Is It Permissible to Work for a Women Who Doesn’t Actually Need It?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question: Assalamu alaikum, Is it permissible to work for women who don’t actually need it because her husband earns enough? Some workplaces even require women to show their faces. Also, some of my relatives live in the West and work in places that require women not to wear abaya. Is it permissible to work there even if she doesn’t need the money?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum sister,

Thank you for your question. What you ask is a sensitive question, especially considering different cultures and customs around the world.

Women Working

The short answer is yes. It is permissible for a woman to work with her husband’s permission, even if he earns enough to support her.

The Prophet’s wife, may Allah bless him and give him peace, Khadijah was a wealthy businesswoman when she married the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, and she wasn’t shunned for it.

Islam has not prohibited women to work. Think of a woman who is single and has no family; is she left to take charity or welfare with no recourse? No, rather, she is encouraged to make a living. Even if she is in this state, and has parents (who need support) with no one else to help, she must also provide for them!

Here is a detailed article about gender interaction whether at work or not, which every Muslim woman and man should read to know the limits in Islam: Mixed Gatherings: A Detailed Response Regarding Gender Interaction

Loose outer garment and face veil (Abaya and Niqab)

You ask about whether a woman can show her face at work or remove her abaya.

In terms of her clothing, the minimum obligation is that her clothing is not tight-fitting nor transparent to the skin and that she covers everything except the face and hands. More often than not, it is a woman’s attitude at work that that is more important: her modesty, manner of speech, lowering of the gaze, etc. These elements can cause much attraction or eliminate them completely.

Please read this informative essay by Imam Zaid Shakir about the legal rulings of the face veil (niqab) in the different schools.

The Lawful Nature of Niqab (Face Veiling)

Please also see this excellent and practical answer on the face veil (niqab) by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani.

Is It Necessary for Women to Wear the Niqab in the Hanafi School?

May Allah give you success and may He help you follow a path that is best for you and your family.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Important Traits to Look for in a Prospective Spouse

Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle

Question: Given that religious practice is the most important trait to look for in a prospective spouse, how relevant (or irrelevant) are looks?

Answer: Although the religious practice is indeed the most important trait to look for in a prospective spouse, one should not completely ignore looks. It is also recommended to marry someone that is good looking. However, one should not give it so much importance that one accepts marrying someone who is not religious.

The key is to have a pure intention, and strike an intelligent and godly balance.

Religiousness as a Priority

The Messenger of Allah to me and you, and to all those who wish to get married, told us, ‘Women are married for four reasons: for their wealth, their status [lineage], their beauty, and for their religiousness. Make sure you get a really religious woman. Otherwise, may you come to misfortune!’ (Bukhari and Muslim)

This hadith clearly tells us that marrying a woman who is a practicing Muslim is more important than marrying a woman who is not “really religious” for any other reason.

Allah Most High also tells us in the Quran not to prioritize looks, status and wealth, and look rather to the religiousness of our prospective spouses:

‘And a bondswoman [a slave] who believes is better than a [free] pagan woman, even if you really like her looks … And a bondsman who believes is better than a [free] pagan man, even if you really like him. Those invite to the Hell-Fire, while Allah invites to Paradise and forgiveness with His permission.’ (Qur’an, 2: 221)

This the end of this verse is very, very powerful. Notice how Allah mentions that the pagan spouse calls us to the Hell-Fire, while He does not mention that the believing spouse calls to Paradise; rather, He puts His name [Allah] in place of the believing spouse. This is as if to say that the righteous believing spouse is almost Allah’s agent and spokesman, calling those He permits to Paradise on His behalf. This is a very important point indeed.

So it is clear from the hadith and Qur’anic verse above that marrying someone (the bride or the groom) who is Muslim and religious is a priority.

Autumn Leaves

Because the believer lives for the Next Life, he is always forward-thinking. While he invests his actions at the moment, he is not blind to the long-term.

Marriage is a long-term plan: it is not a just halal fling. Someone who looks at marriage thus will naturally think about how their prospective spouse will be in ten, twenty, fifty years and beyond.

In this light, marrying someone who is religious and actively working to become more so, is quite likely to be a better long-term partner in whom one will find more beauty, and indeed attraction, than someone who is a Helen of Troy on the outside, but a Medusa within.

‘Marriage,’ as an old German Sufi once told me as he watered some plants, ‘cannot work on sex alone.’

