Essay No. 188:
Dignity Of Labour: The word dignity means investing something with honor. It stands for the exaltation of labour. Labour thus has an honour, exaltation of its own. Labour of any kind has a dignity attached to it. Engineers working on different plants, sometimes soil their hands when they have to detect some defect in the working of a machine.
They don’t mind soiling their hands because they believe in the dignity of labour. However, engineers in the Third World countries are not as open minded as their counterparts in the developed countries. Bureaucrats in a Third World country like Pakistan do not like to move a chair themselves because they consider it below their dignity or status.
The developed countries show a great respect to the dignity of labour. That is why they have industrially and technologically progressed a lot. Developing countries have yet to develop respect for labour. A landlord despises a hair, because he considers himself superior to the latter. He does not show any regard to the hair, who toils day and night to grow different crops to feed the landlord and the country.
The hair is held is contempt because of his low status in the society. A society which suffers form caste system, is ill disposed to labour of a low category. It does not pay respect to a laborer who carries the mud basket on his head and does odd type of labour to earn his living. It respects those holding authority and power, though they may be the worst tyrants and indulging in immoral activities.
Hence artisans doing different types of jobs evoke little appreciation format he rich and the elite classes. The potters, the iron smiths, the carpenters, the builders are socially despised species in class-split society like ours. In such a society, the dignity of labour is conspicuous by its absence.
Dignity of labour open vistas to progress all-round. A community believing in the dignity of labour comes in touch with the ground realities of life. Islam teaches a great importance to manual labour. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) believed in doing manual labour. He did not suffer form any inhibition. He mended his shoes, washed his clothes. History tells us that he participated in the construction of Mosque in madina by carrying a basket of mud on his head.
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The Holy Prophet (PBUH) doing so conveyed the message to the Muslims believers that a great dignity lay in manual labour. Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) carried a sack of flour on his back to deliever it to the doorstep of the lady whose children were crying of hunger. He was the caliph, the ruler who did not hesitate to render prompt service to the lady by carrying a sack of flour on his back. The Islamic rulers were not averse to manual labour.
The communities that have faith in the dignity of labour do not on the whole, suffer form pride and haughtiness. They do not exhibit any kind of angularity. They cease to be stiff in manners. On the other hand, communities showing lack of respect for manual labour are prone to develop arrogance, haughtiness in life. These two traits are not befitting of dignified way of living. Hence dignity of labour is to be appreciated.
The developed countries as said earlier have a great love and respect for labour. One the reasons of making phenomenal progress-economic, technological is that they are favorably disposed towards labour. Labour is an important factor of production. In the process of economic growth, it figures prominently. Have any attempt to deprecate labour is tyrant amount to arresting the wheel of progress.
There is truth in the saying that fruits of labour are sweeter than the gifts of fortune. Any property is acquired through self-effort or labour is worth the name, while the property obtained throgh inheritance does not have much value in the eyes of the inheritor. He is liable to lose it through extravagant ways of living. Hence one, who is deeply involved in the building of assets, knows their value. Hence those who believe in the dignity of labour, hold a positive attitude on life.