Q: Does Islam encourage people to work even if the only work they can find is low paid manual employment?
الجواب حامدًا و مصليًا و منه الصدق و الصواب
A: It is clear that Islam encourages hard work, enterprise and self sufficiency. Even when one is rightfully eligible to receive from the public treasury it is more superior to earn one’s own income. Even if the job entails manual labour and is not well remunerated, provided one is not being taken advantage of, one should not be averse to taking up the job. However, in the current context of the UK, if by taking employment one is paradoxically worse off than when claiming benefits this will diminish the superiority of self sufficiency.
For a detailed explanation, please see Importance of Earning research paper on the Al Qalam website