Follow Us on Google News
Allah (SWT) commands us in the Holy Quran not to ridicule each other regardless of what basis, “O believers! Do not let some ˹men˺ ridicule others, they may be better than them, nor let ˹some˺ women ridicule other women, they may be better than them. Do not defame one another, nor call each other by offensive nicknames. How evil it is to act rebelliously after having faith! And whoever does not repent, it is they who are the ˹true˺ wrongdoers.” (Surah Al-Hujurat Ayat 11). This ayat infers that one group of believers shouldn’t ridicule another group of believers so that they feel inferior. We deride each other on many bases, like race, ethnicity, or language, but we also mock each other based on the work or job that we do. However, Islam dignifies honest work of all kinds, be it blue-collar or white-collar.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in a hadith mentions Hazrat Dawud (AS) or David on how he would enjoy the food that was earned from his labor as an artisan, “No one has ever eaten food better than that which his hands have earned. Indeed, Prophet Dawud (AS) used to eat from the earnings of his own hands.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari). Hazrat Dawud (AS) was a good artisan in making shields and fighting tools, and the other prophets of Allah (SWT) also earned their sustenance through labor like farming, herding, craftsmanship, etc.… By mentioning Dawud (AS), our Nabi (SAW) through Allah (SWT) has dignified every kind of job.
We often look down upon menial and blue-collar jobs due to our societal prejudices and values while elevating those working in white-collar professional jobs.
Also, we make those working in blue-collar jobs seem less worthy and embarrassed even though Allah (SWT) honors all halal work. The Prophet (SAW) points out in a hadith that the one who makes extra efforts to support their parent or parents is struggling in the cause of Allah (SWT). In another hadith, our Nabi (SAW) reminds us that the person who is working hard to support themselves and is barely surviving is similarly struggling in the cause of Allah (SWT). This is the beauty of Islam. Allah (SWT) honors these people, but we disparage them.
Allah (SWT) describes earning income in the following ayat of the Quran: “Once the prayer is over, disperse throughout the land and seek the bounty of Allah. And remember Allah often, so you may be successful.” (Surah Al-Jumuah Ayat 10). This means no matter what kind of halal job or business we do, the earnings we make from it are Allah’s (SWT) favor upon us. We must realize that when Allah (SWT) favors someone, He (SWT) is also honoring them.
It is not Allah (SWT) and His Prophet (SAW) who have created distinctions between various lines of work or educational paths, but it’s us and our society that has set artificial levels of respect for jobs and education. Allah (SWT) reminds us in the Quran, “That home of the Hereafter We assign to those who do not desire exaltedness upon the earth or corruption. And the [best] outcome is for the righteous.” (Surah Al-Qasas Ayat 83). Allah (SWT) explains that He (SWT) reserves Jannah for those who don’t want to gain or have superiority over others in this Duniya.
We will cause fasad or corruption when we create a society that makes some people seem superior and others inferior. Subsequently, the people at the bottom because of envy will try to earn wealth to reach the top strata of society by any means necessary. This is the ultimate corruption when we stop distinguishing between halal and haram ways of earning income and wealth.
Back to the story of Dawud (AS), Allah (SWT) mentions in the Quran: “Indeed, We granted David a ˹great˺ privilege from Us, ˹commanding: ˺ “O mountains! Echo his hymns! And the birds as well.” We made iron mouldable for him, instructing: “Make full-length armor, ˹perfectly˺ balancing the links. And work righteousness ˹O family of David! ˺. Indeed, I am All-Seeing of what you do.” (Surah Saba Ayats 10-11).
Allah (SWT) is not just commanding Dawud but all of us in these ayats to do our jobs perfectly. No matter what kind of job we do, Allah (SWT) expects us to be the best and earn every penny that we receive from it, as this is the favor Allah (SWT) bestows upon us or else, we would be asking people for money to survive.