A Muslim who serves in the United States military faces many issues.
The troops usually go out to the field for exercises. Sometimes the shower facilities are established, but there is usually no privacy. Only a few minutes may be allotted for the shower. In this situation, is it appropriate to shower with a group of other men?
First of all, I would suggest that the Muslims in the military should try forwarding a combined request to their superiors to allow them the opportunity to bathe in private, purely on the grounds that such is a recommendation of their religion and, therefore, should be considered as a part of their personal freedom, which is guaranteed by the American constitution.
Nevertheless, if such permission is not granted, as the stated circumstances suggest that it is almost impossible to get a chance of bathing in private, it seems that a person may have no other option but to:
Cover his private parts (by wearing a swimming trunk etc. for instance) and bathe in the available facility of community bathrooms; and
Save himself, as far as possible, from looking at the nudity around him.
As far as the shortening of the prayers is concerned, if the concerned individual thinks that it is not conveniently possible for him to offer the complete prayers, he may take advantage of the allowance provided by the Shari`ah.
18th July 2000