I recently read an article about workers in Egypt spending more time praying then they do working. It was an interesting article as I too observe the prayer 5 times a day without fail and it does not take me more then 10 minutes.
The article talked about ‘the time between ablution -– washing hands and feet -– and a prayer can take 10 minutes, but many Muslim spend as many as 30 minutes on the ritual.’ The article somehow jumps from workers taking time of to pray and then making a strenuous link between a study which suggests that ‘A recent government study found that Egypt’s 6 million government employees, a massive platoon of bureaucracy, are each estimated to spend only 27 minutes a day working.’
Firstly I have to b honest if there are not proper facilities at the work place, and then it can take up to 30 minutes to pray. One has to make Wudu (ablution) and then find an appropriate place to pray and believe it or not if there are not proper facilities then it can take time. It is the responsibility of the work place to ensure there are facilities for their staff if they choose to pray.
Secondly I have worked in the UK and some parts of the Middle East and to be honest what’s more disturbing is how long the smokers take to have a drag every 30 minutes or so. You will find them loitering around in their cars, behind the wall, outside the office, on roof tops. Each drag can take around 10 minutes, if you add the time it takes to find a quiet spot and then enjoy your cigarette.
Finally there should be no link between lethargy at work and blaming this on a work force that wishes to practice its religious believes. To suggest that the government workers work only 27 minutes a day and the rest of day they are praying is ridiculous.
I think there needs to be an open discussion about what is acceptable at work and what is not. Other factors such as better pay and fringe benefits could easily motivate employees to work. People who work 12 hours a day 6 or even 7 days a week and get only receive £60 a month for their efforts, might find it difficult to be motivated every day.