Freedom of Association

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  1. Workers and employers, without any distinction whatsoever, shall have the right to establish and to join organisations of their own choosing without previous authorisation.[1]
  2. In exercising the rights, workers and employers and their respective organisations shall respect the law of the land.[2]
  3. Unfair Labour practices on the part of the employers. No employer shall:
    1. impose any condition in a contract of employment restraining the right of the worker concerned to join a trade union or continue their membership of a trade union;
    2. refuse to employ or refuse to keep in employment any worker on the ground that such worker is, or is not, a member or officer of a trade union;[3]
    3. discriminate against any worker in employment and occupation matters on the ground that such worker is, or is not, a member or officer of a trade union; or
    4. commence or continue or instigate others to take part in any illegal lockout.
  4. Unfair Labour practices on the part of the workers/trade unions. No worker or a trade union of workers or any person acting on behalf of such trade union shall:
    1. intimidate any worker into becoming or not to become a member or officer of a trade union or to continue in or to refrain from such post;[4]
    2. commence or continue an illegal strike or a go-slow, or instigate others to take part in it;[5] or
    3. resort to picketing, obstruction to transport or communication system or destruction of any property in furtherance of any demand or object of a trade union.[6]
  5. In every establishment, the employer shall constitute a Work Council consisting of equal representatives of the employer and the workers.[7] The functions of Work Council shall be following:
    1. to promote mutual trust and faith, understanding and co-operation between the employer and the workers;[8]
    2. to promote settlement of differences through bilateral negotiations;[9]
    3. to ensure the application of labour laws;
    4. to foster a sense of discipline and to improve and maintain safety, occupational health and working conditions;
    5. to encourage vocational training, and workers’ education; (f) to fulfil production target, increase productivity, reduce the production cost, prevent wastage and raise the quality of products; and
    6. to discuss any other matter of mutual interest to promote better labour management relations.
  6. A commission known as, Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CMAC), with equal representation from the tripartite stakeholders (Government, workers and employers) and headed by a Chairman (appointed by the Government) shall be established to resolve disputes between workers and employers.[10] The functions of the Commission shall include the following:
      1. to resolve a dispute through conciliation;[11]
      2. to arbitrate the dispute, upon agreement of the parties, if a dispute remains unresolved after conciliation; and
      3. upon application, order a party to negotiate in good faith.
    Conciliation is a voluntary process in which a professional facilitator, appointed by CMAC, assists employers and workers to resolve disputes when their unassisted efforts have not succeeded. The process is a facilitated search for agreement between disputing parties.
    1. Where conciliation and mediation efforts have failed, workers and trade unions shall have the right to strike to meet their objectives.[12] The law shall regulate the exercise of the right to strike and shall establish limitations on the right to strike in narrowly defined essential services. Similarly, employers shall also have the right to lockout.

    [1] Islam is a religion which supports congregation and combination among individuals. The congregation and association with others are so important that the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) declared that “the reward of the congregational prayer is twenty-seven times greater (than that of the prayer offered by a person alone)” (Sahih al-Bukhari: 649). Islam requires its believers to support each other in good deeds. It tells its believers to support each other in beneficial work in the following words “And always support one another in (the works of) righteousness and piety, but do not become accomplices in (works of) sin and transgression”. (05:02)

    وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ۝

    Freedom of Association Of an enterprise workforce, there should be some who act as trade union representatives who are well trained about workplace rights issues and can help workers in accessing their rights. Similar argument can be used for OSH Committee, Works Council and other committees that can be established at a workplace. An analogy can be established here: “And it is not possible for all the Muslims to set out (together). So, why should a party from within every group (or tribe) not go forth so that they may acquire deeper knowledge (i.e., thorough understanding and insight) of the Din (Religion), and warn their people when they return to them so that they may guard themselves (against a life of sins and disobedience)?”. (09:122)

    وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنْفِرُوا كَافَّةً فَلَوْلَا نَفَرَ مِنْ كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِنْهُمْ طَائِفَةٌ لِيَتَفَقَّهُوا فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنْذِرُوا قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ ۝

