All praise is due to Allâh, Most Merciful; Most Compassionate. May His choicest blessings and salutations be upon our Master Muhammad Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam , who was sent as a mercy unto mankind. His teachings restored the dignity of the weak and oppressed, and beautified the conduct of the wealthy and powerful.
The 1st of May is officially commemorated as Workers Day, it is a public acknowledgement of the importance and dignity of workers. As Muslims, we need to be the forerunners in displaying justice and compassion when dealing with those in our employ. The Holy Qur'ân states "It is WE Who divide among them their livelihood in the life of this world, and We exalt some of them above others in rank, so that some of them may command work from the others" (43:32) Allâh Ta'âla Himself has apportioned the livelihood of people; some He made rich others He made poor. This difference is part of a divinely ordained scheme that makes people dependent on each other. It promotes interdependence within the human race and weaves the diverse segments of society into an organized community. The poor are dependent on the rich for their bread, whilst the rich are dependent on the poor for their labour.
You as the Employer
The wealth and property you possess are not obtained solely by your capability but by the wish and permission of Allâh. "Allâh enlarges livelihood for whom He wills and reduces it for whom He wills" (13:26)
What you possess is therefore a trust from Allâh. As an employer, you assume the position of authority, which has to be discharged with compassion and justice. The Holy Qur'ân states: ' O' You who believe, do not consume your property among yourselves wrongfully, but let their be trade by mutual consent, and do not kill yourselves…"
Believers are cautioned against exploitation of any kind, even if the other person being the weaker party agrees to such a deprivation or exploitation under the stress of circumstances. "Do not kill yourselves" refers to the eventual outcome of exploitation - It perpetuates a cycle of hatred, and anger, which will eventually rebound on the oppressors themselves. Exploitation of any kind is tantamount to self - destruction.
The Dignity of the Employee:
"(They are) your brethren whom Allâh has placed in your custody -Let him who has been made custodian of his brother by Allâh feed him from what he himself eats, clothe him out of what he clothes himself, and impose not on him work that will overcome him…" (Bukhari & Muslim)
your employees are your human brothers who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Pay them enough so that they are able to maintain themselves with dignity. Do not impose on them so much work, or so long working hours that may be overbearing.
The Responsibility of the Employee:
An employee should recognize the value of work and be grateful to Allâh. He has to discharge his obligations with commitment, punctuality, and proficiency. The Holy Qur'ân refers to these qualities in the following words: "One of the two daughters of Shuaib (as) said: "O' my father employ him; surely the best of men for you to employ are those who are strong and trustworthy." (28:26)
Work is an act of worship, which requires sincerity of purpose and loyalty. The employee must be able to win the confidence of the employer by displaying competence, and proficiency. Nabî Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam has said: "Fulfill the trust of one who has entrusted you and do not be treacherous to one who deceives you." Time and punctuality is a trust, the employer's time is sacred, absconding from work, killing time, neglecting your duties, and poor performance, tantamount to treachery of this trust.
Treatment of Employees:
The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam has said: "One who mistreats those under him will not enter paradise" (Tirmidî)
The good treatment of subordinates forms part of ibadah [worship] related to the rights of fellow man. These rights are based on adl (justice) and ihsân [kindness] the breach of which may serve as an impediment to entering Jannah.
"Good treatment of those under you brings fortune, whilst bad treatment brings misfortune" (Abû Dawûd)
The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam has said: " He who falsely accuses his slave (servant) whilst he is innocent of the charge, he (the accuser) will be lashed on the Day of Judgment unless he (the accused) is really guilty of the charge" (Bukharî & Muslim)
The Holy Qur'ân states that: Man is entitled to no more than what he works for…" (53:93)
Man must be remunerated for the work he does. Whilst he cannot demand more than his worth, the minimum wage according to Islamic Law should be high enough to meet his/her basic essentials and requirements. Alî y is reported to have said: " Allâh has made it obligatory on the rich to meet the economic needs of the poor up to the extent of their absolute necessities. If they are hungry or naked or involved in other financial difficulties, it will be merely because the rich are not doing their duty." (Muhalla)
Anâs y who served the Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam for a long time specifically states that "the Prophet never paid a low wage to any person" (Bukharî)
The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam has said: " Allâh will be the enemy of three persons on the Day of Judgment – the third person of these three is the one who employs a labourer and gets full work from him but does not pay his wages." (Bukharî)
He also forbade the employment of any labourer without first settling his wages (Baihaqî)
"Pay the labourer his wages before his sweat dries" (Ibn Majah)
Your Pledge as an Employer:
"Every employee will work in safe and clean conditions. They will receive fair and adequate compensation for their work. We will respect their private time, and their right to family commitments. They will have ample opportunities to develop their skills. They are free to make suggestions, criticize, or complain. We will not impose on them more than they can bear, and we will respect their dignity at all times. In all negotiations, we will act in good faith and respect their rights. We will ensure that our actions are in agreement with Islamic values and that Islam is conveyed to them via our fair conduct.
May Allâh Ta'âla grant us the taufîq to mirror Islamic etiquette in all our dealings.