Chapter 5: Labour Inspection

Labour inspection
  1. Enterprises and workplaces, operating under the provisions of this Labour Code, shall be subject to labour inspection.[1]
  2. The labour inspectors shall have the following functions and powers:
    1. to supply technical information and advice to employers and workers concerning the most effective means of complying with the legal provisions;[2]
    2. to secure the enforcement of the legal provisions relating to conditions of work and the protection of workers while engaged in their work, such as provisions relating to hours, wages, safety, health and welfare, the employment of children and young persons, and other connected matters, in so far as such provisions are enforceable by labour inspectors;[3]
    3. to bring to the notice of the competent authority defects or abuses not specifically covered by existing legal provisions.
  3. Any further duties which may be entrusted to labour inspectors shall not be such as to interfere with the effective discharge of their primary duties or to prejudice in any way the authority and impartiality which are necessary to inspectors in their relations with employers and workers.
  4. Labour inspectors provided with proper credentials shall be empowered:
    1. to enter freely and without previous notice at any hour of the day or night any workplace liable to inspection;
    2. to enter by day any premises which they may have reasonable cause to believe to be liable to inspection; and
    3. to carry out any examination, test or enquiry which they may consider necessary to satisfy themselves that the legal provisions are being strictly observed, and in particular–
    4. to interrogate, alone or in the presence of witnesses,[4] the employer or the staff of the undertaking on any matters concerning the application of the legal provisions;[5]
    5. to require the production of any books, registers or other documents the keeping of which is prescribed by national laws or regulations relating to conditions of work, in order to see that they conform with the legal provisions, and to copy such documents or make extracts from them;[6]
    6. to enforce the posting of notices required by the legal provisions;
    7. to take or remove for purposes of analysis samples of materials and substances used or handled, subject to the employer or employer’s representative being notified of any samples or substances taken or removed for such purpose.
    8. On the occasion of an inspection visit, inspectors shall notify the employer or employer’s representative of their presence, unless they consider that such a notification may be prejudicial to the performance of their duties.
  5. Both men and women shall be eligible for appointment to the inspection staff; where necessary, special duties may be assigned to men and women inspectors.[7]
  6. Labour inspectors shall be prohibited from having any direct or indirect interest in the undertakings under their supervision[8]; shall be bound not to reveal, even after leaving the service, any manufacturing or commercial secrets or working processes which may come to their knowledge in the course of their duties; and shall treat as absolutely confidential the source of any complaint bringing to their notice a defect or breach of legal provisions.
  7. Legislation shall prescribe adequate and dissuasive penalties for violations of the legal provisions enforceable by labour inspectors and for obstructing labour inspectors in the performance of their duties.[9]
  8. A complainant or a witness shall not be victimised in employment-related matters.[10]
Oh, verily, with God is the beginning and the end of all things!


أَلَا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَصِيرُ الْأُمُورُ۝


  [1] The concept of hisba (inspection) is based on the following verse of the Quran, where a person is asked to be mindful of his or her actions. “O believers! Keep fearing Allah. And everyone should be vigilant to what he has sent forward for tomorrow (the Day of Reckoning). And always fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Well Aware of what you do”. (59:18)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ۝

Islamic Labour Code shall apply to all sectors of the economy, irrespective of the so-called divisions of the formal and informal sector. Quran declares that: “And there is not a single Umma (community) but amongst whom there came (some) Warner”. (35:24)

وَاِنۡ مِّنۡ اُمَّةٍ اِلَّا خَلَا فِيۡهَا نَذِيۡرٌ۝

Laws are enacted for implementation. The Quran refers to the power of “iron” to indicate the power and authority of the state to implement its legislation. Quran says the following: “Verily, We sent Our Messengers with clear signs, and We sent down with them the Book and the balance of justice so that people might grow firm and stable in justice. And (of minerals) We brought forth iron in which there is a fierce force (for weapons and defence) and which has (multiple other) benefits for people (in industrial development). And (the purpose is) that Allah may bring to light the one who helps Him and His Messengers (i.e., the Din [Religion of Islam]) without seeing. Surely, Allah is (Himself) the All-Powerful, the Almighty”. (57:25)

لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ وَرُسُلَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ۝

