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 temptation and tribulation. These hardships have led some sisters in dire straights to turn to their local mosques 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.
Most of us are aware of the industriousness of the Prophet’s wife, Khadeejah, may Allah be pleased with her. She, may Allah be pleased with her, was by all accounts, an astute businesswoman. Although Khadeejah, may Allah be pleased with her, 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 permissible, 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 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 (Paradise), and that is something that no monetary wealth can ever accomplish no matter how great. Knowing this, we have a choice 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 religion.
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 some extra cash. However, with the advent of the Internet, a new door has opened. Freelancing has become commonplace today’s job market and 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 perform your Prayer, 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 words, 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 provides 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 for sisters to 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, Allah willing.
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 religion and chastity.
This was an attempt to give an alternative to substitute having to indulge in an out-of-home working environment. However, if a sister is forced to get into such an environment, then she must realize that Hijab, on its own, makes a statement telling she is a proud and committed Muslim. This, if done sincerely, could repel much harm from her.
The most important advice for sisters to remember is that no matter where we are, or what we are doing, we should be persistent in fulfilling Allah’s commands, be ever mindful of Him, and rely solely upon His grace and assistance. If we are in a job where we feel that our values are being compromised, the best option is to leave. Allah, Almighty, should always be our first priority, not money, personal satisfaction, or desire for prestige or power. If things seem too overwhelming or difficult, we should always turn to Allah and ask for his help and guidance.
The Prophet said: “Allah the Almighty says: ‘I will be for My slave as he thinks of Me. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length; and if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length…” [Al-Bukhari]
If you absolutely must work, then make sure that before you apply for any job to perform the Istikhaarah Prayer and seek guidance from Allah and place the matter with Him – indeed Allah is the Best Disposer of affairs, and the Best to rely on. Let us rely upon Allah in all of our matters, whether personal, social, or professional.