Commercial outlets that do not close for 90 minutes during Friday prayers in Qatar could face increased penalties of up to QR10,000, according to a new law signed yesterday by the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The new legislation, Law No. 5 of 2015, reinforces the existing law (No. 3 of 1975).
That legislation already requires shops, clinics, cafes, restaurants, clubs, commercial and industrial outlets to close for an hour and a half starting from the first call (adhaan) to Friday prayers, which usually takes place around 11:15 am.
However, under Article 22 of the old law, the maximum penalty was QR5,000. Now, violators face fines of up to QR10,000 under Article 27 of the updated ruling, Al Raya reports.
Over the past several years, enforcement of the previous legislation has been uneven. While many small and local stores are usually closed for the required period, some larger supermarkets and hypermarkets stay shuttered for a shorter amount of time.
For example, a representative at Family Food Center told Doha News that his stores shut from 11:30am to 12:30pm on Fridays – half an hour less than required by law. Carrefour stores in Qatar also typically close for one hour during Friday prayers, according to the hypermarket chain’s website.
New licensing rules
The new law also makes it mandatory for shops, eating establishments, commercial and industrial outlets to register with the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) for an operating license, which would be valid for one year, renewable.
The ministry is set to issue a detailed list of all the outlets that require a license.
Businesses that are found to operate without a license face fines of up to QR50,000 and potentially up to one year in prison.
According to the Qatar Tribune, businesses that fail to renew their licenses can face fees of up to QR500,000 a month for three months.
Article 28 of the law also gives authorities the power to close a business for up to one year or revoke its trading license if it violates the provisions of the new legislation.
Street vendors also face tougher regulation under the new law. They must apply for a license to operate, and must openly display the license while they are trading.
They are banned from working in a number of locations, including near schools, education centers, hospitals or clinics under Article 24 of the law. They are not allowed to sell fireworks or any other banned items, and they cannot advertise their services by shouting or using bells, horns or a public address system.
Street vendors have for some time been the target of the authorities, which conducts periodic checks on licenses.
In 2013, as part of a crackdown on workers who quit their jobs and left their sponsors, more than 100 vendors were caught and detained.
At the time, the Ministry of Interior said it was taking a hard line on unlicensed vendors to protect consumers from buying food and goods that hadn’t been quality-tested.
Meanwhile, last March, the government announced it had set up a new department at the Office of Public Prosecution to deal with environmental and municipal violations, including illegal street traders.
Is there a reason for the 90 minute rule? It’s always been my experience that 60 minutes is more than ample for folks to get their Friday Jum’uah prayers completed (and listen to the sermon that follows).
from nose to the floor?
So let me get this straight. We’re going to go harder against those disrespecting the Holy Islamic tradition of Friday prayers but the clubs and alcohol running rampant, slavery, bank interest and everything else is completely okay. Got it.
You forgot open prositution in some establishments in Qatar.
Prostitution *is* slavery.
Not if it is a choice. I have no problem with the oldest profession, it’s the hypocrisy that gets me….
But ahh you see it is not by free choice it is by circumstance, circumstance of poverty, lack of access to education…etc etc. Anyway like I’ve posted on this forum and then get personally attacked by some because they don’t like FACTS about their ruling family, it is blatantly permitted in hotels owned by Al Thani family members. So folks don’t buy a can of coke during prayer time (which I agree with by the way, your country, your religion, we are visitors and at least the poor workers (slaves) get some time off) but go ahead and abuse the most defenceless and vulnerable people in our country whilst buying alcohol in one of our bars owned by one of our sheiks…cash is king, values morals and religion follow later.
The prostitution is kept low. I’m talking about the loud, perfectly legal absolute big no no’s in Islam in the country.
I haven’t seen alcohol running rampant in the streets, but then again I would pay good money to watch a beer chase a bottle of gin down the street. Not something you see everyday….
