IslamQA.org Logo

Pursuing a career

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Assalam alaikum

Hope you’re in the best of health. Before stating my question let me tell you Ive been married since three years.My husband turned 41 this year. and I am 35. We dont have any kids yet and i dont know if it is written in our fate to have kids. My husband is a broker here in UK. For a while we have encountered decline in his business because of the consequences of brexit. My husband looks after me well and is caring towards me. However he being educated in UK hold those women in high esteem who are independent self sufficient and strong.And doesnt really respect me being a house wife. the reason being he is of the opinion that life is unpredictable and a woman should be well equipped and experienced enough to look after herself. at the same time he believes that people should be larger that life and contribute to the society aswell.I respect his opinions and want to act per his wishes and want to persue a career in journalism. but i am afraid that doing so will make me go against allah and bear the consequences. ive seen my mom who has been let down by my brothers after her husbands death.she is living with my sisters family and living a miserbaly dependent life. the world has turned materialistic and ive seen so many cases in which children dont want to take care of their old parents. its because of this reason aswell that i want to be a fully working woman to be able to sustain myself even in old age. i also want to work to take care of my mother and brother who has become needy after encountering a set back. can you tell me if under such circumstances i am right to persue working full time not only for myself but for my family and in the end also to the soceity through my writing. 

– regards 

a sister in distress

Answer

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

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

Sister in Islam,

We make Dua Allah Ta’ala remove your distress. Aameen

Allah is Al-Hakeem (All Wise). Every order of Allah Ta’ala is full of wisdom. As Muslims, we must have faith in this. We may not be able to understand the depth of the wisdom with our limited minds. However, it is incumbent upon us to have complete faith that every  command Allah Ta’ala has decreed upon us is based on pure wisdom. Therefore, we must abide by the commands of Allah Ta’ala irrespective of whether we can comprehend the wisdom behind the command or not.

You state that your husband “holds those women in high esteem who are independent self-sufficient and strong and doesn’t really respect me being a house wife”. The attitude of your husband towards you being a housewife is unfortunate. If one were to peruse through the annals of history, it would become evident that the stability of a civilisation was more often than not structured around familial duties and responsibilities. Each member of a family played a specific role in maintaining a fully functional house-hold. If one member were to neglect their role in a house-hold, it will lead to a decline in a house-hold and society at large. Due to this, men have been given the responsibility of looking after women. Allah Ta’ala mentions in the Quraan:

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ  – النساء: 34

Translation: “Men are maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them excel over others and because they spend from their wealth on them” (An-Nisaa Verse 34)

As for a woman, her duties revolve around attending to the household chores, look after the affairs of the husband and nurture the children. Consider the following:

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى – الاحزاب: 33

Translation: “ Remain in your houses and do not display your beauty as it was previously displayed in the Time of Ignorance.” (Al-Ahzaab Verse 33)

 

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ كُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ، فَالإِمَامُ رَاعٍ وَهْوَ مَسْئُولٌ وَالرَّجُلُ رَاعٍ عَلَى أَهْلِهِ وَهْوَ مَسْئُولٌ وَالْمَرْأَةُ رَاعِيَةٌ عَلَى بَيْتِ زَوْجِهَا وَهْىَ مَسْئُولَةٌ، وَالْعَبْدُ رَاعٍ عَلَى مَالِ سَيِّدِهِ وَهُوَ مَسْئُولٌ، أَلاَ فَكُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ ‏”

(صحيح البخارى حديث 5188)

Translation: “`Abdullah bin `Umar (Radhiyallahu Anhu) reports that the Prophet () said, “Everyone of you is a guardian and everyone of you is responsible (for his wards). A ruler is a guardian and is responsible(for his subjects); a man is a guardian of his family and responsible (for them); a wife is a guardian of her husband’s house and she is responsible (for it), a slave is… Beware! All of you are guardians and are responsible (for your wards).” (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith No.5188)

We understand from the above Aayah and Hadith that it is the man’s responsibility to bear the pressure of the outside world and support his family, whilst a woman should remain in the confines of her home and carry out her household duties.

It is a misconception for one to think that women who are educated and self-sufficient hold higher status. Instead her status is based on Taqwa and her doing what is befitting for her in the light of Shariah.

Further, consider the following shocking statistics of women working in the United Kingdom and ask yourself whether pursuing a career in the corporate world is worth risking your chastity and honour.

“The study, carried out by the Everyday Sexism Project and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), surveyed over 1,500 women and discovered that 52% have been victims of unwanted sexual behaviours at work, from groping to inappropriate jokes. For women aged 16-24 this percentage rose to 63%, with almost 20% of women reporting that the person harassing them was their manager or someone in a position of authority.”

(https://www.safeline.org.uk/sexual-harassment-in-the-workplace-is-found-to-affect-over-half-of-uk-women/)

 “It is estimated that 50% of women in employment are, or have been, subject to sexual harassment of some form or other.”

(http://www.safeworkers.co.uk/sexualharassmentwork.html)

Keeping the above in mind, Islam does not prohibit Muslim women from working as long as no commands of Shariah are transgressed. This means that if a woman works without getting into contact with strange(ghair-mahram) men and without disobeying any other commands of Allah Ta’ala, then it is permissible to do so.

We thus advise against pursuing a career in journalism. If need be, you should rather look into the industry of home-based businesses or employments. This can be done whilst abiding by the laws of Shariah and staying in the comfort of your home.

Alternatively, you may pursue a career in teaching or social work, in which you will only interact with women and children. In such a case, it will be permissible for you to leave your home provided you conceal yourself properly (hijāb, niqāb) before leaving your home. There have been various examples in history of women doing social work. In the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), Hadhrat Umme Ma’bad bint Milhan (Radhiyallahu Anha) used to do social work. She would sit down in the courtyard of her camp wrapped-up in her garment, generously providing food and drink to the travellers who passed by her locality. (Tareekh At-Tabari Vol.11 Pg.577 Dar At-Turaath)

However, considering the times we live in today, it will always be preferable to work from within the boundaries of your home.

As for your brothers not taking care of your mother, it is not a valid reason to leave the confines of your home thereby by risking your dignity. It was wrong of your brothers to neglect your mother; however, two wrongs do not make a right.

We make Dua that Allah Ta’ala makes it easy for you and alleviate your difficulty. Aameen

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 

This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

Find more answers indexed from: Askimam.org
Read more answers with similar topics: