Is there any religious objection for women's working? Is it religiously permissible for women to work among man?


We do not know any prohibitions preventing women from working. However, there are some rules a woman must obey while working. If she does not obey these rules, she will commit haram (act or deed which is prohibited by Allah). It is haram for a woman to display her hair to men whom she is religiously allowed to get married.



There is no discrimination between man and woman in point of being human in Islam; both of them are the addressee of Allah’s commands and prohibitions equally. Whether man or woman, all people are charged with improving the world life and worshipping Allah here. As there is no difference between man and woman in point of humanity and worshipping Allah, there is also no discrimination between man and woman in point of basic rights and responsibilities.



Basic rights and freedoms acknowledged to men are also given to women at the same degree. Therefore, there is not any discrimination between men and women in point of basic rights such as living, preserving and improving physical and spiritual existence; personal freedom and security; freedom of conscience, religious belief and opinion; rights of property and management; rights of making assertion and defense as being a plaintiff or a defendant before judgment courts through benefiting from legal means and ways; right of being treated with equity and justice before laws; law of inviolability of residence;  preservation of dignity and honor; right of marrying and starting a family; privacy and immunity of private life; assurance of subsistence.



Mentioning (Qur’an, The ExaminedOne (Al-Mumtahinah); 13 (60: 13)) of the Prophet’s taking the oath of allegiance from women in the Noble Qur’an manifests the freedom of the volition of women in Islam clearly. Therefore, being a woman is not a reason restricting the qualification of right and qualification of act. In case of violation of her rights by her husband or someone else, women have the right to having recourse to the court and demand the injustice to be eliminated.



An important part of the discussions about the position of women in Islam and their rights focalizes on the points of women’s entering the social life, working and undertaking public tasks.



According to Islam, as a rule, woman can work inside her house or outside; she can help her husband in providing the needs of her family. According to the conditions and needs, it is possible for the spouses to change their roles in the family life. The important thing is spending the life in peace and order and individual’s undertaking the responsibilities which are suitable for their opportunities and abilities in a well- balanced way in supplying the needs. The Prophet’s giving the inner responsibilities of the family to his daughter Fatima and the outer tasks to his son-in-law Ali is not a restricting rule aimed at forming a family model for Muslims but a solution in the sense of a suggestion based on customs and habits.



Besides, contributions of a housewife to her family and the society are so important that they cannot be underrated.



Women have equal positions with men in financial and commercial fields, they are not exposed to any restrictions because of being women and they have all rights and authorities men have in the fields of commercial and loans law. Working and earning were encouraged in Islam without making discrimination between men and women and it is stated “That man can have nothing but what he strives for” (Qur’an, The Star (An-Najm); 39 (53: 39))… “To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn, but ask Allah of his Bounty.” (Qur’an, The Women (An-Nissa); 32 (4: 32)).



When the subject is about working, discrimination between women and men is not in question in the verse “O you who believe! Do not devour your property among yourselves falsely, except that it be trading by your mutual consent; and do not kill your people; surely Allah is Merciful to you” (Qur’an, The Women (An-Nissa); 29 (4: 29)) and in the hadith “It is better for one of you taking his rope and loading upon his back a bunch of woods, bringing and selling them than begging” (Bukhari, Buyu: 5) that are about trading.



On condition of holding to general principles which our religion has set in relationships among people concerning to the commerce world such as frankness, honesty, reliance, truthfulness, keeping one’s word, holding to rules and agreements, not exploiting the opposite side’s weakness, ignorance, being in straits; everyone -man or woman- has the right of getting earnings in halal (permissible) and legal ways.



Under the light of the explanations above, we can say that women can both work and cannot work. If there are proper conditions, they can work; if not, they cannot work.



One of the main conditions for a woman to work in a workplace is that she should not be prevented from being veiled (in Islamic way) and her dignity and sedateness should not to be scorned. At the same time, there should be other people in that working place and a woman should not stay alone with a man.



For, the Prophet has stated that if a woman stays alone with a man, their third one is Satan. Besides, in such a staying alone, solitude occurs and the man is required a pecuniary punishment such as an equal mahr (portion paid by the groom to the bride for marriage), and a religious punishment such as a rebuke is entailed for the woman.



So, a woman, who has to work since she is in need, can work in an honorable work place where her veiling, chastity and dignity are not harmed. She can be in a dialog with the stranger men in her veiling and dignity in a serious manner. If those conditions are not supplied in a place, then there are not suitable conditions for a woman to work there.



Actually, obligation for working and earning (money) is for men. Women stay home and look after their children and men have to work outside and meet women’s needs. The conditions we mention are for the women who are in need and do not probably have such protectors. A woman whose husband does not let her work does not have the right to work. She has to get by with her husband’s earning or her husband’s permission is required.



There is no harm in working of a woman in the house or workplace of a stranger man if it is in the way Islam orders; namely, if she works with some other women or if she works in an open area. But, if she has to stay with a stranger man alone in a closed place, it is haram since solitude occurs (Al- Fiqh ala’ al- Mazahib al Arbaa, c.3 p.125).

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