I think you’ll see a pattern of not disrupting the cash flow. It’s hard to serve God and money at the same time.
The problem with the supermarkets is that by the time they actually get everyone through the checkouts as some of the queues are massive it’s almost 12 by the time they actually shut and are open again 20 minutes later!
I’ve always wondered what this rule is trying to establish.. Is it out of respect for islam or is it to ensure that people who are supposed to be at prayers are not loitering around in these “commercial outlets”
Its ensuring that people who work for these commercial outlets arent forced to work when the Friday prayers are going on.
Well rather than punish everyone, make it a rule that muslim employees who wish to attend Fridays prayers are allowed to do so at no penalty. Plenty of non-muslims who would like the overtime.
Everyone?? I’m sure plenty of people have no issues with shops remaining closed for 90 minutes. Everyone does not shop or eat food during those 90 minutes.
Well, people do still work on Fridays! Just because it isn’t open to the public that does not mean that people aren’t working. This is speaking from experience!
What next? A directive that maids should be given Friday afternoon off so that they can go to prayers, if they choose?
The last time I suggested someone ought to give their maid a Friday off I was laughed out of the room.
Giving Friday off for maids would be a good measure. You’ll still find the same bunch of people whining. They wouldn’t be able to have their morning tea. The laundry wouldn’t be done and the rooms would all be dirty because their maids have been given 1 day off.
So when will this law be implemented?
True the local faith takes precedence but does it make sense if the outlet concerened dosnt have any employees who need to pray? Surely the laws can be written in a manner which protects those who want to practice their faith rather than try to enforce one size fits all
Gotta love the insecurity.
This is dissapointing, especially for those of us who do not attend Friday prayers. Surely attending Friday prayers or doing something else with your time is a matter of freedom of choice. It does not interrupt those who wish to attend prayers.
Why force the shutdown on all residents? It smacks of intolerace.
Intolerance and insecurity.
It annoys me because that is the best time to shop or grab a meal because the outlets are not busy.
Cook in the home
The cook is where?
in the home, can’t you read? 🙂
In wakrah beside retail mart
I don’t want to. I want to go to a restuarant on my day off when its not busy. Are you telling me that is hurting someone else?
I, I, I,…. spare a thought for those who dont want you to enjoy your freedoms 🙂
enjoy your freedom not freedoms. time to go back to primary school.
Unless he was talking about separate distinct freedoms.
School is fine as long as it’s not where you learnt to start a sentence with lower case letters.
Deleting for personal attack, and subsequent thread.
so trolling and sarcasm are one and the same thing now?
And to clarify I was talking about them not you.
Id rather they just shut for half a day on Friday…this way itll force those on a low wage to have some time off.
The UK for example has most shops shut by 4pm on a Sunday.
Kuwait restaurants are open for business morning to midnight on Fridays. No one closes. Have.to.go.back.
I assume you dont work in those restaurants..
I’m assuming they work in shifts.
I dont, and I enjoy an ice crush coffee on a Friday. But I feel bad for these people, plus its something for all to stay in with family or go to a park or the beach or the desert.
And even if I did, whats your point?
if shops being closed for 90 minutes bothers you so much, I guess you should leave. There are already too many insensitive ‘I have money, everybody service me’ kinda people here. One less is good.
That is something I would support, an actual good reason for them to be closed.
They UK has Trade Unions. They represent the issues of the workers. And they define the working hours. No such thing exists here.
The Koran says no compulsion in religion, but surely by issuing punishing fines on business that have no connection to Islam is forcing them to obey religious commands.
What next, Qatar to reintroduce Jiyza?