And the beauty and attraction of religiousness is often something far more satisfying than mere appearance. Imam al Shafi’i said, ‘See well to abstinence [zuhd], because the abstinence in the abstinent one is more beautiful than jewelry on a buxom maid.’ (Siyar Alam al Nubala, Dhahabi)

Sexual Pragmatism

Notwithstanding the foregoing, prioritizing religiousness overlooks does not mean that looks are ignored. Indeed it is recommended [sunna] to marry someone who is good-looking. (Mishkat al Misbah, Ba Fadl)

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘When you [wish] to propose to a woman, then if you are able to look at her to see if you want to marry her, then do so.’ (Abu Dawud)

The encouragement to look tells us quite clearly that looks are important. Indeed it is quite clear from the Prophet’s actions (Allah bless him and give him peace) and teachings that although looks are not a priority, they are not irrelevant at all.

If we reflect on the Prophet’s multiple marriages (Allah bless him and give him peace), we see that beauty, although by no means a priority, is given consideration.

Our Mother Aisha (Allah be well-pleased with her) tells us that when Our Mother Juwayriyya came knocking on the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and give him peace), ‘She was a very beautiful woman.’ She added, ‘I knew the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would see in her what I had seen.’ (Tahdhib Sirat Ibn Hisham, Abd al Salam Harun)

Now we know Our Mother Juwayriyya was very religious, and explicitly chose Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) over her previous husband, and spent hours in worship. (Tahdhib al Kamal, Mizzi; Muslim and others) But to say that her looks had nothing to do with it at all would be far-fetched, just as it would be far-fetched, or rather downright wrong, to say that her looks were all that he saw!

So too, when he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) married a woman from the Ghifar tribe, on the wedding night he saw a white mark on near her hip and distanced himself from her. He then told her to go back to her family, letting her take the entire dowry. (Ahmad, Hakim, and others; Subul al Huda wa al Rashad, Salihi) Now it is of course possible that he did this for fear that it was leprosy, but it is also quite possible that he felt that as a mortal man, the purely aesthetic defect was too much for him.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) also asked one of his companions if he had seen his prospective bride. Upon responding in the negative, he advised him to do so, explaining that some of the Medinan Helpers (from whom the bride was amongst) had something odd about their eyes. (Muslim) Clearly he was advising his followers to be wise and not marry someone whom they had never seen before because, from a purely aesthetic point of view, they might be disappointed.

This of course also applies to women. Sayyidna Ali said, ‘Women should not marry men that are not like them [in age and looks]. After all, they like in you [men] what you like in the [women]. Similarly, Sayyidna Umar said, ‘Does one of you really go out and find an old, ugly man for his daughter?! They love for themselves what you [men] love for yourselves!’ (Adab al Nisa, Ibn Habib)

Good Looks

As mentioned before, scholars tell us that it is recommended to marry someone who is good looking. What does that actually mean?

The late Shafi’i scholars actually debated this. Ibn Hajar al Haytami was of the opinion that it meant marrying someone whom you personally found good looking. Others opined that what was relevant was that the person was generally considered good looking. (al Manhal al Naddakh, Qarahdaghi)

This is a very interesting debate and applies to other things one might look for in a spouse. Do you marry someone you personally feel attracted to or someone your peers would otherwise be interested in? Do you marry a doctor because you like doctors, or because your extended family values doctors? From an individualistic point of view, it might seem like a silly question, but we cannot ignore the fact that our values, and therefore what we value in other people, are clearly affected by our surroundings. One would do well to think hard about this.

Conclusion

One should definitely prioritize religiousness overlooks, but one should also follow the advice of the Sacred Law and find someone one can live with and keep one chaste. Allah Most High says,

‘The believers have already succeeded–those who humble themselves in awe in prayer, who turn away from nonsense, who give in alms, and who protect their private parts.’ (Qur’an, 23: 1-5)

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

Would It Be Permissible To Work As A Cashier?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Would it be permissible to work as a cashier when it is inevitable that one will touch a non-mahram woman’s hand when giving or receiving change? Can one wear gloves? Is there any dislike about this? What about wearing gloves when shaking hands?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

Yes, it is permissible to work as a cashier. It is possible to do this job without touching a non-mahram. Shakings hands with a non-mahram, however, is not permissible; and a job which entailed this would be impermissible.

Touching Non-Mahrams

In general, the Jurists say that it is impermissible to touch members of the opposite gender unless they are non-marriageable kin (mahrams), one’s spouse, or young children – provided there is no fear of any impermissible interaction. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “It is preferable for one of you to have his head pierced with a large iron needle than for him to touch a woman who is not permissible for him.” (Tabarani)

There are, however, various exceptions – with provisos – to this, such as a doctor having to examine a patient, or if someone saw a member of the opposite sex in danger, and saving them required pulling them up by the arm, for example. The Juristic principle “Necessity allows the bare minimum” would apply here.

