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  Woman

   FAQ: about Family and Women
                                                                                                   

   

Questions and Answers About Women *

 

Question: What does Islam say about women’s work? Or in other words, does Islam consider the practical role of woman a householder or does it encourage her participation in the practical & professional life outdoors?

Answer: Islam gave both men & women the right to work & the right to be the only owners of what they get out of their work.  In this respect, men & women are equal, and this fact can be traced in two phenomena: Legislative and Applicative.

As to the legislative phenomenon, it is represented in examining the women’s rights before and after marriage.

Before marriage: the Islamic code did not give the father or any other relative the right to oblige  the woman to do the different household jobs. She can decide whether to do it or not; she can choose not to serve anyone or to ask for payment in case she works inside or outside her house, as any worker.  She has the right to work outdoors, without being prohibited by any one since no one has the right to capture her freedom.

After marriage: in Islamic code, household is not the wife’s obligation.  It is not a duty.  She can even be paid for the feeding and the raising-up of her child, if she asks for it, and in this case, her husband must not abstain to pay her unless she asks for an overpayment he cannot afford.

From this, we can conclude that the wife who does the household work is treated as a paid worker as if she were working outdoors.  Since household work is not a part of  the obligatory marital rights from the legislation point of view.

We emphasize that this is her right, from the legal point of view; but we know that the spiritual & the human side in the marital life incite women to perform these tasks willingly without being ordered by their husband.

The morale of this code is to make the woman feel that she is a human being and not a servant or a baby-sitter obliged to do the household work.  She has to feel before and after marriage that she is the only owner of her work.  She is free to give her work free to feel & know the value of giving and the practical participation in the marital life.

Hence, her husband should appreciate her role in giving what she is not obliged to give.

In fact, this makes both of them recognize the deep sense of spiritual participation when each of them offers to the other an effort he is not obliged to do, but he does it out of affection and love, and a desire for building a life full with peace & tranquility.

As to other  kinds of work, women are allowed to do any free work indoors if it does not contrast with the natural rights of the husband; she can practice sewing and other tasks to earn money and provide a good life and future. 

With respect to work outdoors.

She can do it after she takes the permission of her husband since she can not go out without his permission.

Some religious men and believers disapprove of woman’s work.  In fact, they do not disapprove of the work itself, but the deviated atmosphere which is dominated by different factors of temptation.

In conclusion, Islam does not oblige the woman to do the housework and to feed her babies; it gives her the freedom either to do them willingly, ask for her wages, or not to do it.  By this, Islam spiritually, incites in women the sense of human responsibility, which in its turn, incites them to perform the work affectionately & willingly.  At the same time, Islam does not prevent women to work outdoors, but on certain conditions that keep her marriage and her humanity safe.

The problems raised when women work outdoors:

A.              At the moral level: the society still views a woman as a female that arouses man’s sexual desire .For this reason, we see that one of the main conditions of most stores, administration centers, and airline companies to accept the woman’s applications for work is to be beautiful and fascinating.  Such conditions help to attract the largest number of customers through seducing man with her beauty.

This can be noticed in factories & establishments where men & women work together and understand life through the philosophy of pleasure promoted in movies, novels, and other modern deceptive ways.

B.              At the children level: the working mother finds herself obliged to leave her children under the mercy of the servant or the nurseries. In both cases, they are deprived of their mother’s tenderness which can not be substituted in any other way.  Perhaps, as a result, they will have psychological complexes in future life.

C.              The woman’s physiological build-up: During her menstruation, pregnancy, giving birth  and breast-feeding, the woman is obliged to take a leave – the fact that decreases productivity and disturbs work.  For this reason, legislation of countries which seek equality between men & women are trying to get for man a Six-Month leave equivalent to that given to the women. Anyhow, the disadvantages of the work of the mother on her house are greaterhan the advantages.  If the woman’s work aims at self-fulfillment, as it is claimed, there are many ways to achieve this aim, and is there a greater way than motherhood to achieve her humanity.

Question: How is the woman’s dress  in Islam?

Answer: women must cover all the parts of their body except the face & palms.  This is the decent costume as ordained by Islam.

Islam wants women to appear as human beings and not as females that arouse instincts.

Question: It is said on the behalf of Imam Ali (p.) that woman is evil, and the most evil in her is that she is indispensable.  Is this right?

Answer: I think that the face value meaning of this saying is impossible to be issued by Imam Ali (a.s.), why? Because we have an Islamic standard for all sayings, set by the members of the house (a.s.) to distinguish between the valid & the invalid sayings.  This standard suggests that in order  to know whether a certain saying is authentic or not, we have to compare it with what is stated in Koran, the book of Allah; if the saying conforms , with the meanings of the  Koran, we accept it, but it disaccords with it, then we reject it.

When the Holy Koran talks about women & men, it gives them equal responsibilities, so if the women are evil in their nature, then why she should be given such responsibility.  According to the divine justice in Islam, women are like men; she is neither totally good nor completely evil.

Consequently, there is no harmony between the face value     meaning of Ali’s (a.s.) saying & the Islamic concept of the divine justice.

It is very possible, as suggested by the interpreters of the «Nahj Al Balagha», that the seduction practiced by women in their deviated relationship with men brings forth evil, or paves the way for it.  The history of human societies clearly shows this fact.  Some try to relate this saying with the enmity between Imam Ali (a.s.) & Aisha; they claim that enmity caused a psychological complex in him towards woman.

On the other hand, if one understands the Imam’s aspirations and the supreme rank he reached, he knows that Imam Ali (p.) does not judge matters according to personal measures, but he is with the truth & truth is with him.  In talking about his experience with truth he says: «truth did not leave me any friends ».       

 

 

 

   
   

* By Grand Ayatollah H.E. Sayyed M. H. Fadlullah Copy Rights; http://www.islamology.com    http://www.bayynat.org 

 

 

 
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