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Islamic Guidelines on Child Labor

In the Name of Allah---the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
Islamic Guidelines on Child Labor

Islamic Guidelines on Child Labor

Child labor refers to the employment of children in any type of work that deprives them of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially, or morally harmful. Child labor is a form of exploitation that violates a child's rights and can have long-lasting negative effects on their physical and mental health, education, and future opportunities. In many cases, child labor is also associated with poor working conditions, low wages, and long hours of work, which can further exacerbate the negative effects on a child's development. Child labor is considered a serious violation of human rights and is prohibited by international law.

In Islam, children are considered a blessing and a trust from Allah, and it is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure their proper care, protection, and education. Islam promotes the importance of education and encourages parents to provide their children with a good education to prepare them for a successful future.

Regarding child labor, Islam prohibits any form of exploitation of children and emphasizes the importance of protecting children from harm, abuse, and neglect. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) encouraged Muslims to treat their children with kindness and mercy, and to avoid burdening them with tasks beyond their capacity.

Islamic teachings emphasize the importance of fair and just treatment of all workers, including children. Employers are encouraged to provide safe and healthy working conditions and to ensure that the rights of workers, including children, are protected. In addition, Islamic law prohibits any form of forced labor, including child labor.

Overall, Islam promotes the well-being and protection of children and emphasizes the importance of providing them with a safe, nurturing an environment that allows them to grow and develop into responsible, productive members of society.


Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that al-Aqra' bin Habis (May Allah be pleased with him) saw Allah's Apostle () kissing Hasan ibn Ali (May Allah shower His blessings and peace on them). He said:

I have ten children, but I have never kissed any one of them, whereupon Allah's Messenger () said: He who does not show mercy (towards his children), no mercy would be shown to him. (Sahih Muslim:H#2318)

Islam strictly prohibits oppressing any human being including children and workers.

Surah An-Nisa (4:10) states: "And those who oppress the believers - men and women - and then do not repent, they will have the punishment of Hell, and they will have the punishment of the Burning Fire."

 Child labor laws vary from country to country, but generally, they do allow children to help their parents or elders with household chores or light work that is not harmful to their health, safety, or development. However, children are not allowed to engage in work that is hazardous or interferes with their education or social development. The International Labour Organization (ILO) considers any work that deprives children of their education, social development, and childhood as child labor and therefore, should be prohibited. Therefore, children should be encouraged to attend school and engage in age-appropriate activities that promote their growth and development.

However, child labor violations are rapidly increasing all over the world. In the past, only poor countries have been blamed for severe child labor violations, but now it is rapidly increasing in developed countries including the United States.

Child labor is illegal in the United States, and there are strict laws and regulations in place to prevent and address any instances of child labor violations. However, there are several factors that contribute to the prevalence of child labor violations in the US:

Lack of Enforcement:

Despite the existence of laws and regulations, there may be a lack of enforcement, which allows employers to engage in child labor without facing consequences.

Economic Pressure:

Economic pressures, such as poverty and unemployment, can force families to rely on child labor as a means of survival. In some cases, children may be forced to work to support their families or to pay off debts.


Globalization has led to increased competition and pressure to reduce costs, which can result in companies outsourcing work to countries with less strict labor laws and lower labor costs, including child labor.

Informal Work:

Some child labor violations occur in the informal sector, where labor laws may not apply, making it difficult to address and prevent child labor.

Lack of Awareness:

Some employers may be unaware of child labor laws and may unintentionally violate them.


Economic Policy Institute reports that in the last year at least 10 states introduced or passed laws rolling back child labor protections in the past two years. Why American states are passing laws rolling back child labor? It is, really,  an alarming situation.

It is important to emphasize that child labor protections are critical for protecting the rights and well-being of children, and any attempts to weaken these protections should be carefully scrutinized and evaluated for their potential impact on children's health, safety, and education.


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Sajid Mahmood Ansari
Research Scholar, Writer, Blogger

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