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Table of Contents

S.No Topics Page#


1 Preface 2

2 Introduction 3

3 WOMEN AS MENTIONED IN THE QURAN 3

4 ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN IN ISLAM 4

5 Economic Rights of Women 4-5

6 Guaranty to the right to work according to Islamic Guidelines 5-6

7 The Right to Alimony, Mahr 6

8 The right to Inheritance 7-8

9 Economic Eligibility 8-9

10 The Right to Own Property: 9-10

11 Financial Security 10-11

12 Regulations of Womans Work Outside the Home 11

The work must be permissible Under Sharee'ah 12


12-14
Going Outside the Home for Work should be out of
Personal Need or Societys Need
The Permission of the Husband or the Guardian 14-15
Fulfilling the Rights of the Husband and Children 15
Work that is suitable for the nature of the woman 15
Adhering to the Sharee'ah-Approved Dress. 16
Not to wear perfume 16-17
Walking Decently 17-18
18
No Fear of Fitnah (Temptations)
18-19
No Meeting in Seclusion or Intermixing with Men

13 Women in Twenty-First Century Islam 19-20

14 Conclusion 21

15 References 22

1
Preface
The purpose of this report is to discuss the economic role of women in
Islamic perspective. The reason behind writing this write-up is purely
unbiased. The chosen topic gives brief knowledge about the economic
rights given by Islam to women. Islamic law does not deprive a woman
from the right to work within the limits that protect her honor and dignity.
Islam permits the woman to personally conduct her business contracts
and financial transactions. All such contracts and transactions are sound
and valid in the view of Islamic jurisprudence. There are certain set of
conditions which if violated, the permission given to the woman to
practice this right will be rendered void and she can be restrained from
the use of her right. Quranic verses and Hadith of Holy Prophet
Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam have been mentioned in the report which
will help to understand the concept of women empowerment.

2
Economic Role of Women: The Islamic
Approach

INTRODUCTION
Womens status in Islam is one of the most controversial and serious issues of our
time, not only among the Muslim women and men but also amongst the Non-
Muslims. In many societies, a woman is still regarded as a second-class citizen and
deprived of various basic rights enjoyed by the male population. The West has often
regarded Islamic women as being backward in a male-dominated world, whereas
Islam was the first religion formally to grant the women a status never known before.
Women in the western countries have become an object used for the purpose of
entertainment and vulgarity. Islam, on the other hand, gives respect to women in the
form of Hijab.

WOMEN AS MENTIONED IN THE QURAN


The Holy Quran contains hundreds of teachings, which apply both to men and
women alike. The moral, spiritual and economic equality of men and women as
propagated by Islam is unquestionable. The specific verses of the Holy Quran, which
address themselves to men or women, deal with either their physical differences or the
role they each have to play in safeguarding the morals of the society Islam conceives.

The Holy Quran emphasizes that Allah in His perfect wisdom has created all species
in pairs, and so men and women have been created of the same species;

"O Mankind, keep your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul
and from it created its mate (of same kind) and from them twain has spread a
multitude of men and women..."...

[Quran 4:1]

The Holy Quran has named a Surah after a woman (Surah Maryam), and one of the
Surah is totally dedicated to women (Surah Al-Nisaa).

O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person
(Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from
them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you
demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs
(kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you...

(Surah Al-Nisaa)

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ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN IN ISLAM
In Islam the independent economic position of woman has been established since the
very beginning. Mention has been made of the obligation of the husband to make a
settlement on the wife, in proportion to his means, at the time of marriage. This
settlement is called dower (Mehr)

And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mehr (obligatory bridal money
given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart, but if
they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it
without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful). [Surah An-Nisa]

Islam has bestowed a Muslim woman such financial and economical rights, which no
other society, culture or religion bestowed to her. Islam has given equal rights to
Muslim male and female to possess, mortgage and perform all types of
contracts. She has sole right of her possession and men in any relation or in any form
can not interfere her rights. Therefore, a Muslim woman can perform her financial and
economic affairs without any hindrance and restriction. She can dispose of her funds
with full discretion. She has the right to sell, purchase, lease and entrepreneurship,
speculation and other financial contracts as well as donation, charity, devotion and
dedication which are performed to seek the will of Almighty Allah.

Economic Rights of Women


Most prominent financial rights recognized by Islam for Women are outlined as
under:

Guaranty to the right to work according to Islamic guidelines.


Economic eligibility.
The right to alimony, dowry.
The right to inheritance.
Right to buy and sell.
Right to dispose-of
Right to own property

There are various other manifold rights of woman that are awarded by Islam. One can
not be fully capable to elaborate these rights here. But today, the so called torch bearer
of modern civilization want to take woman to the pre-Islamic condition and culture
which were the society of stagnant and deprivation. These are intellectually deviated
or unaware of the vision of Islam; they consider a woman just a commodity
by which woman has become a marketable and they are promoting their trade
through the advertisement of women. They reduce the role and importance of women
given by Islam and interpret and present the wrong picture of the rights of women
given by Islam.