Maulana Maudoodi, in Tafheem ul Quran, explains it in the following words: “The object of sending the Prophets (AS) was to establish an individual as well as collective justice. Allah did not raise His Prophets (AS) in the world just to present a scheme for the establishment of justice, but it was also a part of their mission to endeavour to enforce it practically, to collect necessary power to establish justice in all spheres of life, to punish those who might disrupt it and to break the power of those who might resist it”. The Quran highlights it as a trait of believers to set up a state system of inspection which enjoins right actions and prohibits the wrong deeds: “(These men of truth) are those who, if We establish their rule in the earth, will establish (systems of) Prayer, (organise and control) the paying of Zakat (the Alms-due), enjoin righteousness (and piousness in the whole society) and forbid (people from) evil. And the result of all the endeavours is in the control of Allah”. (22:41)

الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ۝

Labour inspection system is provided in Islam where everyone is responsible for those, he/she is in charge of. Most of all, it is the responsibility of state to protect its citizens. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) is quoted as saying: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The amir (ruler) who is over the people is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock; a man is a shepherd in charge of the inhabitants of his household, and he is responsible for his flock; a woman is a shepherdess in charge of her husband’s house and children, and she is responsible for them, and a man’s slave is a shepherd in charge of his master’s property, and he is responsible for it. So, each of you is a shepherd, and each of you is responsible for his flock”. (Sunan Abi Dawud: 2928)

‏ ‏ أَلاَ كُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ فَالأَمِيرُ الَّذِي عَلَى النَّاسِ رَاعٍ عَلَيْهِمْ وَهُوَ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْهُمْ وَالرَّجُلُ رَاعٍ عَلَى أَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ وَهُوَ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْهُمْ وَالْمَرْأَةُ رَاعِيَةٌ عَلَى بَيْتِ بَعْلِهَا وَوَلَدِهِ وَهِيَ مَسْئُولَةٌ عَنْهُمْ وَالَعَبْدُ رَاعٍ عَلَى مَالِ سَيِّدِهِ وَهُوَ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْهُ فَكُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ ‏‏

The Labour inspectorate should strive toward the implementation of law and access to workplace rights by workers. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “A ruler who has been entrusted with the affairs of the Muslims, but he makes no endeavours (for the material and moral uplift) and does not sincerely mean (their welfare) would not enter Paradise along with them”. (Sahih Muslim: 142 d)

مَا مِنْ أَمِيرٍ يَلِي أَمْرَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ ثُمَّ لاَ يَجْهَدُ لَهُمْ وَيَنْصَحُ إِلاَّ لَمْ يَدْخُلْ مَعَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ

[2] Quran admires inspection activities in the following words and supports a separate autonomous labour inspection agency: “You are the best community brought forth for (the guidance of) mankind: you enjoin righteousness, forbid evil and believe in Allah”. (03:110)

كُنۡتُمۡ خَيۡرَ اُمَّةٍ اُخۡرِجَتۡ لِلنَّاسِ تَاۡمُرُوۡنَ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ وَتَنۡهَوۡنَ عَنِ الۡمُنۡكَرِ وَتُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاللّٰهِ ۝

The first step towards compliance is raising awareness about statutory labour rights and obligations. Checking or monitoring compliance is the next step. It also indicates that a warning can be given before imposing penalties. Quran says: “Whoever adopts the path of guidance follows it to his own benefit, and whoever goes astray, then the evil consequences of his error also fall back on him alone. And no bearer of burden will bear the burden (of the sins) of any other. And We do not torment (any people) at all until We send a Messenger (to them)”. (17:15)

مَّنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا ۚ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ ۗ وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّىٰ نَبْعَثَ رَسُولًا۝

Like Prophets, officials from labour inspectorates should explain the law in local language: “And We have not sent any Messenger but with the language of his people so that he may make (the message of the truth) more and more clear to them”. (14:04)

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ۝

Laws must be gradually implemented. This also indicates that rules can be revised and enacted anew when circumstances require: “And We sent down the Qur’an in segments so that you might recite it to the people distinctly with pauses. And We have revealed it in intervals gradually (following the circumstances and expediencies)”. (17:106)

وَقُرْآنًا فَرَقْنَاهُ لِتَقْرَأَهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلَىٰ مُكْثٍ وَنَزَّلْنَاهُ تَنزِيلًا۝

