Women at the Time of the Prophet (ﷺ): Empowered But Humble

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

I often come across rather polarized views regarding women and wealth. On one end are the slightly misogynistic myths that purport that if a woman is allowed to earn her own money and become financially independent, she becomes too headstrong and rebellious, and loses interest in living a simple life that is spent mostly at home, with her family as her focus.

Consequently, many of those who endorse this myth oppose higher education for girls (lest these girls become too difficult to ‘control’) and discourage or outright disallow women of any age from doing anything besides their domestic duties of serving their husbands, taking care of their homes, and raising their children.

Surprisingly, the men and women who hold such beliefs think nothing of the women in their family spending wasting time watching television, idly surfing social media and the Internet, gossiping on the phone, reading fashion magazines, or splurging whatever money they possess in beauty saloons, clubs and malls.

On the other extreme exists the belief that all women should get highly educated and work full-time in order to be as, if not more, materially successful and financially independent as men.

Most of those who endorse this latter concept believe that every woman should work at a full-time job in order to prove that she is doing something worthwhile, focusing only on ascending the corporate ladder no matter how loudly the ticking of their biological clocks resonates in their own ears, or how intensely they secretly desire maternity and a slower, more peaceful life that is totally in their own control.

For many of those who possess such strong views, women who choose to “just” stay at home and raise a family are akin to ‘losers’.

The reality is, that women should be allowed to grow and mature according to their own individual selves, and yes, in my opinion, their first priority (either before or after marriage) should be their home — I strongly believe in and endorse this tenet of Islam.

I think that full-time, physically demanding jobs are for men because they have been obligated by Allah to work hard to provide for their families, whereas financial empowerment is for women.

Now let me explain what I mean, before you think that I just contradicted myself!

Having a job means that you are practically someone’s servant (yup, even if you are CEO of your organization, because if the CEO doesn’t deliver results, he will be out of his job, and stripped of his flashy set of company-maintained wheels right after the next annual board meeting, will he not?).

While a Muslim man has no choice but to join the rat race of employed servants corporate professionals as soon as possible, in order to fulfill the obligation of providing for his family, women have been spared the pressure of awaking at the crack of dawn to go out, take orders from someone else, and spend most of their day doing tasks that will be checked for performance appraisals later.

Women have been absolved from taking orders from others about what to do all day, because what most of them might really want to do is wake up at their own leisurely pace, prepare and consume a lazy breakfast at home without being rushed, and proceed to spend their day as they please – not as someone orders them to, in return for payment.

The Definition of Success: Financial Freedom

Today’s women have been largely duped into believing that a successful person is the one who is kept on a tight leash by his employer, albeit paid highly on a monthly basis and provided impressive ‘perks’ in return for giving their fixed daily time and efforts to the duties of their job, and that too, strictly according to their employer’s wishes.

Most “empowered” working professionals today, will readily agree that the truly successful people are those who achieve enough material success/financial freedom in life, which allows them to retire early and lounge around next to a pool in their own mansion/farm/ranch/seaside retreat, sipping a (non-alcoholic) drink, and henceforth focus all their efforts on philanthropy and humanitarian work aimed at improving the lot of those in the world who are less privileged than themselves.

Yet, despite this widely accepted definition of worldly success (which is equated with complete financial freedom, as I said), many still look down upon the similarly ‘empowered’ Muslim woman who has been absolved from having to work for someone else in return for a salary.

She has been, instead, allowed to lounge around like this in her home, enjoying full financial security by having her husband provide for her, which allows her ample time and opportunities to do other kinds of beneficial work for others, on her own terms; work that she fits into the spare time lying around in her schedule -  a schedule that is dictated primarily by her home-related obligations and duties.

Sad, eh? :) When women do not want to be liberated by the excellence that Allah has provided to them through Islam (by absolving them from having to work in order to provide for themselves, or for others), but instead, want to “earn it” themselves by working outside the home, just like men.

