• It’s Conception
  • Means and Ends.
  • Organization
  • Plan of Work (81-82)
  • The Constitution




Trade Unionism is a social phenomenon. It is not an abstract datum or static form. It is an inte­grated part of the society. When we-in Egypt and other Islamic countries-began unionism, we copied the European pattern as we copied other patterns in education, politics, economics, etc.., thinking: that these are the supreme perfection.

Many years had elapsed before we discovered that these forms had their defects and that they are not appropriate to us. So, a movement of restora­tion had begun. The thinkers who repudiated Islam in the thirties returned to it in the eighties. Correc­tive revolutions-as they were called-broke out in most Moslem countries. Prostitution, Usury, Alcohol which were tolerated under colonial liberal regimes were prohibited. Various attempts appear­ed to re-discover Islam, or interpret its old estab­lished principles into recent language, to apply them in the political and the economic spheres.

If we are calling now for Islamic Trade Un­ionism, this is not a deviation from ‘the main stream. It is a part of a world wide movement which began in the post war and expressed the will of the mas­ses, manifested in various walks of life. Trade Unions as mass organizations were supposed to be in the front. If the Pachas of the existing Trade Unions resist, they will meet the destiny of the Pachas and capitalists of the old regime who ignor­ed the movement of the society, and captivated only by their narrow conceptions and own interest.

The International Islamic Confederation of La­bour is a profound experiment to associate labour with the morals of Islam-especially Islamic Justice-for the benefit of both.

It deserves great attention from everyone in­terested in labour, whether Moslem or not, because it is a result of an extensive and polemical study of trade unionism, and an attempt to relieve it from some of its inherent defects. In his book «Crisis of Trade Unionism», Gamal Al-Banna, the orig­inator of this Confederation, proved that trade un­ions suffer an acute and permanent crisis in Capit­alist, Communist, and Islamic Societies. In the Capitalist Society, they cannot repudiate or tolerate Capitalism. In the Communist Society, they have to play the role of the transmitting belt. In the Moslem world the trade unions lack the most char­acteristic of their members, e.g., Islam. Islam pro­vides the trade unions with an objective and abso­lute criterion not only to determine the Lafo0ar-Management relations, but also to give (trade unions a solid position, a sacred mission in their societies as organizations calling for justice and social peace and solidarity.   This criterion is Islamic Justice de­rived directly from the Quran and the Prophet. No one even the head of the State has any prerogative towards it, or can be exempted from its reward. Moreover, Islam will inspire trade unions with its morals and ethics which are needed to resist corrup­tion, governmental tutelage, to persuade every worker to do his duty with conscience bearing in his mind the Islamic ideal «ALIHSAN» or Perfec­tion.

From this brochure, the reader will have a notion about this Confederation since it was an idea in the mind of an Islamic-Laborite thinker till it was established in Juno 1981.





  • The international representation of labour is confined in two federations. The first is the World Federation of Trade Unions (W.F.T.U.), which was established in 1915, its headquarters are in Prague. It comprises the communist federations and it is actually subject to the Soviet dominance, the second is the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (I.C.F.T.U.), which was established in 1949, its headquarters are in Brussels. It comprises the liberal-democratic federations and inspires the European-American policies.

In addition, there is The World Federation of Labour, which was previously called The Christian Federation of Trade Unions and it was-and still-considered by some observant as an ally of the I.C.F.T.U. especially after it transferred its head quarter from La Haye to Brussels.

  • The history of International Labour move­ment had proved that it cannot stand the political conflicts and the ideological contradictions. When the first International Federation of Trade Unions was established in 1904, it failed in attracting even the European Trade Unions. In the days of Amsterdam in the second decade of the century a hot quarrel broke between the Federation and the Soviet Trade Unions over Dawes Plan that is the Americ­an plan to assist the vanquished Germany in the First World War When the Second World War per­mitted establishing The World Federation of Trade Unions (W.F.T.U.) in 1945, the tragedy was repea­ted on the same ground and for the same reason, e.g., over Marshal Plan, and the democratic liberal group withdrew from the Federation and established the I.C.F.T.U.

On the regional level The International Con­federation of Arab Trade Union (I.C.A.T.U.) suf­fered a similar split over President Sadat policy, and it’s headquarter was transferred from Cairo to Bagdad.

On the national level, the story of the com­munist permeation into democratic trade union movement is a repeated story, a permanent headache for the leaders of these trade unions.

Moreover, the trade unions in democratic and communist countries undergo continuous cress’s. In the former they play towards Capitalism, a double and contradictory role. The rote of the ally and the enemy. This Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hide role is-as one of the German Trade Union leaders once said (in 1934), «a damned difficult task». In communist countries trade unions found them­selves obliged to play the role of a «transmitting belt» which transmits the energy (and of course decisions, etc…) from the Party to the masse, and so they have no originality or independence.

  • These phenomena’s, e.g., the confinement of international representation of labour in two federations only, whose headquarters are in Europe, and the subjection of trade union movement to political trends, give us two important facts :
    1. The non-existence of an Islamic feder­ation which represents Islamic labour force, although Islam, in Moslem nations is, net withstanding all allegations, the most prominent character of these nations, indeed, Islam is the «trade mark» of the nations that believe in it, and that the Islamic labour force exceeds 300 million workers and has their special problems. This non-existence deprived the Islamic labour force from defending its right on international level.
    2. The existence of an inherent defect in the established trade union nature. Trade Union movement, in spite of its human aims, has no objec­tive, absolute principles. This degraded it to be a mere technique, a kind of pressure group with a subjective conception. It gave it an expedient even opportunist-disposition. This deprived it from originality, independence and made it liable to governmental tutelage. If unions are based on objective, absolute values and principles, ‘then gov­ernments cannot make the. Unions their satellite, trade unions can stand, play their role in the im­munity of the heavenly principle (for there is no truly objective, absolute values but in religions).

It was a pity that the Christian Federation of Trade Unions changed its name. Christianity by all means has values that surpassed the capricious of politicians and Capitalists. However, it seems that this change was inevitable, because the Chris­tian values are essentially those of Love and Pity. No social order can be based on such sentimental values; even they are needed to modify the solid foundation of social order that is Justice.

  • This survey indicates clearly that there is a necessity-an acute necessity-for establishing an International Islamic Confederation of Labour. TMs necessity emerged from:
    1. A materialistic, expedient need requires establishing a federation which represents Islamic labour force, defends its interests, crystallizes its in­ternational existence vis-à-vis The two great inter­national federations, otherwise the interests of the Islamic labour force can be neglected or victimized.
    2. A principled need aimed at reforming the ideological defect in trade   union   movement   by basing it on principles that give it immunity and independence from governmental tutelage, or poli­tical influence, and these principles can be found only in religion.
  • Moreover, the establishing of this Islamic Confederation will regain to labour its lost moral value. The modern age deprived labour of its mor­ality because the Capitalist philosophy as well as the Socialist philosophy is based on materialistic principles. The Capitalists produce all kinds of destructive weapons, disgustful materials. The workers are obliged to behave as the firemen o? England had behaved in their strike when they resisted attempts to extinguish fires. When labour regains its moral values, this will provide a common climate, a sane milieu that assists in gather­ing employers and workers, and contribute in set­tlement the conflicts between them.
  • Finally, we must not forget that Islam is the most characteristic of Moslem nations. It was for more than thousand year§ the basis of econo­mic and political organization. Quran preserved Arabic language from decaying or to be cut down by regional dialects as it had occurred to Latin. If the language is the consciousness of the nation, if the history is the memory of the nation; and if the religion is the conscience of the nation, then Islam is all these to the Moslem nation.

Chapter II



The most important point in such federation is its understanding of Islam. There are many ritual, backward, fanatic conceptions of Islam, none of them suited the seeked new confederation. The scope do not permit any detailed account, it is enough to draw these general lines:

  • Islam is the pure and last crystallization of celestial religions. It does not discriminate among them, or feel antagonism towards any, and consider sail Prophets as venerable messengers from God, Mohamed spoke, about prophets as bro­thers, about religion as a solid house with a gap in it which Islam rises to fill.

The existing contradictions and conflicts among religions are the bitter fruits of various churches, their desire to monopole religions, to interpret them according to their own interest or understanding.

Islam secures freedom of belief to Moslems and non-Moslems. It refuses any interference between man and God and does not recognize any tutelage or priesthood.

  • The key line which governs Islamic con­ception and prevents its deviation is the conformity with Quran and the confirmed commands of the Prophet (Al Suna).
  • Meanwhile, we have the liberty in inter­pretation and understanding the texts provided this interpretation does not contradict with their mean­ing. Obviously our image will be different from our ancestors, this daces not disturb us.
  • Inspiration the spirit of Islam is the best way to understand Islam. This can be done by surveying the Quran texts and the Prophet com­mands as a whole.
  • The main character of Islam is Justice; this is what distinguishes it from Judaism and Christianity and suited Bit as the latest, all ever world relig­ion. The main character of Judaism is Monotheism, of Christianity is Love. None of these two can be a suitable basis for a social order; Justice only is the social Virtue, the virtue of virtues.

Because the Islamic Justice is God Justice, Islam imposes it upon the entire governor and the governed, the rich and the poor. No one even the head of the Stats has any special prerogative or can be exempted from its award. No sectarian or subjective interests are allowed. The rule of law, the constitutional legality am be better attain­ed by Islam, than by any other doctrine. If the Capitalist State is the Individual State, the Socia­list State is the Party State, then, the Islamic State is the Divine Law State.

Let those who ignore Islam or the enemies of Islam say Islamic Justice is a mere Word that means nothing, a slogan that eludes the masses. Commu­nism is a word, Equality is a word and Democracy is a word. Islam put clear positive and negative regulations to apply Justice, to prevent injustice and established the society upon security. The Prophet and his Caliph’s especially Omar put de­finite precedents and rules that make justice a living fact. So it is; a gross mistake to speak about Islamic Justice as a mere slogan. It is the cornerstone of the Islamic Society.

  • The liberal-popular aspect in Islam did not attain till now the importance that it deserves. Most of the writers on behalf of Islam are not from those who seek specifically liberation or per­ceive the popular aspect. The establishment of this federation will accomplish this. Treating Islam from the common people approach will give Islam the vitality that was its character when the Prophet presented it to1 the poor and wretched folk of Mecca.
  • We are well aware of all allegations and ant religion propaganda that may arise in opposi­tion, to this Confederation. We acknowledge that
    religions were used in deluding the masses, and in justifying exploitation. Equality, liberty, democ­racy are also misused. Religion in its pure form is considered to those who believe in it the Godly revelation, and to those who do not believe in it, the most ambitious discovery, Prophets are the super leaders. Religion represents the ideal and the moral value that the social order cannot dispense with. In all cases, inspiring true, pure religion is preferable than inspiring any other doctrine.

Chapter III


Some may claim that the establishment of this Federation will lead to discrimination upon religion, to sharpen the religious sensitivity and antagonism.

This is an allegation without foundation for these reasons:

