no longer respected and reserved for that purpose.
You can’t really get cross at managers though, when you are not capable of using the room sensibly yourself. The whole experience was not a good one for creating an atmosphere conducive to dawah.
Regardless, it revitalises the iman when you make an intention and Allah (SWT) makes it so easy for you to fulfil your aim. It reminds me of the hadith:
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallaho anho) narrated that Rasulullah (SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM) has said, "Almighty Allah says, I treat my slave (man) according to his expectations from Me, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him in My heart; if he remembers Me in a gathering, I remember him in a better and nobler gathering (i.e. of angels). If he comes closer to Me by one span, I go towards him a cubit's length, if he comes towards Me by a cubit's length, I go towards him an arm's length, and if he walks towards Me, I run unto him." (Bukhari, Muslim)