Checks on the legitimacy of womans work Islamic law does not prohibit woman
from working, but it sets the limits and controls which suit and benefit the
community and its members:

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The work of woman creates a negative impact on family life.
To match their work to the nature of the female.
Should not operate in accordance with the forbidden and illegal ways

Guaranty to the right to work according to Islamic


Guidelines
The female human has been endowed with love, kindness, sympathy, care and
affection in order to carry out her duties to her children with dignity. Based on this
natural predisposition and delegation of responsibilities, and based on the unique
qualities of the male and the female, it is only natural for man to work outside the
house and earn for the sustenance of the family and for the woman to work inside the
house and take care of the children and the family in general.

Considering this basic fact, Islamic law does not deprive a woman from the right to
work within the limits that protect her honor and dignity. Islam permits the woman to
personally conduct her business contracts and financial transactions. All such
contracts and transactions are sound and valid in the view of Islamic jurisprudence.
There are certain set conditions which if violated, the permission given to the woman
to practice this right will be rendered void and she can be restrained from the use of
her right.

The work that the women engage outside the home must not conflict with her duties
and responsibilities to her husband and children. Her work must be with other women
and free of intermingling in a male environment, where she comes into physical
contact with men, or is confined and exposed to molestation and abuse. As the
Messenger of Allah said (Peace be upon Him):

"A man is not secluded with a woman, but that the Satan is the third party to
them."

[Tirmidhi #1171 and verified]

And in another tradition,

A man said: "O Messenger of Allah my wife has gone out to go for Pilgrimage
and I have been written to go for a military campaign."
He said: "Go and make Pilgrimage with your wife."

[Bukhari #4935 & Muslim #1341 ]

Lady Cook, the well-known English writer says in New Echo:

"Men like (and prefer) the mixed environment. Thus, women are lured to something
that conflicts with their human nature. The greater the co-ed. environment (between
male and female), the more illegitimate children the society will have. There is the
greatest disaster..."

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The work that the woman performs outside her home must be, in the first place, a
lawful employment or job that suits the nature and physique of the woman. She must
not, for instance, be obliged to do heavy industrial jobs, and other jobs to which men
are more suited to perform.

Work Areas allowed for a Muslim Woman


In the call to Allah Almighty to perform religion duties
The areas of science and public education
In telemedicine for the treatment and womans diseases and pregnancy and
childbirth and other.
In the area of household home economics

The Right to Alimony, Mahr

In Islam the mahr (dowry) is one of the rights of the wife, which is hers to take in
total and is lawful for her, in contrast to the widespread practice in some countries,
where the wife is given no dowry. Evidence that the wife must be given her dowry is
found in many places, for example the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

And give to the women (whom you marry) their mahr (obligatory bridal money
given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart

[Al-Nisaa 4:4]

Ibn Abbaas said: This refers to the mahr (dowry).


Ibn Katheer, may Allaah have mercy on him, said, summarizing the comments of the
mufassireen on this aayah: The man must definitely pay the dowry to the woman,
and he should not resent it.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

But if you intend to replace a wife by another and you have given one of them a
cantar (of gold, i.e., a great amount) as mahr, take not the least bit of it back;
would you take it wrongfully without a right and (with) a manifest sin? And how
could you take it (back) when you have gone in unto each other, and they have
taken from you a firm and strong covenant?
[Al-Nisaa 4:20-21]

Ibn Katheer( may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

This means: if any one of you wants to divorce his wife and replace her with another,
you should not take anything from what you have already given the first wife, even if
it was a huge amount of wealth. The mahr is given in exchange for the right to enjoy
marital relations.
For this reason Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): And how could you take
it (back) when you have gone in unto each other? The firm and strong covenant
is the marriage contract.

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The right to Inheritance
Among the pagan Arabs before Islam, inheritance rights were confined exclusively to
the male relatives. The Quran abolished all these unjust customs and gave all the
female relatives inheritance shares:

"From what is left by parents and those nearest related there is a share for men
and a share for women, whether the property be small or large --a determinate
share"

(Quran 4:7).

Muslim mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters had received inheritance rights thirteen
hundred years before Europe recognized that these rights even existed. The division of
inheritance is a vast subject with an enormous amount of details (Quran 4:7, 11,
12,176). The general rule is that the female share is half the male's except the cases in
which the mother receives equal share to that of the father. This general rule if taken
in isolation from other legislations concerning men and women may seem unfair. In
order to understand the rationale behind this rule, one must take into account the fact
that the financial obligations of men in Islam far exceed those of women.

Moreover, the Muslim husband is charged with the maintenance of his wife and
children. The wife, on the other hand, is not obliged to help him in this regard. Her
property and earnings are for her use alone except what she may voluntarily offer her
husband. Besides, one has to realize that Islam vehemently advocates family life. It
strongly encourages youth to get married, discourages divorce, and does not regard
celibacy as a virtue. Therefore, in a truly Islamic society, family life is the norm and
single life is the rare exception. That is, almost all marriage-aged women and men are
married in an Islamic society. In light of these facts, one would appreciate that
Muslim men, in general, have greater financial burdens than Muslim women and thus
inheritance rules are meant to offset this imbalance so that the society lives free of all
gender or class wars.

