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The Importance Of Work In Islam

Heidi Mahmoud Kheyamy

22 Oct 2018

Some Muslims regard performing extra voluntary prayers and reciting the Holy Quran all day as vastly preferable to working hard and earning a living.

Actually, Muslims are required to seek work, and to make every effort to do their jobs well.

All the Prophets and the Messengers of Allah (PBUT) worked to secure their livelihood. For example, David the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) worked as a blacksmith as is mentioned in the Holy Quran:" [Commanding him], "Make full coats of mail and calculate [precisely] the links, and do, all of you, righteous deeds. Indeed I, of what you do, am Seeing." [Saba, 11]

In reality, work has many advantages, for instance, making individuals financially independent, which is a noble goal. It is mentioned that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than that which one has earned by working with one's own hands. The Prophet (PBUH) of Allah, David used to eat from the earnings of his manual labor." [Sahih al-Bukhari 2072, Book 34, Hadith 25]

Moreover, a man will be rewarded for working to support others, whether they are relations or strangers, even if he feeds an animal. This is said by the Messenger of Allah (PBUH):"Never does a Muslim plant, or cultivate, but has reward for him for what the beasts eat, or the birds eat or anything else eats out of that." [Sahih Muslim 1552 c, Book 22, Hadith 9]

Another advantage of working to make ends meet is to remain proud and not beg others to help you. The saying of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) explains this meaning:" It is better for anyone of you to take a rope (and cut) and bring a bundle of wood (from the forest) over his back and sell it and Allah will save his face (from the Hell-Fire) because of that, rather than to ask the people who may give him or not." [Sahih al-Bukhari 1471, Book 24, Hadith 74]

When Allah the Almighty created time, He divided it into day and night, and in the Holy Quran Allah ordered Muslims to seek work in the morning and to have rest at night, Allah says: "And made the night as a cover, And made the day for livelihood." [An-Naba, 10, 11]
"It is He who made the earth tame for you - so walk among its slopes and eat of His provision - and to Him is the resurrection." [Al-Mulk, 15]

In addition, Allah in a verse in the Quran told Muslims that they should perform obligatory prayer and then go to their work and do their jobs. In the Name of Allah: "And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed." [Al-Jumu'ah, 10]

As hard work is essential, having a job according to Islam's rules is mandatory. Muslims should not get a job that violates Allah's orders. It is prohibited in Islam to get ill-gotten money according to the Holy verse of the Quran: "Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire - of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return." [Ali-Imran, 14]

Work is glorified in Islam such that it is a priority even when the final hour is close by. It could be the last action a Muslim takes, as it is clarified by the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) "If the Final Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it." [Sahih (Al-Albani), Book 1, Hadith 479]

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