Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I am an expatriate in GCC, a working mom with two kids, and currently expecting. My husband lost his job at the beginning of our marriage, and I have been the only breadwinner for four years. I feel frustrated as he is not that aggressive in looking for a job here, claiming he is focused on working as a freelancer, but he has still not found a job in the field.
We are surviving here with my salary only alhamdulillah, but I am afraid that once I deliver, I will not be able to join the workforce immediately. I feel I need a break from work to spend time with my kids and heal myself after delivery.
Will I be selfish to take a break from work, while I am the only breadwinner? How can I change his mindset to get a job and start earning?
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for giving your money in charity to your family for these last four years. Please know that it is not obligatory, or called for, that you be the breadwinner instead of him, and it is not selfish to stop.
Unfortunately, your husband has gotten into the mindset that it is fine for him not to work while you go out and work during your pregnancies and while having small children at home. You are clearly unhappy with this, as many women would, and Islamic law says that he must be the breadwinner. There is no easy way to tell him, other than sitting down and explaining to him that you will take a break from work to deliver and heal. You don’t need his permission to do this, his opinion is irrelevant, however, gentleness and kindness in this conversation will get you further.
Please see the ruling here:
Fiqh of Financially Supporting one’s Parents and Relatives
Please stand your ground and fix this problem while it is still early in your marriage. If you don’t, you might be looking at supporting him for the rest of your life, while your children might be raised in a sub-optimal way. Generally, no one can raise children the way a mother does, with few exceptions, simply because no one loves their children the way a mother does. It baffles me that he doesn’t see this. Please sit down with him and come up with a plan to cover the finances, although it’s his job to do that, too. If you really want to continue to be charitable to him, perhaps you can work part-time from home.
Please see these links about the parents’ obligations in raising children:
Rights of Children in Detail
Traditional Methods of Raising Children
Nurturing Children: Key Lessons from the Prophet as a Parent & Educator
Keys to Raising Righteous Children: Eight Lessons on Successful Parenting
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, 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.