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28 Oct. 2011

The Prophet (saw) said: “The most correct concern is that of a true believer who pays due attention to matters of this world and to matters pertaining to the Hereafter.” 

The above hadith tells us that service or work must be based on moral and religious values. Working is not merely a means for material gains but an obligation to Allah who has provided us with the resources for our needs. These resources, however, need to be tapped, treated and prepared for our use and consumption. We therefore need to till the land to grow our food, mine ores, fish and so on. But, we must not overuse or misuse them for if we do it will be to our disadvantage. There has to be moderation in anything we do. 

 

The Muslim servant or worker should be economically motivated. He should earnestly be concerned with attaining an increasingly higher standard of life so as to enhance the well-being of his family, his employer and his country. 

Indeed the Muslim worker should not only work for his livelihood and welfare but also to give of his best in his daily job or in any special assignment he undertakes. Our Prophet (saw) said: “Allah desires that when you perform a job, you must do it perfectly.” 

In fact, the spiritual and material goals of the Islamic society cannot be fully realized until the majority of Muslims, if not everyone, young or old, male or female, out in their best effort in every endeavour each of them undertakes. They must appreciate and be proud of whatever halal work they do. 

If the Muslim person is self-employed or doing his own business in any trade, Islam urges him to be fair and honest in his dealings with his clients and customers. 

If he is an employee, he has the moral obligations that include honesty, diligence, and efficiency in the performance of the function for which he has been hired. The Prophet (saw) said: “A worker who excels in his devotion to Allah and also renders to his employer the duty, sincerity and obedience that he owes him, for him there is double reward (with Allah).”

 

A Muslim employee should distance himself from bribery and other form of corruption. Allah instructs us: “And swallow not your wealth among yourselves by false means, nor seek to gain access (through corruption) to other people’s property…” (Al-Baqarah: 188). Also, a Muslim a worker Muslim would be failing in his duty to Allah and society if he takes his remuneration but does not render his due in term of time, diligence, efficiency and conscientiousness.

 

Islam prohibits the earning of one’s living by haram means such as by selling drugs and alcoholic beverages, as this can harm people who consume them. Indulgence in stealing, smuggling, robbery, theft, bribery, breach of trust and corruption such as embezzlement of public or corporate money or usurpation of others’ belongings are also prohibited.

 

Breach of trust or misappropriation of other people’s money strikes at the very root of harmonious living. Betrayal or treachery renders social and corporate life extremely difficult, if not impossible. Allah said: “And if one of you entrusts to another, let him who is trusted deliver up that which is entrusted.” (Al-Baqarah: 283)

 

Islam teaches us to earn our livelihood in a decent, honest manner, in the halal way. It forbids us to encroach on other people’s possessions or adopt deceitful, dishonest and illegal way of earning our livelihood. Shoplifting and petty thefts are also haram.

 

Every individual should work diligently, efficiently and conscientiously, and attain a high level of productivity. The Prophet (saw) said: “The best person is he who is most useful to his people.” When every worker puts his best effort to the job he is doing, his company prospers, and so would the other employees and the nation as a whole.

(Prepared by Uztad Abdul Muhaemin Karim)