  • Islam is the only celestial religion which recognized frankly and by name all the known re­ligions, because it is the latest of them. Moreover, he holy Quran refers to unknown Prophets. Islam gives the believers in all religions their complete freedom and bestows upon them his protection. The non Moslem minorities lived happily and peace­fully under Islamic rule, enjoying their rights till he colonial regimes came1 and invented this alleg­ation.
  • When differences in decisions among in­dividuals or organizations occur, it is an established rule that the decision of the MAJORITY will be applied. This is what democracy requires and no other alternative can be found. We cannot make the majority submit to the minority. Diluting de­cisions and accepting contradictions are harmful and injustice. In European countries, this rule – (the rule of the majority) – injures the interests and freedom of minorities, as it is (happening now to the Moslem minorities, but Islam protects min­orities from such prejudice, because it gives the minorities a kind of natural and unelectable rights which the Islamic governments cannot violate. This is the advantage of Islam to which the minorities were aware, and make them – in many cases – prefer Islamic rule than their own rule, since many sectarian or doctrinal differences occurs among them, and prevent neutrality. History proved that Islam was towards Christians – as a whole – more kind and safe than many Christian regimes.
  • The true Christian religion – according to the Bible and Fathers is a spiritual one, its true mission is soul salvation. It leaves every secular matter to the civil authorities and temporal power. So there is no sensitivity in establishing Islamic unionism, because a trade union does not treat soul matters, but conditions of work. Those who push Christianity amid secular or political matters work for their own accounts or ambitions and not for Christianity sake.
  • The trade unions – in a Moslem society cannot represent properly the workers if they ign­ore the most characteristic of their members, e.g., Islam, This negative attitude can be considered as a kind of contempt for their feelings, a participa­tion in the colonial policy which aims at depriving the mass organizations – especially trade unions – from the vitality of Islam.
  • The International Islamic Confederation of Labour does not refuse – from the standpoint of Islamic freedom which conform to the trade union freedom – organizing Christian trade unions. Islam – in this point – differs from the totalitari­an regimes which prohibit establishing organiza­tions other than the established trade unions so that they block the way towards any freedom or opposition. Islamic point of view conforms to the classical trade union freedom laid by I.L.O. in its famous convention (87 of 1948) which acknowledged the freedom of workers to establish trade unions of their own choosing.

But these unions will be in Moslem Societies minorities unions.

According to all democratic principles, in par­ticular, the principles laid down by I.L.O. in cases of trade union pluralism, the most representative organization only will represent all the workers. This means that minorities unions have no chance of representing- their own members, and so the affiliation to majority unions (Islamic unions) may be preferable to them since they will loose nothing and will have a chance for participate in decision making within the majority trade unions.

  • The International Islamic Confederation of Labour accepts willingly affiliation of non Moslem trade unions providing they undertake working under the banner of the Confederation, respecting its constitution. There is no paradox in this. Islam recognizes all other religions, treat their Prophets with reverence, attributes variance to churches, and priests, misinterpret and misconstruction texts. Islam is not ft monopoly of the Moslems; it is a common wealth for all mankind, a heritage of all nations and generations which participated actively in the history of human civilization. The only required condition from the non Moslem trade unions is be­lieving in Islamic Justice and net Islamic creed.
  • Another argument that usually mentioned in this context is the allegation that establishing trade unionism upon religion basis is an experience that failed in the past and lost ground in recent time, a fact that made the International Christian Federation of Trade Unions changed its name and gets rid of its Catholic principles.

This is not the whole truth. It was the Craft Unionism that excluded religion and politics. History proves that trade unionism cannot be isolated from politics even the laws required that. The analogy can be the same with religion, if the society is interested in religion as it is interested in poli­tics. This is the case in Moslem world where religion is the centre of gravity in the society. Islam differs from Christianity in this point to a degree that makes any comparison impossible, or at least unfair.

  • After all, the Christian-European societies accepted already Marxist unions, why then they refuse Islamic unions? At least the letters are pro-whereas the formers are pro-religion.

Every Islamic call is a call of international solidarity and brotherhood, not only by the objec­tivity of Islam, but also because it eliminates com­pletely all racial, social and national barriers. The existence of various religions does not annoy Islam for it is the will of God to be so. This idea is frankly and repeatedly mentioned in Quran. When Islam swept the ancient world, it was not by sword only, but also by «the scale and the book» in the words of Quran, e.g. Justice and knowledge. After that, Islam did net try to convert the vanquished subjects Christian, or Jews, in Spain, Balkan, Leba­non etc. Anyhow, the antagonism among religions is a matter of the past. The real Challenge that confronts all religions is the destructive influence of Materialism and Communism that considered all religions as «Opium of the peoples» and denied the sacred Human Soul.

Chapter IV



  • We do not deny the role played by trade unions in Islamic countries or the achievements at­tained by them, but we believe that their negative attitude towards Islam misled them, and caused their falling in three gross deviations, e.g., Oppor­tunism, Communism and Governmental Subjection.
  1. Opportunism in its best, that is taking adv­antages of whatever chance to attain benefits, can the absence of the objective Islamic criterion lead trade unions far from the allowed limits, causing conflicts between trade unions and society. In its worst, Opportunism means corruption and racketeering.
  2. Communism, in the absence of Islam – permeates most trade unions, succeeds, with variant degrees, in putting its agents in key posts. No immunity – except Islam – can stand in front communism. Unless Islam safeguards trade union policy and practices, many trade union leaders will be the voluntary victims of Communism, or they will prefer the excess of Communism rather than the exploitation of Capitalism.
  3. No trade union movement can enjoy a real independence in front its government unless it is based upon Islam, because Islam alone is more powerful than the government believing in it gives trade unionists power and immunity. Otherwise, they will be the hostage of governmental influence, caprices and fluctuations. This is the case of most Arab Trade Union Movements. In some Arab coun­tries, trade unions became a semi state propaganda organs. They deepened the conflicts among Arab countries, transferred them from the rulers to the masse.
  • On the other hand, a trade union move­ment inspires Islam will gain :
  1. It will associate itself with one of the great­est doctrine in the history of mankind. A doctrine based on Justice, masked the actual supermen from the Prophet Mohamed himself to his Caliphs and Sahabas. We can never find such, real popular supermen in the old Roman Empire or the modern British Empire. The human trait of Islam is well known. Any movement will be proud of being associated with Islam, the real Islam, and the Islam of Mohamed. No one can deny that Islam liberated in the past the masses from the shades of the Per­sian and Roman Empires, and it can liberate the masses of the modern age from Capitalism and Communism.

Islam associated itself from its inception with equality. It destructed the height barriers of race, na­tionality, inheritance, social strata that dominated the pre-Islamic societies. All Moslems are brothers. Most of the great rulers, leaders and scholars in the early Islamic era were from the destitute folk, or the cavorted vanquished races.

  1. The trade union movement will find an objective criterion by which all its claims can be measured, and transfer its claiming nature, and the sectional feature to be a claim of objective justice, from, the struggle among clauses to a strug­gle towards social peace.