“Businesses” without licenses can be imprisoned for up to a year? They surely won’t pack up the entire shop and put it in a jail cell, so who serves the sentence? The shop manager or the majority owner that by law must be a Qatari? I have a guess……
If you want to live and work as an expat in any nation rather than your country, you have to follow the rules and regulations of that country. ThIs applies even to the Qatar’s. You can do your shopping or cooking earlier. Once in a week and only for 90 minutes doesn’t hurt. Go to Saudi Arabia and you will see the difference. I appreciate this people and the government, they allowed us to worship our God in the churches. Are you aware that there is a religious complex in Abu Hamour?
fair comment – but religious tollerance is a basic mutual respect, should be an exception
Unless your Christian, or any other religion, here.
‘you have to follow the rules and regulations of that country.’
Not so much with some of the young Qataris driving around Knightsbridge!
or driving around Doha!
Some? How about many!
Mehrea, well said……Love your comment. I hope you will not mind copying it and posting it everywhere..????
Thank you Biela for the compliment. Please go ahead. I don’t mind if you post it anywhere.
Thanks for the compliment Biela. Please go ahead. I don’t have any objection, it’s just simple comment.
Never knew this would bother Western expats as they are usually on the way to the W to get juiced up?.
We are also organised enough to not have to go to a Supermarket on a friday morning…….. A little bit of forward planning and you can survive a friday morning with no shops open – the world will not end because Carrefour is closed until 13:00
Exactly! Have you ever had to listen to some tirade from people about how busy the shops are on a Thursday, and how many cars are at the carwash on a Saturday afternoon, and how the petrol station is so crowded at 6pm? Planning is a foreign concept to some people.
Don’t forget the expats …Ohh QDC is so busy on Thursday afternoon, I cant get a park, blah blah blah …Ahh here is a tip for free…go on Wednesday, try Tuesday or maybe Monday!!!!
Lol, i second that! People will complain about anything. I was never bothered about this rule even when it was still enforced back in 2007.
Don’t mention it, or they will want the booze to stop flowing as well until they say so……
Can I start this one again MIMH…Breaking News…..In a move heralded as a victory for the religious pure citizens of Qatar the Emir has announced that QDC will be closed down and bars will no longer sell anything stronger than a lemon mint. Qatar resident, Johnny English was quoted on FB as saying…”well that’s it, I’m taking my services in project management back to the UK where I will work in Slough, drink with my best mate David Brent and the Qataris can jam their 100 pounds a year tax free, a house and 1st class airfares. My maid and driver are devasted for me having to go back to the bleak UK and only earn what I am really worth, about 25K before tax”
Go on let them do it, end the hypocrisy.
Johnny English now back in London, missing the sun, still reminisces with his Qatari friends drinking at a traditional pub in soho. “What happened to Qatar?” He enquired. “Well the religious right took over and ruined it for everyone. Qataris are scared to raise any objections for fear of being labelled heretics or being jailed. Kinda like your Spanish Inquisition.” “So the ones with money, spend as much time out of the country as possible, thank God I have my house in Richmond and I’m left to make my own choices in life”
Dubai businesses would love that! Yet more business for them and less business here
the juiced up ones are usually sleeping through Friday morning.
I stand by the decision. We have to obey local rules..its a matter of just 90 min. But I see many clinics are also open at Friday noon.
Unrelated news.. Sponsor free visas and pensions in Dubai soon for professionals….wish it comes in Qatar too
The sponsor free visas is only a recommendation made by the Dubai economic council. It is similar to the CMC in Qatar. Recommendations are not binding and whether it will be implemented is to be seen. It is also only for certain highly skilled categories.
I’ve seen the least tolerant in Mecca where religious police with cane sticks walked around at call to prayer and people cowered in fear when they walked by. The whipping I saw one man take was pretty nasty and uncalled for. Then I go to KL during last days of ramadan. Those who are fasting do, those who are not were free to eat in the mall restaurants. The first group said nothing to the second group and life went on. As my driver put it. “We’re not locked in the stone age like the gulf, we’ve progressed”.
Same same Turkey and Indonesia (largest Muslim country by practicing population in the world).
Turkey? I am not sure where you have been but definetly not Turkey. All restaurants and bars are open during the ramadan. Nobody cares about if you pray or not. Thats between you and the god.