    Moreover, the primary functions of a union are enjoining the good deeds (respect for workplace rights) and forbidding the evil deeds (violation of labour rights) on the part of the employer and workforce in the context of a workplace. Quran says the following: “And from amongst you there must be a community comprising the people who invite mankind towards piety, enjoin righteousness and forbid evil. And they are the successful people”. (03:104)

    وَلْتَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ ۝

    Trade unions are encouraged to strive for others’ rights in the following words: “And strive hard in the way of Allah (for the elimination of oppression, and the establishment of peace and human dignity,) such a striving as is due to Him”. (22:78) 

    وَجَاهِدُوۡا فِى اللّٰهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِه۝

    As explained by Maulana Maudoodi in Tafheem ul Quran, “the Arabic word jihad is very comprehensive. It includes every kind of effort, exertion, conflict and war. Jihad for the cause of Allah means that it should be performed for His service and for His approval against those who prevent others from following His Way”. In the context of the workplace, such jihad is performed by trade unions and activists. And people are encouraged to struggle for the rule of law: “Light or heavy, march forth (under all circumstances) and fight in the cause of Allah with your material and human resources. It is better for you if you are (reality) conscious”. (09:41) 

    انفِرُوا خِفَافًا وَثِقَالًا وَجَاهِدُوا بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُون َ۝

    Unions are needed at a workplace to create a balance between the unbridled powers of employer and lack of power of workers. And the Quran says: “If Allah had not removed one group (that puts into force tyranny and oppression and breaches peace) through another (who fights for the protection of human dignity and peace) the earth/land would have been ruined”. (02:251) 

    وَلَوۡلَا دَفۡعُ اللّٰهِ النَّاسَ بَعۡضَهُمۡ بِبَعۡضٍ لَّفَسَدَتِ الۡاَرۡضُ ۝

    At the workplace, the union’s functions are to protect the rights of workers (fundamental of which is wages) and representing the workers before the employer. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘The best of deeds in the sight of Allah is the happiness that you bring to a fellow believer, either by driving away his hunger or by relieving him of his distress.’ (al-Kafi, v. 2, p. 191, no. 11) 

    أحَبُّ الأعمالِ إلَى اللّه‏ سُرورٌ (الذي) تُدخِلُهُ عَلَى المُؤمِنِ ، تَطرُدُ عَنهُ جَوعَتَهُ أو تَكشِفُ عَنهُ كُربَتَهُ

    Functions of a trade union are entirely in line with the following saying of the Prophet (ﷺ): “Help the oppressed (sorrowful) and guide those who have lost their way”. (Sunan Abu Daud, Book of General Behavior (Kitab Al-Adab): 4817) 

    وَتُغِيثُوا الْمَلْهُوفَ وَتَهْدُوا الضَّالَّ

    The fundamental objective of the trade union is to fight for the rights of those who have weaker bargaining power in an employment relationship, i.e., the workers. The       Prophet (ﷺ) said: “God does not bless a people among whom a weak man is not given his right”. (Mishkat al-Masabih: 3004)  

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُقَدِّسُ أُمَّةً لَا يُؤْخَذُ لِلضَّعِيفِ فِيهِمْ حَقُّهُ

    Freedom of Association Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others”. (Sahih al-Bukhari: 2444)

    انْصُرْ أَخَاكَ ظَالِمًا أَوْ مَظْلُومًا ‏‏‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَذَا نَنْصُرُهُ مَظْلُومًا، فَكَيْفَ نَنْصُرُهُ ظَالِمًا قَالَ ‏‏ تَأْخُذُ فَوْقَ يَدَيْهِ

    Trade union officials must take a stand for workers’ rights, including the rights of trade union members; however, it should be in line with the teachings of Islam. And they should do it without being deterred from the accusations of the blamers. Ubada bin As-Samit (RA) reported that “We gave the oath of allegiance to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) that we would listen to and obey him both at the time when we were active and at the time when we were tired and that we would not fight against the ruler or disobey him, and would stand firm for the truth or say the truth wherever we might be, and in the Way of Allah we would not be afraid of the blame of the blamers”. (Sahih Bukhari: 7199)

    بَايَعْنَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَلَى السَّمْعِ وَالطَّاعَةِ فِي الْيُسْرِ وَالْعُسْرِ وَالْمَنْشَطِ وَالْمَكْرَهِ وَأَنْ لاَ نُنَازِعَ الأَمْرَ أَهْلَهُ وَأَنْ نَقُومَ بِالْحَقِّ حَيْثُ كُنَّا لاَ نَخَافُ لَوْمَةَ لاَئِمٍ ‏