A married woman who possesses means of her own may and in most cases does,
contribute a portion or the whole of her independent means towards the upkeep of the
household, but is under no obligation to do so. The upkeep of the household is the
entire responsibility of the husband; even when the wife is in her own right better off
than her husband.

This is well illustrated by the following incident. The Holy Prophet, peace be upon
him, on one occasion advised women to spend in charity out of their own means also.
Thereafter two women, both bearing the name of Zainab, one of them the wife of the
well known companion Abdullah bin Masood, came to him and told him that their
respective husbands were men of straitened means, but that they in their own rights
were comparatively better off. Would it be an act of spiritual merit if they were to
assist their husbands out of their own means? The Holy Prophet assured them their
spending on their husbands would be doubly meritorious, as it would rank both as
charity and as graciousness.

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The Holy Quran admonishes:

Covet not that whereby Allah has made some of you excel others. Men shall
have a portion of that which they earn and women shall have a portion of that
which they earn. Ask Allah alone of His bounty. Surely Allah has perfect
knowledge of all things. (4:33).

Economic Eligibility
Earning of livelihood for the family is basically a duty of the man. Islamic society
makes the man responsible for providing bread and butter for his wife and children
and meeting their expenses. However, there may arise situations where the women
have also to work for earning livelihood. So the Qur'an does not debar them from
working. This right of earning income through lawful (Halal) means is granted to a
woman by the Revealed Book when it says:
"to men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn"-(4:32).
Earning signifies the reward of good deeds in the next world as well as earning of
provision for the family in this world.
The incident referred to by the Qur'an in verse 23 of chapter 28, according to most of
the Commentators, pertains to the daughters of Hadrat Shoaib, one of whom later
became the wife of Prophet Moosa(AS). Hadrat Shoaib was an old man and could
not look after his flock of sheep. His young daughters tended the sheep and worked
for grazing and watering the flock. Prophet Moosa, one day reached Madyan and
found there some men watering their sheep when two women were holding back. He
offered his services and watered their sheep. Afterwards, he was employed by their
father with the condition that he would be married with one of the girls in
consideration of his services. From this incident reported by the Qur'an, some
scholars infer that women can engage in the earning of bread for the family under
economic compulsions.
According to some authentic Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah's peace
be upon him), he permitted the women to earn for themselves and for their family. A
Hadith quoted in Sahih Muslim states that the Prophet permitted a woman who had
been divorced, to visit her garden and take her fruit. According to another Hadith
reported by Umme Atiyyah, the Prophet allowed the women to render services in
Jihad like preparing food, nursing the wounded etc. From this we can conclude that
the women can adopt the profession of a nurse and of a doctor.
Hadrat Saudah, the wife of the Prophet (PBUH), was skilled in tanning-the skins of
the animals and used to make a considerable amount of earning from this vocation.
Abdullah-b-Mas'ud was mostly engaged in religious work and had no time to earn
for the family. So his wife used to work as artisan to earn livelihood for the family.
When the Prophet came to know about it, he assured her reward for this in the
hereafte. Khaulah-b-Thalabah also used to meet the needs of her husband who was a
poor man and earned nothing and she told this thing to the Prophet.
A lady named Qailah was a trader and bought and sold goods. Once she met the
Prophet and asked him some questions about trade. It is also narrated about
Asma-b-Makhramah that she received perfumes from her son in Yemen and sold
them.

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There are many such incidents reported in the books of history which establish that
the women used to work in the days of the Prophet to support their families and the
Prophet never objected to their engagements. From such incidents we cannot resist
the conclusion that the Muslim women can engage themselves in lawful professions
to earn income for supporting their families in case of need provided they comply
with the instructions of the Quran and Sunnah regarding modesty.

Verses of The Holy Quran


Though earning of sustenance for the family is basically the duty of man, yet Islam
does not prohibit a woman to engage in any employment, business, profession or
vocation, to earn or contribute in the income of the family in case of need. Following
verses of the Holy Qur'an are ordinarily quoted to support woman's .participation in
this field:
1. And in no wise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed His gifts
more freely on some of you than on others: to men is allotted what they earn,
and to women what they earn: But ask Allah of His bounty: For Allah hath
full knowledge of all things. (4:32)
2. And when he arrived at the watering (place) in Madyan. He found there a
group of men watering (their flocks), and besides them he found two women
who were keeping back (their flocks):He said :"What is the matter with you?"
they said: "We cannot water (our flocks) unit] the shepherds take back (their
flocks):And our father is a very old man," (28:23)
3. That man can have nothing but what he strives for; that (the fruit of) his
striving will soon come in sight; then will he be rewarded with a reward
complete; (53:39-41)

