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Apr 27, 2024
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Allah has created humanity as labour-dependent and social beings (Surah Al-Balad 90:4). Therefore, when people become independent of labour and focus solely on self-interest, deviating from social connections, it leads to the creation of unfavourable circumstances and unnatural situations. Any unnatural situation becomes a cause of unrest and calamity. That's why in our society, unemployment, devaluation of labour, and joblessness are significant problems.

In our society, many politicians often express concern about workers' rights, especially during events like International Workers' Day, where they eagerly take the stage to showcase their leadership and opinions. In contrast, we observe the religious scholars of the Madrasa system maintain a more discreet position when it comes to advocating for workers' rights. The reason behind their neutrality is often attributed to their focus on religious practices such as prayer, fasting, religious sermons, and celebrating events like Milad. Instead of actively addressing social injustices and the suffering of oppressed classes, they believe in seeking salvation through continuous acts of worship, promoting a path of spiritual well-being. They emphasize efforts to alleviate the workers' suffering by engaging in religious activities, considering it more effective than worldly endeavour’s. They are more diligent in bringing workers to the mosque for prayers than in addressing their worldly struggles. Due to distorted and contradictory beliefs about worship, religion, and attaining Allah's satisfaction, these scholars are less concerned about the hardships and sorrows of the working class. 

Madrasa-educated scholars exhibit a reserved stance in the realm of workers' rights, primarily due to their concentrated focus on religious activities such as prayer, fasting, religious discussions, and the celebration of the Prophet's birthday (Milad Mahfil). They believe in the potency of spiritual engagement, including acts of worship and recitation of tasbih, to alleviate the suffering of the oppressed class, favoring this over direct involvement in addressing societal injustices and exploitation. Prioritizing religious rituals and the pursuit of Allah's satisfaction, they view these practices as more effective in alleviating the sorrows of the working class compared to worldly activism. Despite their non-participation in labor rights advocacy, it's crucial to recognize that their reserved approach doesn't signify a lack of concern for workers; rather, it stems from a belief system that values spiritual practices as a primary means of addressing societal challenges.
Secondly, businessmen in the religious sector, solely relying on the Madrasa system, acquire some prayers, hymns, and knowledge about religious matters. They accumulate wealth through this and aspire to live comfortably. How can those who enjoy a good life without putting in any effort understand the value of a worker's toil? Those who never have to break a sweat for their institutional privileges, how will they comprehend the necessity of paying fair wages to workers before their sweat dries?

Thirdly, according to Islamic scholars, the observance of International Workers' Day is not directly related to Islam, as there is no historical or doctrinal basis for it in Islamic history or among the Muslim Ummah. Therefore, they perceive the celebration of May Day by Muslims as imitation of non-believers, innovation, or unnecessary. Due to this narrow perspective, they fail to comprehend the profound truth that Islam has come for the entire humanity. They don’t completely understand what is Is Islam. Islam works towards the well-being, happiness, and peace of the entire human race. The nation of Islam forgot that in Islam, the greatness lies in honouring the dignity of the working class in society. They fail to recognize that Allah's last Messenger (peace be upon him) himself, as a servant, sent Maria, who was originally sent as a slave by the ruler of Egypt, as his own wife. He freed Umm Ayman (may Allah be pleased with her) from the humiliation of servitude and included her in his family. He raised Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) to the top ranks. Therefore, the struggle for the liberation of oppressed classes is an essential task for the Muhammadan Ummah, and it is also a part of their worship.

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was strongly against dependency and throughout his life, he actively engaged in manual labour. He worked hard for his own sustenance, taking care of camels and cattle. Besides, during times of necessity and in the most physically demanding tasks, he actively participated, such as during the construction of the mosque, digging the trench (khandaq), and carrying bricks and soil on his head. In the construction of the mosque, we see the Prophet (peace be upon him) breaking stones with a hammer, digging soil, and carrying bricks and soil on his head. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), known as the gatekeeper of the city of knowledge, also exchanged some dates for water from a Jewish woman at a well. How much attention do our scholars give to following this exemplary practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him)?

Our forefather Adam (peace be upon him) was created from the unblemished earth, and he had to cultivate the arable land through hard work to sustain his life. This concept is mentioned in the Holy Bible, where it states, "Then the Lord God said to the man (Adam), '...Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil, you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.'" (Genesis 3:17-19, New International Version). This highlights the idea that Adam had to engage in strenuous labour, cultivating the land and facing challenges in obtaining his sustenance until his eventual return to the earth.

