September 17, 2013

The Dignity of Labor

Essay : [The Dignity of Labor]

English Essay on "The Dignity of Labor"

The Dignity of Labor

Points: Old concept of labor – Islam attaches great importance to labor of work -Contempt of manual labor is assured – Honest work of every kind is dignified Conclusion.
By “Labor” we generally mean manual work; that is, work done with the hands, as distinguished from the mental work, or work done with the head. In ancient times manual labor was looked down upon, and the manual worker was treated as an inferior being. Most ancient states were based upon slave labour. Even the Greek city states consisted of a small number of free citizens, who devoted themselves to the higher arts and professions, and left all manual labor to slaves.
Islam attaches great importance to dignity of work. We should not forget the noble example of our Holy Prophet. He would never ask anyone to do anything, which he himself would not do. He loved doing work for himself and for others with his own hands. When the mosque at Medina was being built, he carried mud and building materials. During the Battle of the Khandag, he joined his companions in digging the ditch outside Medina. His companions, Hazrat Abu Bakr not only did his own work but also fetched water for widows and neighbors who were very old and had no one to work for them. Hazrat Umar once carried on his shoulders a large sack of flour for a needs’ family. Hazrat Ali labored in the garden of a few. Manual labor is recognized to day at least in theory, as being worthy of free citizen and no stigma attaches to a man because he works with his hands rather than with his head. And yet the leisured classes still look down on the working classes. Whom they ‘call the “lower classes”.
This concept of manual labor is absurd and wrong, and the distinction between manual and mental work is misleading. All manual work, even so called unskilled labor requires same thought; and the skilled work of the engineer, the builder and potter is really as much mental as manual.( It takes more intelligence to be an expert electrician, or even a mistri than to be an office clerk copying letters all day.
But what we have still to learn is that honest work of all kinds is dignified and worthy of respect. In Pakistan even the humble “sweeper” who does unpleasant but absolutely necessary work, ought to be respected, instead of being regarded with contempt and thrust down into the lowest caste.
The only thing we should be ashamed of are idleness and trying to live “by one’s wits” without labor “Work is worship” and “to work is to pray”. We take off our hats to honest toil, and honor the honest workman.

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