She Wants To Work But Her Husband Refuses: Does He Have The Right To Prevent?
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
does not let me work or study, but I think that I am
able for that. Does he have the right to prevent me
from working or studying? He is not listening to me
and that hurts my feelings.
Praise be to Allaah.
must refer to the sharee'ah concerning all matters in
their lives. Whatever is the ruling of sharee'ah is
what they must apply and follow. This is the way that
leads to happiness and ease in this world and in the
Hereafter, as Allaah says (interpretation of the
"(And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves,
refer it to Allaah and His Messenger, if you believe
in Allaah and in the Last Day. That is better and more
suitable for final determination"
With regard to women working and going out of the
home, we say:
1 – The basic principle is that women should stay in
their houses. This is indicated by the verse in which
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"And stay in your houses, and do not display
yourselves like that of the times of ignorance"
Although this was addressed to the wives of the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
all believing women should follow them in that. It was
addressed to the wives of the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) because of their
honoured status and because they are the example for
the believing women.
This is also indicated by the words of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): "Woman is
'awrah, and when she goes out the Shaytaan gets his
hopes up. She is never closer to Allaah than when she
is in the innermost part of her house." (Narrated by
Ibn Hibbaan and Ibn Khuzaymah; classed as saheeh by
al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, no. 2688.
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said concerning women praying in the mosques:
"Their houses are better for them." (Narrated by Abu
Dawood, 567' classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh
2 – It is permissible for a woman to work or study so
long as a number of conditions are met:
- That this work is suited to the nature and aptitude
of women, such as medicine, nursing, teaching,
tailoring and so on.
- The work should be in a place that is for women
only, with no mixing between the sexes. It is not
permissible for a woman to study or work in a mixed
- The woman should wear proper Islamic hijaab at work.
- Her work should not lead to her travelling without a
- Her going out to work should not involve her
committing any sin, such as being alone with the
driver, or wearing perfume where non-mahram men will
be able to smell it.
- That should not lead to her neglecting her duties of
looking after the house or taking care of her husband
3 – What you have mentioned about your being able and
willing to work, teach or study is something good.
Perhaps that will help you to serve Allaah, such as
teaching Muslim girls in your house or in the Islamic
center – subject to the conditions mentioned above –
or doing something that will benefit you and your
family, such as sewing and the like, which will be a
means of stopping boredom.
You could also join one of the Islamic Open
Universities, which will let you enroll in a
distance-learning program, so that you can increase
your knowledge and understanding of Islam, as well as
attaining a higher status before Allaah. For the
angels lower their wings for the seeker of knowledge,
and the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth pray
for forgiveness for the scholar, even the fish in the
sea, as it says in the hadeeth narrated by al-Tirmidhi
(no. 2682), Abu Dawood (3641), al-Nasaa'i (158) and
Ibn Maajah (223); this hadeeth was classed as saheeh
by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
Ask Allaah to bless you with righteous offspring,
because in raising these children a woman will fill
her time and will not feel bored, and she will be
rewarded for all of that, praise be to Allaah.
Remember that it is obligatory to obey your husband
unless he tells you to do something sinful. So if a
husband tells his wife not to go out to work or to
study, she has to obey him, and this will lead to her
happiness and salvation. According to a hadeeth
narrated by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh, "If a woman
prays her five daily prayers, fasts her month (of
Ramadaan), guards her chastity and obeys her husband,
it will be said to her: 'Enter Paradise from whichever
of its gates you wish.'" (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani
in Saheeh al-Jaami', no. 661).
But the husband should not exploit this right to hurt
his wife's feelings or ignore her opinion or go
against her wishes. Rather he has to fear Allaah and
try to consult with his wife and discuss with her, and
explain the shar'i ruling to her, and give her
permissible alternatives that will make her happy,
develop her potential and achieve some of what she
We ask Allaah to help us all to do that which He loves
and which pleases Him.
And Allaah knows best.