• By: M Rashid Tabassum

Islam is a complete code that guides its followers in every aspect of life. Islam defines fixed rights for each person in a society. Actually, Islam establishes human rights in the world.

The people who earn with struggle and honesty acquire dignity and respect. Islam upgrades the social status, dignity, and rank of laborers.

Islam promotes those who earn through struggle from legal means. Begging is strictly forbidden in Islam. The people who earn through prohibited ways and without struggle have been discouraged in Islam.

Islam recognizes the importance of work and the rights of workers and has established several guidelines to protect their rights. This faith is the greatest standard bearer of laborers.

In Islam, labor is considered a fundamental aspect of human life and has momentous importance. The importance of laborers can be imagined from this Hadith. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said “Pay the wages to laborers before dry his sweat.”

Here are some key aspects of laborers’ importance:
Earning a living through lawful labor is considered a righteous act. Allah says in the Quran, “O believers! Donate from the best of what you have earned and of what We have produced for you from the earth. Do not pick out worthless things for donation, which you yourselves would only accept with closed eyes. And know that Allah is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy.” (2:67). Also, labor is essential for personal and societal development and growth

As in the Quran, Allah says: “Allah is the one who created you, then provided for you, then will cause you to die, and then will give you life. Are there any of your “partners” who do anything of that? Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.”

As well, the Quran and Hadith convince each Muslim to earn an honest livelihood and search for the grace of Allah. Allah says: “So when the (Jumu’ah) salah (prayer) has finished, you may scatter throughout the land and seek the bounty of Allah, and much remember to Allah, so that you may be successful” (Quran 62:10). Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said that seeking an honest livelihood is the duty of every Muslim. The Holy Prophet (SAW) said in The Farewell Hajj: “Allah likes the skillful believer.”

Allah likes hard laborers so that he does not hinder others. Moreover, the Holy Prophet said earning is best when one’s earns from one’s own hand.

The importance of laborer can be found through the whole life of Holy Prophet (PBUH). Once upon a time An Ansari (native of Madinah) came to Allah’s Prophet (PBUH) and asked for help. He (SAW) asked to him: had he anything in his household? He replied: he had a blanket and a cup of drinking water. He said him to bring both items. After, the man brought the items, Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) took them up into his hands and said, ‘Who will purchase these two items?’ One of his companion offered one dirham for both. He (PBUH) again said, ‘Who will purchase them for more than one dirham? Another companion offered two Dirhams. He (PBUH) gave both items to the companion. He (PBUH) gave the two dirhams to the Ansari, and said, ‘Get some food with one dirham, and purchase an axe with the other dirham.’ The person did so. The Prophet (PBUH) set the handle of axe with his own hand and handed over the axe to the Ansari and said, ‘Go to the forest, cut down the woods, and sell the woods in the market. Don’t come back here for two weeks.’ That Ansari went away and do same subsequently.

When he returned, he had ten dirham. He purchased some cereals and clothes with those dirham. Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, ‘‘this is better for you. If you will go for begging, then your face will be blemish on the Day of Judgment.”
Actually, Islam creates such thinking in people that they feel honor in earning and detest to the begging. Companions followed the teachings of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and took their struggle to earn an honest livelihood. The female companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also worked with hands.

Concluding more, it can be clarified that Islam does not disallow his followers to earn through legal means but also gives dignity and honor. So, earn through struggle and adopt the legal profession as a big worship.

All the Messengers of Allah and their companions got the necessities of life through hard work. We should earn an honest livelihood as good Muslims.

  • Writer is freelance columnist based in Lahore. He can be reached at rashid.vu@gmail.com.

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