Last month at their mail sorting facility at the CVG airport in Hebron, Kentucky, a DHL supervisor fired 24 Somali Muslims for insubordination related to an unauthorized work stoppage. (see my report here) The Muslims had previously used flexible break times to say their daily prayers, called Salat, but DHL changed their policy. As expected, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) immediately claimed that DHL had discriminated against the workers on the basis of their religion and brought a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). What has been ignored so far in all of the media coverage is the fact that the claims against DHL made by CAIR are false and have no legitimate standing in the Islamic religion. Islam does not require Muslims to stop whatever they are doing at a specific time to go and pray. The prayer times are suggested times based on the position of the Sun and the representative from the CAIR chapter in Cincinnati, Karen Dabdoub, even told reporters that Muslims must say their prayers within an hour of the stated times. But this too is a false statement.
An authoritative web site, Islam.About.com has an article that explains the circumstances of missing a prayer schedule. Here is what they say.
Question: Can missed prayers be performed at a later time?
Muslims pray five formal prayers daily, within certain specified times of day. If one misses a prayer for any reason, what is to be done? Can the prayers be made up at a later time, or does it automatically count as a sin that cannot be rectified?
Answer: The schedule of Muslim prayer is one that is generous and flexible. There are five prayers to be performed, during various periods of time throughout the day. The time needed to perform the prayer is minimal. Yet many of us miss prayers during the day -- sometimes for unavoidable reasons, sometimes due to negligence.
Of course one should try to pray within the specified times. There is wisdom in the Islamic prayer schedule, setting times throughout the day to "take a break" to remember God's blessings and to seek His guidance.
If a prayer is missed, it is common practice among Muslims that it is to be made up as soon as it is remembered or as soon as one is able to do so. This is known as Qadaa'. For example, if one misses the noon prayer because of a work meeting that could not be interrupted, one should pray as soon as the meeting is over. If the next prayer time has already come, one should first perform the prayer that was missed, and immediately after it the “on time” prayer.
It is incorrect to simply throw up one’s hands and say, “Oh, it was missed and there is nothing to do about it.” There are times when prayer is missed for unavoidable reasons. It is indeed a sin if one misses prayers regularly without a valid reason (i.e. constantly oversleeping the pre-dawn prayer). However, the door to repentance is open and the first step is to make up the missed prayer as soon as possible. One should repent any delay that was due to negligence or forgetfulness, and commit to developing the habit of performing the prayers within their timeframe.
Here are some links to scholarly opinions which support what is outlined above:
It should be noted that CAIR has its own record of troubles that should raise serious doubts about its reputation and credibility in the news media but which too often gets glossed over or ignored. The U.S. Dept. of Justice presented evidence in the U.S. District Court in Dallas, Texas in 2008 during the Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terrorist funding trials that the Council on American-Islamic Relations was an un-indicted co-conspirator in the case. Read more about this here, here and here. The fact is that the Cincinnati chapter of CAIR seems to receive a red-carpet treatment by the local news media in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. They have enjoyed the prestige of having every press conference fully covered with hours of television air time during prime time news. And to my knowledge not a single reporter from the Cincinnati or Kentucky Enquirer newspaper or the NBC affiliate station WLWT, or the ABC affiliate station WCPO or the CBS affiliate station WKRC or the FOX affiliate station WXIX have ever asked a CAIR representative a direct question on any claims they have made. Not a single journalist seems to have done any research on the stories they write about Muslims to present relevant facts. They all seem to just copy and paste from the handouts they get. I have even sent my research material to the reporters via email to correct their errors and have never received a reply. That repeated action, over and over, spells out collusion to hide the facts from the public. Now we have a major local business being falsely charged with discrimination and the news media is playing along.
My name is Nelson Abdullah and I am Oldironsides.