Islam is a religion that calls for activity and action and that encourages honest and truthful efforts and work to enhance one’s life. Muslims are urged to work hard to improve their lives and serve their society. In Islam, work itself is regarded as a rewardable act of worship as long as it is directed by good intention and it doesn’t conflict with the ethics of Shari`ah.

The eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh `Abdel Khaliq Hasan Ash-Shareef, a renowned Azhar scholar and da`iyah, states the following: Islam calls for the cultivation of the land and making the best use of its sources. It does encourage work and instructs Muslims to honestly and faithfully spare no efforts to improve their lives. The following Qur’anic citations prove this fact: (And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah’s bounty, and remember Allah much, that ye may be successful) (Al-Jumu`ah 62:10).

(He (Allah) it is Who hath made the earth subservient unto you, so walk in the paths thereof and eat of His providence.) (Al-Mulk 67:15).

Also, the following Prophetic hadiths call for work and cultivation of the land:

Jabir ibn Abdullah (Allah be pleased with them) reported: I heard Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) saying: “Never does a Muslim plant, or cultivate, but has reward for him for what the beasts eat, or the birds eat or anything else eats out of that.” (Muslim)

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If the Hour (the day of Resurrection) is about to be established and one of you was holding a palm shoot, let him take advantage of even one second before the Hour is established to plant it.”

However, it should be clear that activity and hard work should not lead to ignoring one’s duties or committing wrongdoings.

History also bears witness to the fact that Islam changed the early Muslims — who used to be idle before Islam — to be productive, innovative, active, etc. `Umar ibn Al-Kattab, for instance, innovated the state divans, known as al-hisbah (an official body which observes the markets, controls prices, enjoins goodness, forbids evil, etc.).

It goes without saying that the deeper faith one has, the more active and productive one will be.

Having stated the above, I stress that it is not passable to label Islam as “Calvinism” or any other theory or ideology. Islam is the Islam that is divinely revealed for the prosperity and welfare of all peoples. It is a comprehensive and complete way of life that covers the spiritual and material sides of people’s lives.