The debate between working moms and stay at home moms seems to be raging more than ever nowadays. This is especially the case in the Muslim community. Women who work are often seen as inferior to those who stay home. What people fail to realize is that sometimes it really is necessary for the mother to work outside the home. Not every family is going to be able to survive with a single income.
The working moms often view the stay at home moms as lounging around in their pjs all day, eating bon bons, and watching Oprah.The truth is, being a stay at home mom is ALOT of work. Generally speaking, the muslim stay at home mom will be teaching her children as well as tending to the other household chores and preparing meals. Yes, her husband will probably help her (that is if he follows the example of the Prophet Muhammad). Regardless,it is still work. However, The woman who stays home and brings up her children with good manners and education and keeps the household running smoothly will indeed earn a great reward. Also, the stay at home mom won’t have to deal with as much fitnah (trials) compared to the working mom since she will be staying primarily in her home. It is essential for the stay at home mom to have a network of other muslim moms to have get togethers and let the children get some interaction. Otherwise, the children will not know how to act when out in public or when they go to school.
In Islam,the wife is not obligated to work as that responsibility falls on the husband:“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women(4:34) It was narrated that Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Fear Allaah with regard to women for Allaah has entrusted them to you and intimacy with them has become permissible for you by the word of Allaah. Their rights over you are that you should provide for them and clothe them on a reasonable basis.” Narrated by Muslim, 1218.
Although the muslim woman is not obligated to work, sometimes it is unavoidable. In many cases, the family unit could not survive with one income. Often times, when a muslimah says she works her stay at home counterparts will give a look of disapproval or may even voice their opinions. She is often made to feel inferior or that she is failing somehow. However, we should not be so hasty to judge. We don’t know that family’s situation and isn’t it better for her to go out and work than to beg? Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba: The Prophet said, “Allah has forbidden for you, (1) to be undutiful to your mothers, (2) to bury your daughters alive, (3) to not to pay the rights of the others (e.g. charity, etc.) and (4) to beg of men (begging). And Allah has hated for you (1) vain, useless talk, or that you talk too much about others, (2) to ask too many questions, (in disputed religious matters) and (3) to waste the wealth (by extravagance). (Bukhari, Book #41, Hadith #591)
Furthermore, we can see in the time of the Prophet(saw) some women worked as nurses for the wounded. Al-Bukhaari, may Allaah have mercy on him, reported in his Saheeh that Hafsah said: “A woman came and stayed at the fort of Bani Khalaf, and told us about her sister. Her sister’s husband used to go out on military campaigns with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He had been on twelve campaigns, and she (his wife) had accompanied him on six. She said, ‘We used to treat the wounded and take care of the sick…’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 313).
There are certain conditions that must be made mention of for the woman working outside the home. First of all, if it is at all possible she should try to schedule her work so that she can be home as much as possible when the kids are there. If that is not possible she should try to find an Islamic daycare center or a Muslim babysitter. Leaving Muslim children in non Muslim child care facilities is an accident waiting to happen. Before you know it, they will be singing christmas carols and painting jack-o-lanterns with the rest of the kids. She should make sure that she is wearing the proper hijab and not mixing with men un-necessarily. She should try to get her husband involved in helping out with the housework. Because, it is hard enough being a working mom or a stay at home mom but trying to do both the jobs with no help will be extremely exhausting.
An alternative to working outside the home is working inside the home. With the internet and the technology we posess today, Muslim women have a much better chance of establishing their own businesses from home or working for a company from home. This is no longer limited to “stuffing envelopes.” Some examples of working at home are: establishing your own childcare center(this will have to meet state and gov’t standards and you will have to go through the proper procedure and have some training), Opening your own online store(can be risky)medical billing, telemarketing from home, a bookkeeper or accountant for a company or private business, journalism, and translation services just to name a few. This is a great asset to today’s Muslim woman who may wish to have the best of both worlds. You should be cautious however when deciding on an in home job. Innumerous scams are circulating the web and newspaper classified columns. Some tips are: If it seems too good to be true then it probably is. Get rich quick schemes are often that just schemes. If the ad says they will need you to send them money to get started then think twice it’s probably a scam. If they ask for your bank acct#, credit card # etc dont’ give it to them, this is probably a scam. I would be willing to take an educated guess and say that most of the ads out there today are indeed scams. So, you better be careful and only choose companies that have a good and established reputation. To learn more about work at home scams click here: http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/workathomehelp/a/homescam.htm
The important thing is to be the best at whichever option you choose. Don’t be so quick to judge your brother or sister in Islam or put them down. We are all diverse but at the same time we are one ummah (nation, community). Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “It is enough evil for a Muslim to look downupon his (Muslim) brother.’ ‘