This does not mean that Islamic unionism ab­andons defending the rights of workers but it means putting this defense within the framework of Islamic Justice, settlement any conflicts according to Islamic Justice, No doubt, the workers will be the beneficiaries in this bargain. Furthermore no one – even the head of the State – can escape from the Islamic Justice or exempted from its rewards, or having immunity from its obligations. Islamic Justice itself gives the workers the right of strike or using means of pressure if their legal rights were denied.

  1. The trade unionism will regain its lost morals and ethics which were sacrificed on theater of materialism. The Islamic morals are God morals and they surpass any so-called «Honour Charters» This will solve a complex problem in developing countries, the problem of sound trade union prac­tice and sound work practice.



Chapter V


It was supposed that this Confederation should have been established many years ago since there were many factors required its existence. Alas, a gap between trade union leaders and Moslem thin­kers did not permit that. Many trade unionists have Islamic tendencies, but they cannot master the Is­lamic Jurisprudence, or can theorize the broad Is­lamic labour principles. There are Islamic thinkers with sympathetic attitude towards labour, but their knowledge about trade unions is very scarce and shallow, and has no idea about the complex rela­tions between management and labour. Unfortun­ately a kind of aversion makes Islamic thinkers avoid trade unionism.

To establish an Islamic Labour Confederation, the a priori required condition is the appearance of an initiator who masters the two different but necessary fields of knowledge, namely Islam and labour. This was very exceptional, but extraordin­ary circumstances led to the appearance of such originator in the person of Gamal El-Banna.

Gamal El-Banna was born in December 1920 from a family of knowledge, celebrated for its ac­hievements. His father edited and published single-handed the most authentic Islamic encyclopedia «Al-Mosned» in 24 volumes. His brother established and led till he was martyred in!949, the largest Islamic Association «Moslem Brothers». However, Gamal El-Banna, by virtue of his studies and in­clination, was oriented towards a conception of Is­lam that differs from the Orthodox ancestral con­ception which was the established basis for all Is­lamic reformers. This conception goes directly to the two fundamental resources of Islam, the Quran and the Sunna, overlooking all the interpretations and conceptions of the ancestors,

Gamal El-Banna devoted himself to labour. In 1950 he was one of the leaders of textile trade un­ion, the largest union in the labour force. For two years he worked hard, but at last he realized that the most needed service is to provide the Egyptian Trade Union Movement with knowledge, and educate its leaders the scientific and the systematic way instead of working by trial and error. So he decided to do this sacred duty by translating and editing books on the history, the organization, the technique of trade unionism.

All references were in English. The trouble was net only in finding them, but in comprehension the expressions and the terminology. Nothing was written in Arabic on trade union organization and structure before he began his task, and it was ne­cessary to spend almost ten years, before he mastered the subject. However, the harvest was abundant, and he put the manuscripts of many books. In 1963, the1 Egyptian Workers Educational Association was established and he was requested to deliver lectures on trade unionism. The Association was in great need for his books, and was eager to publish them. After that, he was considered par excellence – the acknowledged writer, lecturer and thinker in un­ionism.

His labour books exceed 20. Among them : «The Rise and Evolution of Trade Union Move­ment», «Trade Union Organization and Structure», «Comparative Trade Union History», «Lectures on Trade Union Administration», «Workers Education Between Present and Future»,  «Researches on Workers’ Education», «Freedom of Association», «The Workers’ University», «Workers and Modern» etc…

He translated from English the reports of I.L.O. Committee on Freedom of Association (Known as John Price Committee) about the trade union situation in United Kingdom, U.S.S.R., U.S.A., in etc… (Every report in a separate volume). In 1969 the Provisional Secretary of Arab Labour Organization committed to Gamal El-Banna the re­vision of the Arabic translation of International La-bcur Standards (I.L.O. Conventions and Recommen­dations) he fulfilled that. The Arabic version was published in three bulky volumes.

When the Arab Labour Organization was esta­blished in 1973, Gamal El-Banna was appointed as an Advisory Expert and was sent to many Arab countries to give lectures or to give his technical advice about workers’ Education or trade Unions issues.

It is worth mentioning that Gamal El-Banna is interested in two other fields, the first is political editing. His first political book (appeared in 1946) was «A New Democracy», the last (appeared in 1978) was «The Rise and Fall of Weimer Republic». The second field is social service. In 1953 he est­ablished the pioneer society in the rough and awed field «Prisons». «The Egyptian Society for Priso­ners’ Welfare» put the bases of most prisons re­forms and prisoners’ welfare.

Gamal El-Banna, is, of course, and by his very milieu, an Islamic author. Among his books are; «The Spirit of Islam», «Freedom of Belief in Islam», «The Contemporary Islamic Movements, the pros and cons», «Ramadan Declaration», etc…

In the early seventies, the idea of an Islamic Federation of labour came, to the mind of Gamal El-Banna. In his pamphlet «Labour Policy in Islam» (appeared in 1971), we found the first hint to it, but the political atmosphere was not favorable for such an idea.

In the early months of 1978, Gamal El-Banna wrote a leaflet under the title, «An Invitation for The Participation in establishing the International Islamic Federation of Labour», in Arabic, English and French, and sent many copies to his unionists friends in Islamic World.

In 1979, he made, on his own expenses, three journeys:

  1. The first was in March to Khartoum, where the General Conference of the Arab Labour Organization was held. He met most of the Arabic delegates.
  2. The second was in June to Geneva where the General Conference of the Internation­al Labour Organization was held. He met most of the Moslem Asian delegates, specie­ ally the Pakistanians who   approved the idea at once, discussed the broad lines of the seeked Federation.
  3. The third was in December to Morocco where he established close contacts with the Moroccian Federation of Workers.

As a result of these journeys, correspondences and contacts, five countries announced their affilia­tion. These are; Bangladesh, Jordan, Moroco, Pakistan and The Sudan.

Gamal El-Banna wrote a draft constitution to be discussed ‘in the constituent Congress.