The fact is, that for most young, single women who are used to supporting themselves financially by working at a strictly structured full-time job, it is often very difficult to become entirely dependent on their husbands for money after marriage.

It is another fact that many men (at least in the part of the world from which I hail) get intimidated by powerful and wealthy women. They prefer to marry women who are, and will continue to be, financially lesser-off than them and entirely dependent upon them for money. Such women are (according to their perception) easier to satisfy, ‘control’, and ‘tame’ into submission. ;)

What I am saying is, that if a wife earns more money than him, a husband might start to change towards her in his attitude and behavior. This is a fact (not one that I am endorsing, but just stating) that exists all around the world, whether we like it or not.

Anyhow, what I want to say is that I do not subscribe to either of the polarized beliefs regarding women and wealth that I have mentioned above.

My beliefs lie somewhere in between: I think that even though a woman’s “base” should be her home (where she works and stays most of the time, arising from it only on the basis of need), she should not let her spare time – the one left over after she is done with her domestic duties – go to waste.

Rather, she should spend it in doing beneficial work for humankind, which is very easy to do in the current day and age, ‎الحَمْدُ لِلهِ, with the Internet and telecommuting options making it possible to bring about global good from within the confines of one’s own home office.

I also think that if women efficiently manage the money and other financial assets that they possess (and as life goes on, they will be possess more and more wealth, I can tell you that much, — but only if they discipline themselves to save it, spend it wisely, discharge their zakah scrupulously, and give supererogatory charity regularly for the sake of Allah), they can become financially very secure without needing to work for an employer — ever.

I refer to the Quran and sunnah as usual, whenever I am pondering about something in my mind (which is currently the issue of women and wealth), and I try to find answers therein.

Alhamdulillah, I came across a hadith of Sahih Al-Bukhari, which I am going to take you through below, which threw ample light upon the nature of the Allah-fearing and financially empowered women (sahabiat) who lived at the time of our Prophet ﷺ.

The central figure in it is Zainab, the wife of the noble companion Abdullah bin Mas’ud رَضِىَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَا.

حَدَّثَنَا عُمَرُ بْنُ حَفْصٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، حَدَّثَنَا الأَعْمَشُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي شَقِيقٌ، عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْحَارِثِ، عَنْ زَيْنَبَ، امْرَأَةِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ فَذَكَرْتُهُ لإِبْرَاهِيمَ فَحَدَّثَنِي إِبْرَاهِيمُ عَنْ أَبِي عُبَيْدَةَ عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْحَارِثِ عَنْ زَيْنَبَ امْرَأَةِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بِمِثْلِهِ سَوَاءً،

Heeding the Prophet’s Advice in His Masjid

قَالَتْ كُنْتُ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ فَرَأَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ ‏”‏ تَصَدَّقْنَ وَلَوْ مِنْ حُلِيِّكُنَّ”‏

Narrated `Amr bin Al-Harith: Zainab, the wife of `Abdullah said, “I was in the Mosque and saw the Prophet saying, ‘O women! Give alms even from your ornaments.’

The narration begins with Zainab present in the masjid of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ listening to him especially exhort the women who were there to give in charity, even from some of their trinkets and jewelry (حُلِيِّ).

This proves two things: first, that women used to listen to the sermons of the Prophet in his masjid and that he’d address them specifically during these sermons. The second is that women have been especially advised by the Prophet ﷺ to give away some of their jewelry in charity for the sake of Allah. I have already touched upon this topic before.

Zainab, the Secret Provider

Muslim women at the time of Prophet Muhammad were financially secure and empowered, yet they downplayed their affluence. They did not need fancy job titles or a bunch of “Yes-Ma’am”-saying subordinates to feel worthwhile.

