Work – Importance of earning a living

Work – Importance of earning a living

by | Sep 1, 2020 | Articles, Current Affairs, Fatāwā, Fiqh | 0 comments

Work – And don’t live off the Social Security


Allah Subhana Wa Taa’la has staded in his Noble Qur’an:

“.. So when you finish from your occupation, then stand up for Allaah’s worship, and to your Lord (alone) turn (all your intentions and hopes and) your invocations. (Ash-Sharh ayaat 7-8)

. So seek from Allaah (Alone) your subsistence and worship Him (Alone), and be grateful to Him. To Him (Alone) will be your return. (Al-‘Ankaboot ayah 17)

“Then when the [Jumu ‘ah] Saldh [prayer] is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allah [by working], and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.!(Al-Jumu`ah: 10)

The Prophet (Sall Allahu Aleihi Wa Salam) stated: “No one has ever eaten any food that is better than eating what his hands have earned.And indeed the Prophets of Allah , Dawud, would eat from the earnings of his hannds” (al-Bukhari (1410) and others) (Prophet Dawud (Aleyhi Salam- was making armour and selling it)

The Prophet  (Sall Allahu Aleihi Wa Salam) said:” The Prophet Zakariyya was carpenter” (Muslim (2379) and others)

The Prophet  (Sall Allahu Aleihi Wa Salam) said about himself: “Allah did not send any prophet exceptthat he used tobe shepherd of sheep.” So the companions asked, “Including you. O Messenger of Allah? “He replied, “Yes, I used to be  a shepherd for the people of Makkah, in return for someqararit ( i.e. coins of copper).” (al-Bukhari (2/48) and others)

Prophet  (Sall Allahu Aleihi Wa Salam) in many narrations was putting pressure on being independent, seeking sustenance, and do not relay on other people.

The Messenger  (Sall Allahu Aleihi Wa Salam) said, “One of you would still be begging until he comes on the Day of Resurrection without a bit of flesh on his face.” (Bukhaaree, Muslim, an-Nasaa’ee upon ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar)

The Messenger  (Sall Allahu Aleihi Wa Salam) said, “Whoever begged from people while having enough, his begging will be scratches on his face.” (at- Tabaraanee upon Jaabir)

The Messenger  (Sall Allahu Aleihi Wa Salam) said, “Begging is forbidden except when there is a great debt, suffering injury, or abasing poverty.” (Abu Daawood & al-Bayhaqee upon Anas)

The Messenger  (Sall Allahu Aleihi Wa Salam) said, “It is much better for one of you to take his rope and go to chop wood (for his livelihood) than to beg from people, whether they give him anything or deny him.” (Bukhaaree, Ibn Maajah & others upon Az-Zubayr ibn Al-‘Awwaam)

The Messenger  (Sall Allahu Aleihi Wa Salam) said, “Whoever dispenses (with anything), Allaah shall enrich him. Whoever seeks chastity, Allaah will make him chaste. Whoever perseveres, Allaah will provide him with patience. No one has been given such a gift better and more ample than patience.” (Bukhaaree, Muslim, Maalik, Abu Daawodd, an-Nasaa’ee, at-Tirmidthee upon Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree)

In Saheeh Muslim and other books, upon ‘Awf ibn Maalik it is reported that the Messenger when he accepted his pledge of allegience together with a group of people, whispered to them a secret word, “Do not ask people for anything.” Thereafter, when a whip used to drop from the hand of a person of this group, they would not say to anyone, “Hand it to me.”

The same was a way was a way of his companions Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman all of them they been busy with trade and business.

Umar ibn al Khatab used to urge the people to work hard and ear the living. It was narrated from Muhammad ibn Sireen that his father said: “I attended Maghrib with Umar  ibn Khattab. He came to me and I had small pile of clothes. He asked, “What is this you have? I said, “Some clothes. I come to this market and buy and sell. he said, “O’ Quraysh, do not let this one  and others like him control trade , for it is one-third of leadership.”




It was also narrated that al-Hasan said that ‘Umar said:
“Whoever tries to trade in something three times and cannot make any money out of it, let him move on to something else.””(Nidhdm al-Hukoomah al-Isldmiyah, 2/20.)

‘Umar said: “Learn a profession, for soon one of you will need i profession.”(Nidhdm al-Hukoomah al-Isldmiyah, 2/20.)

And he said: “Were it not for this buying and selling, you would soon: become dependent on people.”(Nidhdm al-Hukoomah al-Isldmiyah, 2/20.)

