Question and Answer: I’m a Mother to A Child, Is it alright for Me to Work?
I am a mother to a baby daughter. I work as a civil servant in the National Education Department. Please give me some advices. After I learn Islam with the methodology of salaful ummah (the noble predecessor), I’m having a dilemma whether to continue my career or to prepare myself to resign and to be a mother who stays at home. The problem is that I am not capable of managing housework, recently, even if there is no assistant, I am still able to manage the housework at the minimum limit.
I’m worried that if I continue to work, it will contradict the verse in chapter Al Ahzab, i.e., no. 33, which mentions that a woman’s rightful place is in her house. Please give advice ustadz, so that I’ll be wholeheartedly willing to work without house assistant and acquire what is better than assistant by reciting remembrance before sleeping. However, may I take house assistant? But the problem is that there will be a non-mahram (someone that is allowed to be married to) in our house.
May Allaah reward you with goodness, and may He bless you. Wassalam.
Address: South Jakarta
E-mail address: [email protected]
Answered by Ustadz Musyaffa Ad Darini:
In the name of Allah, all praise be to Allaah, peace and prayer be upon His messenger, his family, his companions, and anyone who are loyal to them. Amma ba’du,
May Allaah bestow His favors, blessing, and guidance to you, for your keenness in walking upon this straight path, Amin. In order to make it more focused and easier to discern, I will answer your question in some points below:
Firstly: Islam is a way of living, sent down by Allaah, The Creator of Mankind; He is the only One Who Knows every delicate things about His creations. He is the only One Who Knows about what is good and what can bring betterment to His slave, as well as what is bad and what can harm them. Therefore, Islam is the best way of life for mankind, the most complete, and the noblest of all. Islam is the only means that can lead mankind to goodness, advancement, and happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah the Exalted decreed,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ
“Believers! Respond to Allah, and respond to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. Know well that Allah stands between a person and his heart, and it is to Him that all of you shall be mustered.” (Chapter Al Anfaal/Spoils of War:24)
Allah is The Most Merciful, Most Graceful and One that always taking care of His creations. Therefore, He will not neglect them. Allaah decreed,
أَيَحْسَبُ الْإِنْسَانُ أَنْ يُتْرَكَ سُدًى
“Does man think that he will be left alone, unquestioned?” (Chapter Al Qiyama/The Rising of the dead:36. See Tafseer Ibn Kathir 8/283)
Hence Allaah sent down His sharia (rules of living) and obliges mankind to apply it in their life, in order to make their life better, more advanced, nobler, and happier in this world and in the Hereafter.
Secondly: Islam positions men as head of the family, on whose shoulders the main responsibility of both inner and outer needs of their family are on. Islam also precisely proportionate in distributing household tasks; the head of the family is tasked with completing every affairs that take place outside of house, whereas the mother is tasked with a noble main role, i.e., to manage all of inner household affairs.
These normatic rules are shown in Allaah’s decree,
الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has made one of them excel over the other, and because they spend out of their possessions (to support them). ” (Chapter An Nisaa’/The Women:34)
As well as in His decree,
وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ
“And stay in your homes (o wives).” (Chapter Al Ahzab/The Clans:33)
A famous expert in Qur’an interpretation, Imam Ibn Kathir, interpreted this verse in his saying: “The meaning is that (for the wives) to stay at your home, and do not go out except to fulfill your needs. Among the needs that are valid according to shari’a is going out of the house to perform prayer in the mosque by fulfilling its requirements.” (See: Tafseer Ibn Kathir, 6/409)
Thirdly: Are Women Allowed to Work?
