Doing Religious Work at Job?

Aslam u Alakaum Dear Brother,

 This Question is related to personality development and I am dealing on daily basis. This was already in my mind but few days back when I read your article on “Wusaat e Nazir,” since then it became critical for me.

 Actually, I had / have habit of reading newspapers online / checking personal email during working hours in office. Now I am studying all this Islamic studies material during working hours.

 It did not affect the official work so far. I would not say it is completely true that it has not effected at all but if it does then the probably is very small. Because I am also performing the normal responsibilities and duties and I have no complains from any one about this. Only thing I have cut down un necessary things usually people do to look busy and do nothing.

But the end point is, I am doing this in office and working hours and if it come in knowledge of company official they would not like it off course.

Because of this, I am disturbed and keep thinking if I am doing right? If it leads towards Rizaq e Hilal or not????

I am working for longer hours. If I start studying at home then probably I would not be able to give enough time on daily basis. However, I will have time on weekends and daily after working hours.

Please advise about right and wrong.


Muhammad Javid Akhtar

Doha, Qatar

Dear Brother

Wa alaikum us salam wa Rahmatullah

I’m very happy to see your consciousness about such issues. This is a moral issue, so you can ask your own conscience to get its opinion. The question is not about specific to religious studies during office time but it encompasses conducting all personal affairs during the office hours.

People have usually two moral perspectives regarding employment:

First perspective belongs to those people who consider man as a machine. They think that we have sold, for example, eight hours in our daily life to our employer and it is morally wrong (and even corruption) to use that time for anything else. They think that they should spend every single minute of their job for their employment purposes.

If this perspective is correct, then it will be morally wrong to read books, browse internet, gossip, talk over the phone for personal reasons etc. If we go to further extreme, it would be wrong to spend some time in washroom, smoking, scratching, or doing something else personal during office hours.

If this perspective is accepted, then everyone in this world is violating the rules of morality and eventually will be punished on the Day of Judgment. In such cases, employers should also not ask their workers to stay beyond normal working hours because they are paying only for eight hours. But as you stated, it is not the case. At time of work, they require employees to spend extra hours.

This point of view emerged in early twentieth century when researchers considered men as machines. This theory was called “Scientific Management”. I recall a movie of Charlie Chaplin named “The Modern Times” on this issue in which he has presented the idea of Scientific Management and its impact on workers.

Second perspective is more humane and logical in my opinion. According to this view, we are selling our services to do work. We are morally obliged to complete all the reasonable tasks assigned to us within required time and by meeting required quality standards. Employer expectations for both time and quality must also be reasonable. If a person does his job in time and with required quality parameters, whatever he does during or after office hours should not be a concern of the employer.

If you accept this perspective, you should not feel guilty for doing anything personal in the office hours provided that you are delivering the required quality of your work and abiding by your deadlines.

Being in the office from 9:00am to 5:00pm is a matter of discipline and not as a moral obligation. If a person is more creative and productive, for instance, during 12:00pm to 8:00pm or 5:00am to 1:00pm, is it not in the benefit of employer to offer him such flexibility of hours in order to get maximum output from his time? Modern employers learnt this lesson and are allowing flexible hours to their employees especially to those whose work requires creativity. I also practiced that with my team by allowing them flexibility to come and leave office at the time they want. I granted them liberty to do whatever they desire during office hours. I just gave them task, targets and taught them the required quality standards. The results were amazing!!! They never missed a single deadline and quality of work was far beyond my expectations. This theory is called “Management by Objectives” which is proposed by Peter Drucker, a famous Management Scientist.


Muhammad Mubashir Nazir

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Doing Religious Work at Job?
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