The rights of labourers and Islam | By Ghulam Yaseen Nizami


The rights of labourers and Islam

FIRST of all, in our society, the workers are not given the right wages for their labour and even if they are given, it is so much that the workers sweat again. Today, workers are paid so much that it cannot provide them with two meals a day. Full-time workers are economically less powerful, while the capitalists and owners are getting richer with the income of their labour which causes problems for the workers on the one hand and irreparable damage to the national economy on the other. The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) said: Your servants, servants, labourers and slaves are your brothers, so whoever among you has a brother with him then he should feed and clothe him as he would himself eat and wear. Do not ask your worker to do any work, which he cannot do himself and if it is necessary to do such work, then help him yourself.

From this Hadith, there are several rules regarding hiring workers. One is that there is a relationship of brotherhood between the workers and the owners. Therefore, it is recommended for the owner that what he likes for himself, he should also like for his brother worker. In this blessed Hadith, the owners are being prevented from living a life of luxury and being ordered to be austere. Because when he spends on others along with himself, it is obvious that his expenses will be divided into two parts and he will be forced to save. Today we see that the labourers can hardly afford dal roti while the one-time food and drink bill of the owners is equal to the entire requirement of the workers. The labourer is able to sew new clothes once a year with difficulty, and there are many who are not blessed with new clothes for years, on the contrary, the capitalist wears new clothes every day. The intention of Islam is that the demand of the workers should be such that their basic needs can be easily met. This will not only benefit the workers but also the owners because in such a case the workers will perform their duties happily and efficiently and the business will grow well. Workers should be given work according to their strength, not burdened so much that it becomes difficult for them to do. It also prohibits the workers from taking more work than the stipulated time contrary to the contract. In many places twelve or sixteen hours are taken instead of eight and if the worker refuses to work longer, he is threatened with dismissal. Therefore, the labourer is forced to work more than his strength.

If the workers are asked to work more than their strength and the stipulated time, then they should be given a hand or they should also be given overtime wages. How strange it would be if the person who has done no work, only invested his own capital, should be fully entitled to overtime profits, and the person who is sweating his blood to get the profit should not be given anything. If not, at most a few words of praise should be bestowed. The human body also needs rest and relaxation and it is also a natural requirement of the human body. Allah made the day a source of sustenance, so He created the night for peace and comfort to remove fatigue. Now, if a person continues to work more or continuously and does not rest for some time, then many psychological and social problems arise from it. Health deteriorates and diseases arise and, above all, by not giving time to the wife, children, parents and other relatives, resentment increases between them.

The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) said: Pay the labourer his wages before his sweat dries, that is, his right of service should be paid on time according to the contract. This is a well-known Hadith, which is remembered by everyone, be it a worker or an owner. Regarding the rights of workers, apart from this blessed Hadith, there is also a well-known Hadith that Allah Almighty says that on the Day of Judgment I will be the plaintiff for three people, one of them will be the worker who has done his work. So it was fulfilled but he was not paid his wages.

What is the right of labour? The first right of the labourer is to be given what has been agreed with him in time. Delaying without reason is injustice on his part, while taking money and not completing the work is injustice on his part. You instructed that you should work with the labourer but do not be harsh, oppressive and abusive. In those days the labourers were mostly slaves while workers were also considered subordinate.

The Companion of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to dress their servants in the same way as they wore themselves. The Holy Prophet (PBUH): Feed them what you feed yourself and clothe them what you wear and do not work on them beyond their strength, as much as they can do. Take as much work from him and if he has been given too much work and you know that he cannot do it alone, then work together with him. May Allah grant us the ability to pay the rights of workers and all rights holders in time and correctly.

— The writer is contributing columnist, based in Islamabad.

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