Should stores be closed during prayer time?



Dr. Yehya Al-Samaan, assistant speaker of the Shoura Council, said that the Council is discussing a recommendation that stores in the Kingdom should not be closed during prayer time. This issue has been discussed extensively over the years and a final decision should be reached because the issue affects the daily life of the general public.

I personally have written about this issue and have supported those who call for not closing stores during prayer time. I have my own reasons for taking this position and I, of course, realize that those opposed to this decision have their own reasons as well. But the final decision should be made based on logic and the greater good of society.

However, I want to send this message to the members of the Shoura Council: closing a store during prayer time does not mean that people will go and perform prayers. Anyone who wants to perform prayers will do so whether or not a store is closed. Anyone who does not want to perform prayers will not go to the mosque because a store is closed.

Most women and workers in stores sit outside the stores or at cafes during prayer time. In fact, the workers close the store, wait outside until the prayer time is over, and then open the store again. Most shoppers seem to prefer performing prayers at home later rather than inside malls.

I remember how in the past workers and owners of stores never closed at prayer time and preferred to perform prayers inside their stores while customers browsed around.

You cannot force people to perform prayers. I would like also to remind the members of the Shoura Council of the losses stores incur because they have to close during prayer time. We should, therefore, look at the greater benefits of not closing stores during prayer time.