 وَكَانَتْ زَيْنَبُ تُنْفِقُ عَلَى عَبْدِ اللَّهِ وَأَيْتَامٍ فِي حَجْرِهَا، قَالَ فَقَالَتْ لِعَبْدِ اللَّهِ سَلْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَيَجْزِي عَنِّي أَنْ أُنْفِقَ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَى أَيْتَامِي فِي حَجْرِي مِنَ الصَّدَقَةِ فَقَالَ سَلِي أَنْتِ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏.

Zainab used to provide for `Abdullah and those orphans who were under her protection. So she said to `Abdullah, ‘Will you ask Allah’s Messenger whether it will be sufficient for me to spend part of the Zakat on you and the orphans who are under my protection?’

He replied, ‘Will you yourself ask Allah’s Messenger?’

This part of this hadith is even more enlightening!

  1. Zainab used to financially support not just her husband (who was undoubtedly out of work and needy) but also some orphans (in another narration found in Sunan ibn Majah, they are mentioned to be her deceased brother’s children) – and she undertook this spending for the sake of Allah. [Lazy, spineless, gheerah-lacking male readers — this hadith should not be used by you to start eating from your wife’s money! I hope you will never, ever take a single paisa/cent/pence from your wife’s money for yourself, unless you hit absolute rock bottom in your life (Allah forbid) and find no means of sustenance.]
  2. Zainab wanted to know if she could count this spending of hers as zakah. What did she do? Did she go out and ask the Prophet herself? No, she took her husband’s counsel about it, and asked him to find this out for her by going to the Prophet with her question. This shows that even if a wealthy Muslim wife is supporting her husband financially, out of dire need, she should still consult him and take his permission in matters concerning their lives, i.e. treat him as her ameer, just as Allah has ordained. Modern day Muslim ladies, please note: just as your employer holds a degree above you on the basis of the contract of employment that you’ve signed with them, for which they pay you in return for your services, your husband will always hold a degree above you on the basis of the contract of nikah that you’ve both signed for the sake of Allah. So consult him and take his permission in all matters, especially those that involve talking about him or discussing him with others.
  3. Abdullah bin Masud allowed his wife Zainab to go and ask the Prophet about this issue herself. Consequently she went. This indicates that both of them had a secure, trusting relationship, just as the ideal husband-wife relationship should be. Abdullah did not feel his honor lessened by the Prophet discovering that he was being supported by Zainab. Nor did he dislike his wife going out of the house to ask the Prophet a question about matters of jurisprudence in Deen. This indicates that Muslim women can ask scholars and leaders questions of fiqh themselves, and their husband should not stop them without a valid reason.
  4. Zainab was truly one awesome lady. Spending on her husband and also on her nieces/nephews? She must have a really big heart!

Going Incognito Out of Humility

‏ فَانْطَلَقْتُ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏.‏ فَوَجَدْتُ امْرَأَةً مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ عَلَى الْبَابِ، حَاجَتُهَا مِثْلُ حَاجَتِي، فَمَرَّ عَلَيْنَا بِلاَلٌ فَقُلْنَا سَلِ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَيَجْزِي عَنِّي أَنْ أُنْفِقَ عَلَى زَوْجِي وَأَيْتَامٍ لِي فِي حَجْرِي وَقُلْنَا لاَ تُخْبِرْ بِنَا‏.

(Zainab added): ‘So I went to the Prophet and I saw there an Ansari woman who was standing at the door (of the Prophet) with a similar problem as mine.

Bilal passed by us and we asked him, ‘Ask the Prophet whether it is permissible for me to spend (the Zakat) on my husband and the orphans under my protection.’

And we requested Bilal not to inform the Prophet about us.

