Paying Wages on Time
I am a 34 yr old muslim male running "my" own business for the past 6
years or so. I have been told that as a muslim employer i have 5 days
after month's end to pay "my" employess wages. the problem is mine is a
credit based business and as such sometimes cash flow can be quite tight.
I live in a non-Islamic country where the Islamic population accounts to
15 to 20 percent of the whole population. there
have been many times that i have paid "my" employees late. ALL "my"
employees, who are all muslims/muslimah understand this situation. they
have been very patient and cooperative, Alhamdulillah. However, if this 5
day limit is true have i commited any major sins from the religious point
of view. Is there anything in the Quran or hadeeths regarding this, I have
tried and search but to no avail. As it is I already feel i am burdening
my very understanding staff.
Wa ʿalaykum as-Salam:
There is no 5-day or any other precise deadline in the Shariʿa for paying
an employee' wages other than "before the sweat of his [brow] is dry"
(aʿtu al-ajira ajrahu qabla an yajiffa ʿaraquhu) [Ibn Majah] as the
Prophet was related to say ﷺ, meaning very promptly after their work
is done. Additionally, the Prophet ﷺ said that "The procrastination
of the wealthy [debtor] is injustice" (matlu al-ghaniyyi zulmun) [Bukhari,
Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Malik, al-Darimi].
Here "the wealthy" is anyone who is able to fulfill a monetary obligation
but delays it at the time of being asked to fulfill it: such a person
becomes a sinner (fasiq). The hadith shows that this does not apply to an
employer who does not have funds in his possession. This factor, together
with a previous arrangement with one's workers, are necessary
pre-conditions to make it permissible to delay payment of wages. If these
pre-conditions are met, there is no injustice nor violation of rights in
delaying payment for as long as necessary. And Allah knows best.
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