Chapter VI


The convening of the Constituent Congress was of course – the first step towards the actual est­ablishment of this Confederation. However, before that can be done, we have to answer three difficult questions: Where, When, and How. At first we considered Karachi (Pakistan) where the National Labour Federation of Pakistan announced its re­adiness t& receive the delegates, to undertake the necessary arrangements, but the date fixed was not appropriate. So we thought of Khartoum, the Sud­anese Federation of Employee and Professionals Trade Unions supported the idea, but again some considerations prevented holding the Congress in The Sudan. After much deliberation we decided to hold it in Geneva where the International La­bour Organization (I.L.O.) holds its yearly Confer­ence in June, and the workers’ delegates of 130 countries attend it. This decided the answer of the second question «When», for if the Congress will be held in Geneva, then it must be in June to con­cur •with the Conference of I.L.O. and to avail our­selves of the presence of the workers’ delegates. The third question was a. hard nut. How many poor organizations can be represented in Geneva? How can airplanes tickets, hotels expenses can be paid? True, some of our delegates will come as I.L.O. delegates and we have no financial obligations to­wards them, but most of our delegates are not ne­cessarily I.L.O. delegates. However this dilema was solved when the Cultural Islamic Foundation in Geneva had announced its readiness to be the host of these delegates.

The stage was set; Carnal El-Banna sent invit­ations to the affiliated organizations to send their delegates to attend the Constituent Congress from 8-12 June, 1981 in Geneva.

The agenda included:

  • Discussion the draft of the constitution.
  • Election candidates for key posts.
  • Deciding the Headquarter.
  • Announcing the establishment off the In­ternational Islamic Confederation of La­bour.

Delegates from Labour Organizations in Bang­ladesh, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan and The Sudan attended the Congress, The meetings were held in the halls and cafeteria of Palace de Nations Unies where the settings of I.L.O. were held, or in La Salle Communalle which was rented for this cause.

The delegates discussed the articles of the Con­stitution in Arabic and English one by one, they approved them after introducing some amend­ments.

An executive council was elected. It composed of Gamal El-Banna, as President with 3 vice pre­sidents, a General Secretary, two vice General Secretaries and four members.

The Congress decided to postpone the subject of the Headquarter till the contacts with the gov­ernments attain a positive result. A second Congress will be held within a year to decide this point (The Headquarter). A temporary liaison office was established in Geneva.

On 10 June the Congress invited the Moslem delegates attending I.L.O. Conference to a reception in the I.L.O. Restaurant. Most of the Moslem de­legates attended the reception. The President of I.L.O. Conference – the Moslem Senegaleetse Minis­ter of Social Affairs and Labour was the guest of honour. Many of I.L.O. staff and Moslem personali­ties in Geneva attended too.

On 12 June, the Congress accomplished its de­liberations by announcing the formal establishment of the International Islamic Confederation of La­bour.

And so, without the traditional posters, ban­ners, and slogans, this great event went, as some of great events, almost unnoticed.

In his final speech, Gamal El-Banna comment­ing on the Congress draw attention to the all im­portant fact that distinguished this Confederation from ether federations, namely its doctrinal na­ture. It is not the number, or the wealth that mat­ter, but the belief and faith, and that he has no doubt at all that this Confederation will be one of the most important international mass-organizations, and that it will undertake a sacred and his­torical mission. About the small number of the delegates, he reminded his audience that all the great doctrines began by small numbers. Islam, Christianity, even Marxism began by individuals, and spread by the courage, devotion and hero-ism of small numbers.

Although five countries only were represented in the Congress yet the number does not give the real meaning of their representation. The number of the countries obliterates the size of every coun­try and its population. We cannot compare Luxembourg or Monaco for example with U.S.A. or U.S.S.R., although each of them is a country. Their are Moslem countries with one million population or less, others with’100 millions or more. Two of the four largest Moslem countries were represented in the Confederation; every one of them is equival­ent – from population point – to at least ten of the medium size Moslem countries not to mention the small ones.

Chapter VII


The Executive Council put a plan of work for the year 1981-1982 comprises two fundamental parts, the first is tine Educational part, and the second is the Organizational part.

The Educational Part:

One of the characteristics of this Confederation is the great appreciation for Education. It is par excellence the most important means to achieve its ends, although it is an end in itself. As the Con­stitution says «Knowledge is strength, ignorance is humiliation, Islam gives knowledge priority over worship». No wonder the largest part of the plan has an educational character. This part includes the following schemes:

  • Organizing three Educational Correspond­ing courses for 500 participants in Jordan, Morocco and The Sudan. Some selected Labour-Islamic hooks would be given to the participants with writ­ten questions to be answered. A meeting between the author and the participants will be arranged to let the latter ask any question or request from the author. The answers will be corrected and given degrees by the author. Symbolic rewards and incentives will be presented to the best ten (in every course).

Correspondence courses is the most appropriate and convenient means of education in developing countries, because they do not require releasing par­ticipants, a big qualified cadre or large administra­tive expenses.

  • Translation of «Crisis of Trade Unionism», and «Islam and Trade Unions», both by Gamal El-Banna to English and French, printing 3000 copies of each.

To have an idea about these two books, let us quote here what the author wrote in the back cover of every one of them.

About «Crisis of Trade Unionism», the au­thor wrote:

«This book presents a social anatomy of the largest of mass-organizations e.g., Trade Unions, Recent Trade Unions appeared as a dialectical antithesis of capitalism. They supposed its exist-once, exist with it, in the meantime they oppose its freedom of work, the essence of capitalism, and so they play a double and paradoxes role, become a kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide, oppose capitalism and co-exist with it.

In the Communist Society, the trade unions were obliged to play the role of the «transmitting belt». A role deprived them of any originality or independence.

Trade Unions in Capitalist and Communist Societies lacked the Objective Criterion upon which they base their claims. Moreover, the nature of the established trade union by its very conception is Material. This caused a vacuum in the relations between the trade unions and their members and – in turn – a kind of fragility in their structure.

These are the elements of the trade union crisis, to get rid of it, the author presents a new kind of   trade Unionism.

About the second book «Islam and trade Un­ions» the author wrote:

«Although we can find some books about Islam and labour, yet we find none about Islam and trade unions. This topic was avoided as it was a Taboo. Indeed, most of the Moslem thinkers be­lieved that trade unions do not conform to Islamic principles.

