Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I understand that a women’s obligation is taking care of the household and children and I will do that in sha Allah if I get married. But why is it bad for women to have a dream? I want to be a software engineer so I can easily work from home. I think Muslims should have knowledge in this field because technology is so important nowadays. I would have to study in a mixed university here in Bangladesh. If I avoid men and talk to them only in the case of necessity, will it still be haram for me to study? I’m having waswasa that worldly knowledge won’t bring any benefit and that I should drop out of high school. I feel so hopeless and can’t concentrate on my studies.
Thank you for your question. Follow your dreams and don’t be hopeless. As long as you fulfill your family obligations, you are free to work.
It is not true that worldly knowledge has no benefit. It does benefit one to use one’s worldly knowledge as a means to acquire provisions and to bring benefit to the Muslim ummah, and worldly knowledge is not restricted to men. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), said, “The best of people are those that bring the most benefit to the rest of mankind.” [Daraqutni]
The ruling of learning this-worldly knowledge is as Imam al-Nawawi said, “As for learning which is not Sacred Knowledge but is required to sustain worldly existence, such as medicine and mathematics, it too is a communal obligation.” [Majmu’ (y108), 1.26; Nuh Keller, The Reliance of the Traveller, a5.2]
It is permissible to study in a mixed university as long as you behave as you described. Working hard, educating yourself, and planning to help the Muslim Ummah is a praiseworthy thing, and is not prohibited. As long as a mother and wife don’t neglect their roles at home, they will not be sinful. Keep in mind that balancing both acts might be difficult.
Please see this link for more detail:
Is It Haram to Go To a University In a Mixed Environment?
How to Deal with Free Mixing in Public Schools
In conclusion, turn to Allah with a sincere intention, intend to help the Ummah of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), fulfill your obligations on all fronts, and work hard to achieve success in this world and the next. May Allah bless all your efforts.
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 aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, 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 later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.