Dignity of labour
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