Women in Workforce

Question:

In the near future there may be a situation in which I will be forced to work to help the financial situation of my family. I normally would not work nor would my parents allow this, but there is no choice.

The job I will have will be in a cashier’s job in a store. The store is owned by an old Muslim man. There is no dress code so I’ll be able to wear my niqaab. I won’t be interacting with men unless someone comes to the cash, or when I am in training.

There is no other job at the moment but this one. Is it permissible for me to work in this case?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

We are in receipt of your email and note its contents.

Islam gives complete guidelines for all walks of life. Allah establishes the pristine position of women honoring them great respect. Allah Ta’ala says,

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى…

And remain in your homes and do not emerge like those of Jāhiliyyah (Pre-islamic era)…

Qur’ān 33:33

The above verse is the basic injunction for women to secure them from all the vice and malice that may come their way.

Earning ones livelihood is an integral part of life. Poverty is one of the vital tools of Shaytān to dissuade servants of Allah from the right path. In this regard Islam presented a balanced approach to earning livelihood. However, Allah levied this duty of catering to the needs of the family upon men. This is one of the reasons Allah has given males a degree above women, so that they may be able to look after their subordinates. Allah says,

لِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ }البقرة: 228{

…for men is a degree above women…

Qur’ān 2:228

Allah Ta’āla expounds on this higher degree in another verse,

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ }النساء: 34{

Men are the overseer upon women with all that which Allah has bestowed some of them over the others,
and with what they spend from their wealth…

Qur’ān 4:34

Allāma Ibn Kathīr rahmatullah alayh mentions under this verse,

{and with what they spend from their wealth} i.e from the mahr, and the expenses and all that has been made incumbent upon them to cater for their women in Qur’ān and Sunnah of Rasulullah salallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam

(Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr 2/292)[1]

All this goes to secure a woman’s needs and requirements of daily living. If the fathers, husbands, or brothers fulfill their duty upon their women then there would be no need for women to seek employment on their own. While this is the principle of Sharī῾ah, we cannot overlook the changing times where even an ardent effort by the males to fulfill the needs of women of the house is often not enough. This has become a norm in western society.

We also keep in mind that Islam does not prohibit a woman from earning her livelihood. This is also a misconception which has become prevalent in our time and age. There is complete disregard for women’s ability to earn for themselves. As long as her endeavor does not violate Shar῾ī laws, there is no barrier for her from taking up an employment.

In view of this, we now address your query. It is important for you to be cognizant whether your emergence from home is necessary in sight of Sharī῾ah or not.

If your father’s earning is not sufficient to support the whole family, then before you resort to take up a job which will make you leave the comfort of your home, we suggest that you look into the industry of home-based employments. There is a very good emerging market for typists, transcribers, virtual assistants and researchers.

If it is not possible for you to make use of such opportunities, and the need to earn a livelihood forces you to search for employment outside, then we advise you to take utmost care of your Shar῾ī duties.

  • Do not leave home without proper concealment (hijāb, niqāb). Similarly, choose an employment which will allow you to keep your shar῾ī duties of hijāb and niqāb.
  • Limit your interaction, outside the house, to your work. Once your work is finished, revert to your home. Avoid socializing and merry discussions at the workplace.
  • Do not intermingle with opposite sex at the work. If your job requires you to deal with male customers, then limit your interaction to the level of necessity. You should do so while keeping your dignity and chastity.
  • Arrange your shifts such that you are not left alone with any non-mahram man. If you have to work with the non-mahram supervisor in earlier stage, then arrange one of your mahram to accompany you for that time. However, if you do not have any mahram to accompany then try to limit your solitary interaction as much as possible.
  • Deepen your voice so as not to make it feminine or alluring.
  • Always keep your gaze in check and be conscious of Allah and His Deen.
  • Negotiate your job description clearly from beforehand so that you do not have to compromise on your Deen at a later stage.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mawlana Faisal bin Abdul Hameed

Student, Darul Iftaa

Canada

Checked and Approved by,

Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
www.daruliftaa.net

 


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One Comment

  1. Ammaarah Juhani Hassan

    My main duty is to take care of children and household, but I have to earn money for my and children’s daily expenses. I choose to work at home by selling woman health and beauty products via online store. 99% of customers are female. There is no need to talk or meet anyone. The customers order via online store and they transfer money to my bank account. Then I ship the goods. Most of my communication is via email. None of my customers can meet me or see me. I don’t have to go out anywhere unnecessary and I can observe the hijab and niqab. I hope this can be another idea for Muslimah to work at home.

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