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Work and Islamic Laws

Islamic law summons people to work. It urges them to work using many practical attitudes, concepts, and texts. Among them are the following words of Allah, the Exalted:

"He it is Who made for you the earth subservient, traverse you then its board sides, and eat you of His provision; and unto Him (alone) is the return."

Holy Qur'an (Mulk 67:15)

"And when the prayer is ended then disperse you in the earth and seek you of the grace of Allah."

Holy Qur'an (Jumu'a 62:10)

"And seek, by means of what Allah has given you, the abode in the hereafter, and forget not your share in this world." Holy Qur'an (Qasas 28:77)

Islamic Law not only summons people to work and production but also it denotes that they are different in abilities and merits. It also denotes that people should be perfect through exchanging interests with each other. In this respect Allah, the Most High, said: "...and We did raise some of them above the others in rank, so that some of them may take the others in subjection."

Holy Qur'an (Zukhruf 43:32)

The Qur'an urges people to work, production, and exchanging interests. The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) regdarded work and production as jihad and worship. In this connection he (s.a.w.) said: "He who works for his own family is like the mujahid in the way of Allah." 24

"Worship is seven parts; the best of them is seeking the lawful." 25

Jurists devoted great efforts to their studies and analyses of work and production. They concluded that precepts of Islamic law and its attitude towards service and productive work is valid. They divided work legally into five parts. They are as follows:

1. Obligatory work: Islamic law has regarded as obligatory the work aiming at meeting need, satisfying the soul, and maintaining the family. Moreover, it has made it obligatory on the debtor to work to pay his debt.

2. Islamic law has regarded the work aiming at generously spending one's family as most desirable.

3. Islamic law has regarded as unlawful the work in forbidden things, such as making wine, narcotics, prostitution, and dancing etc... It has also forbidden work that leads to unlawful deeds, even if it is lawful in itself.

4. Islamic law has regarded some work as abominable for itself or for other than it.

5. Excluding the above-mentioned points, Islamic law has confirmed that work is lawful. With this work, collecting money and increasing wealth is lawful as long as it follows the precepts of Islamic law.

To study and analyze the concepts of the verses and the traditions, we will not find in them anything what prevents woman from working. Rather, they permit woman to work as they permit man, though some texts address and urge man to work.

24. Kulaini, Kafi, Kitab Maisha, vol.5, p.67.

25. Harrani, Tuhaf Uqul an Aal Rasul, Mawaidh Nabi (s.a.w.).

Adopted from the book : "Woman and Society" by : "Al-Balagh Foundation"

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