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Last Updated: 2007/03/13
Summary of question
What steps should I take in order receive arbitration for my unpaid salary from the institute which I used to work at?
question
I used to work at a cultural institute, as a teacher. I worked there for 3 months. The people in charge told me they would pay me a specific amount of money on a specific date. They lied to me. After three months of begging for my right and my salary I complained to the person in charge. After making a complaint I was fired and I did not receive my full pay. They said that they have to pay me less than what we agreed upon, and on top of that, they did not even pay me all of that.
What should I do? They have oppressed me. I am upset and frustrated. Why do organizations who claim to be Muslim and Shia do things like this? They say that they are talabehs (religious students) and pious but they lied and mistreated me.
Concise answer

Dear User, Assalamu Alaikum,

“The reciprocal rights of an employee and an employer” is one of the most important subjects of the Shia Fiqh, which is discussed in the books of rent and contracts somehow that neither the rights of the employee nor the rights of the employer gets spoiled.

The first thing that is emphasized in these cases is having a “contract” and specifying the amount of employee’s salary. Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h.) prohibited getting an employee to work before specifying his salary.[1] Imam Sadegh (p.b.u.h.) said: The one who believes in God and the Day of Judgment never gets work from his employee before specifying his salary.[2]

Another point that has to be considered in a contract (either rent or work contracts) is for both sides to fulfill the obligations written in the contract. The Holy Quran says: “O you who have faith! Keep your agreements...”[3] And at another place in the Quran it states: “And fulfill the covenants; indeed all covenants are accountable”[4]

Also Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h.) has said: “Muslims, fulfill your contracts”[5]

Therefore whatever is considered a condition in a contract must be respected and fulfilled by both parties. And if one of the parties does not observe even one of the conditions, then other party has the right to make a complaint or can annul the contract. This is known as “privilege in event of violated conditions”.[6]

The other point that Islam emphasized on, is giving the employee’s salary as soon as possible. Imam Sadiq (p.b.u.h.) said: “Give a worker his wage before his sweat dries.”[7] He also says: “The employer is the guarantor of the employee’s pay, until he is paid.”[8] So Islam has stressed making a contract between the employer and the employee and also fulfilling obligations, and Islam does not condone negligence from either party.

 

We can say with no doubt that any negligence in paying an employee’s salary who has done his job according to the contract is an example of injustice, which Islam does not allow at all. Concerning this Imam Ali (p.b.u.h.) has said: “By Allah, even if I were to be given all the domains of the seven heavens with all that exists under the heavens in order to disobey Allah by snatching one grain of barley from an ant, I would never do it.”[9]

Consequently, on this basis no superior has the right to unreservedly give away anything to anyone form “the Muslim public treasury”, and no person has the right to prohibit a worker from his pay and send it back to the Muslim public treasury.

 

It should be reiterated that The Porch of Wisdom Institute and IslamQuest.net is a cultural institute whose goal is answering religious questions and questions on beliefs, and does not hold any executive or judicial authority. We are neither in a position of adjudication nor are we able to give a verdict based on one party’s information.

 

We do wish you continued success and we apologize for any delay in answering. For a fair judgment both party’s should in a reliable court and defend their cases with creditable evidence and witnesses, in the presence of a just judge so that the judge can give a fair decision based on the statements, evidence, and witnesses of each party.



[1] Wasa’elul Shi’eh; Volume 19, Page 105, Hadith #24249

[2] Kafi Volume 5, Page 289; Tahzib, Volume 6, Page 289

[3] Sura Ma’ideh – Verse 1

[4] Sura Isra - Verse 34

[5] Kafi Volume 5, Page 169, Page 404

[6] Nejatul Ibad: Imam Khomeini – Page 25, Ques. 9

[7] Kafi Volume 5, Page 288

[8] Tahzib Volume 6, Page 289

[9] Nahjul Balagha, Speech # 219

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