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Working in an Old Age Home

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Mathabah.org

Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt

Question:

Are women allowed to islamicaly work in an old age home?

Answer:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for contacting Mathabah for your question.

In response to your concern, kindly note that Islamicaly it is the obligation of fathers and husbands to look after the basic needs and necessities of their daughters and wives. However, if there is a pressing need which has led a muslim woman to find work, she is obliged to work in an islamicaly suitable environment. 

Working in an old age home, to care for seniors, usually entails some matters that are un-islamic such as seeing the awrah (nudeness) of the opposite gender and or physically touching non-maḥrams. Therefore, working in such a place would only be permissible if the position there, does not involve any islamicaly impermissible activities.

Some jurists have allowed a woman to work in such an old age home where she would be caring for only elderly women [not men] due to the element of ‘necessity’ similar to medical procedures that involve seeing and touching a patient of the same gender around their awrah. – (See: Rad-Al-Muḥtār, Page 53, Volume 6, Dār Al-Ālam Al-Kutub) [1]

“And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls, and must not expose their adornment, except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands, or to their sons or the sons of their husbands, or to their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters, or to their women, or to those owned by their right hands, or male attendants having no (sexual) urge, or to the children who are not yet conscious of the nudity of women. And let them not stamp their feet in a way that the adornment they conceal is known. And repent to God, O believers, all of you, so that you may achieve success.” – (Qurʾān: 24:31). [2]

“It is better for an iron rod to be driven into the head of a man, than for him to touch a woman who is not permissible for him.” – (Ṭabrānī 487) [3]

‘Ayesha (may Allāh be pleased with her) said, “By Allāh the Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings be upon him) never touched the hand of any woman.” – (Bukhārī 2713). [4]


[1] مَطْلَبٌ الْمَوَاضِعُ الَّتِي يَحِلُّ فِيهَا النَّظَرُ إلَى عَوْرَةِ الْأَجْنَبِيِّ (قَوْلُهُ لِإِبَاحَتِهِ لِتَحَمُّلِ الشَّهَادَةِ) وَمِثْلُهُ نَظَرُ الْقَابِلَةِ وَالْخَافِضَةِ وَالْخَتَّانِ وَالطَّبِيبِ وَزَادَ فِي الْخُلَاصَةِ مِنْ مَوَاضِعِ حِلِّ النَّظَرِ لِلْعَوْرَةِ عِنْدَ الْحَاجَةِ الِاحْتِقَانُ وَالْبَكَارَةُ فِي الْعُنَّةِ وَالرَّدُّ بِالْعَيْبِ فَتْحٌ. قُلْت: وَكَذَا لَوْ ادَّعَى الزَّانِي بَكَارَتَهَا، وَنَظَمْتهَا بِقَوْلِي

وَلَا تَنْظُرْ لِعَوْرَةِ أَجْنَبِيٍّ … بِلَا عُذْرٍ كَقَابِلَةٍ طَبِيبِ

وَخَتَّانٍ وَخَافِضَةٍ وَحَقْنٍ … شُهُودِ زِنًا بِلَا قَصْدٍ مُرِيبٍ

وَعِلْمِ بَكَارَةٍ فِي عُنَّةٍ أَوْ … زِنًا أَوْ حِينَ رَدٍّ لِلْمَعِيبِ – رد المحتار

[2] وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَىٰ عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ ۖ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ ۚ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ – النور ٣٠

[3] لإن يُطعن في رأس رجل بمخيط من حديد، خير من أن يمسّ امرأة لا تحلّ له – رواه الطبراني  ٤٨٧

[4] قَالَ عُرْوَةُ قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ فَمَنْ أَقَرَّ بِهَذَا الشَّرْطِ مِنْهُنَّ قَالَ لَهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ قَدْ بَايَعْتُكِ ‏”‏‏.‏ كَلاَمًا يُكَلِّمُهَا بِهِ، وَاللَّهِ مَا مَسَّتْ يَدُهُ يَدَ امْرَأَةٍ قَطُّ فِي الْمُبَايَعَةِ، وَمَا بَايَعَهُنَّ إِلاَّ بِقَوْلِ – رواه البخاري ٢٧١٣

This answer was collected from Mathabah.org. It’s an Islamic educational institute based in Canada. The questions are generally answered by Sheikh Yusuf Badat and Sheikh Omar Subedar.

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