  1. It seems that the women at the time of the Prophet ﷺ used to spend their money in the way of Allah more than on worldly interests. Most of the women I’ve taught Fiqh of Zakah to at Al-Huda, shared with me that they did not possess enough liquid cash to discharge the zakah on their gold, as they were not earning money. I came to the conclusion that they were unable to save any money from that which they were given by their husbands for household expenditures. Most people tend to undermine, or are outright ignorant of, the tremendous power of saving, especially for those people who are dependent on others for money. Saving is done by putting away a small portion of money as soon as any money comes into your hands. Small portions thus saved add up over time, and become a considerable pool of liquid cash. Anyway, it is quite clear that the sahabiat were not spendthrifts. They knew how to handle their money wisely, which is why they were able to support their needy husbands as well as minor orphans among their close relatives.
  2. They requested Bilal to not inform the Prophet about their identities (unless asked). This undoubtedly stems from humility: they did not want people to find out that they were spending on their husbands and other relatives. What taqwa!

فَدَخَلَ فَسَأَلَهُ فَقَالَ ‏”مَنْ هُمَا‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ زَيْنَبُ قَالَ ‏”أَىُّ الزَّيَانِبِ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ امْرَأَةُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ‏.‏

So Bilal went inside and asked the Prophet regarding our problem. The Prophet asked, Who are those two?’ Bilal replied that she was Zainab. The Prophet said, ‘Which Zainab?’ Bilal said, ‘The wife of `Abdullah (bin Mas`ud).’

I can’t help but smile at this part of the hadith! The Prophet wanted to know who these 2 women were, who were asking him this noble question. Bilal, keeping his word, tried to avoid revealing their identities for as long as he could, by mentioning just their first names.

But the Prophet persisted in finding out exactly which “Zainab” it was, who was standing at his door with this question! :) So, in obedience to the messenger of Allah (ﷺ), Bilal had to relent and divulge her identity.

Women Get Double Rewards

قَالَ ‏”‏نَعَمْ لَهَا أَجْرَانِ أَجْرُ الْقَرَابَةِ وَأَجْرُ الصَّدَقَةِ”‏‏.‏

The Prophet said, ‘Yes, (it is sufficient for her) and she will receive a double rewards: one for helping relatives, and the other for giving Zakat.’”

If a Muslim man spends on his dependents, he gets one reward, that of fulfilling his obligation. However, since a woman has not been obligated to spend her wealth on anyone besides herself (and what she spends in Allah’s way as zakah, if it is due on her wealth), she gets two rewards if she spends on needy relatives: one reward for helping relatives (الْقَرَابَةِ) because giving a relative something to fulfill their needs leads to improvement of relations and strengthening of the ties of blood, and one reward for discharging charity in the way of Allah (الصَّدَقَةِ).

Now I ask you, who is being given an extra degree of excellence by Islam? Who has the greater reward, based solely on gender? :)

Conclusion

In the end, I just want to point out a few things, lest this hadith be used by some readers as an excuse to start eating shamelessly from their wives’ money.

Ideally, a Muslim husband with a high sense of honor and self-respect should take offense at the thought of his wife spending her money on the household expenses, or even on her own basic expenses (such as food, clothing, and medical needs), as these expenses are his responsibility.

He should dislike her ‘chipping in’ to share the financial burden of running their house to such an extent, that she should have to resort to contributing her money in any way into their household (for the sake of earning rewards) discreetly and secretly, so that he doesn’t find out that she is doing it.

As for those husbands and in-laws who take a woman’s wealth by coercion, emotional blackmail or outright force – well, they are sinning, and will be answerable to Allah for committing this oppression.

Husbands and in-laws nowadays do this in various ways: e.g. by not paying a wife her dower (mahr) despite it being stipulated in the nikah contract. Not providing for her medical expenses, even during pregnancy and childbirth. Or by forcing her to work at a job against her will, and to give them all or a portion of her salary, or to pay for the children’s expenses from her money.

Such ignorant Muslims should brush up on their knowledge of Islam, increase their waning level of faith and self-respect, and stiffen up their spines to stop themselves from stooping to this injustice.

Finally, to those working women who have become so used to living the luxurious, independent and self-absorbed ‘carefree’ single life that they cannot envision themselves being dependent on a man for money, I say: there are some needs inside you, as a woman, that no one but a man can fulfill, through marriage. Not even your parents, much less your friends or siblings, can satisfy that part of you, or come close to.

