On every Wednesday, I will share a part of the translation of the book Kitab Al-Kasb (the book of Earning a Livelihood) written by Muhammad Ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybani.
Part 17: Permissibility of Lowly Earnings.
The legal position of the vast majority of the jurisprudence is that all the (different types of) earnings are the same with respect to permissibility.
Some of the ascetics said, “It is not allowed to undertake earnings that are considered to be lowly in the custom of the people except when in dire circumstance, due to the statement of the Prophet, blessing and peace be on him, “It is not for the believer to demean himself.” [Narrated bt al-Tirmidhi, ibn Majah and Ahmad]. The Prophet also says, “Verily, Allah likes noble things and He dislikes inferior things.” [Narrated by al-Khara’iti in Makarim al-Akhlaq, Al-Tabarani, al-Hakim and al-Bayhaqi]. The inferior is that which demeans a person due to its baseness.
Our argument for that is the statement of the Prophet, “Among the sins are sins that cannot be expiated (even) by fasting and prayer.” And it was said (to him), “And what will expiate them, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Vexations in earning a livelihood.” [Narrated by al-Tabarani, al-Haythami, Abu Nu’aym]. The Prophet, also says, “Seeking the permissible is like the battling of the warriors. Whoever retires in the evening worn out in seeking the permissible, reties as one who is forgiven.” [Al-Suyuti in al-Jami’ al-Kabir traces this hadith to al-Bayhaqi in Shu’ab al-Iman]. The Prophets says, “The best of actions is earning to provide for dependents,” [Narrated by ibn Lal and al-Daylami], without differentiating between the various types of earning.
Even if there was nothing in earning except abstinence and independence from asking, it would (still) have been recommended for the Prophet says, “Asking is the worst resort of the servant,” that is, he remains in his debasement until the day of resurrection.
The Prophet said to Hakim ibn Hizam, or (he said) to someone else, “An earning in which there is diminishment in status is better for you than that you ask from people, regardless of whether they give you or refuse you.” [A mawquf hadith actually linked up to Umar ibn al-Khattab].
Moreover, the disparagement in the custom of the people is not connected to earning (as such) but to betrayal of trust, breaking promises, perjury, and to the meaning of miserliness.