Women Making Careers in Islam

Common perceptions of People

There are many Muslims who do not have the right knowledge of Islam and so they assume things as per to the little understanding what they have. In Shari’ah, it is absolutely allowed for Muslim women to work or to do job and there is no harm in it. But as Islam has allowed so many things with some terms and conditions, similarly Islam has also allowed women to work but with certain rules and regulations which women must follow. Some of the conditions are, women should take permission from their husbands and if their husbands do not want their wives to work then it is duty upon wives to follow the husbands’ command.

Moreover, if women are allowed to work by their wives even there are some things which women should take care of. For example, women should take care of their bodies and take care of the trust which their husband has put on them. Furthermore, women should also look deeply into the nature of the job that whether the nature of the job is in favor of Islamic teachings or the nature of the job is against the Islamic teachings.

Interpretation of Surah Al-Ahzaab

Some people interpret the verse 33 of Surah Al-Ahzaab that Allah has asked the Muslim women to stay at home and it is forbidden for Muslim women to work. However, it is not the exact case; rather Allah has sent this Quranic verse for the wives of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) and because of the status of Prophet Mohammad’s wives they have been asked to stay at home if they do not need to go out for some purpose. But this is not a strict order by Allah since Hazrat Khadija (R.A) has been the business woman in Islamic history.

“An undisputed element of the Sunnah is that Muhammad's first and most beloved wife Khadijah was a wealthy, successful, independent, well-reknowned businesswoman in Makkah”.

Scholars’ Viewpoint Regarding the Women Doing Jobs

However, Scholars of Islam don’t restrict a woman from working outside of her home. In fact, there are jobs where women are required. For example, teaching women or female gynecologists, nurses etc. There is nothing wrong in that as long as she abides by the guidelines mentioned in Islam.

Women Should Manage the Household Along With the Job

If a Muslim woman, who is educated enough in both religion and worldly subjects as her religion requires her to, and is managing her household just fine (if there are kids they are looked after by their grandparents, reliable babysitters, or school), then there is no Islamic justification for her not to work. Again, however, it's not just her decision, but a decision her husband and her have to make together. That part is important. It is similar to a Muslim man deciding to quit his job. It's not just his decision. His wife's wishes must come into play.

Quranic evidence on this issue

According to Islam a woman is permitted to work and have a career. Allah has mentioned in the surah 28 (Al-Qasas), verse 23:

“And when he arrived at the waters of Madyan, he found a large number of people watering (their animals) and found, aloof from them, two women keeping (their animals) back. He said, “What is the matter with you?” They said, “We cannot water (our animals) until these shepherds take (their animals) back after watering them, and our father is very old man.” [28:23]

The above verse is referring to the scenario where Hazrat Musa (A.S) went near the well, he has seen two women who were watering their animals and thus later on one of these women has tied a knot of Nikah with Hazrat Musa (R.A).

According to this verse, two women had a job (they were shepherd) and we know that they were daughters of Prophet Shuaib (A.S) and also Moses was a Prophet of Allah and they did not ban them from having a job out of the house.

Therefore it can be said that according to Islam it is permissible for a woman to work and have a career.