Best of Earnings

What is the best of earnings in Islam?

The best of earnings is not only from the best sale done, which is blessed by Allah because of the honesty and wealth, but also that which is the product of man’s hand…his own hands. In other words, where a person is involved in planting, reaping, or making craft. The type of products which come out of these efforts is blessed by Allah when the product is sold. Meaning that, Islam puts great emphasis on labor and encourages people as much as possible, to be involved in the productive part. There has to be to some degree the middle man — the one who purchases from the laborer and sells to buyers, but that area is not as encouraged as much as production. Why? Because the tendency to cheat, etc. which tends to be much greater with the middle man is less.

What the middle man does is that he raises the prices[1], he tries to control the market by raising the prices and forcing the buyers to give him whatever price he wants; whereas if the buyers are able to go directly to the source of the production, they are able to get the product at a cheaper price[2], which makes for a healthier society.  So Islam encourages smaller businesses. It is not to say that large businesses are prohibited, but it encourages more and more people to be involved in the process of production because to a large degree when a person makes something and sees the product of what he/she has done, it gives a certain satisfaction that one doesn’t get from purchasing and selling and purchasing and selling. Those who are the craftsmen, etc. take pride in their work or business.

In America there is a distinction between what they call “blue-collar workers” and “white-collar workers". Blue-collar workers are those who are working hard labor, and the white-collar workers are the clerks — the people who are involved in the middle level. Being known as a white-collar worker has a sense of superiority, unlike blue-collar workers who deal with their hands, etc.; there is a tendency to look down on that. Islam reverses that; these people are those who are the most honest and their efforts are made “the best of efforts”.

For example, what we find in societies where money has become plentiful is that people have brought in all kinds of workers to do all of the basic jobs that need to be done. Women are no longer in their homes and they have brought in maids for taking care of the domestic chores and drivers for taking care of the needs of the family. This causes corruption to start creeping into society because the women are at home but do not involve themselves in the productivity in the home. All she has is spare time and starts to use that spare time in useless ways. She gets involved in watching a lot of television, reading books and novels, etc. and is overly concerned with fashion, etc., etc., and quite often these pursuits end up in haram. It creates laziness amongst the children in the home, where the housekeeper is the one doing all the work in the home. The child gets out of bed and gets out clothes…everything is ready for him, and just goes to school. It doesn’t matter the mess made because the maid will pick it up and clean. The child isn’t involved in any kind of chores. Such a child pampered in this way grows up with a scorn for those who work. And you hear this scorn in the expressions of the society when they talk to people who are doing hard labor. They have different names for manual laborers and they talk to them in a very scornful manner.

People are not really aware that this is destroying the society. In fact, Al Mithgam on one occasion stated that the Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) said, “No one has eaten a better meal than that which he has earned by working with his own hands.”  The Prophet of Allah Dawood (عليهم السلام) used to eat from the earnings of his own labor”[3]. This is the emphasis. Prophet Dawood (عليهم السلام) was amongst the Prophets, he used to eat from the earnings of his own labor.  We know that Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) was also involved in trade, taking the goods and selling and buying goods, etc. We also know that Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) has been described by his wives as mending his own shoes, sowing patches on his clothes when they needed it.  He was involved in very simple chores around the home.[4]  What we find in this hadeeth also, is that when Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) used Prophet David (عليهم السلام) as an example — he was showing the superiority of manual labor.

Prophet David (عليهم السلام) we know was a king of Israel. Allah had designated him as king and as a king obviously he had no need to work, so for him to deliberately work and eat from the earnings of his work, this is an example to the people that it is superior to work and earn a living for oneself rather than to live upon the effort of others.

[1] Narrated by Abu Hrayrah, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said: "Do not be envious of one another; do not inflate prices by overbidding against one another; do not hate one another; do not turn away from one another; do not enter into commercial transaction when others have entered into that (transaction); but be you, O slaves of Allah, as brothers. A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim; he neither oppresses him, nor does he lie to him, nor does he look down upon or humiliate him…” (Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Hadith 6219 )


[2] [See A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence, by Sheikh Al-Fawzan, vol. 2 pp. 19-23]

[3] [Sahih Bukhari, Book 3, Volume 34, Hadith 286]

[4] Al Aswad said: " I asked Aisha what the Prophet (ﷺ) used to do in his house? She replied:" He used to serve his wives, and when the time for prayer came he used to go out for the prayer." (Bukhari, Book 8, Volume 73, Hadith 65),

“the leader and the head of all human beings who used to patch his sandals, sew his garment and conduct himself at home as any man does in his house” ( Ahmad , Imam al-Iraqi said the narrators of the chain of this Hadith are among the narrators of al-Bukhari and Muslim)

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