Dig­nity of labour

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - VIJDAN SAEED

There is no re­li­gion or ide­ol­ogy ex­cept Is­lam, which guar­an­tees the rights of the work­ers and peas­ants. Is­lam not only guar­an­tees the rights of labour but also of the cap­i­tal­ist class. Is­lam re­spects all kinds of work for en­sur­ing one’s liveli­hood so long as there is no in­jus­tice in­volved. The eco­nomic as­pect of life en­vis­aged by Is­lam is based upon sound foun­da­tions and di­vine in­struc­tions. Earn­ing one’s liv­ing through de­cent labour is not only a duty but a great virtue as well.

There are clear in­struc­tions for the cap­i­tal­ists as well as labours re­gard­ing pos­ses­sion of wealth. There are two ba­sic prin­ci­ples laid down in the Holy Qur’an and Ha­dith for the mas­ter as well as the ser­vant. The mas­ter shall pay fully for the ser­vices ren­dered and ser­vant shall work faith­fully and hon­estly. Is­lam gives di­rec­tions about the at­ti­tude of em­ploy­ers for equal treat­ment with ser­vants and sub­or­di­nates.

Hazrat Abu Hur­rairah (RA) re­ported that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said “Al­lah says there are three per­sons whose ad­ver­sary in dis­pute shall be on the day of res­ur­rec­tion, a per­son who makes a prom­ise in My name then acts un­faith­fully and a per­son who de­vours prices and the per­son who em­ploys a ser­vant and uses fully the labour from him and then does not pay the re­mu­ner­a­tion.” The Holy Prophet (PBUH) did busi­ness, but he set per­sonal ex­am­ples of up­hold­ing the dig­nity of labour. He per­formed a num­ber of tasks that are to­day con­sid­ered hum­ble. The ‘King’ of Ara­bia, and in fact of the en­tire uni­verse, he would kin­dle a fire, sweep floor, milk goats, patch his clothes, mend his shoes and help in house­hold chores.

The min­i­mum wage rate in an Is­lamic so­ci­ety should be de­ter­mined keep­ing in view the ba­sic hu­man needs which in­clude food, cloth­ing and house. A worker shall be paid ad­e­quate wages so that he can meet ex­penses on his and his fam­ily’s food, cloth­ing and house. He should also be pro­vided for his chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion and med­i­cal treat­ment of his own self and his fam­ily. The em­ployer should not for­get that con­tri­bu­tion of the labour in his pro­duce is con­sid­er­able. He should, there­fore, pay rea­son­able wages to an em­ployee to en­able him to en­joy a rea­son­ably de­cent liv­ing. The em­ploy­ers and the em­ployee of to­day should not only write down the terms and con­di­tions of ser­vice but should also ex­press their de­ter­mi­na­tion to ful­fil the same. It would help them in re­solv­ing their mutual dis­putes and thus make their life peace­ful and pros­per­ous. —Is­lam­abad

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