This question (refer Part 11) is based on another question over which (resolution) there is disagreement among the scholars, and this (other question) is that whether the state of indigence is superior or the state of affluence? Our legal position is that the state of indigence is superior, while some of the other scholars say that the state of affluence is superior.
Thereafter another question is built upon this question (of earning), and this is that after earning what is necessary for oneself, is further occupation with earning better or devotion to worship? Some jurisprudence says, "Occupation with earning better," whereas most of our teachers are of the view that devotion to worship is better.
Our argument for this is Allah Most High's statement, "O you who have believed, spend from the good things which you have earned and from that which We have produced for you from the earth." [Al-Quran, surah al-Baqarah, verse 267]. and the command is in reality in the nature of an obligation, for giving out of what is earned cannot be conceived except after earning, and whatever which is indispensable for the discharge of an obligation is itself an obligation.
Now the legal viewpoint of the great majority of the jurisprudents of the People of the Way and the Congregation (ahl al-sunnah wa al-jama'ah) is that the earning of the amount which is necessary to survive is an obligation...
Allah, Most High, has commanded Maryam (Mary) to shake (the trunk of) the date-palm, as He, Most High, says, "And shake the trunk of the palm toward you to let fresh ripe dates fall by you," [Al-Quran, surah Al-Maryam, verse 25] even though He is most able to provide her sustenance without her having to shake the palm and to toil, just as He has sustained her in her private chamber (or sanctuary for spiritual retreat), as He, Most Exalted, Most Glorious, says, "Whenever Zakariyya (Zacharias) went to her in he private chamber, he found supplies with her." [Al-Quran, surah Al-Imran, verse 37]. For surely, He commanded her to do that (shaking the palm) as an indication to the servants of Allah that it is proper for them not to disregard the seeking of means even if they are certain that Allah is indeed the Provider.
There is no meaning in their opposition to us in this (issue of earning) by (invoking the case of the Prophets) Yahya (John) and Isa (Jesus), blessings and peace be on them both, for we have explained that Isa, peace be on him, used to eat out of the (income generated from the) spinning of his mother, may Allah be pleased with her.
Our argument for that is the statement of Allah, "But Allah has permitted trade" [Al-Quran, surah Al-Baqarah (2): 275]. And Allah also says, "When you incur debt among yourselves" [Al-Quran, surah Al-Baqarah (2): 282], and then He says, "But let there be trade out of mutual consent from you" [Al-Quran, surah Al-Nisa '(4): 29]. And He, Most Exalted, Most Glorious, says, "Excepted is the case of a spot transaction between you" [Al-Quran, surah Al-Baqarah (2): 282].
The (accepted legal) view according to the jurisconsults (fuqaha') from among the predecessors (salaf) and the successors (khalaf), is that the first type of earning (earning of a person for himself, refers Part 4) is permissible without any qualification, and it is even obligatory when there is a need. A group from among the ignorant ascetics and the foolish ones of the Sufis says, "Earning a livelihood is indeed forbidden! It is not legally permitted except when absolutely necessary, as in the case of eating carrion."
Now, there are two types of earning: (1) the earning of a person for himself; and (2) the earning of a person against himself. 1. As for the earner for himself, he is the seeker of what is necessary for him of the permissible (things); 2. The earner against himself is the one who covets that which is against him, and in which there is a sin, for instance, that which is acquired by the thief.
Also, earning a livelihood is the way of the Messengers, and we have been commanded to emulate them and to emulate their guidance, for Allah Most High says, "And emulate their guidance" [refer Al-Quran, surah Al-An'am (90)]. The explanation of this is that the first who worked for a living is our father, Adam, for Allah says...