Moreover, punishment can be awarded once subjects of a law have been informed about statutory requirements: Sa’ib bin Yazid (RA) reported “I was standing in the mosque, and somebody threw a gravel at me. I looked and found that he was `Umar bin Al-Khattab. He said to me, “Fetch those two men to me” When I did, he said to them, “Who are you? (Or) where do you come from?” They replied, “We are from Ta’if”. `Umar said, “Were you from this city (Madina) I would have punished you for raising your voices in the mosque of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)”. (Sahih Bukhari: 470)

قَالَ كُنْتُ قَائِمًا فِي الْمَسْجِدِ فَحَصَبَنِي رَجُلٌ، فَنَظَرْتُ فَإِذَا عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ فَقَالَ اذْهَبْ فَأْتِنِي بِهَذَيْنِ‏.‏ فَجِئْتُهُ بِهِمَا‏.‏ قَالَ مَنْ أَنْتُمَا ـ أَوْ مِنْ أَيْنَ أَنْتُمَا قَالاَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الطَّائِفِ‏.‏ قَالَ لَوْ كُنْتُمَا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْبَلَدِ لأَوْجَعْتُكُمَا، تَرْفَعَانِ أَصْوَاتَكُمَا فِي مَسْجِدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم

[3] In an Islamic state, it is the responsibility of every individual to ensure compliance with labour law. A layperson may file a complaint before the labour inspectorate. A state functionary, either acting on his own or on account of a complaint received, may take necessary action against the perpetrator of a crime. Modifying an unlawful action by hand (through force) is allowed only to the state authorities in an Islamic state. It is not the responsibility of an individual to use force against others. He/she may still file a complaint with the concerned department on observing a violation of law. The Prophet (ﷺ)  said: “He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue, and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart, and that is the least of faith”. (Sahih Muslim: 49 a)

‏ مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُمْ مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بِيَدِهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ  الإِيمَانِ ‏‏.

It is the responsibility of an Islamic state to ensure that all, be it employer or worker, have access to their workplace rights. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “If the people see evil and do not change it, soon Allah will send His punishment upon them all”. (Musnad Ahmad: 1)

إِنَّ النَّاسَ إِذَا رَأَوْا الْمُنْكَرَ فَلَمْ يُنْكِرُوهُ أَوْشَكَ أَنْ يَعُمَّهُمْ اللَّهُ بِعِقَابِهِ

One of the essential functions of the labour inspectorate is to ensure that all are given their due with violating their rights: “And do not give to the people their things (weighing) less than what is due, nor provoke strife in the land (by such moral, economic and social corruption and fraud)”. (26:183)

وَلَا تَبۡخَسُوا النَّاسَ اَشۡيَآءَهُمۡ وَلَا تَعۡثَوۡا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ مُفۡسِدِيۡنَ۝

Labour inspectorate has to decide disputes between the parties in line with the provisions of law and without favouring any party. “And if you judge, then judge between them (too but) with justice (i.e., their enmity should not restrain judgment based on justice). Undoubtedly, Allah loves those who do justice”. (05:42)

وَإِنْ حَكَمْتَ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِالْقِسْطِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ۝

[4] Workers are also encouraged to give evidence and help ensure rule of law, where needed: “And the witnesses should not refuse whenever they are called (for evidence)”. (02:282)

وَ لَا يَاۡبَ الشُّهَدَآءُ اِذَا مَا دُعُوۡا۝

Hiding of evidence is prohibited: “And who is more unjust than he who hides the testimony which is with him (in the Book) from Allah? And Allah is not unaware of your deeds”. (02:140)

وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن كَتَمَ شَهَادَةً عِندَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ۝

And the witnesses are required to tell what they know: “And we bore witness only to what we knew. And we were no guardians of the unseen”. (12:81)

وَمَا شَهِدْنَا إِلَّا بِمَا عَلِمْنَا وَمَا كُنَّا لِلْغَيْبِ حَافِظِينَ۝

In a hadith, the Prophet (ﷺ) prohibited to accept the testimony of a worker in favour of their master/employer: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) rejected the testimony of a deceitful man and woman, of one who harbours rancour against others (his brother), and he rejected the testimony of one who is dependent on a family, and he allowed his testimony for others”. Abu Dawud said: Ghimr means malice and enmity; qani (dependent), a subordinate servant like a special servant. (Sunan Abi Dawud: 3600)