There is a part of you that wants to be pampered by a man; to be indulged and flattered by him. The part that wants a man to pick up the cheque after dinner, carry the heavy bags during the shopping trip, and take care of you when you are down (e.g. when you’re sick). The part that wants strong, manly shoulders to support you with a hug; to get wet with your tears as you sob your heart out. The part that wants him to bring you flowers when you least expect it, hold your hand for no reason, and caress your face like a child’s. The part that wants you to ‘make a baby together’…

Enough? :)

You don’t know what you’re missing, sister. So stop letting your love of financial independence keep you from attaining that elusive marital bliss, because marriage is much more than just a relationship based on who pays the rent, and who does the pile of dishes in the sink.

To my married female readers, I entreat you to start saving money for discharging your zakah and to spend the remaining amount wisely in order to attain true, long-lasting financial freedom and empowerment. Take care of your husband if, Allah forbid, he hits a bad spot in his life, and do not desert him in pursuit of material wealth and status, unless his character is very bad and he is severely lacking in Deen.

Lastly, the ads below are powered by WordPress, and I don’t have the power to deactivate them from appearing under the posts on this blog.

This article was republished in two parts by OnIslam.net.
You can read them here
: Part 1, and Part 2

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About Sadaf Farooqi

Homeschooling parent, writer, teacher, Muslim activist, and amateur foodie.
This entry was posted in Hadith, Home and Family, Inspiration, Islamic Knowledge, Marriage, Pleasing Allah, Reflections and Reminders and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Women at the Time of the Prophet (ﷺ): Empowered But Humble

  1. Maddyy says:

    Great read!

  2. Saba H. says:

    Lol ….at the many needs only a husband can fulfill. Liked all those lines you used..lol and subhanaAllah Sadaf what an amazing reminder! I was finally given the luxury of staying home to raise my kids this past June after the birth of my second child. And I must say that there were many besides my immediate family that thought I was doing the wrong thing. And it took me some time to adjust and to depend on my hubby for money….even though hubby made me financial minister of our household ..lol alhamdullilah!
    Anyhow I heard it all from people like I should’ve just worked part time to what am I gonna do when the kids are grown…heard it all so much that I began to internalize that maybe I did the wrong thing and maybe by staying home I am less empowered. So reminders such as these are so helpful and help me to keep going and keep doing what Allah knows I can do better and keep creating my vision and living it every day! InshaAllah one day it will all be worth it!

  3. Saajida says:

    Shukran for this article – it was such a lovely read. I thorough enjoyed it and it certainly strengthened my understanding of a few things :)

  4. mimfatmi says:

    may allah reward you for your work, and i appreciate you trying your best to live your life by the quran and sunnah. your articles are enlightening and most of them come down to straight fact. but i wish you would be more careful with your wording when it comes to things like the husband “holding a degree over you” and comparing him to an employer.. that is nonsense. a husband isn’t a boss or employer or manager (not that it would even be a compliment if he did act like that). you both signed a contract that stipulated specific roles you would provide for each other, and you both need and rely on each other for different things. but that being said, i really like the humbleness angle of this article.

  5. Fatima says:

    Assalam alaikum,
    This may not be entirely related but what you said about being a servant when u have a job struck home.i’m a final year medical student and i am so unsure where i am headed after graduation.i am torn between my primary duty in setting up my home(i’ve got an 8month old baby) and working as a medical doctor.the medical field is so unattractive for women with long hours,calls every other day, dominating superiors etc I really wouldnt mind staying at home after grad,but how possible is it i wonder..i think i need real motivation to go ahead with residency..
    Jazakillah khair

  6. h says:

    Salaam alaykum
    Jazakallahu khair

    Either save from home expenses and if its not possibly \meaning you are given only that much which is used for necessary stuff then take pocket money throughout the year and give zakat.

