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Does a Wife Have the Right to Work according to Ayatollah Sistani?

The basic condition is that the work would not be incompatible with religious obligations such as covering and hijab, not being present in a place where is not secure from committing sin, caring for the husband’s rights if she is married and caring for the rights of her parents if they are alive.

Ijtihad Network published a series of questions and answers directed to the office of Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani, on the work of women and its conditions.

  1. Q: What is the Islamic law on the work of women for maintenance?

A: It is not forbidden to do so if it does not contradict with her religious obligations. It may even be necessary if it would be in terms of providing the maintenance of her or the maintenance of her children on the condition of loss of their father and grandfather as it is known among the jurists, may Allah be pleased with them.

  1. Q: Is there any special condition applied to the work of women outside?

A: The basic condition is that the work would not be incompatible with religious obligations such as covering and hijab, not being present in a place where is not secure from committing sin, caring for the husband’s rights if she is married and caring for the rights of her parents if they are alive.

  1. Q: Some women’s beauty shops need women workers. Is it permissible for the believers to beautify non-veiled women, Muslim or non-Muslims, who want to beautify themselves in front of stranger men?

A: If it would be considered as contributing in promotion and dissemination vices, it is not permitted; but obtaining this issue is far from expectation.

  1. Q: A Muslim nurse working in a medical clinic that touches bodies of men because of her job, Muslims and non-Muslims. Is it permissible for her to do so, knowing that leaving this job equals to have difficulties for lack of opportunities to have a job? Is there any difference between touching a Muslim body and touching the body of others?

A: It is not permissible for a woman to touch the body of strangers whether Muslims or non-Muslims unless there would be a necessity for removing this shari’a proscription.

  1. Q: In hospitals, female nurses take the pulse, measure blood pressure, heal the wound and so on; should a sick man refuse to be touched his body by a female nurse?

A: He can ask for a male nurse to do the mentioned jobs or ask the nurse to wear a glove or place a barrier like a handkerchief to prevent it from touching his body.

  1. Q: What is your opinion about the work of women in the companies in which many young men exist and they mix with each other (i.e. talking with them …) in various subjects, whether in work or out of work?

A: It is permissible if it is secured from falling into haraam, otherwise it must be avoided from mixing.

  1. Q: If the husband sees that the work of the woman outside will negatively affect her duties inside the house, is he entitled to prevent her from working?

A: If leaving home for work or for any other purpose by the wife would not be with the husband’s consent, it is haraam; even if it is not contrary to the performance of her household duties such as caring children, it is recommended not to do so. Although, it is not obligatory for the woman in her husband’s house to service him and fulfill his needs – like cooking and cleaning – unless he has a condition in this regard.

  1. Q: Is it permissible for a woman to work or is it haraam or makruh while she is not in need of work?

A: There is no objection to it if it is secured from falling into haraam things.

  1. Q: What is the legitimate rule on women working in the medical field?

A: It is permissible on the condition of adhering shari’a.

  1. Q: Is it permissible for a husband that he agrees that if his wife works, she is obliged to stipulate that she should give him a portion of the money that he sets? And if she does not give it, he wants her to stop the work?

A: If you were not an employee before marriage and you have not stipulated to work, it is permissible for him to not agree with your work outside the house except he agrees, but if he agrees unconditionally, it is not permissible for him after the employment contract to require you to do so and not to prevent you from continuing to work.

  1. Q: The exit of the woman from the house to work in the government departments if it is within the limits of hijab and not showing off; Is it haraam or halal, with the consent of the guardian?

A: If it is with the adhering all the legitimate limits, including securing herself from falling into haraam, even like joking with the stranger, there is no objection, and otherwise it is not permissible.

  1. Q: Is there any special condition applied to the work of women?

A: The basic condition is that the work would not be incompatible with religious obligations such as covering and hijab, not being present in a place where is not secure from committing sin, caring for the husband’s rights if she is married and caring for the rights of her parents if they are alive.

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