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم رَدَّ شَهَادَةَ الْخَائِنِ وَالْخَائِنَةِ وَذِي الْغِمْرِ عَلَى أَخِيهِ وَرَدَّ شَهَادَةَ الْقَانِعِ لأَهْلِ الْبَيْتِ وَأَجَازَهَا لِغَيْرِهِمْ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو دَاوُدَ الْغِمْرُ الْحِنَةُ وَالشَّحْنَاءُ وَالْقَانِعُ الأَجِيرُ التَّابِعُ مِثْلُ الأَجِيرِ الْخَاصِّ

[5] It is also the responsibility of workers to give correct information to the labour inspectors while submitting a complaint or when they are asked to appear as a witness. Quran guides in the following words: “And do not mix up the truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth deliberately”. (02:42)

وَلَا تَلْبِسُوا الْحَقَّ بِالْبَاطِلِ وَتَكْتُمُوا الْحَــقَّ وَاَنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُوْنَ۝

Labour inspectors are also required to conduct necessary investigation and inquiry before incriminating an employer or a worker. The Quran says: “O believers! When you set out (to fight) in the way of Allah, carry out a thorough probe, and do not say to him who greets you (as a Muslim): ‘You are not a believer.’ You seek goods of the worldly life (in the shape of spoils of war, after killing a Muslim declaring him a disbeliever). So, (rest assured that) Allah has gains and booties in plenty. Before this, you (too) were the same. Then Allah conferred on you His Favour (and you became Muslims). So, investigate and confirm the truth (about others as well). Indeed, Allah is Well Aware of what you do”. (04:94)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَتَبَيَّنُوا وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَنْ أَلْقَىٰ إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَامَ لَسْتَ مُؤْمِنًا تَبْتَغُونَ عَرَضَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فَعِندَ اللَّهِ مَغَانِمُ كَثِيرَةٌ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كُنتُم مِّن قَبْلُ فَمَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَتَبَيَّنُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا۝

Workers must also share necessary information with labour inspectorate officials instead of spreading mere rumours: “When there comes to them any news of peace or fear, they spread it around. Had they referred it to the Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him), or those of them who are in command (instead of making it public), then those amongst them who can draw a conclusion from some matter would have found it (i.e., the truth of the news). Had there not been Allah’s favour to you and His mercy, certainly you would (all) have followed Satan except only a few”. (04:83)

وَإِذَا جَاءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِّنَ الْأَمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُوا بِهِ ۖ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَىٰ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنبِطُونَهُ مِنْهُمْ ۗ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَاتَّبَعْتُمُ الشَّيْطَانَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا۝

Labour inspectors are also instructed to investigate the matter first instead of taking punitive action on a mere complaint. The same is applicable to the inquiry committees, constituted at the workplace to investigate complaints of labour rights violations: “O believers! If some wicked person brings you any news, inquire thoroughly into its truth (lest) you should cause (undue) harm to a people unknowingly, and later feel regret for what you have done”. (49:06)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ۝

Labour inspectors should also avoid taking bribes and must not connive at violations of labour law: “And do not barter the promise made to Allah for a paltry price (i.e., worldly wealth and gains). Surely, (the reward) that is with Allah is best for you if you know (this secret)”. (16:95)

وَلَا تَشْتَرُوا بِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۚ إِنَّمَا عِندَ اللَّهِ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ۝

[6] Well maintained records are enough to indicate compliance or lack of compliance with labour law. Quran instructs clearly: “Produce your book if you are truthful”. (37:157)

فَاْتُوْا بِكِتٰبِكُمْ اِنْ كُنْتُمْ صٰدِقِيْنَ۝

In a similar vein, another verse refers to well-maintained records for reviewing the performance of workers: “And when the records of deeds will be laid open”. (81:10)

وَإِذَا الصُّحُفُ نُشِرَتْ ۝

And on performance review or while taking any disciplinary action, worker must have access to their employment records. A reference is found in the Quran in the following words:  “And We have slung every man’s record of deeds around his neck”. (17:13)

وَكُلَّ إِنْسَانٍ أَلْزَمْنَاهُ طَائِرَهُ فِي عُنُقِهِ ۝

[7] Both men and women may be appointed as labour inspectors. The Quran does not differentiate between the two when it refers to enjoining of good and prohibiting of unlawful: “The believers, men and women, are helpers and friends to one another. They command good and forbid evil”. (09:71)

وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۝

Similarly, it asks for a group to come out with specifying that these should be men: 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)

وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ۝

It is reported that Umar (RA) had appointed Samra as the market inspector in Makkah and Shifa in Madina. Ibn Adul Barr reports that “Samra bint Nahik would patrol the markets, enjoining good and forbidding evil” Umar (RA) appointed Shifa bint Abdullah an inspector of the marketplace in Madina where she kept order and guided about the transaction laws of Sharia (al-Istī’āb fī Maʻrifat al-Aṣḥāb: 4/1863) [8] Labour inspectors must judge between parties with justice. The actual verse, though addressed to Prophet Dawud (AS) applies to all state functionaries: “O Dawud (David)! Verily, We have made you (Our) vicegerent in the earth. So, judge between the people (or rule) with truth and justice. And do not follow your desire, for this (pursuance of desire) shall turn you away from the path of Allah. Surely, those who turn away from the path of Allah, for them is severe punishment because they forget the Day of Reckoning”. (38:26)

يَا دَاوُودُ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاكَ خَلِيفَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوَىٰ فَيُضِلَّكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَضِلُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ بِمَا نَسُوا يَوْمَ الْحِسَابِ۝

The Prophet (ﷺ) prohibited state functionaries to take any personal benefit while they are assigned any responsibility: “The Prophet (ﷺ) appointed a man from the tribe of Al-Azd, called Ibn ‘Utbiyya for collecting the Zakat. When he returned, he said, “This (i.e., the Zakat) is for you, and this has been given to me as a present”. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Why hadn’t he stayed in his father’s or mother’s house to see whether he would be given presents or not? By Him in Whose Hands my life is, whoever takes something from the resources of the Zakat (unlawfully) will be carrying it on his neck on the Day of Resurrection; if it be a camel, it will be grunting; if a cow, it will be mooing; and if a sheep, it will be bleating”. The Prophet (ﷺ) then raised his hands till we saw the whiteness of his armpits, and he said thrice, “O Allah! Haven’t I conveyed Your Message (to them)?”. (Sahih al-Bukhari: 2597)

قَالَ اسْتَعْمَلَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم رَجُلاً مِنَ الأَزْدِ يُقَالُ لَهُ ابْنُ اللُّتْبِيَّةِ عَلَى الصَّدَقَةِ، فَلَمَّا قَدِمَ قَالَ هَذَا لَكُمْ، وَهَذَا أُهْدِيَ لِي‏.‏ قَالَ ‏ ‏ فَهَلاَّ جَلَسَ فِي بَيْتِ أَبِيهِ أَوْ بَيْتِ أُمِّهِ، فَيَنْظُرَ يُهْدَى لَهُ أَمْ لاَ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لاَ يَأْخُذُ أَحَدٌ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا إِلاَّ جَاءَ بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَحْمِلُهُ عَلَى رَقَبَتِهِ، إِنْ كَانَ بَعِيرًا لَهُ رُغَاءٌ أَوْ بَقَرَةً لَهَا خُوَارٌ أَوْ شَاةً تَيْعَرُ ـ ثُمَّ رَفَعَ بِيَدِهِ، حَتَّى رَأَيْنَا عُفْرَةَ إِبْطَيْهِ ـ اللَّهُمَّ هَلْ بَلَّغْتُ اللَّهُمَّ هَلْ بَلَّغْتُ ثَلاَثًا

Another tradition of the Prophet (ﷺ) further explains the issue: “Whosoever from you is appointed by us to a position of authority and he conceals from us a needle or something smaller than that, it would be misappropriation (of public funds) and will (have to) produce it on the Day of Judgment. The narrator says: A dark-complexioned man from the Ansar stood up – I can visualise him still – and said: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), take back from me your assignment. He said: What has happened to you? The man said: I have heard you say so and so. He said: I say that (even) now: Whosoever, from you, is appointed by us to a position of authority, he should bring everything, big or small, and whatever he is given therefrom he should take, and he should restrain himself from taking that which is forbidden”. (Sahih Muslim: 1833)

مَنِ اسْتَعْمَلْنَاهُ مِنْكُمْ عَلَى عَمَلٍ فَكَتَمَنَا مِخْيَطًا فَمَا فَوْقَهُ كَانَ غُلُولاً يَأْتِي بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

[9] One who defies the law has to be punished. The Quran says: “But whoever opposes the Messenger (ﷺ) after the path of guidance has become clear to him, and follows the path other than that of the believers, We shall keep him in the same (state of disorientation) he has (himself) turned to, and shall (eventually) cast him into Hell and that is an evil dwelling”. (04:15)

وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَىٰ وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّىٰ وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا۝

The guiding principle is that a law, enacted after due consultation with stakeholders and which is in line with teachings of Islam, has to be thoroughly followed without cherry-picking: “O believers! Enter Islam perfectly and wholly, and do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is certainly your declared enemy”. (2:208)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ۝

Obstructing labour inspectors or harming them in any way is a punishable offence: “Certainly, those who deny the revelations of Allah and kill the Prophets unjustly, and also kill those of the people who enjoin equity and justice, announce to them the news of a grievous torment”. (03:21)

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَيَقْتُلُونَ النَّبِيِّينَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَيَقْتُلُونَ الَّذِينَ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْقِسْطِ مِنَ النَّاسِ فَبَشِّرْهُم بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ۝

While implementing the law, the labour inspectorate should not fear anyone. The penalties on obstruction of labour inspectorate officials should be set at the highest level. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Carry out the legal punishments on relatives and strangers, and do not let the fear of blame stop you from carrying out the command of Allah (SWT)”. (Sunan Ibn Majah: 2540)

أَقِيمُوا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فِي الْقَرِيبِ وَالْبَعِيدِ، وَلَا تَأْخُذْكُمْ فِي اللَّهِ لَوْمَةُ لَائِمٍ

Labour inspectors should treat everyone equally, irrespective of their financial status or other grounds. The principle is well explained in a famous tradition of the Prophet (ﷺ): “The people of Quraish worried about the lady from Bani Makhzum who had committed theft. They asked, “Who will intercede for her with Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)?” Some said, “No one dares to do so except Usama bin Zaid the beloved one to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)”. When Usama spoke about that to Allah’s Apostle Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, (to him), “Do you try to intercede for somebody in a case connected with Allah’s Prescribed Punishments?” Then he got up and delivered a sermon saying, “What destroyed the nations preceding you, was that if a noble amongst them stole, they would forgive him, and if a poor person amongst them stole, they would inflict Allah’s Legal punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad stole, I would cut off her hand”. (Sahih al-Bukhari: 3475) But Islam also teaches compassion, and the first aim of the labour inspector should be to ensure compliance without punitive action. The Prophet (ﷺ) gave specific guidelines: “Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them)”. (Bukhari: 6125)

يَسِّرُوا وَلاَ تُعَسِّرُوا، وَسَكِّنُوا وَلاَ تُنَفِّرُوا

“Give tidings (to the people); do not create (in their minds) aversion (towards religion); show them leniency and do not be hard upon them”. (Muslim: 1732)

بَشِّرُوا وَلَا تُنَفِّرُوا، وَيَسِّرُوا وَلَا تُعَسِّرُوا

In another instance, the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Teach the people and make things easy for them and do not make them difficult for them”. (Adab al Mufrad: 245)

عَلِّمُوا وَيَسِّرُوا وَلاَ تُعَسِّرُوا

The above ahadith also indicate that a law should not be too burdensome for employers to comply with. And employers should also be oriented towards new legislation or regulatory requirements. [10] Quran prohibits victimising the witness: “And let no harm be done to either the scribe or the witness, but if you do so, it will be sheer disobedience on your part”. (02:282)

وَلَا يُضَارَّ كَاتِبٌ وَلَا شَهِيدٌ ۚ وَإِن تَفْعَلُوا فَإِنَّهُ فُسُوقٌ بِكُمْ۝

Victimization is prohibited against the witness that came forward and acted on his or her own to inform about violation of law. The same is applicable to a whistleblower. The Prophet (ﷺ) praised such a witness: “Should I not tell you of the best witnesses? He is the one who produces his evidence before he is asked for it”. (Muslim: 1719)

أَلَا أُخْبِرُكُمْ بِخَيْرِ الشُّهَدَاءِ الَّذِي يَأْتِي بِشَهَادَتِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُسْأَلَهَا

Workers, as a general rule, are not responsible for the actions of their employers. A worker must not be harmed for the actions of the employer. During battles, the Prophet (ﷺ) prohibited harming or killing a hired servant during a conflict: “Do not to kill a woman or a hired servant”. (Sunan Abi Dawud: 2669)

لاَ يَقْتُلَنَّ امْرَأَةً وَلاَ عَسِيفًا