by Corey Saylor, for Interfaith Worker Justice
Muslims will be reporting to their place of employment each day this Ramadan--a little tired and a little hungry from this year's 16 hour dawn to dusk fasts--but still committing to an honest day's work, as our faith requires. Ramadan starts July 8 and ends by August 7 this year.
Islam's Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) earned his living as a merchant in the employ of his wife. His integrity in business dealings earned him the nickname "Al-Amin" (the Trustworthy). Among three types of people who will face God's displeasure on the Day of Judgment Muhammad included, "the one who engages a laborer, receives due work from him but does not pay him his wage."
It's human to focus on the physical challenge of Ramadan. A Ramadan that surpasses the physical is one in which we remember that the fast serves as a reminder to be more compassionate.
This year, perhaps a good way to put our Ramadan fast into action is by remembering the Prophet's (peace be upon him) role as a worker, and how we can help society uphold the compassionate ideal Islam sets before us regarding an honest day's work: "You should pay the laborer his wages before his sweat dries."
Interfaith Worker Justice's Labor Day in the Pulpit/ on the Bimah/ in the Minbar program offers Muslims an opportunity to reflect on worker justice and Ramadan during their khutbahs. This reminder of the Prophet as a worker and Islam's imperative of fair treatment for employees can be extended into action that serves your community by participating in IWJ's "Labor Day weekend for Worker Justice."