In the Surah of al- Ahzab, Allah, in His Infinite Wisdom ordered Muslim women to stay in their homes, “Stay in your houses and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance”… [Al-Qur’an 31:33]
Negative Effects of Work Environment:
All women who have been exposed to the workplace at some point in their lives can fully grasp the myriad of reasons why working outside the home is an enormous problem, in particular for Muslim women. There are countless contrasts in the workplace to our Islamic value system; location is of no significance, the situation is identical in the United states or abroad.
There are valid reasons why laws were enacted for sexual harassment in the workplace in the United states, and that is because it happens, and often. Moreover, women should be aware that the laws can only do very little to discourage it, after that you are on your own. It is something that goes along with the territory. Daily situations arise in the workplace such as mixing with the opposite sex, office parties and shaking hands at every turn, and the list is literally endless.
And although it makes fiscal living easier with a two-salary income, mothers that work outside the home can have an extremely negative effect on the entire family in more ways than one would initially anticipate. Children suffer the most in such situations, many times ending up being raised by strangers at the local daycare. For most, the job begins in the morning two hours before children’s school and ends two hours after, as a result of long hours on the job, traffic and commuting. This lifestyle leaves working mothers in an exhausted and frustrated state evening after evening; attempting to squeeze love and attention between cooking and cleaning in only a couple of hours before bedtime. It is quite the impossible task.
The working mother comes home from a full day’s work, to another shift. It is no wonder that the United States, who maintain the largest percentage of women who work outside the home, lay claim to women, also have the highest stress levels and consume the most anti-depressant medication in the world.
Working From Home:
For single and married sisters who must work due to financial need this presents a perplexing dilemma on one hand the true economic need is there, on another the tremendous ‘fitnah’. These hardships have led some sisters in dire straights to turn to their local masajid for financial aid or in humiliation to the welfare system; in most cases whatever assistance they do receive is never enough to cover even the most modest living expenses. These options can only offer short-term assistance and are not a solution to a long-term need. One option that may work for most of us is working from home. This is the subject that I want to discuss here.
Most of us are aware of the industriousness of The Prophet’s wife, Khadijah. She was, MashaAllah, by all accounts an astute businesswoman. Although Khadijah was a wealthy woman, starting a home-based business today does not require a large investment. In fact, in most cases, a small home-based endeavor may only require minimal funds to start-up. In addition, most of us are also aware that Islam has blessed women and permitted them to conduct business for themselves. There is no question that it is halal, but how we choose to carry out that blessing is the key issue.
As Muslim women, we have certain obligations, such as our home and family, which should always be our utmost priority. We must never lose sight of the importance of those obligations; being good mothers and wives is much more crucial to our Akhirah ( life in the hereafter) than working at another job will ever be. Raising our children to be trustworthy, honest Muslims is a means for us to acquire our goal of Jannah Insha’Allah, and that is something that no monetary wealth can ever accomplish no matter how great. Knowing this, we have choices to make, and protecting ourselves by working from the security of home can make a world of difference to our family and more importantly, to enable us to safeguard our deen.
The notion of working at home is not something new. The “work-at-home” idea has been echoed for years from scam artists and homemakers alike, all trying to make a few extra dollars. However, with the advent of the Internet, a new door has opened. Freelancing has become commonplace today’s job market and an employees are now telecommuting more than ever before. Working from home can now be a reality instead of a dream for Muslim women.
The benefits and rewards of working from home are innumerable. You are your own boss, and are therefore free to manage your own time. For example, if your child needs attention or if you need to make salah, it is your prerogative when to take a break; you will be on your own time, not someone else’s. If your financial situation improves and there is not a need to work a great deal, the option to take a vacation is yours. You will have the ability to deal with your customers only via e-mail, eliminating face-to-face contact completely and using the telephone altogether. What’s more, you also get the added benefit of deciding when to reply to that e-mail, when you have the time. Checks come to you, rather than you going to them. In other worlds, the work can revolve around your life, rather than vice-versa.
One of the most beneficial aspects of working from home is that it can be done by one person, or as a family venture. The effect of working as a team can even bring the family closer together while simultaneously benefiting it financially. Everyone from the young to the old can participate in running a home-based business. It can also be one of the most effective hands-on learning opportunities for children. Running a home-based business incorporates various real-life skills that children can discover such as marketing, advertising, developing business concepts, math and teamwork.
Home business also provide a solid foundation to teach a child Islamic work ethics. For Muslim women, it is a win-win situation. You are able to be with your children, earn extra money from your home and set a schedule that works best for yourself and your family.
Working from home is also a great way to raise funds for your local Muslim community or Islamic school. Sisters can band together and develop an organized effort networking their talents. If you are someone that has computer or business skills, you can donate your time to teach other sisters that are in need of work so that they may benefit their own families, and in turn you will be rewarded, Insha’Allah.
Our homes are a protection for us , but our homes can also be profitable, not only Islamically but also economically. It is up to us to be resourceful thinkers and find what each of us can do from our home to help our families and ourselves, while preserving and protecting our deen.
[EXCERPTED FROM Al-JUMU’AH VOL 12 ISSUE 7]