Is It Haram For Women to Work?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat


A celebrity in our country went viral for some posts on social media. He generalized all women who worked or those who got an education as shameful mothers because they were involved in free mixing. Then he stated that working women violate their obligations towards their husbands, and children and display themselves. He received vast support for this. Then we won’t have women in sectors where they’re needed because working will take much time she could have spent with her children. Don’t these conditions indirectly make it haram for them to work?


I pray you are well.

It’s best you don’t try to derive legal rulings from blanket observations. Fiqh is a nuanced science, and without considering these nuances one is likely to arrive at overly strict or extremely lax rulings.

Assume the Best of Others

Firstly, it’s not correct to assume all ladies who work are involved in free mixing with men. It is perfectly possible for a lady to be amongst men and still conduct herself with the behavior that is appropriate to a modest Muslima. Stating that they are all acting inappropriately in the workplace is coming close to the hadith “When a man says ‘People are ruined,’ he is the most ruined of them.” (Muslim)

Some people’s situations are such that they have to be out working, and they do the best they can. They are in a test and still trying their best to live within the bounds set by Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). It’s better to assume the best of individuals, whilst recognizing people have faults and flaws that may prevent them from being ideal.

Addressing the wrong is an important part of the din, but one should look at others with the eye of mercy. Perhaps Allah wants to forgive them, so they are tested with situations in which they slip up.

Religious Obligations

There are certain obligations where it would be a communal obligation (fard kifaya) for a lady to be in the workplace. Doctors, therapists, physiotherapists, etc. For professional Muslimas to work in these roles many difficulties are alleviated for Muslims and non-Muslims.

So, if a Muslima is working in this role, she would be fulfilling a religious duty. This is far from being blameworthy. Yes, not every job fits this description, but there are also individual obligations (fard ‘ain). Consider a situation where a couple is so poor that both spouses have to work just to stay afloat, or a single lady who has no one to provide for her, so she must work,.


Yes, in some cases, mothers who work end up with their children feeling neglected or suffering in some way. This is something that is judged on a case-by-case scenario, as is the effect of that working life on her marriage and the rights of her husband.

In some situations, there are no harms whatsoever, because the parties involved find an arrangement that works for everyone. In some situations, there may well be a combination of factors that would make it impermissible for someone to be out working without need.

Applying a general ruling of impermissibility based on broad notions is not a healthy way to approach fiqh. It’s usually a means to people disregarding the Shari‘a, because they just assume it is devoid of nuance and practicality. Yes, sometimes things are clearly haram, but at others, there is a broad spectrum that tailors rulings to the individual scenario of a person.

If one is in doubt, it’s best to reach out to a reliable local scholar who understands the context for clarity. I hope this helps.

May Allah grant us a clear understanding of His beautiful religion.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History, he moved to Damascus in 2007, where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital, and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.