AHADITH OF THE HOLY PROPHET


The Traditions of the Prophet (PBUH) of Islam on the subject are quoted below:
1. Jaber reported: My maternal aunt was divorced thrice. She then intended to
get fruits of her palm trees. A man threatened her for her coming out. She
came to the Prophet who said: Yes, take your fruits of palm trees. It is
perhaps you will make gift or do some good act. (Muslim)
2. Umme Atiyyah reported, "I accompanied the Prophet of God in seven battles.
I-remained in the rear for their luggage, prepared food for them, nursed the
wounded and attended the sick." (Muslim)

The Right to Own Property:


Islam does not make distinction between man and woman so far as their rights of
property are concerned. The women enjoy equal rights in this field and their position
is in no way inferior to that of men. The Qur'an says: From what is left by parents
and those nearest related there is a share for men and a share for women, whether the
property is small or large - a determinate share".- (4:7)
So the Holy Qur'an makes the women along with men shareholders in inheritance of
their parents and near relations. In its verses 11, 12 and 176 of chapter 4, the Qur'an

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confers share in inheritance on the woman in her various capacities as daughter,
mother, wife anti sister.
The other way of earning fortune or acquiring property is through one's own efforts
and hard work. About this possibility the Qur'an points out by saying: "Unto men a
fortune from that which they have earned and unto women a fortune from that which
they have earned"- (4:32). Earning certainly includes the reward of good deeds in the
next world; however it also includes earning of fortune in this world. And in this the
woman has got equal rights. Like man, a woman can also earn, acquire, own,
manage and dispose of property at her discretion.
1. She can acquire property through the following means which are applicable in
the case of man also.
a) Through her own earnings.
b) Through purchase.
c) Through gift.
d) Through will
e) Through inheritance.
She has an additional right to acquire property which is not available to man i.e.
through Mahr or dower which she is entitled to receive from her husband.
2. She can own the property, possess it, manage it and enjoy its income. Over
her property she has the exclusive and absolute rights. Her father, her
husband or her brothers or her children have no legal right over her property.
If the husband is poor and she spends out of her earning or property for the
family, she is entitled to claim it from her husband when he becomes
prosperous. It is because she has no legal obligation to spend for her family
out of her personal wealth, her husband being responsible for her and
children's maintenance.
3. She has got full rights regarding the alienation of her property. She can
dispose it of by sale, transfer or settlement. She can gift it away to her
husband, children or anybody. She can arrange for its disposal (up to one
third of it) through will.

Financial Security
Financial security is assured for women. They are entitled to receive marital gifts
without limit and to keep present and future properties and income for their own
security, even after marriage. No married woman is required to spend any amount at
all from her property and income on the household. The woman is entitled also to full
financial support during marriage and during the waiting period (iddah) in case of
divorce or widowhood. Some jurists require, in addition, one years support for
divorce and widowhood (or until they remarry, if remarriage takes place before the
year is over). A woman who bears a child in marriage is entitled to child support from
the childs father. Generally, a Muslim woman is guaranteed support in all stages of
her life, as a daughter, wife, mother, or sister. The financial advantages accorded to
women and not to men in marriage and in family have a social counterpart in the
provisions that the Quran lays down in the laws of inheritance, which afford the
male, in most cases, twice the inheritance of a female. Males inherit more but

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ultimately they are financially responsible for their female relatives: their wives,
daughters, mothers, and sisters. Females inherit less but retain their share for
investment and financial security, without any legal obligation to spend any part of it,
even for their own sustenance (food, clothing, housing, medication, etc). It should be
noted that before Islam, women themselves were sometimes objects of inheritance. In
some western countries, even after the advent of Islam, the whole estate of the
deceased was given to his/her eldest son. The Quran, however, made it clear that
both men and women are entitled to a specified share of the estate of their deceased
parents or close relatives. . Generally, Islam upholds that women are entrusted with
the nurturing role, and men, with the guardian role. Therefore, women are given the
right of financial support.

The Quran states:

Men are the maintainers of women because God has made some of them to
excel others and because they spend of their wealth (for the support of women).

(Quran 4:34)

Regulations of Womans Work Outside the Home


Islam did not order women to work in the fields of public life for the sake of material
gain. But at the same time, it does not forbid her from working. Hence, the matter is
basically permissible but it is subject to the conditions which are derived from the
Sharee'ah (Islamic legislation) texts and Sharee'ah goals which permit bringing about
benefit and warding off harm.

The woman is the twin half of man and his sister, and her life with man is a joint life
whereby, together they face the circumstances of life and are subject to the laws of the
universe.

The woman might, out of need and necessity, work outside her home. The society
may need a woman to work outside her home. When that happens, the woman who
believes in Allah The Almighty as a Lord and in Muhammad as a Prophet and
Messenger of Allah should bind herself by the rulings of Sharee'ah so that she would
be rewarded for her act in the hereafter along with the worldly gains. Allah the
Almighty Says (interpretation of meaning):

And their Lord responded to them, "Never will I allow to be lost the work of
[any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another

[Quran 3:195]

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These conditions are as follows:

1) The work must be permissible Under Sharee'ah


The work must not be unlawful that results in sins.

