New UAE weekend: What does Shariah say about working on Fridays?

There is no rule in Islamic Shariah or any religious text that specifies a day off.

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KT file
KT file

Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Wed 8 Dec 2021, 8:30 AM

Last updated: Thu 9 Dec 2021, 2:44 PM

Working on Fridays does not conflict with Islamic Shariah, UAE Islamic scholars have confirmed.

As part of the UAE’s announcement of the 4.5-day working week, Friday prayers and sermons across the country have been moved to 1:15pm starting from January 2022 to avoid clashing with half-day working hours on Friday, according to the UAE Government Media Office's statement.

Dr Ahmed Al Haddad, Grand Mufti at the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai, said Friday prayers are valid as long as they are held at the beginning, middle or end of prayer timings before the next calling. He stressed that "Friday prayers must be performed in mosques, not in private prayer rooms or houses. The condition of Friday prayer is to seek it wherever it is held in a mosque with a preacher guiding worshippers."

Dr. Salem Mohammed Al Dubi, member of the Emirates Council for Fatwa, stressed that unifying the Friday prayer times across the country does not conflict with the Islamic Shariah. “The prayer times are only postponed by a simple margin from the first chosen time,” he said.

There is no rule in Shariah or any religious text that specifies a day off.

Dr. Omar Habtoor Al Derei, Director General of the Emirates Council for Fatwa, said the Holy Quran orders people to take a break from work to perform Friday prayers, which confirms the permissibility of working on Friday until the next prayer calling.

Dr. Omar Nihad, assistant professor at the Mohamed bin Zayed University for Humanities, said the Quran states the value of work given its importance for the development of societies. Therefore, working on Fridays does not contradict with the Islamic Shariah.

Although the 4.5-day working week applies for the government sector, private firms and companies are obliged to give breaks for employees to perform Friday prayers, confirmed Dr. Abdulrahman Al Awar, the UAE’s Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization, in an interview with Khaleej Times.


Private companies and firms across the country have been urged to utilise the country’s new working week system to make the adjustments that serve business interests and scope of work. Under the new labour law, private sector employers have legal obligations to fulfill under the law in terms of employee maximum working hours, weekly days off, and annual leaves.

From January 1, 2022, government employees, schools and universities will adopt Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday off as a weekend.

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