Islam in the Workplace - suggested practice for HR personnel

Muslims now form one of the largest religious groups in the UK. At a time when great misunderstandings and stereotypes circulate the media and society regarding the religion, it is crucial for an effort to be made at all levels to go beyond archetypal images and to begin to understand Islam and Muslims.

With a population of approximately 1.5 million Muslims and growing, UK based companies are employing more and more young Muslim men and women. With this increase comes a greater need for HR practitioners to be aware of the respective cultural sensitivities.

As with individuals from any background, if they do not feel comfortable and understood in their office or company, it is likely that they will eventually seek employment elsewhere. In order to maximise retention of young Muslims, it is ever more important therefore, that their sensitivities are kept in mind.

The following information contains basic tips and guidelines for HR staff and others to bear in mind. Please note that these are very generic guidelines. Muslims differ from generation to generation, culture to culture, some are more devout than others and interpretations and practices of the faith are numerous. It may also be the case that the individual is Muslim by name only and chooses not to practice their religion.


A Muslim, both male and female, is expected to pray five times a day. This prayer involves facing Makkah (in Saudi Arabia), usually on a prayer mat or clean surface and reciting prayers which follow a procedure of bowing and prostrating. This typically takes between 5