Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 59
Encouraging Livelihood by (working with) Hands and Abstaining from Begging

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"Then when the (Jumu`ah) Salat (prayer) is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allah (by working).'' (62:10)

539. Zubair bin `Awwam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "It is far better for you to take your rope, go to the mountain, (cut some firewood) carry it on your back, and sell it and thereby save your face than begging from people whether they give you or refuse.''
[Al-Bukhari].

Commentary:  As compared to beggary, this Hadith puts emphasis on hard work. However, people may look down upon manual labour or hard work, yet it is certainly far better than seeking charity servilely, because doing a job like this will certainly save a man's self-respect, whereas begging puts him in an awkward position. To put it in this way, Islam stands for a man's deliverance from indignity and teaches him to keep his sense of dignity.

540. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "It is better for anyone of you to carry a bundle of wood on his back and sell it than to beg of someone whether he gives him or refuses.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

541. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "(Prophet) Dawud (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) ate only out of that which he earned through his manual work.''
[Al-Bukhari].

542. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "(Prophet) Zakariyya (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was a carpenter.''
[Al-Bukhari].

543. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "No food is better to man than that which he earns through his manual work. Dawud (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), the Prophet of Allah, ate only out of his earnings from his manual work.''
[Al-Bukhari].

Commentary: Labour and manual work make the living of a man good, laudable and excellent. The Prophets also earned their living with their own work. Upon such earnings we get the Blessing of Allah. Some people wrongly think that earning a living is at variance with trust in Allah. Rather the right form of trust requires us to adopt ways and means according to our capacity and then to leave the matter to Allah. Also the Prophetic argument tells us that any manual skill or occupation, and the one who depends on it for his living should not be considered inferior. Instead, such people deserve respectable and worthy place in society because they emulate the example of the Prophets. In our society, a highbrow attitude towards them is unfortunate and deserves our deprecation. We have chosen to put some trades in a very low estimate and so is our view of those who are attached with them. In fact, no trade is inferior, nor is the person who adopts it.