Indeed, working is essentially the duty of a husband as the family head; however, Islam doesn’t forbid women to work. Women are allowed to work, as long as they fulfill the requirements to work and the work itself doesn’t contain anything that goes against Allaah’s rules.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz Ibn Baaz said, “Islam doesn’t forbid women to work and to do business, because Allaah the Great and Almighty allows and orders His slaves to work, as in His decree,
وَقُلِ اعْمَلُوا فَسَيَرَى اللَّهُ عَمَلَكُمْ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ
“And tell them, (O Prophet): “Keep working: Allah will behold your works and so will His Messenger and the believers; ” (Chapter At Tauba/The Repentance: 105)
This order includes men and women. Allaah also allows all His slaves to do business, thus, all mankind are ordered to do business and to work, men and women alike. Allaah decreed (which means),
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَكُمْ بَيْنَكُمْ بِالْبَاطِلِ إِلَّا أَنْ تَكُونَ تِجَارَةً عَنْ تَرَاضٍ مِنْكُمْ
“Believers! Do not devour one another’s possessions wrongfully; rather, let there be trading by mutual consent; and do not kill yourselves. Surely Allah is ever Compassionate to you.” (Chapter An Nisa/The Women: 29)
This order applies in general, for both men and women….
However, it is a must to take heed that in that work and business, it should be free from anything that causes problems and immorality. In women’s job, there should be no free mixing between men and women and it should not cause any fitna. Likewise, in business, the business itself shouldn’t create any fitna, and the women involved should always wear their veil, fully covered, and avoid the sources of fitna.
Hence, Islam permits transaction between them, as well as in other kind of work, if it is carried out separatedly from men. Women may work as a physician, nurse, and teacher exclusively for women, and men also may work as a physician or nurse for men. As for women becoming physician or nurse for men, or vice versa, men work as physician or nurse for women, it is not allowed in sharia, because of fitna and destruction that it may cause.
The permission for women and men to work must require stipulation not to harm their religion and their honor. A woman’s work must be free from anything that will endanger her religion and honor, as well as free from causing fitna and moral destruction for men. Likewise, a man’s work shouldn’t create fitna and destruction for women.
It is suggested for both men and women to work in a decent field and way, not to harm one another, and society in general.
Except in emergency setting; in an emergency, a man is permitted to take care of women, for example, men can treat women because there are no other woman that can treat her, and vice versa. This permission comes along with the urge of staying away from the sources of fitna, such as going in seclusion between man and woman, uncovering awrah, etc, which can cause fitna. This is an exception (that can only happen during an emergency situation). (See: Majmu’ Fatawa Sheikh Ibn Baaz, vol. 28, page 103-109)
Fourthly: There are some points that a wife should take notice if she wishes to work, namely:
- Her work doesn’t interfere with her main task in her house, because managing household is her obligation, whereas works other than that are not her obligation. Thus, an obligation should not be ruled out by something voluntary/suggested only.
- Her work must be done with her husband’s permission, because a wife is strongly required to obey her husband.
- Her work should be done while implementing Islamic mannerism, such as; preserving her gaze, wearing veil that is appropriate according to sharia, not adorning her voice to any man that is not her mahram,etc.
- Her work should suit women’s natural tendency, such as teaching, being a physician, nurse, writer, book author, etc.
- There is an urgency to work, for example: the husband’s salary is not enough to cover their family’s living, or the husband is sick, etc.
- There is no free mixing between men and women on her workplace. A woman should find workplace that is specially created for women, for example: all girls school, women’s organization, women courses, etc.
- A woman should try to seek for a job that can be sought from home. If there is no such job, then she may try finding outside job that is specific for women. If there is no such job, then she is not allowed to find outside job that allows free mixing between men and women, except in an emergency setting.
Fifthly: The answer to your question is heavily dependent on the kind of work/job and your condition.
Do you work because of any urgency, and that your husband couldn’t cover your livelihood? Does your husband permit you to work? Doesn’t your work interfere with your main task at home? Aren’t there any work/job that can be sought from home? If the current condition of your workplace allows free mixing between men and women, aren’t there any other work that doesn’t allow such mixing? If there aren’t, are you in such emergency hence if you do not work, your life will be in danger, or at least, it will be very hard without you working? And if it is indeed an emergency, have you practice Islamic etiquettes whenever you leave your house? Insha Allaah (by Allaah’s permission), through our explanation above, you find the answer to your question by yourself.
