Islam teaches support for workers, fair compensation

Dalia-MogahedDoug Erickson, Wisconsin State Journal

The Muslim faith teaches that work is sacred and a form of worship and that fair employee compensation is paramount, a prominent Islamic author and researcher told a Madison audience Thursday.

"Workers and employers have a relationship of brotherly love and family, not patron to subordinate," Dalia Mogahed said at the 14th-annual faith-labor breakfast, which just concluded at the Madison Labor Temple.

The breakfast is sponsored by the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice and was hosted this year by the South Central Federation of Labor.

Mogahed was born in Cairo and grew up in Madison, graduating from UW-Madison. She is the former executive director of and senior analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. She is the co-author of the book, "Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think." She now runs a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., specializing in Muslim societies and the Middle East.

A few quotes from her talk:

The Prophet taught that your employees are your brothers upon whom God has given you authority. So if a Muslim has another person under his control, he or she should feed them with the like of what one eats and clothe them with the like of what one wears. And you should not overburden with that which they cannot bear, and if there is excessive work, you must help them with their jobs. This is understood to be a very clear signal that employers and employees are not on two different levels where one has the open invitation to exploit each other. They are equals. Employers should think of employees as members of their families." (Read more)


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