Can a Muslim Woman be a Career Muslimah? 

Career woman

A Muslim woman should be safely lodged at home, and this doesn’t imply that she cannot interact with the outside world. That’s the direct meaning of “Stay in your houses” (Q33:33), addressed to the wives of the Holy Prophet.

Hajara Bashari the first Hausa Muslim female wing commander in Nigeria

Hajara Bashari the first Hausa Muslim female wing commander in Nigeria

But if she must be out there for any plausible reason, then she must “not display your selves as did the pagans of the earlier period of ignorance” and that ends the verse.

But staying at home doing what?

She stays at home to worship Allah, protect her chastity, takes care of the home, her children and her husband’s needs, while her husband provides for both her emotional and economic needs. But if she is brought out to the public by any reasonable necessity, she must then be completely clothed in Hijab, without intermingling with the opposite sex. That’s the rule.

And what kind of necessity could drag a Muslim woman to the public? Extreme limitation of her hubby, engendered by unemployment or lack of financial strength, debilitating ailments which hinders his economic prospects; her state of widowhood, the need to cater for her children in the face of an irresponsible hubby, the urgent and indispensable need of her professional skill by the Ummah, may justifiably take her out for a profitable work of survival.

There is a particular story in the Holy Quran which perfectly illustrates this principle of “NECESSITY”. Let me, for example, cite the story of the daughters of Prophet Shu’aib to explain further and make it clearer. ..

The two daughters of Shu’aib had come to the stream of Madyan to quench their thirst and probably fetch the water for the home. But some men were actually present at the stream, and each was busy “hustling” for his “bucket” of water to quench his thirst.

This scene of a rigorous struggle dominated by men probably kept the two daughters of Shu’aib a step away from the stream – because of their “weak inability”; and, perhaps, for the fear of mingling with the opposite sex.

In this state of anguish, however, Prophet Musa, who had just escaped from the Pharaonic Egypt, perfectly held the balance. He inquired to know the problem of these  anguished ladies and how he could help and they explained to him “we cannot draw water unless the shepherds have driven away their flocks and our father is a very old man “. (Q28:23)

In the first place, why did they come to the public to hustle at the stream? Didn’t they have a male family member to do that for them? As we all know, water is indispensable.

It is a necessary demand of human survival. Thus, the two righteous ladies had to be there for the public to search for the drink because in their own words “…our father is a very old man”.

Their father’s inability to cater for them at old age was the NECESSITY that brought them out – to the public. “Our father is a very old man”, they told Musa. Hence, those two righteous daughters of a noble Prophet had found themselves “hustling” for survival in the public. But there was a problem, and it was indeed a major hindrance!

The hindrance was that they couldn’t access the water from the stream of Madyan dominated by the human males because of their limited strength as females; probably because of their inherent piety which prevented them from mingling with the opposite sex.

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Prophet Musa, getting to know of their fear and limitation, volunteered to help; and he did help by lifting the rock, and then retired to the shade. Consequently, the two women had access to the stream, drank to their fill and modestly led Musa to their father for adequate compensation. “Dad, certainly, employ him, for the best you can hire is strong, the trust-worthy” (28:26). They had told their father in reference to Musa.

What have we learnt from this Quranic narrative?

We have learnt that a Muslim woman can be profitably engaged in a public institution. But while she is there, she must not betray her sense of modesty. This is perfectly illustrated by the conclusive part of that verse.

“Then, one of the two came to him walking modestly” (28:25). Thus, every Muslimah occupying a public position or profitably engaged in any public career shouldn’t forget that she is only brought to the public through a reasonable demand. She must therefore work and walk with a high sense modesty.

This sense of female modesty should be apparently manifest in her public attires, speeches, interactions and even in the manner she works and walks. But did any woman, among the early female Muslim forebears, ever partake in a public duty?

Of course yes. Rumaysoh was there in the battle of Hunain, that gruelling battle, with a strong determination to protect the Ummah.

Rufaydah was also there in another battle, nursing the injured. Did any of the four rightly guided caliphs appoint any Muslim woman to oversee a public institution? Yes, Umar did. He appointed a woman as the market head, which is equivalent to the DG of Abuja Enterprise.

Did I hear you ask for both the proof and the name of the woman appointed by the second Caliph? There are many examples of the women appointed during the glorious caliphate to different positions. You can read Al-Mawardi’s AHKAAM SULTANIYYAH and Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalaani’s AL-ISAABAH FI TAMYEEZ SAHAABAH. Samrah Bint Nuhaik was appointed by Umar.

It is however reported in another tradition that it was Shifa Bint Abdullahi who was appointed to head the market. Today in Nigeria, many Muslim women are gainfully employed to manage public positions. There are some in enviable professions and businesses. There are others managing government institutions. Is there any necessity for this?

Haaaaa brothers!

“Necessities aplenty!” – The economy is poor. Often times, what the man earns cannot take care of the home. The Muslim Ummah is greatly challenged by its Christian rivals who battle the believers with all they have, including discriminating against the Hijab-clothed Muslimah in Christian-owned schools and hospitals. And in fact in public schools and public institutions.

Many parents are poor, the Muslimah must also attend to the financial needs of her parents and siblings, which the husbands may not be able to undertake with ease. Men are prone to die before their wives because of stress, and when this happens, the hijab-clothed jobless window is left to suffer neglect in a society where polygamy is a crime in the “foolish” assumption of another woman who guards her husband jealously.

The Hijab-clothed jobless widow is then ridiculed by her family members and in-laws who, in the first place, never admired her Hijab. With passion, they hate to see her in a veil, but would only pretend if her husband is the influence pusher of the extended family, but now that he is late… This is the danger of keeping her at home doing nothing which I wrote about. I wish you understood!