    • h says:

      Being able to give zakat is a mercy from ALLAH .race and be the one to give zakat rather than expecting others to give zakat on our behalf.

  7. Thanking Allah SWT I am no longer just a housewife :) says:

    Awwrwb, JZK for the article, it was a very interesting read.

    Perhaps in Pakistan the situation is different, or perhaps this article only relates a rich person’s experiences, but as a Muslim-American born and raised Pakistani who married another Muslim-Pakistani who was raised in Africa, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, I just cannot relate with the part of the blog that states women lounge around based on a “schedule that is dictated primarily by her home-related obligations and duties.” This schedule, that is dictated by obligations and duties, actually prevents the lounging around. The Pakistani cultural norms and more importantly the duties of a housewife and daughter in Islam, did not “absolve[ me] from taking orders from others about what to do all day,” in fact I had to take and fulfill orders from my husband, his mother and mine. I am basically a servant to them in being a servant to Allah SWT.

    As a housewife I would have loved to “wake up at [my] own leisurely pace, prepare and consume a lazy breakfast at home without being rushed, and proceed to spend [my] day as they please” but couldn’t because both my religion and my Pakistani culture expected me to be a particular kind of housewife/daughter.

    For example, I am a lawyer, and until recently was just a housewife who mostly had home-related obligations and duties (I still had to pass my licensing exam), but I could never just lounge around (this was the same when I was a daughter). I was expected to wake up with my husband and make him his breakfast, lunch and drop him off and pick him up from work. When he was at work, I could never just lounge around because I am responsible for the laundry, grocery shopping, general shopping, cooking, cleaning, organizing, etc. In fact, when we first got married I had to set up the entire house, he didn’t have some basic supplies for me to be able to do all these things correctly/efficiently. Whenever there is a phone call to be made, some administrative thing to follow-up on, something that needs to be researched, something that needs to be dropped off or gotten, I am expected to do it because I was the one who had all the “free-time” and practically, my husband is working and when he gets off either things are closed or he is too tired to want to do these things with me.

    Granted, he did have some things as a bachelor and when he feels like it, he will help. He will sometimes wash the dishes, put in a load of laundry, clean the bathroom, or help me on the rare occasion we have guests, but that doesn’t change the fact that in his mind (and in his families mind and mine) it is my responsibility. If he doesn’t feel like helping, he doesn’t. Even if I don’t feel like doing all these chores, most of them which give me no satisfaction, are rather mundane, or at worst gross me out, I have too.

    Whenever I was at home, I never felt I could lounge around and when his parents stayed with us, it felt even more restrictive. Every minute was accounted for doing everything they expected and often I couldn’t do the things I needed or wanted to do. For example, even something simple like breakfast, I was the last one to do my own breakfast because I was expected to make it and serve them first.

    Now that I am working, I find my husband is more amenable to help me in these things because he recognizes that my time is being spent outside and I don’t have the same time to do these things, but still I am mainly responsible. I feel much happier now that I am working. I feel I am doing something for the Ummah, that my training and all the money that was spent training me was not wasted and I am actually doing something I like. It feels much more rewarding and I am grateful my husband allowed it and even encouraged me to look for a job :) It has nothing to do with the money, right now I am not even getting paid, but more about using my mind in a more interactive way and spending my time in a more useful way. The housework and housewife duties are still there and I have to do it, but now it can take a backburner to helping people.

  8. Sadaf says:

    Assalamaleikum Sr. Sadaf, Like all your posts this too was a great read, Mashallah. I can totally relate to it. After an MBA degree from a prestigious B-school when I decided to stay home after marriage many of my peers frowned upon me. Allah blessed me with two kids in quick succession after marriage which left me with hardly any time to think of anything beyond the home but as they grew up a bit I started to feel the need to do something beyond the daily household chores , not just for financial reasons but to grow as a person. Alhamdulillah my husband was extremely supportive and encouraged me to start a food blog and later on an online cum home based Islamic Clothing business. With the advent of technology it’s really possible for Muslim women to explore opportunities without leaving their homes and neglecting their families which you rightly said should always be their first priority. I have friends who work full time outside the home and even though the money seems lucrative I definitely don’t think it’s worth the stress and neglect that the kids face.