Therefore, it is the duty of the descendants of Adam to engage in labor, seek employment, and provide for their families. Acquiring wealth through any form of unlawful means, including exploiting religious activities or engaging in any unethical practices, is strictly prohibited by Allah, and it is compared to consuming fire (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:174). Allah has directed believers that when the call to prayer is proclaimed on Friday (Jumu'ah), they should hasten to the remembrance of Allah and cease trading. This is for their own good, but only if they understand. After the prayer is concluded, they are encouraged to disperse in the land and seek the bounty of Allah and remember Him much, so that they may be successful (Surah Al-Jumu'ah 62:9-10). In this verse: (a) Believers are directed to seek sustenance through lawful means, such as trade and commerce, (b) They are advised to temporarily cease trading during the Friday prayer, and (c) After the prayer, they are encouraged to engage in lawful means of livelihood and seek sustenance in the land. It is noteworthy that there is no explicit mention of seeking sustenance by sitting in the mosque and waiting for it to come, not even on the day of Jumu'ah. Allah has not declared that on Friday, believers are exempted from their regular occupations to sit in the mosque and wait for sustenance.

In essence, Islam, like all religions, encourages people to be enthusiastic about work. Both asceticism and laziness are prohibited in Islam, as they lead to societal stagnation. If followers of Islam adhere to its true teachings, they will be industrious and work-oriented. No religion allows engaging in business or politics under the guise of religion. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has said, "O people! I advise you to strive for sustenance through all possible lawful means and pray for the completeness of your endeavours to Allah. There is no doubt that the wealth of a believer is not created in vain or in an unjust manner in this world." Instead, every moment of their life is connected to work and responsibilities. It is emphasized that there is no room for asceticism or isolating oneself from worldly affairs. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) guided the believers to work diligently and not impose their burden on others. Physical labour, working as a labourer, and carrying wood on one's own head are considered better than seeking assistance from others. The Prophet specifically warned against begging, stating that it is better to carry a bundle of wood on one's back than to beg from others. The Prophet emphasized that whoever has enough food for one day should not resort to begging, as it is prohibited. The Prophet recognized that some individuals may criticize the practices of the ascetics, but Islam strictly forbids embracing asceticism or adopting a monastic lifestyle. Therefore, engaging in business or religious practices in exchange for sustenance is equally prohibited, as both are considered unlawful (haram). It is clear that working in the name of religion or adopting a monastic lifestyle is strictly forbidden in Islam.

In the Gita, it is said, "You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction" (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Verse 47).
Jesus (AS) also said, "Allah has inscribed the decree of human labour with His pen. Job, like the birth of a bird for flying, a fish for cutting the water, is natural for humans. Thus, humans are created to work as labourers, to engage in activities. Therefore, those who do not work are in violation of this directive" (Barnabas Bible, Chapter 114).
Therefore, those who refrain from labour will be deprived in this world and in the Hereafter.

In all religious scriptures, meaning all the prophets have provided guidance for livelihood through labour. The working class is considered 'religious' not necessarily in the eyes of businesspeople, but they uphold the eternal principles of religion. However, those who carry the religious banner often violate those principles by establishing dependence on others as the essence of religion. Understanding the dignity of labour is not within their grasp. When the sweat of a worker's brow drips down like rain, if the reward for their labour is given to them at that moment, the joy that overflows in their hearts can only be felt by another laborer. In this sense, a labourer will never exploit another labourer.

Secondly, the divine command given by Allah for the provision of just rights to the workers will never deceive or exploit the workers. Without the convergence of these two aware nesses, a worker will never be able to obtain their rightful rights. Not only religious figures but also politicians form a dependent class. Therefore, they want to establish their self-interest as religion behind it. The despair, exploitation, suffering, and helplessness of the workers are their wealth. This truth must be thoroughly investigated so that workers are not used as cannon fodder by these exploiters. Western capitalist civilizations should also remember that they have been exploiting workers for ages, not giving them the dignity and rights, they deserve. When their accumulated resentment has exploded, they have become protesters for their rights, and their hearts have been ignited with the fire of resistance. The same Western capitalist civilization is again initiating ruthless politics in the name of observing Labor Day, but in practice, workers are not benefiting. On the contrary, their exploitation and cries are increasing day by day, as is evident from any statistics.


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