In The Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

Alhamdulillah. Indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil within ourselves and from our wrongdoings. He whom Allah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide.

I bear witness that there is no (true) god except Allah – alone without a partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (Pbuh) is His ‘abd (Servant) and Messenger.

“O you who believe! Revere Allah the right reverence, and do not die except as Muslims.” (Surah Ali-Imran, 3:102)

“O people! Revere your Lord who has created you from a single soul, created from it its mate, and dispersed from both of them many men and women. Revere Allah through whom you demand things from one another; and (cherish the ties of) the wombs, indeed, Allah is ever watchful over you.” (Surah Al-Nisa’, 4:1)

“O you who believe! Revere Allah and say fair words. He will then rectify your deeds and forgive your sins. He who obeys Allah and His Messenger have certainly achieved a great victory.” (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:70-71)

Indeed, the best speech is Allah’s (SWT) Book and the best guidance is Muhammad’s (Pbuh) guidance. The worst affairs (of religion) are those innovated (by people), for every such innovation is an act of misguidance leading to the Hellfire.

Servants of Allah! As you all knows, under the present administrations, in some states workers were owed salaries for upwards of 5, 7, 10, 14 and 17 months. Pensioners are owed several month’s arrears and are dying.

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As reliable and confirmed reports shows, no fewer than 12 states are owing their workers a backlog of salaries and allowances, despite double bailout funds from the Federal Government, with Kogi State owing as many as 15 to 17 months, as investigations have revealed in April.

Also on the list of heavily indebted states are Osun, Kwara, Bayelsa, Ondo, Ekiti and Oyo.

Others are Benue State, Nasarawa State, Abia, Imo as well as several months of unpaid allowances, and Ogun State, which owes months of unremitted deductions from workers’ salaries for cooperatives, union dues, among others.

In June, the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, said that 23 states of the federation currently owed local government workers’ arrears of salary ranging from one to 16 months, as the national President of the union, Ibrahim Khalil, stated in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja.

Therefore, I appeal to the governments at all level to fear Allah and pay workers their salaries, their arrears and other allowances, as Muslim faithful prepare for Eid-El-Adha celebration, in order to avoid Allah’s wrath on themselves, their local governments, their states and generally on the country.

Brothers and sisters! The employer-employee relationship is considered a contract and hiring relationship, and we have some Shari‘ah texts that clarify the principles and regulations of this relationship as stated by the Islamic jurists in their books.

It is the right of the employee to have his wages specified in advance by the employer and to get it completely and on time. Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudri narrated that the Prophet, (Pbuh), said:

“Whoever employs someone to work for him, he must specify for him his wage in advance.” [See Musannaf of Abdur-Razzaaq]

Similar Hadiths were also narrated by Ibn Abi Shaibah in his Musannaf on the authority of Abu Hurairah, Abu Sa‘id and Uthman.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet, said:

“Allah Said, ‘I will be the opponent of three on the Day of Judgment:…and one who hires a workman and having taken full work from him, does not pay him his wages.‘”

On the Day of Judgment, Allah The Exalted will be the opponent of those types of people. Hence, the employers who hire workers then delay their wages for a month or two or three must fear Allah.

Abdullah Ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet, said:

“Pay the labourer/worker his wages before his sweat dries.”

Moreover, the employer has no right to force the worker to do more work or work longer than the time they agreed on, provided that the worker has the ability to do what they agreed on.

On the other hand, the worker must satisfy the conditions between him and the employer in what is not prohibited under Shari‘ah. Allah The Almighty Said:

“O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts.” [Quran 5:1]

The worker must also perform the work that is assigned to him perfectly. Al-Baihaqi and Abu Ya’ala narrated on the authority of A’ishah that the Prophet, said:

“Verily, Allah loves that when anyone of you does something he does it perfectly.”

Let me mention the great rule that the Prophet, (Pbuh) stated in a Hadith:

“There should be neither harm nor reciprocal harm.” [Imam Ahmad in Musnad]

Hence, there should be no harm against the employer or the employee.

My respected people! Wallahi, it is not permissible to delay payment of salaries to employees beyond the time when they are due, which is when the work is completed or at the end of the agreed-upon period. If the agreement is that the salary be paid monthly, then it must be paid to the worker at the end of each month; delaying it with no excuse is regarded as unfair and unjust. Allah the Almighty says:

“Then if they give suck to the children for you, give them their due payment.” [Surah al-Talaq, 65:6]

So Allah commanded that they be given their payment as soon as the work is done.

Ibn Majah narrated that Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) said:

“Give the worker his wages before his sweat dries.” [Classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih Ibn Majah]

My people! What this means is to hastening to give him his dues as soon as the work is done. Similarly, when the agreed-upon period ends (which is one month in the case of most employees nowadays), then it is obligatory to hasten to give him his dues.

Imam Al-Manawi said in his book, Fayd al-Qadir that:

“It is haram to delay and postpone when one is able to pay. The command to give it to him before his sweat dries is a metaphor for the obligation to pay him as soon as the job is done, even if he does not sweat, or if he sweated and it has dried.”

Also the company owner or any private business owner’s delay in paying the salaries is wrongdoing which makes his honour and punishment permissible, as the Prophet (Pbuh) said:

“Withholding of payment by a rich man is wrongdoing.” [Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim]

And the Prophet (Pbuh) said:

“If one who can afford it delays payment, his honour and punishment become permissible.” [Narrated by Abu Dawud, al-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah. Classed as hasan by al-Albani in his book Irwa’ al-Ghalil]

What is meant by his honour becoming permissible is that one may say: “So and so delayed paying me and he wronged me.” Punishing him means detaining him. This is how it was interpreted by Sufyan and others.

Servants of Allah! The Standing Committee was asked about a boss who did not give his workers their salaries until they traveled to their homelands once every year or two, and the workers agreed to that because they have no choice, job opportunities are few, and they need the money.

They replied:

“What this boss should do is to give his workers their salaries at the end of every month, as is the custom among people nowadays. But if there is an agreement and they accept that the salary will be paid all together after one or two years, there is nothing wrong with that, because the Prophet (Pbuh) said in a sahih hadith: “The Muslims are bound by their conditions.”” [See Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 14/390]

Based on the above, we should advise our Governments at all level, and the company owner and explain to them that it is haram to delay the employees’ salaries and it is haram to harm them.

The Federal Government, State Governments, Local Governments and private companies must understand that delaying the payment of employees’ salaries will cause serious problems, which will affect their efficiency and lead to disruptive, dangerous thoughts. The job contract requires the employers to pay them the monthly pay, and it is an injustice to delay them and it will affect them and their families.

Also private businessmen have to fear Allah and pay their salaries on time. The Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) said as mentioned earlier that:

“Give the worker his wages before his sweat dries.”

The delay in paying the salary might worry workers and may lead to disruption of important government projects, and also this might give workers justification for fraud and corruption, which would result in massive damage to the country.

I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray that He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us. Ameen Yaa Rabb!

My respected people! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Zul Hijjah 3,1438 A.H. (August 25, 2017), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached via: +2348038289761.