As a religion, Islam has set principles for the conduct of individuals, the type of life they should lead, their deeds and work ethics.
The Holy Quran contains verses that urge people to act, stating, ‘Work is life and without work life shall cease to exist.’
Righteousness has been linked to ‘true faith.’
Righteous deeds are every good deed or act performed whether it be of a religious or a worldly nature which benefits mankind or repels evil: “And say: work (righteousness); soon will God observe your work and His Apostle and the believers (in the Faith)” (9/105).
According to the Quran, people work even on Fridays, the day of rest and worship of the Muslims (and hence the weekly holiday in most Islamic countries falls on Friday). “And when the (Friday Noon) prayer is finished, then you may dispense through the land and seek the Bounty of God.” (62/10).
Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) urged people to work until the last moment of their lives and until the end of the world. “Should the last hour come upon you while you have a palm shoot in your hand that you are about to plant, plant it if you can.”
He did not approve of people spending all day and night praying in mosques and depending on others to provide for them and maintain them. He also praised and blessed the person who earned his livelihood from his own toil and said the hand that toils in labour is blessed by God and by his Apostle.
The Prophet, who is the ideal of all Muslims, as stated in the Quran, used to work, plan, deliberate and prepare everything that was needed and then put his trust in God.
“Putting trust in God does not mean neglecting work and praying to God to fulfill our hope. The reason for this is faith and trust in God is not only necessary but also obligatory to remind us of God Almighty, which inspires us with a spiritual energy that enables to overcome obstacles or problems with determination and resolution. This trust and dependence on God should be a strong and positive force and not a passive and an apathetic attitude.”
Islam also rejects a fatalistic approach, rejecting the attitude of those who rely completely upon God, to realise their aims without working for those aims.
Scholars say that God does not assist a person who makes no effort to help himself.
They refer to the Quranic verse, which says, “God however aids the person who strives to attain his aim: Verily God will never change the condition of a people until they change it themselves.” (13/11).
Scholars have expressed their displeasure concerning a group of men who spent all their time praying in a mosque and depending upon others to work to maintain them and he exclaimed, “The sky does not rain gold or silver,” they said.