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Muslim Readings and Prayers

ocial justice is a central Islamic theme, the from the people the things that are their due” (Quran
objective of social justice in Islam is to promote 11:85). The employer–worker relationship must be
and maintain social order, harmony, balance based on justice and mutual consent honoring the
and general welfare. It is a comprehensive system dignity of the worker. To illustrate this, it is ordained
that balances the private with the general good, so that workers’ wages should be made clear before
that the one compliments the other. Islam is both a worker commences his or her work. The Prophet
a religion and a comprehensive way of life and Muhammad said “Give the employee his wages before
exemplifies justice for its practitioners. It is a formula his sweat has had time to dry” (Ibn Majah collection).
that will satisfy anyone’s moral and It is also required by employers
spiritual needs as well as natural “O you who believe, be not to give workers work that is
aspirations. Islam instructs people beyond their capacity. Employers are
maintainers of justice,
on how they may live in harmony accountable for their workers and
and peace with others, regardless of bearers of witness for God, have to ensure that there workers are
socio-economic status, race, gender even though it be against justly treated at all times.
or faith. your own selves or (your) Those who cheat their
The notion of justice in Islam parents or near relatives employees are warned of serious
is based on equality and human – whether he be rich or consequences in the Hereafter. The
dignity. God has enjoined justice Prophet Muhammad said: “There
poor; for God can best
and righteousness for all humans in are three types of people to whom I
all matters including but not limited protect both. Follow not am going to be an adversary on the
to family matters, workers issues, the lusts (of your hearts), Day of Judgment,” and he lists one
trade and all relationships. Prophet lest you swerve. And if you of them as “the one who hires the
Muhammad peace and blessings distort or turn away (from services of a worker who then fulfills
of God be upon him said, “Your truth), surely God is ever his work but yet that employer does
servants/workers are your brothers not compensate him his due pay”.
Aware of what you do.”
whom God the most High has placed However, there must be
under your authority. Therefore, a (Quran 4:135). equilibrium, as employers care for
person who has a brother under his their workers; employees too have
authority, should feed him out of that which he eats dutiful rights and obligations toward their employer.
himself and should dress him with the same kind of The Prophet peace and blessings of God be upon him,
clothes which he wears himself; he should not assign said “God likes, if one of you performs a piece of work,
work to him which is beyond his capacity, and if you that he should do it well.” This saying of the Prophet
do so, then help him in his work” (Bukhari collection). means to exemplify that a Muslim who is entrusted
This saying emphasizes the importance of ensuring with a job should do it the best of manners. Muslims
that our hired workers receive a fair pay that ensures believe that working towards establishing social justice
a dignified living that guarantees basic needs such is a mandate of their faith. The notion of equality in
as food, housing, and healthcare; as an employer will labor laws is prerequisite to attaining social justice.
surely seek for himself or herself. For more information, contact the Council-
In Islam, workers issue are lucid: ”And O my American-Islamic Relations (CAIR),, 202-
people! Give just measure and weight, nor withhold 488-8787;

Mr. Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations; Southern California

Interfaith Worker Justice

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