And in no wise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed his gifts more freely on some of you than on others: To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn: But ask Allah of his bounty. For Allah hath full knowledge of all things.
– Holy Qur’an Sura (Chapter) 4: Ayat (Verse) 32
As we observe the workers fighting for their rights in Indiana and Wisconsin, let us also remember that our Creator made work honorable, dignified and a blessing.
It is clear that the so-called “right to work” bill is in fact a “right to work for less” initiative.
Allah (G-d), in creating his magnificent creation determined that human labor used in a respectful way is good. Therefore, Allah created his creation to support the human need to work and sweat upon a plan, a schedule designed to improve our situation as faithful believers in this life, on this side of death.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “And among his signs is the sleep that ye take by night and by day, and the quest that ye (make for livelihood) out of his bounty: verily in that are signs for those who hearken. – Holy Qur’an chapter 30: verse 23.
Again citing the Holy Qur’an we see G-d encouraging fairness for all people. “…Give just measure and weight, nor withhold from the people the things that are their due; and do no mischief on the Earth after it has been set in order: that will be best for you, if ye have faith. – Holy Qur’an chapter 7: verse 85.
Prophet Muhammed strongly encouraged employers to speedily pay their employees. He said, “Pay them before the sweat dries on their eyebrow.” Yes, pay them as soon as they have completed the task. But also he encouraged excellence from the worker by reminding them that, “No one eats better food than that which he eats out of the work of his hand.”
Muslim American leader Imam W. Deen Mohammed sees all of G-d’s prophets as men who served (labored) for the benefit of all humanity. Adam, the first man, is a sign of the rise of man into his noble role of decent and proper labor.
Describing Adam as one designed to progress from “dust to industry,” Imam Mohammed stated, “Man has been created for industry.” He explained, “Adam is not only a human type, Adam is a human type made from the earth.” He said that Adam, in this representation is speaking about, “The working man that works with the earth to build things” … that is your first father
The sacred text of the Bible speaks over and again about the importance of labor. It reads,”Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” – 1 Corinthians 3:8
As we witness the struggling Indiana laborers protesting for their right to organize, we are reminded that we have not yet arrived where Allah wants us to be regarding fair treatment for all people.
Labor is no small thing. It is major and consequential. I end by quoting the 20th century poet Carl Sandburg who penned, “I am the people – the mob – the crowd – the mass. Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me? I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes.”
NOTE: The spelling of G-d for “god” is used when referencing or mentioning our Creator to avoid the spelling “God,” which in reverse spells “dog.” We feel that it is disrespectful to have a spelling for our Creator that reminds the reader of a dog. Surely our Creator is greater.
Submit all questions and comments to Al-Islam in America, C/O Imam Mikal Saahir, Nur-Allah Islamic Center, 2040 E. 46th St., Indianapolis, IN, 46205. Or e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.