That’s what she is saying, Turkey is like KL. Though to be honest, I find the east of Turkey to be quite uncomfortable and intolerant.
Wonder what people here are complaining about. It would be better if the shops are closed for half a day on Fridays. That gives the workers a much needed break. It is even surprising seeing the comments. In most european countries, shops don’t open on Sundays and in ones that open the working hours are restricted. In some states in Australia, shops are closed on Sundays. The Qatar govt has asked for the shops to be closed for just 90 minutes. I guess after living here for few months, some people have got too comfortable with the ways of life here. Simple planning will help you to avoid any problems. Its not a lot to ask for. Stop whining about each and every thing.
I don’t have an issue if it’s done for the workers but some of us (including myself) have only one day off and so when nothing opens on Friday until 13:00, that’s half my day off wasted with not much to do. It’s not the biggest problem ever but it’s an inconvenience.
Great point, people complain about the treatment of low income workers but are happy for them to be denied services for half a day on their only day off for a spurious reason.
There are many Western countries which still have ‘blue laws’, whereby it is illegal to open shops at all on Sunday. Australia comes to mind. So what’s the difference?
I don’t think we can hold Australia up as a good example for many things.
All stores can no open on Sunday, that law went out in about 1985.
Well I was in Perth about 2000 and still couldn’t shop on Sunday.
Lulu Barwa city is open on fridays without break.
Street vendors also face tougher regulation under the new law.
How about bulk food sellers and etc selling these via FACEBOOK
Yes, how dare those people be selling online during friday prayer time, they will be distracting the true believers from attending the mosque but instead will be buying Kim Kardahsians latest book…
This doesn’t really bother me… as long as I know what the times are then I will wait until shops they re-open or go before.
LOL at all the comments…
It is amusing!
The typical whining babies are out in force. Oh! the shop is closed for 90 minutes. If I dont get food in that 90 minutes, I’ll dies. Please save me./s
How about the airport? Does this law apply to Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport?
It should also apply in the air for Qatar Airways, all cabin crew down tools for 90 mins….
Who exactly may go to jail? The 51% Qatari owner or the probably expat Store Manager fearful of losing his job if he doesn’t follow instructions and stay open
Was wondering the same thing…… But I think we all know the answer!
This is Qatar. We all know that a decree that is driven purely by religious considerations is irreversible, so most of the comments below just seem like the topic is being used as an excuse to vent the spleen at Qatar. Sorry but it seems a bit pointless.
DN I read this info from Gulf times:
Only selected outlets shall have to remain closed during Friday prayers and not all offices and shops in Qatar as mentioned in a section of the media yesterday, it is learnt.
Article 13 of Law No 5 for 2015 covers commercial and industrial outlets, similar public facilities and street peddlers. The law stipulates that the working hours of specified outlets shall be regulated by a decision issued by the Minister of Economy and Commerce (MEC) based on the suggestions of the administrative department concerned at the ministry.
We saw that – but “it is learnt” didn’t seem like a very sound attribution…
it is good , with all the devolpment in our country , there are some proples that really cares about islam ..
I’m proud that i’m Muslim and qatari ..!
Why? Not meant as a smart-mouth question, but what do you take comfort in to overcome the negative stigma associated both with being Muslim and Qatari?
MIMH …..go back your country
Is this a priority? Really ? It shows what is important nowadays.
I know there is a feeling of disappointment when an expat who believed they came to an open, increasingly secular country has to face the reality that Qataris (at least those whose voice is considered) are generally quite reserved in their own country and religiously conservative. But the reality is that even though changing laws are always accompanied by growing pains, the lack of transparency in Qatar probably works against them.
When I was growing up in the Southern US in the 60s we had “blue laws” that meant stores couldn’t open until after churches let out (1:00 PM). Seems so long ago to me, but we dealt with it & survived.