Islamic Ethics of Business & Employment


Because we all need to work and we are all required to comply with Allah’s religion in the workplace, a comprehensive compilation of the Islamic laws and ethical standards related to employment would be extremely helpful. From what I have seen, there is a great shortage of books in English that thoroughly address this issue. Consequently, there is a void in the library of English Islamic works where a book like this should be. This work is a humble attempt to fill that void.

This work began as notes created and complied by Dr. Islam al-Murābiṭ for a class he was teaching to university students and future professionals. These notes were highly academic and did not “speak” to the layman. While these notes and the sources from which they were drawn certainly have utility, in this work I have sought to make these important concepts draw more comprehensively from Islamic sources, become more accessible to the layman, and become more geared toward Muslim employers and employees.



Islam is a religion of laws:

﴿ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَى شَرِيعَةٍ مِنَ الْأَمْرِ فَاتَّبِعْهَا وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴾

“Furthermore, We have set you (O Prophet) upon a sharīʿah (a law and the right religious way) so, follow that way and follow not the desires of those who do not know”. Al-Qurʾān 45:18

It is also a religion of ethics, morals that govern a person’s behavior:

The Prophet r said in the ḥadīth collected by Abū Dawūd and at-Tirmidhī from Abū Hurayrah:

أكمل المؤمنين إيمانا أحسنهم خُلقا

“The believer whose faith is most complete is the one who has the best moral conduct”.

In addition, it is a religion wherein able-bodied people are expected to work and earn a living to support themselves rather than rely upon others to support them:

In the ḥadīth collected by Muslim from Abū Hurayrah, the Prophet r said:

لأَنْ يَحْتَزِمَ أَحَدُكُمْ حُزْمَةً مِنْ حَطَبٍ فَيَحْمِلَهَا عَلَى ظَهْرِهِ فَيَبِيعَهَا خَيْرٌ لَهُ مِنْ أَنْ يَسْأَلَ رَجُلاً يُعْطِيهِ أَوْ يَمْنَعُهُ

“It is better for one of you to gather firewood, tie it in a bundle, carry it upon his back (to the market), and sell it, than to ask another man (for anything) whether he gives him or refuses to give him”.


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