Islam and Labor
Labor is the spirit of life from Islam’s perspective. It is an implementation of gained knowledge and for what Allah has enjoined for the prosperity of the universe for the service of humankind. This includes all the intellectual and physical activities in the material and spiritual sense of the word. So, just as there is a reward for a good deed, there is also a reward for seeking the means of livelihood. Likewise, providing the human community with any useful activity is also a good deed rewarded by Allah.
It is reported in the authentic hadiths that “He who aspires towards refraining from beggary and expends on weak parents or weak off-spring is in jihad for the sake of Allah.” (Hadith by Al-Baihaqy and Ishaq Ibn Rahawaih)
It is well-known that jihad for the sake of Allah is the highest pinnacle of Islam, as it is rightly said in this hadith. (Hadith by Ahmad, Tabarāni, and Baihaqi)
It is related in other hadiths that “The immaculately honest businessmen are with the prophets and the truthful ones on the Day of Resurrection” (Hadith, al-Termidhi)
“The farmer has his own reward for whatever is eaten by man, birds, or beast out of what he has planted.” (Hadith by Ahmad, Al-Bazzar, and Al-Tabarāni)
“The best food is what is made by one’s own hand.” (Hadith by Al-Bukhāri)
Again, “Just as Islam has forbidden negligence in worship, it has also forbidden negligence in work and being forced to resort to begging, seeking gifts or alms.” (Hadith by Abu Dawoud, and Ibn Magah)
“Islam, therefore, enjoins seeking refuge in Allah against laziness and inability.” (Hadith by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim)
It has also been reported in the authentic hadiths that “Removing harm out of the road is an act of charity, and helping a weak person to mount his beast is also an act of charity” (Hadith by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim)
“Settling a dispute among people and enjoining good and forbidding evil are also acts of charity”. (Hadith by Abu Dawud)
“Good conduct of any nature is a charity”. (Hadith by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim)
This is a strong call for social activity in general. It is a fitting reply to agnostic free thinkers who think religion is the narcotic of nations. In this way, Islam in particular is innocent of their claims.
 Shaikh ‛Aṭiya Ṣaqr, Former Chairman of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, “Understanding Islam”, Al-Azhar Center for Translation (ACT), 2017, p. 85.