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What about the veil?

“My veil is my beauty”, the author had literarily made Sidi, the heroine of BEHIND THE VEIL,   assert proudly, over a decade ago. The Muslimah can wear the veil and still remain committed to her economic pursuit.

There are hundreds of Muslimah in veils who are gainfully employed sans a loss of modesty. She may however preferably work at home, especially those who are in businesses. Kifaayah, mompreneur, is a good example.

Someone wrote that she can also occupy the position of a head of state or that of the President if the political atmosphere is conducive, citing Abul A’ala Maududi’s support for Fatima Ali Jina’ presidential aspirant in Pakistan. Another Brother argued that she must rather be perpetually concealed at home, without even seeking her view during political consultations or debates, citing the following tradition spuriously ascribed to the Prophet:

شاوروهن وخالفوهن واسكنوهن الغرف وعلموهن سورة النور

“Consult them, but disagree with their opinions. Keep them In their rooms and teach them Surat Nuur”

In my humble contentions, these Brothers are two examples of the danger of ignorance shamelessly celebrated on social media. However, it’s not their fault, but the fault of those sincere scholars we have always begged to feature on Facebook but who prefer to stay away for the fear of being insulted by the boys who know nothing about Islam, but claim to be a Shaykh or Ustadh on facebook.

When the news was broken to the Messenger of Allah of the death of the king of Persia called Shairwih, and that the late king had installed his daughter, called Buraan, as the queen of the land while breathing his last, he proclaimed the famous truth as reported by Bukhari, Tirmidhi and Nasaai:

لن يفلح قوم ولوا أمرهم امرأة   “A people that enthrone a woman as their head will never succeed”

On the basis of this authentic tradition, scholars have unanimously forbidden the idea of enthroning a woman as the political head of state, prime minister or president of a nation. You can cross check this fact in Imam Nawawi’s RAODATUL TAALIBIN (10/42); Ibn Qadaamah’s AL- MUGNI (8/525) and FAT-HUL BAARI of Ibn Hajar (13/43). A woman cannot occupy such a throne because it’s not only about wielding the political power:

In a Muslim territory, the political head leads the religious rituals, such as the Jumua’h service – which is not obligatory on women. He also leads the Eid and delivers its sermons.

He might be required to command a war, whereas going to the battle is not obligatory on women unless the state is invaded by hostile forces. Thus, how can a woman be entrusted to lead a ritual that is not binding on her?

But can she assume the position of a political head and then delegate the religious rituals to a deputising male? This option is logically nullified by the principle of fiqh (qaa’idah) that states:

لا تصح الوكالة إلا عن من يستوي مع الوكيل  “An affair can only be delegated to he whose attribute matches that of the one who delegates”.

As for the opinion that a Muslimah should be completely lodged at home, without being entrusted with a responsibility or consulted on a political, economic or social issue, that opinion is rejected, irrational and empty. The Hadith on which it is based cannot be traced. I asked the brother to help me with a reference of that tradition, but he threw back an insult as they are taught by their teacher. But I am still waiting.

I have resolved not to delete any impolite comment again, for it always helps reinforce my view that the manner of communicating this pristine ideology by the boys is, indeed, characterised by an act of hooliganism and brazen disregard for propriety which are known to be the behavioural patterns of those youthful thugs at motor parks.

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It may end up contaminate some innocent minds if we are not scrupulous enough to check their excess. The insult you throw at me is a mere gasoline thrown into a burning fire.

It can only result in further explosions. But mind you, the dirty language you utter here while commenting on my post could only work against your da’wah.

I need not defend myself against the allegation of preaching Tabarruj. Everybody knows that your dawah approach is laced with mischief and the striving to be called Ustadh, so you allege what is not to vilify your brother’s image.

I have not called myself a scholar because I am not one. How can I, when to you – Qaradhawi, Mustafa Zurqa, Sa’eed Ramadan Al-Buti are no scholars?

Even at home, Issa Akindele, Imran Eleha, Alagunfon etc are mere eligible and are no scholars too. The two books – (1) Beauty and Chastity and (2) Behind the veil – have eloquently amplified my contentions on Tabarruj and veil.

Those two books preceded your teachers’ admission into the University – home and abroad, and you probably read them during your M.S.S.N days – before that blessed group became a reprehensible bidi’ah to you!

My take on Aisha Ahmad is that you cannot continue to insult her. She’s someone’s wife and daughter, even if she is a Christian. It is unfair to post her picture and call her a bitch. Another person amongst you wrote “this prostitute is not representing Islam ooo” as the new CBN Deputy Governor.

Habaa!  Did she ever tell you that she is there for you? Is she not your age mate…why didn’t you excel in your studies as well? Why call her a bitch and a prostitute for Allah’s sake?

I have always told your teachers that, most of you were probably born out of wedlock. Your parents have a certain malam or Alfa deceiving them into shirk. At least, someone among your family members dresses like Aisha Ahmad – your elder sister, or younger sister or your aunts or even your mother – are they prostitutes as well? Those “prostitutes” in your family took part in sponsoring your wedding and you still bothered them for aqeeqah.

You now come on Facebook to display your false modesty and exaggerated piety. Fear Allah! You can still reach out to Aisha Ahmad to rectify her social conducts, you can start working on those young ladies you meet in the banking hall before they get there. You shouldn’t also abandon those Muslim ladies who are clothed but naked in your school campuses.

I love you all, for the sake of Allah.

By Abu Mazeedatilkhayr Bn Sa’eed

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