Rights of Working Women in Islam
Islam has allocated the management of the house as a woman’s basic role, in which she takes care of her family, raises and educates her children, and caters for the needs and desires of her husband. Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said:
“A woman is the guardian of her husband’s house and is responsible for it.” (Al-Bukhari 893).
Regardless of her own financial position, her maintenance is the responsibility of her father or husband with no obligation upon her to seek employment. It is perhaps due to this privilege that the bulwark of her work is within her home, although, her work is honored, being equivalent in reward to fighting in the way of her Lord.
Despite the noble position bestowed upon them in the home, Islam does not discourages the concept of working women. A woman has been afforded the right go buy and sell while entrusting others to do her bidding.
There are numerous legal texts which establish the legality of working of women. In the case of a married woman, it is permissible to work although her husband has the right to prevent her. However, the husband’s preventative ability is revoked if he is unable to provide for her himself.
It is permissible for a woman to invest her finances in a partnership with others in whatever legal means she desires without permission. She can either lend money or invest it without being prevented since it is a form of trade according to the consensus of the Islamic scholars. If a woman works with her husband, whatever she earns belongs to her.
A father should nurture his daughter upon the dignity of work. In this regard he may entrust his daughter to a woman who can teach her sewing and embroidery.
Conditions under which a woman is allowed to work:
The work of a woman should not violate her honor, dignity and chastity. As such, the following conditions must be kept in mind:
The work in question should not be sinful or unlawful nature (such as music). It should not in any way be regarded as dishonorable by which her family may be insulted or debased.
A woman should prefer starvation to earning her livelihood with her body. Earnings from vocations such as professional mourning, drumming or playing the piano is unlawful.
Her work should not involve being in seclusion or intermingling with a non-mahram man (men who are not close relative). Some scholars disliked employing women with whom one would inevitably end up with in seclusion (due to working together) as it could easily lead to temptation. As for employing her, there can be no assurance that one will not see her and, as a result, do something that Allah has forbidden with her.
Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: “No man secludes himself with a woman without Satan accompanying them.” (At-Tirmidhi 2165).
A woman should not go out to work displaying her beauty and adornment which can easily arouse the desires of men. It means, she is permitted to go out for her work under the condition that she must neither wear adornment nor alter her conduct in a way that may attract a man’s attention.
Allah (SWT) says: “And not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like palms of hands or one eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.),” (An-Nur 24:31).
Finally, the basic principle is that a woman should take care of her home, her husband and her children. That is why her maintenance is the responsibility of her husband, even if she is rich. But in spite of such responsibility Islam give the women the right of working under the above-mentioned conditions. Moreover, Islam is the only true religion that respects women and gives them their due rights and women enjoy more rights in Islam than women in the West or other religions.