The Virtue of Earning a Living

By Shaikh Dr. Salih ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Atram

     

First Khutbah:

My Fellow Muslims, fear Allaah The Almighty and adhere firmly to His commands. Also, you should know that Allaah The Almighty created man to work and earn a living with hard striving, look forward to earning money and he is commanded to do so. However, this matter was governed by having a sublime aim, great determination, and achieving objectives. All of such things indicate that one should seek the lawful and good earning and honorable work, in which one observes the guidelines laid down by the Islamic religion regarding the ways of earning a living. 

Texts of the Noble Quran and Honorable authentic Sunnah has encouraged and commanded Muslim individual to work and make that a reason for getting provision and winning in the worldly life and the Hereafter and links the worker with the One to Whom he did work for his sake i.e. his Lord, creator and God. That is because if the worker and worshiper do his work and worship without observing the rights of his Lord and work, then all of that deeds will avail him nothing. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {When he said to his father: "O my father! Why do you worship that which hears not, sees not and cannot avail you in anything?} [Quran 19: 42] He The Exalted says that on the behalf of Ibraaheem (i.e. Abraham), may Allaah exalt his mention, addressing his father and people. Allaah The Almighty also Says (what means): {And say (O Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him) "Do deeds! Allaah will see your deeds, and (so will) His Messenger and the believers. And you will be brought back to the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. Then He will inform you of what you used to do."} [Quran 9: 105]

One should do that while seeking the help of and putting all of his trust in Allaah The Almighty. That is because depending only on causes undermine the foundation of Tawheed (i.e. Islamic monotheism) and belief. Seeking the help of Allaah The Almighty without taking real actions is a form of helplessness and arrogance. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Enter you Paradise, because of (the good) which you used to do (in the world)."} [Quran 16: 32]

It was narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "Strive to attain that which will benefit you and seek the help of Allaah, and do not feel helpless."

O Worker, you should do the prescribed actions as you was ordered and know that Allaah The Almighty will pave ways and make things easy for you. That is because Allaah The Almighty has linked effects with causes. Accordingly, thanking, remembering, obeying, worshiping Him The Exalted properly and doing all of such things in all sincerity make one enter Paradise if He The Exalted showed mercy to him. Marriage is a cause of having children, plowing is a cause of having grains and fruits, buying and selling is a cause of earning money by your hand and so do all other professional works i.e. they are causes of earning money; however, if one has a good intention in such works so that he may be able to worship his Lord and earn it according to the guidelines laid down by the religion of Allaah The Almighty such as when one intends to marry to keep his chastity, lower his gaze and to have children to multiply the number of the nation of our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him, and the worshipers of Allaah The Almighty, then this is really the most beneficial and fruitful actions and work. If the work lacks the matters mentioned above, then Muslim and non Muslim individual will be the same and humans and animals will be even the same in the target. That is because both only seek to eat due to hunger and drink due to thirst. Also, if one seeks to be truthful in his dealings, preserve his trust for the sake of his humanity and confirm his fame, then all of such things will avail him nothing in the Hereafter.

The best thing with which one seek the lawful earning is to get it from what he earned with his own hands or a trade, adopting the clearest prescribed way to earn the money. In this regard, it was narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "A time will come to my nation when one will not care how one gains one's money, legally or illegally."

There is absolutely no doubt that this is a rebuking to the one who adopts greed and indifference regarding earning money, legally or illegally.

It was also narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said regarding the virtue of earning a living: “No man eats better food than the one who earns it with his own hands. The Prophet of Allaah Daawood (i.e. David), may Allaah exalt his mention, used to eat from what he earned with his own hands." [Reported by Al-Bukhaari and Ibn Maajah and the wording is for the latter]

It was also narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "The best earning is that which your hands have earned; whenever a man spends on himself, or his family, children and servant, it is considered as a charity for him."

It was also narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said:  “For one of you to chop wood and carry it on his back is better for him than asking (begging) from anyone who will either give him something or refuse to give him anything.”

It was also narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, was asked: "What is the most virtuous earning?" He, peace and blessing be upon him, said, "It is an honest sale or a man’s work with his hands." 

 

My fellow Muslims, Islam is the religion of action and work not the religion of laziness and sluggishness. It does not make one lack behind at all. Muslim individual should never inclines to helplessness, powerlessness, cowardliness and stinginess which are the worst attributes.

The honorable Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, used to seek refuge with Allaah The Almighty from them every morning and evening saying:  ‘“Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-hammi wa’l-hazani, al-‘ajzi wa’l-kasali, al-jubni wa’l-bukhli, ghalabat il-dayn wa qahri al-rijaal (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from worry and grief, from incapacity and laziness, from cowardice and miserliness, from being heavily in debt and from being overcome by men).”

After all of such things, how can one think bad of Islam? We have read the words of the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, while seeking refuge from incapacity and laziness for they are the source of all forms of evil and prevent all forms of goodness. Incapable and lazy person will get nothing of the goodness of the worldly life and Hereafter.

My Fellow Muslims, look at the planning of the Prophet of Allaah and guidance regarding his biography, words and actions.

Here is a living example that will enlighten you amidst such darkness:

It was narrated that Anas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “A man of the Ansaar came to the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, and begged from him. He (the Prophet) asked: “Have you nothing in your house?” He replied: “Yes, a piece of cloth, a part of which we wear and a part of which we spread (on the ground), and a wooden bowl from which we drink water.”

He, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “Bring them to me.” He then brought these articles to him and he (the Prophet) took them in his hands and asked: “Who will buy these?” A man said: “I shall buy them for one dirham.” He, peace and blessing be upon him, said twice or thrice: “Who will offer more than one dirham?” A man said: “I shall buy them for two dirhams.”

He gave these to him and took the two dirhams and, giving them to the Ansari, he said: “Buy food with one of them and hand it to your family, and buy an axe and bring it to me.” He then brought it to him. The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, fixed a handle on it with his own hands and said: “Go, gather firewood and sell it, and do not let me see you for a fortnight.” The man went away and gathered firewood and sold it. When he had earned ten dirhams, he came to him and bought a garment with some of them and food with the others.

The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, then said: “This is better for you than that begging should come as a spot on your face on the Day of Judgment."

My fellow Muslims, fear Allaah The Almighty, strive hard and start the hard work. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {So walk in the path thereof and eat of His provision, and to Him will be the Resurrection.} [Quran 67: 15]

I seek refuge with Allaah from the accursed Shaytaan (i.e. devil). Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {And say (O Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him) "Do deeds! Allaah will see your deeds, and (so will) His Messenger and the believers. And you will be brought back to the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. Then He will inform you of what you used to do."} [Quran 9: 105]

   

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