Rafed English

Careers of women

Adopted from the book : "Principles of Marriage" by : "Sheikh Ibrahim Amini"

It is right that earning a family's living is an obligatory deed of the man, and that women are not Islamically (as per Islamic laws) responsible for this act. Women, however, should also have a job. In Islam, idleness is discredited and reproached. "Imam Sadiq (AS) stated: 'The Almighty Allah hates too much sleep and too much rest'." 130 "Imam Sadiq (AS) also stated: 'Too much sleep wastes and ruins both one's worldly life and the religion (the life in the world Hereafter)'." 131 "Hadrat Zahra (AS) also used to work at home." 132

Anyone, in need or not, should have a job. He should not waste his life by not doing anything, but he should work and offer his share in building a better world.

If necessary, one should spend his earnings for his family and himself, but if not needed then he should donate his earnings from work to those who need his help. Idleness is tedious and, more often than not, causes mental and psychological disorders, as well as moral corruption. The best job for married women is to take care of the house. Housekeeping, childcare, etc are the best and the easiest jobs that women can do. A talented and hardworking housewife can turn her house into a heavenly place for her children and husband; and this is a valuable and worthwhile job.

"The Prophet (SA) stated: 'A woman's Jihad is when she attends to her husband (and takes care of him well)'." 133 "Umm-e-Salamah asked the Prophet (SA): 'How much reward is there for a woman's housework?' The Prophet (SA) replied: 'Any woman who, in the way of improving the order of the house, takes something from somewhere and places it somewhere else, would enjoy the grace of Allah, and whoever attracts the blessings of Allah, would not be tormented by Allah's anger'. Umm-e-Salamah said: 'O Rasul-Allah (Messenger (SA) of Allah)! May my parents be sacrificed for you, please state other rewards for women'. The Prophet (SA) of Allah stated: 'When a woman becomes pregnant, Allah rewards her as much as He would to someone who goes for Jihad (holy war) with all his wealth and life. Then when she delivers her baby, a call would reach her stating 'all your sins are forgiven; start a new life again.' Each time she feeds her baby with her milk, Allah gives her reward equal to that of freeing a slave for each feeding'." 134

Housewives, even not busy with their housework, should find something to do. They can read books, conduct research on something useful, and add to their knowledge and skills. They can write articles, and even books. They can engage in drawing, painting, tailoring, knitting, sewing, and so forth. As a result they can help their families economically as well as contributing to their society by making their achievements available to the public. Working prevents the development of many mental disorders.

"Imam Ali (AS) stated: ' Allah likes a pious person who is honestly engaged in doing a job'." 135 While some women work at home, there are others who prefer an outside job. This preference may be either for economical or other reasons. In this case, the best jobs are cultural occupations or nursing. Nurseries, primary and high schools are suitable places for women to train and teach female students. Hospitals are also suitable places where women can serve as nurses and doctors. Such jobs are agreeable to the female nature; and also, there would rarely, if at all, be the need for them to mix with or come across the men who are not mahram (near relatives with whom marriage is prohibited).

The following are recommendations to those ladies who intend to or who are working outside their homes. Consult your husband before taking up a job. It is your husband's right to grant or refuse you permission to work. Starting to work without your husband's permission will be detrimental to the serenity and loving atmosphere of your family.

Men are also advised not to be adamantly negative with regard to their wives' working outside the house, unless the job concerned is considered unsuitable for them.

(b) Ladies should observe proper Islamic Hijab (veil) when not at home. They should go to work without any make up, and with plain clothes. They must avoid mixing with men who are not mahram as much as possible.

An office is a place to work in and is not for the purpose of showing off, or for rivalry. Prestige and dignity does not come with what you wear, but what you do, and how well you do it. Be and act as a dignified Muslim woman. Maintain your self-respect, and do not hurt your husband's feelings; save your adornments and your beautiful dresses for him at home.

(c) Ladies should be aware that although they are working outside the house, they are still expected by their husbands and children to attend to such activities as housekeeping, cooking, washing, and so forth. This can be done by cooperation within the family. An outside job should not pave the way for upsetting the whole family. Men are also advised to help their wives with regard to housekeeping. Husbands should not expect their wives to work both outside and inside the house on their own. Such an expectation is neither lawful nor fair. Men and women should share the housework.

(d) If a woman, who working outside, has a child, then she should leave the child in a nursery or with someone trusted and kind. It is neither right nor wise to leave children at home on their own, since many children become fearful or helpless when they have to confront dangerous situations.

(e) If a woman feels that, in addition to the above works and responsibilities, she should under take another job, then she should definitely come to an understanding with her husband and take up a job with his permission and under his advice. If the husband does not agree, she should forget about this job. If the husband agrees for the wife's undertaking a job, she must try to select a job in which she comes in contact with minimum number of strange men. This is in the interest of both herself and the society. In any case, while outside her home, she must certainly observe Islamic Hijab and see that she remains simple and without any make-up.

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