Do Moslem countries have a two day weekend?

In the good ol’ USA, we have a 2-day weekend, presumably because Saturday is the Jewish sabbath and Sunday is the Christian sabbath. But in Moslem countries, where there is not as much diversity, do they only take their Sabbath day (Friday) off from work and have a 6 day work week? Or do they have two days off, and, if so, what other day do they take off?

I remember somewhere in genises reading we should kill people who work on a sunday. Whose with me?

Let the smiting commence.

I’m highly confident that the two-day weekend has absolutley nothing to do with the Jewish sabbath.

Nitpickly speaking, the Muslim “Sabbath” is not Friday, because the Arabic name for Saturday is al-sabt, literally ‘the Sabbath’. However, they work on Saturdays in the Arab world. They don’t believe God needed to rest after creating the universe, because the Qur’an says “God doesn’t get tired.” Friday isn’t supposed to be a day of rest, either, because the Qur’an says “After the Friday prayer is done, go back to seeking the bounty of God” (that means go back to work and earn some more money). In practice, though, the Arab countries do take a two-day weekend, and workers get Thursday and Friday off of work. However, businesses can stay open on those days if they want to. There were never any “blue laws” that said businesses had to be closed on certain days, as was the case in America until only about 40 years ago.

In Malaysia, by law, all Moslems get (in fact must take) a two hour lunch on Fridays so they can go to prayers. Whether or not they actually attend is up to the individual Moslem. They can be arrested for skipping prayers though. Most of the salaried Moslems don’t bother to come back to work on Friday afternoons at all. The rest work a normal Friday. Everyone gets Saturday and Sunday off.


I seem to remember that in the US and Britian, Sunday was the only full day off with a half a day’s work on Saturday.

I like the idea of packing it in at noon on Friday, though. Someone should run for office on that program. They’d get my vote!

The battle for workers’ rights in the industrialized west is long and messy, so there’s no one right short answer.

But it’s somewhat righter to say that the six-day week reduced to the five-and-a-half-day week and then to the five-day week. The number of hours worked each day also changed. The length of the typical work week today may be thought of, proverbially, as the 40-hour-week for factory and office workers in the U.S. but it is other numbers in other western nations.

But the very notion of a two-day weekend is relatively recent, and would hardly be found anywhere prior to the 20th century. It is entirely the result of the shortening of the standard work week and has nothing to do with the Jewish Sabbath, as said above.

While at one point pundits opined that the four-day, three-day, or variable work week was just around the corner, life reared its ugly head and fooled them. My WAG is that (in the U.S.) a higher percentage of people work six-day weeks today than in the 1950s. And Sunday is a day of work for umpteen more millions now.

Come to New Orleans. My mom’s husband gets every other Friday off. Entirely off. This means the other four days he works longer hours, but then there’s that Friday off. And rush hour on Fridays begins at about noon – a lot of people either get part of Friday off or just take it anyway. This town lacks a bit in the work ethic area, but it sure knows how to have fun.

I thought Saturdays being a day off were more due to unions getting together back around the early 20th century and requiring 40-hour workweeks and banning child labor and things like that.

Here in Southern India (Bangalore), most companies either work every Saturday or every other Saturday. There are a bunch more public holidays here than in other countries though.

The majority of the population is Hindu with some Christian.

Generally, I think that the trend is to move towards a two day weekend as the economy develops and becomes more advanced.

I have no cite for this, but there are movements in India that are pushing for a two day weekend. Kinda similar to the 48 hour working week for the Europeans.

Bit of a hijack, but “40 years ago” is wishful thinking. When I left South Carolina in 1992, you still couldn’t open a “non-essential” business on Sunday. And we still have laws today in many states limiting alcohol sales on Sunday.

hajario, when I worked in Malaysia (this was nearly ten years ago), the Muslims I knew went back to work on Friday afternoons. Not only that, everybody had to work half days on Saturday. Slighty more than half days: I think we got off of work on Saturday at 12:30 or 12:45, or something like that. They told me the prime minister Mahathir had said Malaysia was a developing nation and therefore needed to work harder, thus the half day on Saturday. Everybody had Sundays off, except that stores were open on Sundays.

quothz, wow, I didn’t know that about SC. Growing up in Ohio, I noticed the Sunday blue laws for stores disappeared sometime around 1970, I don’t remember exactly when.

