Based on our understanding of the Quran and Sunnah

Based on our understanding of the Quran and Sunnah, the Islamic Labour Code is the prototype legal instrument, ready for adoption or adaptation by governments in Muslim countries as well as progressive enterprises worldwide, willing to embed Islamic teachings in their organizational cultures.

What's Inside


Of the 3.5 billion individuals that comprise the global labour force, nearly 800 million are Muslim. Most of these workers are living and working in OIC countries, the 57-member block of Muslim countries. While Constitutions in these countries do refer to Islam and Islamic principles, the state of labour rights, even de jure, is dismal. This is particularly worrying as labour law is the only legal field encompassing the full spectrum of life, from birth (maternity and paternity leave for parents) to childhood (prohibition on child labour and regulation of apprenticeships) and adulthood (working conditions and old-age pensions) to demise (funeral grants and survivors’ benefits).

The Islamic Labour Code is a prototype and a work in progress, based on the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. The proposed Islamic Labour Code provides insights into Islam’s view on the equal treatment of workers, irrespective of sex, religion, and race, etc.; prohibition of harassment including sexual harassment; right to unionization and collective bargaining; the abolition of child and bonded labour; occupational safety and health; and the right to social security.

At a time when the Scriptures and the Prophetic traditions are frequently being misquoted to deprive people of their rights, this work aims to set the record straight. It shows that the Quran and Sunnah protect and promote labour rights.
The current pandemic has proven to be a catalyst, and a big global reset is evident in every aspect of life & society. Labour laws in Muslim countries desperately warrant an overhaul too. We hope this work can provide a basis to Governments in Muslim countries, organizations and individuals for a reset of their labour rights practices and beliefs, aligning them with the spirit of Shariah.

We draw on our collective experience of the last 15 years in comparative labour law and human resources to compile this work and earnestly hope that it will be used not only by governments to reform their laws but also by progressive enterprises to give workers their due rights in the light of Islamic teachings. The ultimate aim, however, is to raise awareness of Islamic injunctions regarding the subject. While rooted in Islamic teachings, the work does not claim any religious sanctification and is well aware of its limitations.

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Quranic Verses

Topics Covered

The Prophet (ﷺ) also declared: “if I order you to do something, then do of it as much as you can”. (Sahih Bukhari: 7288)
“O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favour of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness. Have I not delivered the message?” They said, “The Messenger of Allah(ﷺ) has delivered the message.” (Musnad Aḥmad: 23489)
Anas (RA) reported: “I served the Prophet (ﷺ) for ten years, and he never said to me, "Uf" (a minor harsh word denoting impatience) and never blamed me by saying, "Why did you do so or why did not you do so?" (Sahih Bukhari: 6038)

About Authors

Iftikhar Ahmad is a comparative labour law expert and Founder of the Centre for Labour Research, Pakistan. He heads the Labour Law Department at the WageIndicator Foundation, where he has helped raise awareness about labour rights in more than 100 countries.

Iftikhar is a member of the Labour Expert Group, constituted on the advice of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, to provide social protection to the informal economy workers. While working in the field of labour since 2006, he has been engaged with the Government of Pakistan, International Labour Organization and the World Bank on the labour market and legislative reform issues. He has recently completed his pioneering work on the first de jure Labour Rights Index, comparing labour laws of 115 countries on more than 40 evaluation criteria.

Iftikhar obtained his Master’s from the Industrial and Labour Relations School at Cornell University as a Fulbright scholar.

Asghar Jameel is a thought leader in the Talent Management and Human Resource field. During the last 15 years, he lived in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East while working for companies like Ericsson, Nokia, and VEON. He held several senior management roles such as Cluster Human Resource (HR) Head, Global Business HR, Head of HR Consulting Middle East Region at Nokia, and Chief People Officer in Jazz (leading telecom operator in Pakistan). He is currently based in the Netherlands where he serves as the Group Director HR Headquarters at VEON (leading telecom operator in countries like Algeria, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, and Ukraine, to name a few).

Jameel also spearheads social causes like girls’ education, interest-free access to capital for micro-entrepreneurs, and labour rights awareness.

Jameel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law, a Master’s in Business Administration and has attended the HR Executive Program at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, USA.