Some work outside the home may reach the level of individual or collective
obligation. When the Ummah (Muslim nation) needs a certain woman to perform a
certain job, then, it is an individual obligation upon her to perform it. When the
Ummah needs a certain group of women, then, it is a collective obligation upon them
to perform it. The permissible ruling of womans work applies in the fields of
teaching, medicine, nursing, Hisbah (verification) among women, Azaan (call for
prayer) and Iqaamah (second call for prayer) for women, leading women in prayer,
women police, and so on.

All these jobs are permissible and the ruling is supported by evidence from the Quran,
the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition), traditions, reason and the texts of the Imaams of
Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence).

2) Going outside the Home for Work should be out of


Personal Need or Societys Need
Allah The Almighty ordered the wives of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam,
to abide in their homes and the women of the Ummah follow them in this ruling.
Allah The Almighty Says (what means):

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of
the former times of ignorance.

[Quran 33:33]

This verse came in the context of a series of etiquettes that Allah The Almighty
enjoined upon the pure, chaste wives of the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.
The women of the Ummah follow the example of the wives of the Prophet,
Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, in such etiquettes. In his commentary on this verse,
Ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy upon him, said,

These are etiquettes which Allah The Almighty enjoined upon the wives of the
Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam; and the women of the Ummah follow
them in that.

Accordingly, this verse orders the wives of the Prophet Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa
Sallam, and Muslim women in general, to abide in their homes and not to go outside
their homes as long as there is no need. Ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy upon him,
said that {And abide in your houses} means to stay in their homes and not to go
outside them without any need to do so. Scholars of Fiqh stated that it is permissible
for a woman to go outside her home for a need. They said that if she does so even
without the permission of her husband, this is not considered arrogant as long as her
husband does not provide her with her necessary needs.

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Scholars of Fiqh supported their opinion with evidence from the Sunnah and reason.
Hazrat Aaisha, May Allah be pleased with her, said that the Prophet Sallallaahu
Alayhi Wa Sallam, said, addressing women:

Permission has been granted to you that you may go out for your needs.

[Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad]

This Hadeeth (narration) denotes that there is no objection that the woman goes out to
fulfill a need as it is permissible under Sharee'ah.

Abdullaah bin Umar, May Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet,
sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said:

If any of the women seeks permission (to go outside her home), the husband
should not prevent her.

[Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daawood, At-Tirmithi, An-Nasaai, Ibn Maajah and


Ahmad]

This Hadeeth indicates that women should not be prevented from going out for a need
whether it is to the mosque or anywhere else. In Irshaad As-Saari, it is stated,

There is no confinement in the Hadeeth to going to the mosque only. Rather, it


is an unrestricted permission that includes going out to places of worship or any
other place.

It is stated in Umdat Al-Qaari, This Hadeeth indicates a general meaning including


whatever the woman goes outside her home to do whether to mosques or other places;
such as going to celebrate Eed or visiting the grave of a relative. Hence, if husbands
give their wives permission to go out for general permissible matters; then, it is
worthier to give them permission to go out for the sake of obligatory or recommended
matters; such as giving testimony, performing Hajj, visiting their parents and Mahram
(non-marriageable) relatives, and so on.

Hazrat Aaisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said that she prepared the bride of a
man from the Ansaar and the Prophet Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

O Aaishah! You did not have any means of amusement (at the wedding)? The
Ansaar like amusement.

[Al-Bukhari]

This Hadeeth indicates that it is permissible for the woman to go out to attend the
wedding of another woman. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, approved the
act of Hazrat Aaisha, May Allah be pleased with her, and other women who attended
the wedding with her.

Evidence from reason is that preventing women from going outside her home for a
need results in hardship and the Quranic rule so clearly states that {He has not placed

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upon you in the religion any difficulty.} The need might be the persons need or the
societys need. In both cases, it is permissible for her to go outside her home. Perhaps,
the woman does not need to work, but society needs her to teach those who need her
experience or to nurse and treat those who need her nursing and treatment, or similar
needs of the society. In these cases, it is permissible for the woman to go outside her
home. Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, mentioned,

It is permissible for the ruler to compel artisans and professionals to work in


return for a fair market wage if they declined to work and people need their
work, industries and crafts.

3) The Permission of the Husband or the Guardian

The permission of the husband or the guardian of the woman must be obtained before
going outside her home to do permissible work, because they are responsible for her
before Allah The Almighty. Imaam Ash-Shaafii, may Allah have mercy upon him,
said,
If the woman is able to perform Hajj, her husband or her guardian has the right to
prevent her as long as she has not yet assumed Ihraam (sacral state) and intended to
perform Hajj.

He also said,
If the girl becomes mature and has the physical and financial ability to perform Hajj
and her guardian or husband wishes to prevent her (owing to a potential harm or an
outweighing benefit), he has the right to do so as long as she has not yet put on
Ihraam.