And he said: “Earning in which there is some menial work is better than begging from people.””(Nidhdm al-Hukoomah al-Isldmiyah, 2/20.)

And he said: “If one of you wants to buy a camel, let him choose one that is big and fat. Then if he does not benefit from it, he can still sell it and make a profit.”(Fara’id al-Kaldm, p. 129; Tanbeeh al-Ghdflleen, p. 211, by as-Samarqarii)

And he said: “O’ poor people, lift up your heads and engage in trade for the way is clear, and do not be dependent on people.”(Nidhdm al-Hukoomah al-Isldmiyah, 2/20.)

And he also said: “No one of you should refrain from earning a living and say, ‘O’ Allah grant me provision,’ when he knows that the will not rain down gold and silver, and that Allah grants provision to people by means of one another.'” Then he recited the verse:

“Then when the [Jumu ‘ah] Saldh [prayer] is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allah [by working], and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.!(Al-Jumu`ah: 10) (Nidhdm al-Hukoomah al-Isldmiyah, 2/20.)

If ‘Umar saw a young man and liked him, he would ask: “Does he have a skill?” If the answer was no, he would say, “I am no longer impressed.”416 And he said: “There is no situation in which I would like to die, apart from jihad for the sake of Allah, more than if death were to come to me when I was travelling with my camels (for the purpose of trade), seeking provision by the bounty of Allah.” And he recited the verse:
“.. Others travelling through the land, seeking of Allah’s Bounty.”(Al-Muzzammil: 20), (Nidhdm al-Hukoomah al-Isldmiyah, 2/20.)

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab  entered the marketplace during his caliphate and he saw that the majority of traders were Nabataeans. This upset him, so when he had gathered the people together he told them about that and rebuked them for abandoning the market. They said: “Allah has made us independent of the market by means of the conquests that He has granted to us.” ‘Umar said: “By Allah, if you carry on like that, your men will need their men and your women will need their women.”(Nidhdm al-Hukoomah al-Isldmiyah, 2/18)

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in  Al-‘Uboodiyyah:
“Al-‘Abd must have subsistence. He is in need of that. If he seeks his subsistence from Allaah, he becomes an ‘Abd for Allaah, but if he seeks it from a created being, he becomes an ‘Abd for that created being and in need of him. That is why begging from a created being was forbidden in principle but is allowed for under necessity.”

He was also asked:
I asked the shaykh and imaam, the follower of the salaf (earlier generations) and the leader of the later generations, the most knowledgeable man whom I have met in the east or the west, Taqiy al-Deen Abul-Abbaas Ahmad Ibn Taymiya, to explain to me the best means of earning a living.

He (may Allaah have mercy on him) answered as follows:
The best way of earning a living is to put ones trust in Allaah and have faith that He is Able to take care of you, and to think well of Him. That means that one who is keen to earn a living should turn to Him and call upon Him, as Allaah said, according to the report (hadeeth qudsi) in which His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “All of you are hungry except those whom I feed; ask Me for food and I will feed you. All of you are naked except those whom I clothe. Ask Me to clothe you and I will clothe you.” And al-Tirmidhi narrated from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Let each one of you ask his Lord for whatever he needs, even if it is a thong for his sandal when it breaks, for if Allaah does not make it easy for him, he will not be able to fix it.” (A similar reports from Umm al-Mumineen Aaishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) has been classed as saheeh. See al-Silsilah al-Daýeefah, no. 1362).

Allaah says in His Book (interpretation of the meaning): ” and ask Allaah of His Bounty”  (al-Nisaý 4:32 check this is the right quote)

“Then when the (Jumuah) Saaaht (prayer) is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allaah (by working)(al-Jumuah 62:10)

Although this refers to Jumuah (Friday prayers), the meaning applies to all the prayers.

Hence  “and Allaah knows best”  the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us to say when entering the mosque, “Allaahumma iftah li abwaab rahmatika (O Allaah, open to me the gates of Your mercy)”, and when leaving the mosque to say, “Allaahumma inni asýaluka min fadlika (O Allaah, I ask You of Your Bounty).” And Ibraaheem the close friend of Allaah (peace be upon him) said:

“so seek your provision from Allaah (Alone), and worship Him (Alone), and be grateful to Him”
(al-Ankaboot 29:17  interpretation of the meaning)

This is a command, and a command demands a response. So seeking the help of Allaah, turning to Him with regard to the matter of provision and other matters, is an important principle.