    In order to protect the rights of workers, trade unions can be formed, and alliances with other rights-based organizations can be established. Hilf al Fudul, a pact announced between the clans of Quraysh to support the oppressed in Makkah, is relevant to mention here. The (ﷺ) also participated in the Pact along with his uncles. He said: “Certainly, I had witnessed a pact of justice in the house of Abdullah ibn Judaan that was more beloved to me than a herd of red camels. If I were called to it now in the time of Islam, I would answer it”. (Sunan al Kubra by Bayhaqi: 12114) Ibn Saad, in his Tabaqat reports the following: “They took an oath and entered into an agreement saying: By Allah! as long as the ocean drenches wool (meaning forever), we will be with the oppressed until he gets recompense for his rights and we will see that all receive equal treatment (in matters of livelihood)”. Ibn Hisham, in Sirah al Nabawiyah has reported the following, “They promised and pledged that they would not find any wronged person among their people, or anyone else who entered Mecca, but that they would support him. They would stand against whoever oppressed them until the rights of the oppressed were restored”. [2] Trade unions must follow the law of the land and must not be involved in activities which are against the lawful objectives of a trade union. A trade union which is created only to divide workers (pocket, company or yellow union) or whose aim is to create disorder and chaos on a larger scale can be disbanded after necessary investigation and following due process. Even a seemingly good act, based on wrong objectives and intentions, can become illegal. A fundamental principle identified in Islam is that “the deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention”. (Riyad as-Salihin: 01) 

    إنَّما الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وإنَّما لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى

    The Quran refers to this incident of Masjid e Zirar and its demolition. There were already two mosques in Madina, one at Quba and the other in the city (Masjid-e-Nabavi). There was no need for a third one. The hypocrites tried to invent reasons to show that a third mosque was needed. They went to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, “We need another mosque because it is very difficult for the people of this area, especially the old, the sick and the disabled, to offer the five prescribed prayers in either of the two mosques, during the winter season and the rainfall. Therefore, we intend to build a new mosque only for the convenience of those who live at a distance from the two mosques but are desirous of saying their prayers in the congregation”. However, their intention was to conspire against Islam and use this as a meeting place. They even requested the Prophet (ﷺ) to lead the prayer as an opening ceremony of the mosque to give it legitimacy. The Prophet (ﷺ) postponed the matter until his return from Tabuk. On his way back, the Prophet (ﷺ) received the following revelation. Based on this, the so-called mosque was demolished by the Companions.

    وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مَسْجِدًا ضِرَارًا وَكُفْرًا وَتَفْرِيقًا بَيْنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَإِرْصَادًا لِّمَنْ حَارَبَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ مِن قَبْلُ ۚ وَلَيَحْلِفُنَّ إِنْ أَرَدْنَا إِلَّا الْحُسْنَىٰ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ۝ لَا تَقُمْ فِيهِ أَبَدًا ۚ لَّمَسْجِدٌ أُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقْوَىٰ مِنْ أَوَّلِ يَوْمٍ أَحَقُّ أَن تَقُومَ فِيهِ ۚ فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَن يَتَطَهَّرُوا ۚ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ۝

    “And (from amongst the hypocrites there are also those) who have erected a mosque to harm (the Muslims) and (promote) disbelief and disunite the believers, and as an ambush for the one who is already at war against Allah and His Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him). They will surely swear: ‘We have intended nothing but good (by constructing this mosque).’ And Allah bears witness that they are certainly liars.                (O Beloved!) Never stand in this (a building which has been built in the name of a mosque). But the mosque which has been, from the very first day, founded on the fear of Allah has the greater right to be honoured with your standing in it. There are people in it who love to remain purified (both physically and spiritually), and Allah loves those who commit themselves to purity”.  (09:107-108) Trade unions are based on the following principle that all believers are like a building whose different parts enforce the other. The Prophet (ﷺ) said the following: “You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever with it”. (Sahih al-Bukhari: 6011)  “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other”. The Prophet (ﷺ) then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced” (Sahih al-Bukhari: 6026). “The similitude of believers regarding mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole-body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever”. (Sahih Muslim: 2586 a)  [3] The Quran prohibits usurping the rights of others. Discriminating against a person on the ground of their trade union membership or lack thereof by employer or trade union is a wrongful transgression which is prohibited in Islam. “Say: ‘My Lord has declared unlawful only (all) the indecent acts which become known and which remain hidden, and sins and unjust excesses (wrongful transgression), and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down any authority, and (in addition) saying such things about (the Essence of) Allah that you do not know yourselves”. (07:33)

    قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ۝

    [4] A trade union cannot force workers to join union activity. Similarly, an employer cannot prohibit workers from joining a trade union or require them to join a specific union/association. If there is no coercion in religious matters, there cannot be coercion in employment matters. Union membership (or closed shops) or lack of union membership cannot be a condition of employment.  The underlying principle is: “There is no compulsion in Din (Religion)”. (02:256)

    لَاۤ اِكۡرَاهَ فِى الدِّيۡنِ ۝

    A worker, who despite knowing the benefits of trade unions, decides not to be part of a trade union has the right to do so. It is similar to what Nuh (AS) told his people: “Nuh (Noah) said: ‘O my people, what is your view: if I stick to a clear proof from my Lord and He has also granted me His (exceptional) mercy from Himself, but that has been veiled from you (like the blind), can we force it upon you coercively whilst you despise it”? (11:28) 

    قَالَ يَـٰقَوْمِ أَرَءَيْتُمْ إِن كُنتُ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍۢ مِّن رَّبِّى وَءَاتَىٰنِى رَحْمَةًۭ مِّنْ عِندِهِۦ فَعُمِّيَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنُلْزِمُكُمُوهَا وَأَنتُمْ لَهَا كَـٰرِهُونَ۝

    [5] Where workers or trade unions are punished for a destructive activity or an illegal strike, the punishment should remain just. Similarly strike action by workers and trade unions should not harm employers beyond certain limits where it starts hurting the general public: “And if you want to punish, then punish only (as severely) as you were afflicted, but if you remain patient, then certainly that is better for those who keep patience”. (16:126) 

    وَإِنْ عَاقَبْتُمْ فَعَاقِبُوا۟ بِمِثْلِ مَا عُوقِبْتُم بِهِۦ ۖ وَلَئِن صَبَرْتُمْ لَهُوَ خَيْرٌۭ لِّلصَّـٰبِرِينَ۝

    Similar is the message here: “So if someone wrongs you, you may also respond in kind but proportional to his offence. And fear Allah. And remember that Allah is with those who fear Him”. (02:194)

    فَمَنِ ٱعْتَدَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ فَٱعْتَدُوا۟ عَلَيْهِ بِمِثْلِ مَا ٱعْتَدَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ۝

    Even in strikes or lockouts, one should not transgress the limits of justice. The Quran describes the traits of believers in the following words: “And those who take revenge when they are wronged (by a tyrant and wrongdoer). And the requital of evil is the like of that evil. Then he who forgives and (by forgiving) reforms, his reward is with Allah. Verily, He does not make friends with the wrongdoers. And indeed, he who avenges the wrong that has been done to him, they will no way be (blamed and taken to task). But the way (to persecute) is only against those who wrong the people and spread corruption and violence unjustly in the land. It is they for whom there is a painful torment. And surely, he who keeps patience and forgives, this is certainly of the deeds that demand great courage and resolve”. (42:39-43)

    وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَهُمُ الْبَغْيُ هُمْ يَنْتَصِرُونَ ۝وَجَزَاءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ  ۝وَلَمَنِ انتَصَرَ بَعْدَ ظُلْمِهِ فَأُوْلَئِكَ مَا عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ سَبِيلٍ ۝إِنَّمَا السَّبِيلُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَظْلِمُونَ النَّاسَ وَيَبْغُونَ فِي الأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ أُوْلَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ۝وَ لَمَنۡ صَبَرَ وَ غَفَرَ اِنَّ ذٰلِکَ لَمِنۡ عَزۡمِ الۡاُمُوۡرِ ۝

    And in a similar verse, Quran again declares: “And fight (in defence) in the cause of Allah against those who impose war on you. (Yes,) but do not exceed limits. Surely, Allah does not like those who exceed limits”. (02:190)

    وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ ۝

    [6] As a general principle, the Quran again describes “what is beneficial to the people endures in the earth”. (13:17)

    وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِي الْأَرْضِ۝

    Hence, a union shall remain registered as long as it remains beneficial to the workers and acts within its legal defined objectives. When it becomes involved in unfair labour practices, disciplinary actions can be taken against it. Where a trade union or employers’ organization is engaged in corruption or destruction of property and tries to create disorder, disciplinary actions can be taken. The Quran highlights the activities of such groups in the following words: “And when he turns away (from you), he runs about in the land to do (everything possible) to rouse mischief and destroy crops and life. And Allah does not like mischief and violence”. (02:205)

    وَإِذَا تَوَلَّىٰ سَعَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ لِيُفْسِدَ فِيهَا وَيُهْلِكَ الْحَرْثَ وَالنَّسْلَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَسَادَ۝

    Where it is proved after an investigation that trade union members led to violence and arson/destruction of public property, the employment contract of such trade union officials/members can be terminated, and they can also be imprisoned. In some cases, their entry to the workplace can be restricted. However, if an agreement is reached between the parties, some other disciplinary action can be taken. For those who create mischief in the land, Quran proposes the following: “Indeed, those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) and remain engaged in creating mischief in the land (i.e., perpetrate bloodshed, terrorism, robbery, burglary and massacre amongst Muslims), their punishment is that they should be slain, or hanged to death, or their hands and their feet on opposite sides should be cut off, or they should be exiled far from (i.e., deprived of moving about in) the homeland (i.e., either by banishment or by imprisonment). That is the humiliation for them in this world, and for them, there is a terrible torment in the Hereafter (as well). Except those who turn to Allah in repentance before you overpower them. So, know that Allah is Most Forgiving, Ever-Merciful”. (05:33-34)

    إِنَّمَا جَزَاءُ الَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا أَن يُقَتَّلُوا أَوْ يُصَلَّبُوا أَوْ تُقَطَّعَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُم مِّنْ خِلَافٍ أَوْ يُنفَوْا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لَهُمْ خِزْيٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ ۝إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا مِن قَبْلِ أَن تَقْدِرُوا عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ۝

    Workers are also encouraged not to follow the instructions of those who merely want to create chaos and are involved in disruptive activities: “And do not obey the instructions of those who exceed limits, those who spread destructive activities in the land and do not do constructive works (for society)”. (26:151-152)

    وَلَا تُطِيعُوا أَمْرَ الْمُسْرِفِينَ ۝الَّذِينَ يُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا يُصْلِحُونَ ۝

    [7] Islam requires consultation between the parties. The Prophet is advised to ‘and consult them in (important) matters”. (03:159)

    وَشَاوِرۡهُمۡ فِى الۡاَمۡرِ۝

    One of the attributes of believers is described in the Quran as such, “and their decisions are made through mutual consultations”. (42:38)

    وَاَمۡرُهُمۡ شُوۡرٰى بَيۡنَهُمۡ ۝

    Hence, employers must consult with trade unions or with elected worker representatives in a Work Council on all business-related issues. The Prophet (ﷺ) also said the following: “A person who consults with others regarding matters is never embarrassed”. “Seek help in your matters with consultation”. (These ahadith are quoted from “Islam ka Shurai Nizam by Maulana Jalaluddin Ansar Umri”) Islam refers to “mutual consent” as well as “consultation” in all critical matters where others’ rights are concerned. The Quran says: “Then if both the mother and the father desire with mutual consultation and consent to wean (even before the fixed two years), there will be no sin on them”. (02:233)

    فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالًا عَنْ تَرَاضٍ مِنْهُمَا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا۝

    [8] Before the referral of a dispute to the Government, workers and employers should try to resolve their disputes through mutual negotiation. The guidance in the Quran is contained in the following words: “So, fear Allah and keep your mutual matters set aright, and obey Allah and His Messenger if you are believers”. (08:01)

    فَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَأَصْلِحُوا ذَاتَ بَيْنِكُمْ ۖ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ۝

