Fruits for the Week

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Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my life, it is better for one of you to take a rope and cut wood (from the wilderness) and carry it on his back and sell it (as means of earning his living) than to go to a person whom Allah has granted from His bounty and beg from him (something) which that person may or may not give him.” (Bukhari). Another narration says: “And Allah will save his face (from the hellfire) because of that.” (Bukhari).

The above two hadiths tell us that work is a noble action, and with the right intentions, it will be regarded as an act of worship. These hadiths show strong criticism of men who ask of others, especially when they have the means and strength to work. It is more befitting to gather sticks and log from the wilderness, tie them into a bundle with a rope, and then carry it back to the town to sell. Ibn Rajab mentioned in this regard:” If a man does not exert any effort to attain provisions, then he is a sinful person.” (Jami’ul Ulum wal Hikam)   

Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “If you were to trust in Allah with the correct reliance, then He would provide for you just as the bird is provided for. It goes out in the morning with its stomach empty, and it returns full.” (Tirmidhi).

Although a Muslim as required to trust in Allah, the Exalted, for provision, this must be accompanied with the motivation to seek that provision. The Prophet (saw) taught a supplication that includes: “O Allah! I seek refuge in You from laziness.” (Bukhari) 

To maximize the use of our day, the Prophet (saw) encouraged us to seek Allah’s blessings in the early part of the day. He said: “O Allah! Bless my ummah (the entire global community of Muslims) in their early mornings.” (Ibn Majah).

It was narrated by Al-Miqdam that the Prophet (saw) said: “No one has ever eaten a better meal than what one has earned by working with one’s own hands. The Prophet of Allah Dawud, used to eat from the earnings of his own manual labour.” (Bukhari)

Prophet Dawud (as) was the king of his people, yet he continued to earn his own income through manual labour. Another hadith mentions that Prophet Zachariah (as) was a carpenter.

Begging is condemned and should only be done in certain circumstances. In Islam, it is honourable to support oneself and to eat from the fruits of one’s labour without depending on others.

Umar ibn al-Khattab said: “No one of you should refrain from earning a living and say, ‘O Allah grant me provision,’ when he knows the sky will not rain down gold and silver, and that Allah grants to people by means of one another.” Then he recited the verse: “Then when the Friday prayer is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek bounty of Allah (by working), and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.” (Jumuah: 10).

Umar also advised his contemporaries: “Learn a profession, for soon one of you will need a profession.” There were times when the ummah had much wealth, yet, rather than depending on others. He advised the believers to be self-sufficient and to develop the skills needed to make money and carry their weight in the society. This could be seen as encouragement to seek a decent education and the practical skills to pursue employment.

Nevertheless, this should not be an excuse to obtain a work-based education and neglect the knowledge of religion, like the people who are described in the following verse: “It is the promise of Allah. Allah does not fail in His promise, but most of the people do not know. They know what is apparent of the worldly life, but they, of the hereafter, are unaware.” (Ar-Rum: 6-7). 

The Qur’an has also described those whose ambitions pertain solely to this life: “And among the people is he who says: “Our Lord, give us in this world and he will have in the hereafter no share.” (Al-Baqarah: 200). The limitless bounties of the next life are also included in the ambitious goals of the believers. The supplication of such people is given in the following verse: “But among them is he who says: Our Lord, give us in this world what is good and in the hereafter what is good, and protect us from the punishment of the fire.” (Al-Baqarah: 201)

 (Prepared by Abdul Muhaemin Karim)