teacher and student


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.

Hajj Gibril

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latest update: Thu, 12 Feb 2009
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