In the western culture, work and labor are generally viewed as a necessity for humankind to quench his needs. It is due to this obligatory nature of work that working then becomes undesirable—if man had a choice; he would opt not to work.
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However, this has been disputed by economists and utilitarianists who are of the opinion that efficiency and conflict are directly related to each—hence paid labor can longer be expected to offer man genuine satisfaction.
Islam on the other hand, considers idleness or misuse of quality time, in doing other unproductive activities, as lack of faith. Every able person, both physically and mentally, has a mandate to seek a livelihood. In fact, Islam considers work as a way of praising God.
In Islam, it is the right of every individual to choose whatever work he wants to do however, the selection of work should be done as per the needs of his society.
The Shariah law requires that people choose their work based on their talents, skills and the level of knowledge in technology. This helps in eliminating class distinctions as all types of work are considered equal. Furthermore, the law demands that everyone should perform to the best of his ability at work.
In Islam, all the physically or mentally challenged people have a right to partake in what the society produces— as God is deemed the owner of all resources. Again, the source of one’s ability to work, in which some people are able to produce more than others, comes from God.
This justifies the obligation on each able person to help the disabled. Furthermore, Gods rights of ownership to resources can therefore not be changed once man converts resources into wealth.
All resources are given by God for his glorification and should therefore be utilized to the fullest by man and the society. It is through wealth that man is supposed to achieve gratification. Islam refers to wealth as a good thing that brings gratification to man—poverty is therefore undesired.
In Islam, wealth is considered as a means of man to achieve his desired goals and not as an end in itself. The Shariah law defines good wealth as that which is acquired from productive and beneficial work. It further stipulates the different types of professions that are illegal.
In Islam, wealth is considered as the lifeline of the community and should therefore be circulative in nature. This means that genuinely acquired property should be reinvested in the community to ensure the prosperity of the people. Good wealth should therefore not only be measured by its market value but also, by the good it does for the community.
The Shariah law also dictates on how acquired wealth should be distributed. To begin with, the law recognizes and specifies all the parties that have rights in one’s wealth. Secondly, all the levies that are supposed to be deducted from one’s wealth are indicated depending on the amount of wealth. Lastly, the Shariah law indicates how one should use his wealth.
A person who misuses his property by indulging in extravagant and wasteful behavior can have his wealth confiscated and given to the community or to his family. By doing so, the person is only given access to a small portion of his property to take care of his basic needs.