If this is the case regarding the obligatory Hajj, what about non-obligatory acts like
permissible work? Scholars supported their opinion of stipulating the husbands or
guardians permission by the verse in which Allah The Almighty Says (what means):

O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Hell whose
fuel is people and stones.
[Quran 66:6]

Allah The Almighty made it obligatory upon believers to protect themselves and their
families from Hell. Therefore, it becomes obligatory upon the husband or the guardian
to protect those people whom Allah The Almighty charged him with their
responsibility, and they in turn have to obey him. In his commentary on the
aforementioned verse, Qataadah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said,

You should order them to obey Allah The Almighty and forbid them from disobeying
Him, take care of them according to the Order of Allah, command them to follow the
orders of Allah The Almighty, help them to follow it, and if you see them disobeying
Allah The Almighty, then, you should scold them and deter them from doing so.

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Scholars further supported their opinion with evidence from the Sunnah (Prophetic
tradition). Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of
Allah, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

Surely! Everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges: The
Imaam (ruler) of the people is a guardian and is responsible for his charges; the
man is a guardian of his family (household) and is responsible for his charges;
the woman is a guardian in her husband's home and is responsible for her
charges; and the slave is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible
for his charges. Surely, every one of you is a guardian and responsible for his
charges.
[Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daawood, At-Tirmithi and Ahmad]

In this Hadeeth (narration), the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, clarified that
Allah The Almighty will ask every guardian about what He charged him with,
whether he preserved his charges or wasted them. Accordingly, the guardian has rights
and duties. Some of his rights are to be obeyed as long as he does not order
disobedience and to act upon his advice. Hence, if the woman wants to work, she has
to seek the permission of her husband or guardian because he is responsible for her
before Allah The Almighty.

4) Fulfilling the Rights of the Family


The family is an important institution of society. It is accorded great importance in the
Islamic scheme of life. Its strength gives strength and stability to Islamic society as a
whole, while its weakness makes the growth and very survival of Islam in society
very difficult. The family is built and run by a man and a woman. In this set-up, they
both have rights and obligations. It is their responsibility to raise their children, and
train and educate them. They may have to shoulder many other responsibilities as
well. For instance, they have to fulfill the legal and moral rights of their parents,
brothers and sisters and any other relations who are also part of their family. On the
internal front of all this, the woman has a highly significant role to play. The family
needs her time and attention, energies and potential.

Thus, finances are important, but a woman should not engage herself in economic
activities at the cost of the family system and discipline. She should not give herself
up to economic struggle at the cost of the warmth of relations.

The family is an abode of peace for its members and an institution that, if strong,
guarantees the progress of society. Any damage to it is a loss to both the individual
and the society. Therefore, it is not right for individual men and women to ignore it in
their pursuit of any other objective.

5) Work that is suitable for the nature of the woman

Womans work should be suitable for her nature. The wisdom of Allah The Almighty
necessitated that the woman should have a different nature to man. Modern medicine
and the science of physiology point out the differences between man and woman and
no one can ignore these differences except an obstinate person. Accordingly, the

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woman should not undertake jobs that are specific to men such as those which require
muscle power, and so on.

The woman during the lifetime of the Prophet Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam., and in
the three best generations used to undertake work that befitted her nature. For
instance, Hazrat Aaisha, may Allah be pleased with her, was the most knowledgeable
person and had the best knowledge of Fiqh and used to teach people during the
lifetime and after the demise of the Prophet, sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam.

6) Adhering to the Sharee'ah-Approved Dress.


Scholars of Fiqh stated the condition that when the woman works outside the home,
she must adhere to the dress approved by the Sharee'ah (Islamic legislation) which
covers her whole body. However, there is a difference among scholars whether her
face and hands should be covered or not. The majority of scholars are of the opinion
that these parts of the body are not part of the 'Awrah (parts of the body that must be
covered), yet, she must cover them in case of fearing Fitnah (trial). One of the two
opinions in the school of Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah have mercy upon him,
states that they are 'Awrah. The dress should not be an adornment in itself, or similar
to mens clothing, or like the dress of the disbelieving women. It should not be
transparent and should be loose so that it would not outline her body. It is advisable to
review a separate research on the dress of the Muslim woman called Libaas Al-
Marah Al-Muslimah by Al-Albaani, may Allah have mercy upon him.

7) Not to wear perfume


When the woman works outside the home, she must not wear perfume or be scented
with incense. Scholars of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) stated this condition among the
conditions of womans work outside her home. It is stated in Haashiyat Ad-Disooqi,

When women go outside their homes, they should not wear perfume or adorn
themselves lest they tempt men.

In Al-Majmoo, An-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy upon him, said,

When the woman wants to go to the mosque, it is disliked for her to wear
perfume.

Ibn Qudaamah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said in Al-Mughni,

It is recommended for them (women) to go out meaning to go out to witness


Eed prayer without wearing perfume.

Scholars of Fiqh supported this ruling with the following evidence:


Hazrat Abu Hurayrah, May Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet,
Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

Any woman who has scented herself with incense, let her not attend Ishaa
(night) prayer with us.

