Is it acceptable in the eyes of Islam for a woman to work after becoming a mother?
Thank you for your question. I completely agree with you that a woman has limited time and energy, and she should fulfill her obligations first. There are primary considerations and secondary ones to look at.
Primarily, a woman is expected to fulfill household duties and focus on the rearing of young children. She is never expected to earn for the family regardless of her capability, the family’s finances, or the death of her husband. Her financial support then falls on other males of her family.
Having understood the basis above, a woman with children is permitted to work if she wants to, upon consent from her husband. In this case, it would be expected that they would discuss the sharing of household duties and the upbringing of the children because she would burn out if she still did everything. If she does choose to work, she is not obliged to give her salary to her family.
The reality is that every family wants to live happily and comfortably with mutual understanding. Most mothers want to be near their young children as they need each other, physically and emotionally, and most fathers want to be out in the workplace as they usually have acquired the education and expectation to be there.
There is nothing at all lowly about this, and there is nothing for either party to be ashamed of. Both parties should be proud and grateful to fulfill their tremendous responsibility and obligation, and generations of religious families in the past have found success in doing it this way. If a person feels that they are not fulfilling their potential, I would recommend that they do some soul-searching and change their mindset, rather than looking at their position in the home or at work.
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May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.