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Earning a Living

“Persist in your actions with a noble end in mind. Failure to perfect your work while you are sure of the reward is injustice to yourself” Ali Ibn Talib


Al Shaybani not only appreciates the benefit of labor to society, he makes it part of religious principle on which rests the future of community. He actually makes it a religious duty (fard).


According Ibn Khaldun, an individual labors to acquire income (risk). He says in his book (Al Muqadimah), there are four means of earning the livelihood (ma’ash); a. Rulership (Imarah), b. trade (tijarah) c. agriculture (filahah) and d. industry (sina’ah)  


Al Ghazali said “If people stay confine to their survival level and become very weak, deaths will increase, work and industry will come to halt, and society will perish. Further religion will be destroyed, as worldly life is a preparation for the next"


Interdependency in Social Inequality


According Islamic faith, God tests people with wealth and position but he judges them based on their behavior and integrity. Since He created social inequality, He commands us to practice social solidarity. The poor needs money of the rich, the rich needs labor of the poor. Even the social peers are dependent on each other. The farmer clothes himself from the work of weaver and the weaver eats, and appreciates the work of the farmer


“And God has preferred some of you over others in provision (wealth)”

Quran 16:71


“We have divided between them their livelihood in the present life, and raised some of them above others in ranks, that some of them may take others in servitude" (Az Zukhruf 43:32)


Al Shaybani shows that pursuit of provision is reason for social organization. No one person could ever master all the knowledge and skills to live well. However, he can’t survive if he remains ignorant; Thanks to diversity of their occupation and skills, people join together to share and complement each other to fulfill the need for their living.


People share provision under the circumstance of mutual dependence.


“The power of the individual human being is not sufficient for him to obtain (the food) he needs... Thus, he cannot do without a combination of many powers from among his fellow beings...Through cooperation, the needs of a number of persons, many times greater than their own (number), can be satisfied" Ibn Khaldun


Sustenance and wealth


“To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. He outspreads and straitens His provision to whom He will; surely He has knowledge of everything”  Quran 42:10


Sustenance is what an individual consumes. Anything beyond and above his need is called wealth (Riyash mutamawwal). The wealth that he is not utilized by him is called acquisition (kasb) and the wealth he gives or leaves to others becomes gain (rizq) 


“No creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provision rests on God; He knows its lodging-place and its repository. All is in a Manifest Book” Quran 5:7


The Prophet(s) said: “None is more patient than Allah against the harmful saying. He hears from the people they ascribe children to Him, yet He gives them health and (supplies them with) provision" Narrated by Abu Musa


Pursuit of Wealth


“It is He who made the earth submissive to you; therefore walk in its tracts, and eat of His provision; to Him is the Resurrection” Quran 67:15


In order to pray, one must wash and this requires raising of water from the well. Similarly, covering ones nudity with clothing during prayer shows importance of weaver s work. From this it is concluded that what is required to accomplish a religious duty, itself becomes a religious duty

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