Economics and Business

The Islamic Philosophy of Labor and Crafts: The View of the Ikhwan al-Safa’, Isfahani, and Ibn Khaldun

Early Islamic economic philosophy adopted or adapted the ancient economic philosophical legacy; particularly, from Bryson, whose work was available in the tenth-century in anonymous Arabic translations. These philosophical texts influenced Muslim educational and economic monographs, 1 especially Persian works on slaves, servants, and merchants.2 In those days, free people could not easily perform the menial tasks of the family and the state. The family is a microcosm of the social function of the state and, therefore, operates on the same principles as the state. Since servants are vital to the smooth functioning of the family and society, masters should be grateful to God for their labor and always treat them with kindness and benevolence. Masters should know that their servants suffer exhaustion and fatigue, just as they do. Therefore, masters should be just toward them.3

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