To refute this argument, the author wrote this book. He started it by a brief chapter about «What is Trade Unionism». The second chapter is about the negative attitude of the contemporary Islamic thought .towards trade unionism and its serious effects upon trade unions and Islamic organizations. In the third chapter, the author proved, by actual evidence, that the early Islamic society acknowledged the predecessors of trade unions which were called «Alasnaf». In the fourth chapter the author can-firmed this idea by theoretical proofs, proved that The Collective Agreements are the incarnation of one of the texts «Aya» of the Holy Quran. In the final diaper, he presented a conception of the Is­lamic Trade Unionism as crystallized by the Inter­national Islamic Confederation of Labour».

No doubt, an English and French version of these two books will help to understand the idea and philosophy of the International Islamic Con­federation of Labour and to deepen its perception in the English and French speaking Moslem people.

  • Publishing a periodical Bulletin to be is­sued every four months. It will publish theoretical researches and the Confederation news.  It will be in Arabic, English and French.
  • Establishing a Translation and Publishing Centre, to meet   the   requirements   in   this field. Initially, it would be in Cairo where the technical experience is available.
  • Starting the first stage of establishing «The International Islamic Institute for Labour Studies and Vocational Training». The point of originality in this scheme is introducing labour studies from an Islamic outlook. The Confederation has already a detailed study about the first stage, its branches, duration and subjects, etc… It is suggested to be established in Khartoum. The Sudanese government is interested in the scheme, willing to support the idea.

The Organizational Part:

This part aims at intensifying and extending the membership, strengthing the organization of the branches, by a number of visits to the Islamic countries, hold meetings and seminars, etc.

* * *

To meet the financial obligations of these schemes the Confederation intends to conclude a number of technical Assistance Agreements with International and Islamic Organizations, by which these organizations offer the financial resources and the Confederation offers experience, and application.

One of the decisions of the Constituent Con­gress held in Geneva 8-12 June 1981 was to appeal to the International Islamic Organizations and other interested organizations to build an Establishment Fund to enable the Confederation to go ahead and to avoid unnecessary waste of precious time owing to the shortage of resources. Article 15 of the Con­stitution states ‘that the resources of the Confedera­tion include «Unconditioned grants».

In the meantime, this Confederation hates spending lavishly, not only because its shortage in resources, but also from a principled point. Islam hates any kind of waste, «even in water from a running river» as the Prophet said. The originator of this Confederation and his companions worked voluntarily for three years.


Chapter VIII



By the Grace of God and His Sacred Will.

Proceeding from our deep obligation towards all working peoples, especially the Moslem Working People.

Believing that this end r cannot be achieved except by inspiring the principles and morals of Islam the pure and last crystallization of all celestial religions, and establishing labour relations upon the Jsmalic Justice.

Unifying the efforts to accomplish this end.

We-the undersigned delegates-establish on behalf of our Organizations the International Is­lamic Confederation of Labour.


Chapter I


Art 1

In Geneva on 10 Shaaban 1401 H. (12 June 1981), the International Islamic Confederation of Labour was established according to this Constitu­tion.

Art 2

The Headquarter of the Confederation is (               ) in the second Congress this point point would be reconsidered to decide the perman­ent Headquarters by two-thirds votes’ majority.

Art. 3

The official language is Arabic, but the Con­federation may use other languages used by Moslem countries.

The Arabic text is the authentic one.

Chapter II


Art. 4

This Confederation is established by virtue of the interaction between Islam and Labour accord­ing to the specifying perceptions mentioned here­after.

Art. 5

  1. Islam is the pure and last crystallization of celestial religions. It does not discriminate among them, or feel any sensitivity towards any, and considers all the Prophets venerable messengers from God. Mohamed spoke about about Prophets as brothers, about religion as a solid house with a gap in it. Islam came to fill it.

The existing contradictions and conflicts among religions are the bitter fruits of various churches, their desire to monopoly religions, to interpret them according to their own interest or understanding.

Islam secures freedom of belief to Moslems or -non-Moslems, it refuses any interference between man and God and does not recognize any tutelage or priesthood.

  1. Islam is the Holly Quran and the confirmed Sunna (Prophet’s acts or commands) beyond this .two, the Confederation does not commit itself to any of the various doctrines or sects.
  2. The Islamic characteristic which specifically con­cerns this Confederation and considers a quali­fication for affiliation is the Islamic Justice, because it is the criterion of labour relations, the determining factor among Labour, Manage­ment, and Authorities.

Whatever the variance in understanding or determining Justice, it remains mo Justice that can’t be confused with exploitation and arbit­rariness.

Art. 6

  1. «labour» in this Confederation means the Work as it is mentioned in the Quran, and not the traditional economic labour. The term (Work) had been associated in the Quran with good acts, or mentioned to justify punishment or re­ward, this indicates the comprehensive nature of «Work», and that it embraces all workers whether for wages or not, whether they are manuals or intellectuals, so it is possible the­oretically to represent all workers through their organizations in the Confederation (including housewives associations, co-operatives, etc…) Although the traditional Trade Unions will be the core of the membership in the Confeder­ation.

This innovation in the organization and structure of the Confederation will freed it from proletarian complex ‘which is considered now one of the nineteenth century anachron­ism, and contradicts the recent evolution of employment trends. Moreover this innovation will enable the Confederation to avail itself from the youth and intelligentsia participation in the common interest.

  1. Applying the Quranic meaning of (Work) re­quires that labour must preserve: its Islamic ethics and morals in practice and content. La­bour must be an instrument of construction, service and welfare, fulfilling the lawful needs. All forms of conniption, exploitation and de­privation must be eliminated. Work must be practiced by Islamic conscience. The Moslem hand is an honest and pure hand.