Then one should seek to earn money with self-respect and pride, so that Allaah may bless it for him; one should not take it with an attitude of desperation and greed. Rather money should be like the toilet, which one needs but which does not hold any special place in one’s heart. Striving to earn money should be like striving to fix the toilet. According to a marfoo hadeeth which was narrated by al-Tirmidhi and others, “Whoever wakes up and this world is his main concern, Allaah will make him scattered and shattered, and he will feel a sense of panic and loss, and he will get nothing of this world except that which was already decreed for him. But whoever gets up and is mostly concerned about the Hereafter, Allaah will cause him to feel focused and content, and will give him a feeling of being independent, and worldly gains will come to him willingly or unwillingly.”

One of the salaf said: You are in need of this world but you are in greater need of your share of the Hereafter. If you start with your share of the Hereafter, then your share of this world will automatically come with it. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And I (Allaah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).”

I seek not any provision from them (i.e. provision for themselves or for My creatures) nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures).

Verily, Allaah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strongý (al-Dhaariyaat 51:56-58)

With regard to specifying a particular means of earning a living, whether it be in industry, business, construction, farming, etc., this varies from one person to another. I do not know of any general ruling, but if there is a direction that a person wants to take, then let him seek the guidance of Allaah and pray istikhaarah as taught by the teacher of all good (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), for there is such great blessing in that that it cannot be comprehended, then whatever is made easy for him, he should be content with that, unless it is something which is objectionable on Islamic grounds.

Quoted from Ibn Taymiyah’s essay al-Wasiyyah al-Jaamiýah li khayr al-Dunya wa’l-Aakhirah, published by al-Maktabah al-Salafiyyah, Cairo.

And it is a way of the Uleema:

Shaikh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated:
“I finished the Qur’aan with my father, reciting it to him Mujawwad (conforming to the rules of recitation of the Qur’aan). At the same time I was working in the carpentry field. I was working with two trainers; one of them was my maternal uncle Ismaýeel whom I worked with for a period of two years, and the other a Syrian known as Abu Muhammad, for a period of two years as well. My normal work with them was renovating old and collapsed homes which had fallen apart from the effects of rain and snow and the passing of time. These houses used to be built of wood and brick.”

“I left not having a dirham or a dinaar to my name, and I remember he gave me just 25 Lir Syrian, and I went to one of the brothers and took a hundred Lir from him and rented a shop. Thus I gained my independence, and by the favor of Allaah upon me I was diligent in my work and sincere.”

“When I bought a piece of undeveloped land for it’s being inexpensive and began building a house on it along with a shop, the journey from my home to al-Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah became long. Those days, I used to work an hour or two in the shop before the library would open it’s doors.”

From :”Reaping The Fruit From The Last of That Which Our Shaikh al-Albaani Relayed To Us” Abu Asmaa al-Misree Aathiyah bin Sidqee Alee Saalim

Shaykh Muhammad al-Saalih al-Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked:
I work in a store and I cannot pray Taraaweeh in the mosque because my work hours are from after Maghrib until almost the time of sahoor. Am I sinning because of this? How can I make up for this reward that I am missing out on?

He replied:
You are not sinning by missing taraaweeh because taraaweeh is Sunnah; if a person does it he will be rewarded for it but if he does not do it there is no sin on him.

Allaah knows your intention and that if it were not for the fact that you are occupied with something that you must do , which is earning a living from this job, then you would have prayed taraaweeh. The bounty of Allaah is immense and He will reward you according to your intention.
Fataawa Islamiyyah, 2/255.

All what is above is showing importance of working and seeking provision by means of any halal job, and this is part of Islaam, and it so much contradicts amazing statements from some brothers that for example being a practising Muslim means just seeking knowledge and sitting in a masjid. They rely upon social security from the Government or if they are married they rely upon their wife’s wealth. And give the ignorant answer that most jobs are haram since they involve working amongst women and items that are haram.


Those who are genuinely making an effort and struggling to find a job are exempt. We all come on hard times once and a while. If you are struggling then I ask Allaah to make it easy for you because indeed after the hardship comes ease (for those who are actually making an effort to better themselves). Allaah has already written for u sour provision in this world, whatever is written will come to us. But, upon us is to seek it out. Whether it be by studying for a certain qualification, whether it through training for a certain job or through business, our provision will come to us.


May Allah Subhana Wa Taa’la give for us right understanding His deen in all aspects. Ameen.


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