Shaking hands with colleagues, clients, and customers would still be impermissible. One should simply place their hands on his chest, as a gesture of respect, and excuse himself. It is important to state the reason and that you wish them no disrespect or embarrassment. You’ll find people are accommodating if it’s done in a polite manner.

One should avoid shaking hands with the opposite gender completely. Wearing gloves does not remove the problem either. Contact through a cloth or barrier which allows the body heat to be felt is considered to be contacted.

Working as a Cashier

This is quite possible, and wearing gloves would be excessive. One approach I’ve observed both Muslim and non-Muslims use is to place the coins in the middle of the receipt, and then to place the receipt first in the palm with the coins on it. That way the receipt acts as a barrier.

This is a perfectly normal interaction and is not seen as disrespectful, unlike dropping the coins in the hand from a distance, for example. Even if there was to some slight momentary contact, it would be excused, provided that the touch is purely accidental and that it is not deliberately prolonged. Allah knows best.

(Ibn Abidin’ Radd al Muhtar; Tahtawi, Hashiya Maraqi al Falah; Zarqa, Sharh al Qawa’id al Fiqhiyya).

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

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 Qur’anic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Company Shares

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: My company has offered me the option to buy company shares. The share price is substantial, so they offer a loan but it is not interest-free. The company will pay the interest portion, and I will have to pay the principal amount of the loan. Is this transaction legal in our deen?

Answer: wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

This transaction is impermissible. It’s better that you get an interest-free loan from another source if you wish to make this investment.

Being Far from Allah’s Mercy

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, cursed the one who takes interest, the one who gives it, the one who documents the transaction, and the one who is a witness to that transaction; he said, “They are all equal [in sin].” (Muslim) This is a serious matter.

A curse (la’na) is a plea to Allah to distance someone from His mercy. Imagine a time when you are desperately in need of Allah’s mercy, whether in this life or the next, and it doesn’t show? How dire would that situation be?

Find an alternative, pray the istikhara prayer, and pursue it in a halal manner if you feel it is for your ultimate benefit. Otherwise, run a mile, lest Allah’s mercy is even further away from you at your hour of need.

May Allay grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

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 erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish, and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. 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 with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Working With Non Halal Food

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Is it permissible to deliver non-halal foods? I am considering working as a food delivery driver. This may involve having to deliver food and drink such as pork and alcohol.

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

My dear brother, I pray you are well.

Assisting in Sin

This issue returns to the fiqh principle of assisting in sin. According to Imam Abu Hanifa, the actual form of employment is permissible. Whoever the food or wine got to would ingest it voluntarily, through personal choice – which you are not responsible for. (Zayla’i, Tabyin al Haqa’iq)

However, given that Imam Abu Yusuf and Muhammad – the most prominent students of Imam Abu Hanifa – and the other three schools of fiqh consider it impermissible, it would be superior for you to seek alternative forms of employment.

It is better for your source of income to be a profession that all of the righteous mujtahid imams agreed on. This would be better for your relationship with Allah if it is something that is achievable in your situation.

Please refer to our archived answers on assisting in sin.

The Virtue of Asking

May Allah reward you abundantly for making the effort to ask before accepting the job. This is one of the implications of the verse ”Ask those who know the reminder if you do not.” (Qur’an,16:43) Doing so ensures that you have a sound answer to present on the Day of Judgement, and you have the reward of others who benefit from the answer.

May Allah reward you with the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

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 erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish, and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. 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 with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Is Margin Trading Permissible?

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat answers a question on the legality of margin trading.

Can you please confirm if margin trading is permissible? This is where you predict if the market will go up or down by using leverage positions.

Thank You.

I pray you are well.

Margin trading is not permissible for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it entails entering into a interest-bearing contract with the broker. “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, cursed the one takes interest, the one who gives it, the one who writes [the contract], and those who witnesses it.” (Muslim)

Also, the use of leverage positions, as done in Forex, is problematic as this process uses instruments, such as options and futures, which fundamentally contradict the nature of a sound, Shari‘a-complaint contract. (Mufti Taqi Usmani, Fiqh al-Buyuʿ).

It is better to ask Allah to open the doors of halal provision for you; you’ll be saved from the problems that rain down on people to deal with interest.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Meeting College Bursary Requirements

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat clarifies rulings on accepting college bursaries.

I wanted to ask a question about money that I gained from college.