What the Koran says can be searched here.

Sabbath in the search resulted in:

The Cow
[2.65] And certainly you have known those among you who exceeded the limits of the Sabbath, so We said to them: Be (as) apes, despised and hated.

The Women
[4.47] O you who have been given the Book! believe that which We have revealed, verifying what you have, before We alter faces then turn them on their backs, or curse them as We cursed the violaters of the Sabbath, and the command of Allah shall be executed.
[4.154] And We lifted the mountain (Sainai) over them at (the li taking of the covenant) and We said to them: Enter the door making obeisance; and We said to them: Do not exceed the limits of the Sabbath, and We made with them a firm covenant.

The Elevated Places
[7.163] And ask them about the town which stood by the sea; when they exceeded the limits of the Sabbath, when their fish came to them on the day of their Sabbath, appearing on the surface of the water, and on the day on which they did not keep the Sabbath they did not come to them; thus did We try them because they transgressed.

The Bee
[16.124] The Sabbath was ordained only for those who differed about it, and most surely your Lord will judge between them on the resurrection day concerning that about which they differed.

(Emphasis mine.)

The expats all worked Saturday mornings mainly to answer emails to the US. A lot of the locals did too but they didn’t have to do so. Our factory ran 24/7 so there were always production people there. My comments were limited to the office staff. Just like anywhere else, if a major project was due, everyone worked crazy hours short time. I spent a lot of my life in Penang and in the plant where I worked, it was common practice for the Moslems to not bother to come back to work on Friday afternoons. Comments from some of the others indicated that that was common everywhere. Where you worked or where I worked could have been typical. I have no idea.

I do remember that tinpot despot Mahathir (Dr. M) enacting all sorts of stupid policies that would last until his next flighty idea. Remember the lepak (sp?) law making it illegal for teens to loaf? Then there was the two year experiment where he stopped English language instruction in school. Not to mention the long list of racist policies. I could go on but I’ll stop the hijack.

Yeah, not to encourage your hijack, but your characterization of Mahathir is right on. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say. I’m so glad he’s finally retired, but since his replacement was hand picked, I’m afraid Mahathir is still probably pulling strings behind the scenes. The generational divide between people in their late 30s (this was 10 years ago) who spoke perfectly fluent English having been educated in the 1960s, and people in their early 20s, who spoke very broken English if any, having been educated under Mahathir, was a stark contrast.

AcidKid, those quotes from the Qur’an about the Sabbath are of historical reference only. They do not imply that Muslims were obligated to observe the Sabbath. The point was that some Jews in ancient times took more religious burdens on themselves than God required, making their religion too difficult to follow. So that when they fell short in observance, it was their own fault because God had not overburdened them with too many commandments.

I think the point of the lesson to Muslims was not to slam the Jews, but to tell the Muslims not to make their religion too strict. God wants it to be easy for you, so don’t invent extra restrictions thinking that makes you look more pious. Based on the very repressive attitudes and rules of Islamic fundamentalists, it seems they have ignored the lesson the Qur’an was trying to teach them.

A guy at work is from Iran. He told me they had Fridays off, and a 6-day work week.

Psychoticpsymon, inciting violence is not permitted on these boards. Do not do this again.

General Questions Moderator

I’m working on an aid project in Iraq and we work a six day work week with Fridays off. We worked the same schedule in Afghanistan.

I thought that the Christian day of sabbath was Saturday (Sabado). How that reconciles with going to church on Sunday, I dunno…

The weekend in Saudi Arabia is Thursday-Friday.

Sorry for the delay in replyng. I am on vacation in Panama.

Jomo Mojo:

Jews don’t believe G-d gets tired either - see Psalms 121:4, for example.

The Bible says that G-d “rested” because the work was completed - not because he tired, but after achieving refreshment, continued working. A better translation than “rest” of the Hebrew word “Shabbat” would be “cessation.”