Art. 7

The fundamental dimensions of Labour are:

  1. Labour is the principle – almost the only – source of living for the individual, and so wages must secure to the worker a decent living. If his skill does not permit that, it is the responsibility of the Islamic State to train and retrain the worker to attain the required standard.    Bending that the wages must be completed from the Islamic Zakat (Social Security).
  2. Labour, too, is a way of self fulfillment, of providing the individual own contribution in the life of his society. Measures to enable harmony between work and aptitude such as occupational orientation and retraining must be taken.

Unions must provide advice and carry out their responsibilities towards this end.

  1. Labour is a framework to all workers ac­cording to their crafts industries, etc.., to enable making collective settlements of labour   relations which are established upon Islamic Justice through Alskoura. (Consultation) between workers and management, so that obligations can be discharged by honest, rights can be attained by Justice.
  2. Labour is the only Way for construction, providing- society with material and spiritual needs, filling ‘the gap between under-developed and deve­loped countries.

Art. 8

The Confederation believes that a close link connects Islam and Labour, accomplishes the sleeked integration. Labour finds in Islam the doctrine of Mighty God, symbol of perfection and source of values. This doctrine embraces the individual, the society and universe, and put the relations upon the solid foundation of Objective Islamic Justice, and not upon brute force or capricious wishes. Islam will find in Unionism its basis and its people.

The Confederation considers that missing this link is one of the major reasons of the deteri­oration of the Islamic Societies. The recent Islamic Movements are concentrated in dispersed peasants, theoretic intelligentsia and Betty bourgeois whose main concerns are the individual aspects or the ritual formalities. The liberal and popular aspects of Islam are obliterated.

Chapter III


Art. 9

This Confederation aims at:

  1. Representing the Moslem Working Force in International Organizations and securing their Lawful rights. This includes the Immigrant Moslem Workers who work in other countries or Moslem Work sir. Who work in their countries and face Rae teal and religious discrimination.
  2. Supporting the affiliated organizations in their struggle to improve conditions of employment, raising the material, social and spiritual standard and secure to all workers their present and future.
  3. Defending Freedom of Association and pro­vide international protection to trade union leaders to enable them to pursuit their duties and responsi­bilities.
  4. Combat all forms of exploitation or despotism in labour relations, calling for inspiring Islamic morals and ethics in deciding labour rules and laws, basing labour relations upon Islamic Justice to enable the application of Islamic slogan «Obliga­tions by honesty, rights by justice».
  5. Diffusion of knowledge and education, especially adult and workers education and vocation­al training to rationalize Trade Union practices and give it strength. Knowledge is strength, ignorance is humiliation. Islam gives knowledge priority over worship,
    1. As a first step the Confederation organizes campaigns to abolish illiteracy under the Quranic command and Aya (Read) «Sourat Al Alak».
  6. Calling for diffusion and learning Arabic language because it is the language of Quran and mother tongue of all Moslems.
  7. Supporting liberation movements and in­ternational cooperation.

Art. 10

The Confederation uses the following means to-accomplish its aims:

  1. Wise preaching and persuasion by all means of mass-media (press, meetings-seminar, etc…).
  2. In the transition period, that is, from the present regimes to the sleeked Islamic regime, the Confederation uses the traditional trade union techniques such as collective agreements, consulta­tion, arbitration, amending laws, etc…

The Confederation does not eliminate from the legal Trade Union practices means of pressure, it considers them the last resort and tries to reduce to the most their bad effects upon the people.

  1. When the  transition  period  expires, the Islamic Justice, inspired directly from Quran and confirmed Sunna will  have the last word,     Em­ployers and work its must abide by it.
  2. The Confederation abstains from all in­volvement in political conflicts, governments, policies, also it refuses entering in doctrinal or sec­tarian arguments.

Chapter IV


Art. 11

The membership in the Confederation shall be composed of:

  1. The organizations that participated in the Constituent Congress.
  2. The organizations which request affiliation their requests are approved by the Execu­tive Council. This membership will be valid as soon as the Executive Board approves it. The organization can nominate its delegate in the General Council.
  3. The Executive Council may-by two-thirds votes-grant an Honorable Membership to individuals or organizations in appreciation of their efforts in serving the ends of this Confedera­tion and the Islamic Justice.
  4. The Executive Council may-by two-thirds votes-grants a Creditable Membership to individuals or organizations to encourage them to persuade working for the cause of the Confedera­tion in their own fields and by their own means.

Art. 12

No organization can withdraw from the Con­federation unless its competent organ decides so. The withdrawal shall take effect after three months from receiving the withdrawal notice, providing it would have fulfilled its obligations by virtue of its membership.

Art. 13

The General Council can recommend expelling from the membership of the Confederation the member who:

  1. Refuses to comply with the constitution or the Confederation decisions.
  2. Injures the reputation of the Confederation.
  3. Refuses to pay the contributions for two consecutive years after repeated demands.

The defaulting member shall have a just hear­ing and defending ‘himself. However, the dismissal recommendation suspends the membership till the Congress approves it.

Art. 14

It is allowed for any member of this Confedera­tion to be a member in other International Confeder­ation after the approval of the Executive Council.


Chapter IV


Art. 11

The membership in the Confederation shall be composed of:

  1. The organizations that participated in the Constituent Congress.
  2. The organizations which request affilia­tion and their requests are approved by the Execu­tive Council. This membership will be valid as soon as the Executive Board approves: it. The organization can nominate its delegate in the General Council.
  3. The Executive Council may-by two-thirds votes-grant an Honorable Membership to individuals or organizations in appreciation of their efforts in serving the ends of this Confedera­tion and the Islamic Justice.
  4. The Executive Council may-by two-thirds votes-grants a Creditable Membership to individuals or organizations to ‘encourage them to persuade working for the cause of the Confedera­tion in their own fields and by their own means.

Art. 12

No organization can withdraw from the Con­federation unless its competent organ decides so. The withdrawal shall take ‘effect after three months from receiving the withdrawal notice, providing it would have fulfilled its obligations by virtue of its membership.

Art. 13

The General Council can recommend expelling from the membership of the Confederation the member who:

  1. Refuses to comply with the constitution or the Confederation decisions.
  2. Injures the reputation of the Confederation.
  3. Refuses to pay the contributions for two consecutive years after repeated demands.

