I just wanted to ask whether being a female Muslim living in western society am I allowed to study law at degree level and uphold a career in the field? Or is it something that depends on what exactly you do in law, like maybe I can do something regarding immigration law as a profession, etc. is there a mixed opinion amongst scholars about this? I would highly appreciate some detailed and thorough advice if possible please. I have heard many opinions and am confused.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
We have consulted a practising Muslim lawyer and here under is his response:
The first point to consider is that for a Muslim lady to become or to practice as a lawyer, both these phases need to be carried out in an acceptable environment. The Shar’ee laws of Hijaab should not be compromised. In the vast majority of cases it is compromised, hence it is not permissible. However, if for example, she studies via correspondence, it may be possible to obtain a law degree without compromising the laws of Hijaab. The same condition applies to practical legal training and practicing. Based on observation it is difficult to find a Muslim woman committed to such conditions.
The second aspect would be the type of work. This too should be in accordance to the laws of Hijaab. Since appearing in court will require the sister to discard Hijaab, this will not be permissible. But, if a Muslim lady (attorney) is requested to draw up a contract or will, she can carry out this function in privacy without discarding her Hijaab. It would be incorrect to give a blanket ruling and say that all the functions of a lawyer would be impermissible for a Muslim lady.
The third aspect is with regards to the Islamic ethics of practicing law. This is not confined to females, but applies to all Muslims. It is not permissible for a lawyer to defend a client if he/she is guilty or to perpetrate any such act that contravenes the dictates of Shari’ah.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.