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[Muslim, Ahmad and An-Nasaa]

Another narration states that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, met a
woman and he found the scent of perfume on her. Her clothes were fluttering in the
breeze. He said, O servant of The Almighty, are you coming from the mosque? She
replied, Yes. He said, For it did you use perfume? She replied, Yes. He said, I
heard my beloved; Abul-Qaasim, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, saying:

The prayer of a woman who uses perfume for this mosque is not accepted until she
returns and makes Ghusl (ritual bath) like that of Janaabah (sexual impurity).

This Hadeeth (narration) indicates that it is impermissible for the woman to wear
perfume or to scent herself with incense when she goes out. If she does so, then, she is
disobedient even if she is going to the mosque. Her prayer in such a state is not
accepted until she returns home and performs Ghusl. So, what about wearing perfume
when the woman goes to any other place which would be beneath the mosque in
rank? Undoubtedly, it is more prohibited, and the prohibition of wearing perfume and
exposure to incense is established explicitly in the aforementioned Hadeeth.
Abu Moosa Al-Ashari, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of
Allah, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam aid:

Any woman, who wears perfume, goes out and passes by people so that they
can smell her fragrance, is an adulteress.
[Abu Daawood, An-Nasaai and Ahmad (Al-Albaani: Saheeh)]

This Hadeeth clarifies that the woman should not wear perfume and then go out
before men. The Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, strongly warned of this act
by describing her as an adulteress because she is a reason for drawing mens attention
to her and leading them to commit the Zina (adultery) of the eye. She is described
with adultery because she is the motive behind it by leading men to look at her. This
Hadeeth expresses severe prohibition of the womans going outside her home while
she is wearing perfume. Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the
Messenger of Allah, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from the mosques of Allah, and they
are to go out unperfumed.

[Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daawood, At-Tirmithi, An-Nasaai, Ibn Maajah and


Ahmad]

This Hadeeth prohibits the woman from doing anything that arouses desire whether it
is perfume or anything else like it. Since the woman is prohibited from wearing
perfume when she wants to go to the mosque which is a place of worship and
obedience, then, it is worthier to avoid this act when she goes out for any other
reason.

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8) Walking Decently
Allah The Almighty Says (what means):

And do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of
ignorance.
[Quran 33:33]

This verse warns women about displaying their adornments as the women used to do
in the pre-Islamic era. Qataadah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, They
(women in pre-Islamic era) used to walk with an indecent twisting gait. Allah The
Almighty prohibited this.

9) No Fear of Fitnah (Temptations)


When the woman goes out of her home to do permissible work, there should be no
fear of the occurrence of temptation on the way or at the workplace, so that it is sure
that she would not tempt or be tempted. If it is feared that she may tempt non-Mahram
(marriageable) men or she herself may be tempted, then, it is impermissible for her to
work outside the home in this case. Therefore, some scholars disliked young women
going outside the home because they feared the occurrence of temptations. Scholars
supported this condition by the Hadeeth of Usaamah ibn Zayd, may Allah be pleased
with him, where the Messenger of Allah, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

I am not leaving behind me a more harmful Fitnah for men than women.
[Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmithi, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad]

The Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, pointed out that the temptation of
women is the most harmful temptation for men. Men must not be tempted by women
and women must avoid the means of tempting men. The woman, for example, should
not wear transparent or attractive clothes if she has to go out to work.
It should be noted that bashfulness is affected and the eyes gradually become familiar
with previously disapproved matters. Hazrat Abu Hurayrah, May Allah be pleased
with him, said that the Messenger of Allah, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, said:

Two types of the denizens of Hell that I have not yet seen: women who will be
dressed but appear to be naked, inviting to evil; and they themselves will be
inclined to it. Their heads will appear like the humps of the Bactrian camel
inclined to one side. They will not enter Paradise and they will not smell its
fragrance which is perceptible from such and such a distance...
[Muslim]

10) No Meeting in Seclusion or Intermixing with Men

When the woman goes outside the home for permissible work, there should be no
seclusion with non-Mahram men or intermixing with men. If this happens, it means
that she replaces man in work that might be done more efficiently by man and she is
appointed in these places either out of courtesy, nepotism, showing off the state of
being civilized or following the course of the West and those who imitate it. This

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matter leads to the spread of unemployment among men who are the breadwinners of
the family. It is rare that the womans work supports a family because the man is still
the one in charge and he is responsible for supporting the family. Scholars stated that
intermixing between the sexes is unlawful, and that the woman, when she works
outside her home, should not crowd with men. Scholars of Fiqh support the
impermissibility of intermixing between the sexes by the Hadeeth (narration) of Ibn
Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, where the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa
Sallam, said:

Let there be no (non-Mahram) man in seclusion with a woman.


[Al-Bukhari, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad]

This Hadeeth points out that it is impermissible for the non-Mahram man to be in
seclusion with a woman because this gives way to the devil.