The defaulting member shall ‘have a just hear­ing and defending himself. However, the dismissal recommendation suspends the membership till the Congress approves it.

Art. 14

It is allowed for any member of this Confedera­tion to be a member in other International Confeder­ation after the approval of the Executive Council.

Chapter V


Art. 15

The financial resources of the Confederation are:

  1. Admission tax.
  2. Unconditioned grants.

Art. 16

Admission tax shall be 200 American Dollars or equivalent by national currencies. It must be paid within two months from the date of affiliation.

Art. 17

  1. Contributions shall be 1% from the yearly Organization Budget.
  2. Contributions must be paid every six months.
  3. The Executive Council has the right to ex­empt temporarily or for a fixed period any member from paying the contributions or admission tax.

Art. 18

The Executive Council shall submit a yearly fin­ancial balance to the General Council. A compre­hensive account about the financial position of the Confederation would be submitted to the Congress.

Chapter VI


Art. 19

The organs of the Confederation consist of:

  1. The Congress.
  2. The General Council.
  3. The Executive Council.
  4. The Executive Committee.

Art. 20

The Congress is held every three years by the General Council.

  1. The Congress may be held in an extra ordinary session by the request of half of the af­filiated members or two-thirds of the General Council. The General Council shall issue the call for the extraordinary session within three month of such decision.
  2. The meeting of the Congress shall be in the place and date fixed by the Council unless the Congress itself adopted a decision in a   previous meeting.

Art. 21

  1. The Congress is the supreme authority in the Confederation. It consists of one delegate for every affiliated organization that has 10000 members or less. One delegate for every consecu­tive 10000 members, providing that the de­legates of the largest organization would not exceed than 10 delegates.
  2. Each delegate may be accompanied by advisors. The advisors shall not speak or vote ex­cept on a written request made by the delegate and sent to the Secretary of the Congress.
  3. If the organization cannot send the number of the delegates to the Congress according to the ratio mentioned in (a) of this Article, the existing number would have all its entitled votes.
  4. The organization which – for any reason – cannot send its delegates may send to the Con­gress its opinion in the items of the agenda in a written document approved from its competent au­thority. This opinion shall be taken in considera­tion when the Congress discussed the item.
  5. If the organization cannot – for any reason – send its delegates, it can depute any existing delegate. This delegate has the right to speak and to vote on behalf of it providing the re levant organization submitted a written document requesting that, and approved by the competent authority.
  6. The Credential committee shall examine the credentials of the delegates. It shall submit a re­port to the Congress to be discussed in its first meeting.
  7. The General President shall preside the Congress; the General Secretary shall be its re­porter.

Art. 22

  • The Congress considers, particularly the fol­lowing matters:
  1. Drawing the broad lines of the Confeder­ation general policy.
  2. Discussing the report of the Executive Council.
  3. Approval of the budget.
  4. Amending the constitution and drawing the by rules.
  5. Approval of the affiliated members and the recommendations of the General Council about dismissal of the defaulting mem­bers.
  6. Electing the General President, the General Secretary and approving the nomination of the General Council members’ submitted by the relevant organizations.
    • The decisions of the Congress shall be taken by simple majority unless it is required by this constitution a special majority.

Art. 23

  1. The General Council consists of one delegate from every affiliated organization, plus the General President and the General Secretary.
  2. Every affiliated organization shall nom ate its delegate, it can change him when neces­sary.
  3. The term of the General Council is three years.
  4. The General President shall preside the meetings of the General Council.
  5. The General Council shall hold one meeting at least every year. The meeting shall be considered valid if it is attended by more than half of its members.
  6. The text of the sub-articles (c) and (d) of Art. 21 can be applied in the meetings of the General Council.

Art. 24

  1. The General Council shall follow-up the Executive Council in its efforts to apply the de­ns of the Congress especially the activity of Area Offices.
  2. The General Council shall elect members of Executive Council for three years.

Art. 25

  1. The Executive Council consists of the General Secretary, the Assistant General Secretaries and the members.

The Executive Council must not be less than 11, and does not exceed than 35 according to the development of the Confederation and the decisions of the Congress.

  1. The General Secretary is the president of the Council, and he is responsible for directing all its activities. He represents the Confederation.
  2. The Executive Council elects a treasurer from its members.
  3. The Executive Council shall hold at least one meeting every six months to follow-up the work­ing of the Executive Committee.

Art. 26

There shall be Area Offices; each will be pre­sided by a member of the Executive Committee. The Area Office makes the necessary contacts with the branches in its area, coordinates their activities according to the rules issued by the Executive Council.

Art. 27

The Executive Committee shall consist of the General Secretary, the Assistant General Sec­retaries and the Treasurer. It undertakes the permanent activity and holds at least one meeting every two months.

Art. 28

The General President shall draw the bread lines of the general policy, elaborates the doctrinal and theoretical aspects and submit suggestions. He shall preside the Congress and the General Council, has the right to represent the Confederation, to at­tend the meetings of the General Council and the Executive Council.


Chapter VII


Art. 29

The non-Islamic organizations may affiliate to the Confederation, providing that they have faith in the Confederation mission, respect its constitution. There is no paradox because Islam is the last of the existed religions. It recognizes them, attributes their contradictions to the Priests. Islam is not a monopoly of Moslems only. It is a commonwealth for all mankind. After all, the particular character of this Islamic Confederation as a Labour Federa­tion is the Islamic Justice. Believing in this principle is the indispensable condition for member­ship.

Affiliated Non-Islamic Organizations will have the full rights of the Islamic Organizations,

Chapter VII


Art. 30

The non-Islamic organizations may affiliate to the Confederation, providing that they have faith in the Confederation mission, respect its constitution. There is no paradox because Islam is the last of the existed religions. It recognizes them, attributes their contradictions to the priests. Islam is not a monopoly of Moslems only. It is a commonwealth for all mankind. After all, the particular character of this Islamic Confederation as a Labour Federa­tion is the Islamic Justice. Believing in this principle is the indispensable condition for member­ship.

Affiliated Non-Islamic Organizations will have the full rights of the Islamic Organizations.


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