It is undeniable that sometimes, we need time and step-by-step approach to realize Allaah’s rules in our life; however, be steadfast in holding to His decree,
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ
“So hold Allah in awe as much as you can, ” (Chapter At-Taghabun/Mutual Disillusion: 16)
And His decree, (which means)
فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ
“And when you are resolved on a course of action put your trust in Allah.” (Chapter Aali ‘Imraan/The Family of ‘Imraan:159)
As well as the Messenger of Allaah’s saying -may peace and prayer of Allaah be upon him-, “Remember Allah when you are in convenience, and He will surely remember you (when you are) in hardships!,” (Narrated by Ahmad. It is classified as valid hadith by Albani). Also his saying,
إِنَّكَ لَنْ تَدَعَ شَيْئًا اتِّقَاءَ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِلَّا أَعْطَاكَ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا مِنْهُ (رواه أحمد وقال الألباني: سنده صحيح على شرط مسلم)
“Verily, you do not abandon something because of your fear of Allaah ‘Azza wa Jalla, except that Allaah will surely replace it for you with something better.” (Narrated by Ahmad, and classified as valid hadith by Albani)
Lastly, sometimes, a question pops in our mind, of “why does it seem that Islam restrain women so much?,”
This is a doctrin that has been long thrusted to us from the enemies of Islam. They call for the freedom of women, while beyond that call, they wish to objectify women to satisfy their needs, they want to enjoy women’s beauty freely, by degrading their dignity first; they want to ruin women who hold fast to their religion so that they are willing to show off their awrah, just like how they have destroyed their own women.
Look at women in western countries. Even though several of them seem to achieve high societal position and being respected, but many of them are assigned to be trading object, who has to sell their dignity, to adorn motorcycle or car racing competition, to adorn their products, to beautify commercials that cram various media, etc. Women are demanded to have career, whereas that is not their obligation, hence they neglect their true task to take care and educate their children as the next generation. The phenomenon, in turn, disrupt the society social structure. They aren’t finished yet; they wish to destroy our women too, just like how they destroy their own women – mentally and physically-. And among the first step towards that goal, is to persuade our women -through any means possible – to be willing to leave their house.
Let’s read a piece of the westerners very own confession below, regarding the causes that destroy their society system:
From Lord Byron: “Had the readers willing to look at the condition of women of the ancient greek, they will see that they were in forced condition that deviated from their natural instinct, and they will surely agree with me about the dire need to busy women with domestic tasks, together by enhancing their nutrition and clothing, and the dire need to disallow them to freely mix with other men.”
From Samuel Smills: “There are so many rules that demand women to work at the offices; even though they yield millions for the country’s wealth, in the end, that demand simply destroy their household lives, since it ruins household system, cripples family’s pillars, and interferes with social relationships in society; it clearly distances a wife from her husband, ostracizes children from their kins, to the point that in certain circumstances, it yields nothing except degrading women’s morality, because women’s core task is to take care of their household…,”
From Dr. Lidaylin: “Indeed, the cause of household crisis in the United States, and the secret behind the high number of crimes in society is when the wives leave their homes to increase family earnings, thus they earn more, but on the other side, their morals decrease… indeed, experience proves that the return of women to their family is the only way to save the next generation from moral degradation that are currently plaguing them.” (Refer to: Majmu’ Fatawa Ibn Baaz, volume 1, pages: 425 – 426)
See for yourself, how they who are more objective in this matter have admitted the bad impact created by women leaving their houses to pursue career… Indeed, Islam is the most befitting rules and waf of life for mankind. Rules weren’t made to restrain and confine people, but to manage their life in order to seize betterment and happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. Islam and its followers, is like therapy and a man’s body; Islam will improve its followers condition, just as therapy rectifies a human body. Islam and its followers is like governmental law and the country’s citizens, Islam regulates and disciplines men’s life, as with the goal of law.
Hence, Islam doesn’t restrain women; instead, it regulates their life so that it will be a decent, trouble-free, peaceful, and blissful in this world and in the Hereafter. That is how Islam respects women; by distancing them from any work that will trouble them, preventing them from many harms that lurk outside of their home, and maintaining their dignity from any evil intentions from those who live around them.
This is the end of our answer. And Allaah knows best. May it benefits you and easy to comprehend. Greetings.
Author: Ustadz Musyaffa’ Addariny
Article of Syaria.Com