    • Abu Yusuf says:

      Looks like only praises get published here (a human frailty). Corrections don’t. By Allah, calling women who become highly educated and then become rebellious and headstrong cannot in good conscience be called a ‘misogynistic myth’. It is a stark reality and deleting it will not make it go away.

      • Thanking Allah SWT I am no longer just a housewife :) says:

        Umm, my comment is right above yours and it was a criticism, did you miss seeing it? You know what else is a human frailty? Self-righteousness. Where is your proof that it is a myth? Perhaps some hard evidence or even an anecdote might help prove your point and won’t make it seem like you are misogynist yourself, albeit a very well read and educated one :)

  9. Abu Yusuf says:

    With all due respect, that many women become headstrong and rebellious after college education is not an extremist point of view but an undeniable social observation.

    Regarding CEOs – they do not simply get fired by the board due to poor performance. CEOs in the USA have tremendous power. Most of the board members are handpicked by the CEO and they get an annual fee and will agree and defer to the CEO and many board members know very little about the company and may show up to a company meeting once or twice or four times a year. The board usually does little and knows even less. This is not something people outside the corporate world are aware of. Even in the very unusual case that a CEO gets fired he gets a golden parachute with millions of dollars worth of stock options to cash out. Many keep getting continued perks like private aircraft usage. The CEO is top dog and he is not like the regular employee who can be counted as a servant to the company. Even so, the term ‘servant’ is misleading because a value exchange is occurring when a person works. So neither the company nor the employee is technically a servant due to commensurate exchange of value i.e. currency for labor.

    The phrase ‘rate race’ perhaps was meant as rat race.

    Men are not intimidated by powerful and wealthy women. If Muslim women who were powerful and wealthy yet submissive to and supportive of their husbands like Khadijah (RA) was to Prophet Muhammad (S) then there would be no issues. But such women are very rare today. Higher education causes most Muslim women to lose their marbles and they fall into a dichotomy of career versus family from which they can never extricate themselves. It’s also not that women are tamed into submission and men love that their wives are dependent on them but rather it stems from two important streams: 1) Religious – men are caretakers of women and pious women are devoutly obedient to their husbands 2) Psychology – according to psychologists men are motivated when they are needed so when a woman is dependent on them then they strive harder and feel satisfaction. Such noble desires in men have been lambasted by feminists into a false and dissimulative narrative of men wanting to subjugate and tame women.

    The author may be best served by sticking to hadeeth commentary straight from the scholars. It is best for her own piety to relate what the fiqh scholars themselves have narrated and there is plenty of scholarly output in that regard. Non-scholars ought not comment on hadeeth because they usually insert their own interpretive biases in them and they may not know other hadeeth and ayaat that form a more comprehensive understanding of a specific hadeeth.
    The term ‘liquid cash’ is a bit superfluous in that cash is already considered a liquid asset. That would be like saying “I am driving my automobile car.”

    Other than that, stellar output as usual.

    • sadiq says:

      Completely agree with you brother. What i have observed is that in an attempt to praise women, she is trying to insult men by using words such as spineless and low-gheerah for men.

    • Thanking Allah SWT I am no longer just a housewife :) says:

      1) Again, proof of your social observation, do you have even anecdotal examples?

      2) Regarding CEOs who have been fired/forced out by the Board:
      -please refer to the biography of Steve Jobs who was the CEO of Apple and at one time forced out by his Board;
      -please refer to the biography of both Dorsey and Williams of Twitter, (there is an article in NYT about Twitter’s founding by Mr. Bilton);
      -if more current events interest you see former founder and CEO of Microsoft, Gates, who is now on the Board and is being forced out etc.
      -if you want a detailed history of CEOs being forced out please refer to a Business Associations textbook

      3) Please show us the hadiths that show that Khadijah (RA) was “submissive” to Prophet Muhammad SAW. We are to be submissive to Allah SWT alone. If your husband tells you not to wear the hijab, (as my Muslim cousin (who only completed high school) was told by her Muslim husband back in England) should we be “submissive” to him?

      4) The “dichotomy of career versus family” is a backwards cultural problem. Since when is it a women’s responsibility to care for the family entirely? What were the gender roles that were shown to us by Prophet Muhammad SAW and his wives? How did he raise his children? He even mended his own clothes. Could a man today sew a button onto his own shirt? More importantly who’s responsibility does he think it is?

      5) Qouwam is an incredibly complex word, please refer to an Qur’anic Arabic dictionary. One meaning is also teacher. Hmm, why would Allah SWT make husbands teachers of women if teaching them would, in your own words, “make them loose their marbles”?

      6) Psychologists might be right about men being motivated when they are needed, but it is not a noble desire in men for them to believe that anyone is dependent on them. We are dependent on Allah SWT alone.

      7) Please internalize your own advice about hadith :) We are not like other religions. Allah SWT has made the Qur’an easy for anyone to understand. We don’t need scholars to tell us what to believe, although many of them, like Dr. Hashmi are very knowledgeable and helpful on our journey for knowledge.

  10. slave says:

    asalaamualaikum sister this was a very interesting read .I completely agree with u.I really want to cover my face, although i wear head cover and abaya but i dont feel that is enough my only hurdle is that my parents do not agree with it and i dont have courage to oppose them my only hope is dat i am waiting for a man who will support me in all matters related to religion, as far as job is concerned i am really tired of pursuing btech ,i feel that i am wasting time which i could have utilised in learning QURAN and SUNNAH and this is also because my parents want me to become an engineer and i dont want to dissapoint them so sister please make dua for me and if possible please write something about how to obtain strength to oppose parents as far as religion is concerned as im totally confused!

  11. ibtisaam says:

    @slave:ukhti, STEM fields are proving VERY DIFFiCULt to combine with motherhood EVEN fOR NON MUSLIM women (see: “when scientists choose motherhood”) of course as muslims we still need female medical profs to enable other women to observe hijaab.. anyway, when women do jobs that can be done by men, it inhibits men’s ability to provide for their families .here in south africa nafaqah is an anomaly…most married women contribute to their own food clothing and accommodation…

  12. ibtisaam says:

    also, some use the example of sahaabiyat women trading in the market as an endorsement of “working woman” culture. however their interaction with men was a) random b) fleeting and c) in public. the modern work environment involves interaction with the SAME men, several hours a day, every day, in an enclosed space (exacerbated by private techn coommunic)…cloth covering in this set up does not constitute “hijaab”..especially not in engineering which is 80% male dominated…

    • Razan says:

      I have to wonder if you have ever even GONE to a Middle Eastern market, of the type the Sahabiyat were in? It is by no means only ‘random and fleeting’ interaction with men. It is hot work where you yell, converse, drink tea, haggle, and fight toe-to-toe with men for your market space, all day long, repeatedly. It is in fact a far more gender-mixed environment than most private companies today, where at least you have some privacy! The Sahabiyat, and Muslim women, did not exclude themselves from public spaces by running away screaming from all contact with men, rather they graced their public conduct with the dignity befitting a Muslim woman pursuing her good affairs.

      I think that if more women actually read the stories of the Sahabiyat, and went to countries such as Egypt where women in niqab work perfectly well with men in many social situations, they would stop over-doing this idea that women cannot work in Islam. The very idea that women shouldn’t work in engineering because it’s ‘male dominated’ – all engineering work is not necessarily woman unfriendly, I know quite a few female engineers who comfortable balance their work with their family home base. As long as you observe Islamic ettiquette in your work, you should be fine.

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