    Even during or before the strike, if either party wants to settle the matters, the other party should also accept the peace proposal: “And if they (the combatants) incline towards peace, you should also incline towards it, and trust Allah”. (08:61)

    وَإِن جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّـهِ۝

    [9] Despite self-seeking behaviours from both sides, making peace through mutual negotiation is the preferred route: “And reconciliation (in truth) is best. Human nature has (no doubt) been made (more or less) self-seeking”. (04:128)

    وَالصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌ ۗ وَأُحْضِرَتِ الْأَنفُسُ الشُّحَّ۝

    [10] Any conciliation or mediation body should have representation from both the worker and employer sides. The guidance is in verse 35 of the fourth Surah: “And if you fear a breach between the two, then appoint one arbitrator from the husband’s family and the other from the wife’s family. If both (the arbitrators) resolve to bring about a settlement, Allah will create harmony between them. Indeed, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware”. (04:35)

    وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا إِن يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا۝

    The Prophet (ﷺ) asked people to appoint their representatives while deciding about the fate of captives of Hawazin: When the delegates of the tribe of Hawazin after embracing Islam, came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), he got up. They appealed to him to return their properties and their captives. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said to them, “The most beloved statement to me is the true one. So, you have the option of restoring your properties or your captives, for I have delayed distributing them”. The narrator added, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) had been waiting for them for more than ten days on his return from Taif. When they realized that Allah’s Apostle would return to them only one of two things, they said, “We choose our captives”. So, Allah’s Apostle got up in the gathering of the Muslims, praised Allah as He deserved, and said, “Then after! These brethren of yours have come to you with repentance, and I see it proper to return their captives to them. So, whoever amongst you likes to do that as a favour, then he can do it, and whoever of you wants to stick to his share till we pay him from the very first booty which Allah will give us then he can do so”. The people replied, “We agree to give up our shares willingly as a favour for Allah’s Apostle”. Then Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “We don’t know who amongst you has agreed and who hasn’t. Go back, and your chiefs may tell us your opinion”. So, all of them returned, and their chiefs discussed the matter with them, and then they (i.e. their leaders) came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) to tell him that they (i.e. the people) had given up their shares gladly and willingly. (Sahih al-Bukhari: 2307, 2308) A peace clause can be added in collective agreements requiring maintenance of industrial peace during the currency of a collective agreement. Pact of Ḥudaybiyah (628 AD), the compromise that was reached between Muslims and Quraish leaders of Makkah, acknowledged the equality of the Muslims as bargaining partners and declared a 10-year truce. “They agreed to abandon war for ten years during which the people which have security on the basis that there should be sincerity between them and that there should be no theft or treachery”. (Sunan Abi Dawud: 2766) [11] The state has a role in industrial relations through the provision of mediation and conciliation services. Moreover, it is supposed to take action against the aggressor, i.e., the party which is violating the rights of others. The Quran guides in the following words: “And if two parties of the Muslims fight, make them reconcile. Then if either of these (parties) commits injustice and aggression against the other, fight against (the party) that is committing aggression till it returns to Allah’s command (of establishing peace). When they revert and submit, make peace between them with equity. And put justice to work. Surely, Allah loves those who do justice”. (49:09)

    وَإِن طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَىٰ فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّىٰ تَفِيءَ إِلَىٰ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِن فَاءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوا ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ۝

    In line with the above verse, workers can also start a strike in order to force the employer to comply with the provisions of law and collective agreement. [12] Right to protest and strike against violation and deprivation of rights is allowed. The Quran says: “Allah does not like anyone’s foul words being voiced loud (publicly and openly) except by one who has been a victim of oppression (he is allowed to expose the cruelty of the oppressor), and Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing”. (04:148)

    لَّا يُحِبُّ اللَّهُ الْجَهْرَ بِالسُّوءِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ إِلَّا مَن ظُلِمَ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ سَمِيعًا عَلِيمًا۝

    The trade union has the right to strike, and the employer has the right to lockout if the other party violates their respective rights: The Prophet (ﷺ) told the companions the following when a creditor spoke rudely to the Prophet. “Leave him, for the creditor (i.e. the owner of a right), has the right to speak”. (Bukhari, hadith No. 2306)

    دَعُوهُ، فإنَّ لِصَاحِبِ الحَقِّ مَقَالًا