Further evidence in this regard is the Hadeeth of Usayd bin Hudhayr, may Allah be
pleased with him. He heard the Messenger of Allah, Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam,
saying to women when he was coming out of the mosque, and men and women were
mingling in the road:

Draw back, for you must not walk in the middle of the road; keep to the sides of
the road. After that, women kept so close to the wall that their garments were
rubbing against it.
[Abu Daawood (Al-Albaani: Saheeh)]

In this Hadeeth, the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, forbade women from
walking in the middle of the road so that they would not intermix with men. Women
should walk on the sides of the road. This is an explicit evidence of prohibiting
intermixing between the sexes.

Women in Twenty-First Century Islam


The average spectator from Western countries might consider women in the Muslim
world as introverted and restricted to their homes by their male partners. In fact real
life is different, particularly markedly in the last few decades. Women in Islamic
countries are now in charge of large corporations, are ministers (Mrs. Sayeeda Warsy,
U.K), and Prime ministers (Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh) and have reached top jobs
and are imposing success on their own terms. As HE Queen Rania Al Abdullah of
Jordan said on the subject, "The landscape is starting to change".

Women are now business owners in Jordan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Tunisia, India,
Pakistan, The UAE, etc. They are finding their own place in the business and
community and creating opportunities for themselves and their participation in
business is on an upward trend. Making a significant contribution in the booming
economies, women's business networks have grown rapidly across the region.

Salma Hareb, CEO, Jebel Ali Free Zone and Economic Zones World, said, "Women in
the UAE are as much part of the corporate world as anywhere else on the globe. This
signals a significant change in a society where women's roles used to be marked
differently by our social customs earlier. Being an entrepreneur is about more than

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just starting a business or two - it is about having the attitude and the drive to
succeed in business. Businesswomen in the Middle East are doing just that. We
observe women as corporate heads occupying various decision-making positions in
the public as well as the private sectors."

Recent statistics show that women in the Gulf region represent 35% of the total Arab
workforce. The UAE alone is home to more than 11,000 women entrepreneurs
managing investments worth more than $4 billion. Women hold 30 per cent of
management positions in finance, 32 per cent of the transactions of the financial and
banking sector is done by women, 20 per cent of management jobs in financial
institutions are held by Women.

A significant contribution by women to Islamic finance and to financial institutions


has been noticeable in Malaysia, as well as in global finance. Women in Islamic
financing are much more able to follow the principals of Shariah than are men
because their main concerns are to details and efficiency; they are less likely to
engage in speculative or risk-taking behavior and the sale of financial assets. Women
have become a powerful force in the economy, and this success should be recognized.
Although there are still obstacles to overcome, there are a number of women who
have reached the highest positions in financial institutions.

Women are researching, educating themselves and taking more control of their
finances. When it comes to investing, women make fewer mistakes, are more risk
averse and more consistent during volatile market times. These positive investment
tendencies are necessary when it is considered that women face unique challenges and
pressures that make it essential for them to be proactive with their investments.

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Conclusion

Islam gives all rights to women which no other religion gives. All men
and women are equal in the eyes of Allah. Before Islam women were
considered as an object. They were not given any right. They lived their
lives as salves. Islam raised their status and gave all necessary rights;
right to live, right to inherit, right of opinion and right of employment etc.
Islam emphasize on the economic empowerment of women. Woman can
do work inside or outside the home. She can seek for the employment to
meet the needs of her family. She has a right to inherit from parents and
relatives. She can own property and also can dispose of. She can also do
business. Islam does not restrict women from working but there are some
merits, rules and regulations which women should follow while she is out
for work. Her work should not create trouble for her family. Her work
should be permissible under Sharee'ah and should not be the cause of
Fitnah in the society. If she follows all the regulations of the shareeh, she
is allowed to do job. There is a misconception that women are not
allowed to go outside the home but there are number of Hadith in which
Prophet Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam permits women to work. In a nut
shell, Islam has bestowed a Muslim woman such financial and
economical rights, which no other society, culture or religion bestowed to
her. Islam has given equal rights to Muslim male and female to
possess, mortgage and perform all types of contracts. She has sole
right of her possession and men in any relation or in any form can not
interfere in her rights. Therefore, a Muslim woman can perform her
financial and economic affairs without any hindrance and restriction. She
can dispose of her funds with full discretion. She has the right to sell,
purchase, lease and entrepreneurship, speculation and other financial
contracts as well as donation, charity, devotion and dedication which are
performed to seek the will of Almighty Allah.

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References

http://www.womeninislam.ws/en/misconceptions_right-to-work.aspx

https://islamqa.info/en/2378

http://www.islamweb.net/womane/nindex.php?page=readart&id=175359

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/women-islam-role-islamic-finance-pragmatic-
wealth-management-pvt-ltd

http://www.islamweb.net/womane/nindex.php?page=readart&id=193714

http://www.ips.org.pk/islamic-thoughts/999-economic-role-of-women-the-
islamic-approach

http://www.womeninislam.ws/en/misconceptions_right-of-inheritance.aspx

http://www.islam-guide.com/ch3-13-1.htm

Book : WOMEN'S RIGHTS IN ISLAM By Dr. Muhammad Sharif Chaudhry

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