My college gives bursaries to eligible students which comes to £20. I was eligible for such bursary. Now when the winter months started to come, I had to find a way to pray without missing the prayer time, so I spoke with my personal tutor and was able to leave classes about 10 minutes early to prepare to go and pray.

The reason I went early was to avoid praying Asr in the disliked time just before Maghrib. Now for some time I did read Asr and then later pray Maghrib and it may have been okay for me to actually delay Asr but that may have been for a short period. As time went by, if I delayed Asr I would either be in the disliked time or missed the prayer. Now I think I found out that it would have been okay to delay asr into disliked timing as it was out of necessity.

I ask this because one of the conditions of bursary is that the attendance be around 94% which mine still was. Based upon this, would the money I got be halal or haram? As I thought that I should be praying out of disliked times but then someone said that out of necessity it could be done, so I’m not sure that in a way whether I was entitled to that money and the benefits that came from that (such as free college meals, printing credit).

I contacted the college asking whether late marks affect attendance and the response was that they don’t. Based upon this would what I used to do with regards to my prayer result in the money I still got be halal, or would it be considered haram. And if the latter, how should I go about repaying this?

(Will the same apply to those times where it would be okay for me to actually delay Asr close to Maghrib without falling into makruh timings?)

I pray you are well.

It is fine for you to take the bursary, especially since they said had that punctuality, etc, does not affect the arrangement. Usually, only actually attendance is what matters.

Do your best to pray asr before the makruh time enters, work hard, show good character, and be an ambassador of Islam to the people around you with the intention to please Allah. “And whatever you send ahead for yourselves of the good, you will find it with Allah to be better, and much greater in reward; and ask for Allah’s forgiveness. Indeed Allah is the Forgiver of Everything, and Ever-Kind.” (Sura al-Muzammil 73:20)

May Allah grant you every success of this world and the next.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Forex Trading and Poker Games

I would like to know what the ruling on Forex trading is given the interest free account. E.g., trade ZAR for Dollars etc., by watching the markets and buying at the correct moment.

I would also like to know what the ruling is on playing poker? How different is this from gambling and since poker is just a game, can one compare this to say playing golf for a monetary prize or partaking in Olympics for a monetary prize?

Jazak Allah khayr.

Regarding Forex trading, please read Is Forex Trading Permissible?

Regarding poker, it is forbidden in the Qur’an:

“They ask you about wine and gambling. Say: ‘In them both lies grave sin, though some benefit, to mankind. But their sin is more grave than their benefit.’” (Sura al-Baqara 2:219)

O believers, wine and gambling, idols and divining arrows are an abhorrence, the work of Satan. So keep away from it, that you may prevail. Satan only desires to arouse discord and hatred among you with wine and gambling, and to deter you from the mention of God and from prayer. Will you desist?” (Sura al-Maida 5:90-91)

It is different to sports in that it relies largely on chance. See also My Brother Gambles to Support Us. What Should We Do? and Is It Permissible to Play Board Games With Dice? [Video].

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Selling Investment Propeties

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked if it is permissible to sell investment properties for a living.

I wanted to know if it is permissible to work in a business that sells properties to property investors? My job is to persuade them to take up the opportunity in investing in a property, and gain earning from commission from that sale.

The permissibility of any job depends on:

  1. The specific work is in itself permitted.
  2. The primarily line of activity of the company is permitted.
  3. The majority (51 percent) of the income/profit of the company is earned/generated through licit means.

The business that you describe would in all likelihood fulfill (b) and (c). You will have to look at the nature of the work you do specifically to see if it is also permitted. Again, on the surface, the work of persuading others to invest in a property is not problematic in itself.

However, if it involves directly assisting them in formulating and finalizing interest-based loans and agreements, the work would be highly problematic. But if this is done by someone else, while you only bring them to the table and convince them to invest, your work is permitted.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Selling Investment Properties

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked if it is permissible to sell investment properties for a living.

I wanted to know if it is permissible to work in a business that sells properties to property investors? My job is to persuade them to take up the opportunity in investing in a property, and gain earning from commission from that sale.

The permissibility of any job depends on:

  1. The specific work is in itself permitted.
  2. The primarily line of activity of the company is permitted.
  3. The majority (51 percent) of the income/profit of the company is earned/generated through licit means.

The business that you describe would in all likelihood fulfill (b) and (c). You will have to look at the nature of the work you do specifically to see if it is also permitted. Again, on the surface, the work of persuading others to invest in a property is not problematic in itself.

However, if it involves directly assisting them in formulating and finalizing interest-based loans and agreements, the work would be highly problematic. But if this is done by someone else, while you only bring them to the table and convince them to invest, your work is permitted.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani