A Muslim Woman Must Have a Profession No Matter How Rich Her Husband
Growing up as a child, I never saw the need to ever involve myself in a discussion about this issue, neither did I understand why people made so much noise about it. It was until recently that I finally came to the complete realization of how crucial this issue was. My perception changed when I saw my neighbor go through one of the heartbreaking phases of life one could ever imagine.
Hajia Furqan was a young widow with two children. She lost her husband barely half a decade into their marriage. This was a woman who married a millionaire; someone who could provide everything a young lady would ever need to make her life comfortable. According to him, she doesn’t have to work and even if she did, He was ready to pay her double of what her job would offer. All Furqan did was to take care of her husband and children. This was a young lady who had just basic education and zero skills. Who cared anyway? She lived the life most Phd holders in Ghana were still fighting tooth and nail to live. We all admired her and wondered when our own prince charming would come knocking. It wasn’t long before she was dropped from cloud nine. Her position among the elite and cream of the crop was lost. She was ripped off her dignity and honor after the sudden demise of her husband. Furqan was absolutely ignorant about her husband’s businesses and investments. His partners took advantage of her and made away with all her husband had worked hard for over the years. This twenty-five year old widow met the greatest trial of her life. All she had left was their small two-bedroom flat they had back in the north, a little money, her two kids and two hands which she could do nothing with. Her husband’s best friend told her the mansion she lived in with her husband in the city was mortgaged to start their company and since he is no more and she was obviously not in the position to pay for the house, the bank wants her out of their property. It was a devastating experience one wouldn’t even wish for his/her enemy. Her family was poor and they all depended on her husband.
Furqan managed to rent a place in the city and by selling their only property left, she was able to finance her kid’s school fees. She tried so hard to maintain the standard until she was finally embraced by the reality that things can never be the same again. This was a woman who couldn’t think critically and was overwhelmed by the entire situation so did things without thinking. She had become a sybarite and was so used to luxury and so were her kids. After a few years, Furqan landed at the darkest part of the pit. She was penniless. A woman who was once referred to as the money swine is now considered one of the needy people of the community. She lived on the sadaqah (charity) and zakat (alms) of the community members. It was an extremely difficult phase for her. We could feel her pain but what could I have done as a little girl? One thing I kept asking myself was, “does it have to end this way?” This became my sole motivation to ask for more from women.
It is an undeniable fact that the fingers are never the same both in size and shape. This is the same with life situations. When it comes to marriage, every woman’s marriage is unique and different from another. We can’t all have a “prince charming” who would come and change our destiny forever and neither can we all be wifed by peasants. That is not how things work around here. A husband is like a Christmas box, it may be beautifully wrapped, making it look attractive and appear precious and valuable but may contain a useless item. Other times just one look at a gift may be disheartening because of its horrible appearance, perhaps as a result of poor packaging or the weight it carries. You might be mind-blown to find out that it contains the most valuable thing you could ever possess. In rare cases, good packages contain bad things and bad packages contain good things. In others words, what you see is not always what you get. When I read about the wives of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and other great women like Khadija RA, Aisha RA, Umm Salmah RA, Sumaya RA among others, I asked myself, “what are we the women of today doing?” We need to wake up from our slumber. No one knows what tomorrow might bring forth that is why we need to prepare ourselves as best as we can and trust Allah with all our hearts. The Almighty says in the Holy Quran:
“Be sure we shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives, and fruits (of your toil),But give glad tidings to those who patiently preserve- who when afflicted with calamity say: truly! To Allah we belong and truly to him is our return..”[Al Baqarah: 155-157].
This is a great possibility that we can all experience such situations in one way or the other. Naturally, we sometimes feel certain circumstances are very far from us; especially women who are married to very rich men. They feel the wealth they have accumulated can last a life time no matter what may happen. I am marveled by such thoughts. This life is nothing but a play and amusement. We sometimes feel this life will never come to an end. The rich husband you are so proud of is nothing but an ‘amaanat’ (trustee) to you. He belongs to Allah and to Allah he shall return any day anyhow. There are women who have lost their husbands on the day of their nikkah (wedding), so what makes you different from them? Others had ten kids after which they lost their husbands. That is the reality of life and you will see it from a better perspective when it hits you. Some women lose their husbands to chronic diseases and illnesses that put the husbands in no position to care and maintain their families.
My point is this; every single woman should empower herself and note it at the back of her mind that anything can happen. I am not in any case asking women to step up their game so as to rub shoulders and compete with their husbands, NO! Instead it is my goal the women come to the complete realization of their full potentials and become the true supporters of men they were created to be. Never see this to be your responsibility. It is the sole duty of a man to protect and maintain a woman. Every woman needs to do something extra with her hands and head. I don’t think there is absolutely anything wrong with you doing this provided you don’t disobey Allah. Your quest for knowledge should not make you lose your identity as a wife. If you are fortunate to be educated and your husband is fine with you working, please don’t abuse this privilege. Work in a halal environment and practice your religion as it should be practiced. You should quit jobs which prevent you from practicing your religion and performing your duty as a wife and mother even if they pay more or have the best working conditions. Instead, settle for a job that respects your beliefs and practices even if the pay is meagre. My mum always told me, “whatever you do for the sake of Allah no matter how difficult it may seem, Allah makes it easy.”
On the other hand, if you are educated or not but your husband feels you should not work, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker for you. In fact it is an opportunity to surprise him. Don’t spend your entire day watching Telenovelas, Korean series and Hindu films. This is the time to unleash your creative genes. Ask him when he is in the mood you know he won’t turn your request down. Tell him you want to learn some skills just to pastime because you feel bored at home. Find a dressmaker, a beautician, chef, a baker or any other vocational or technical professionals close to your home and enroll with them to tap from their knowledge. If he refuses, utilize the internet and watch as many videos as possible on different “how to makes…” and also pay periodic visits to shops of entrepreneurs along your streets on your way to or from the market. Observe things critically and ask a lot of questions. Take this journey serious and practice at your leisure time. Try to create something beautiful and show it to your husband. Perhaps he will realize your potentials. You could make him a shirt or bake him a pie. It doesn’t have to be perfect on the first attempt. It is the effort that matters. If your husband is insecure about you going out and is financially capable of getting you a personal tutor at home, ask him to get you one. Your tutor can teach you in the comfort of your home. If learning new things seems to be difficult for you, try a business. You can use your savings as capital or ask your husband. You don’t need a huge capital to start neither is it necessary to get a place before you start your business. You can have your shop close to your house or practice E-commerce. Technology has made life so easier and convenient. There are so many women who are buying and selling at the comfort of their homes via Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms. You can earn without having to leave the comfort of your home and you can be more successful with the support of your husband.
Assuming you supply your community with fresh bread in the mornings, your husband can help you do the deliveries before he goes to work. Unfortunately, some men think helping their wives is a sign of weakness but that is not true. On the contrary, it is a sign of true love and compassion. As a matter of fact, women are captivated by helpful and supportive men. It is a way of telling your wife you believe in her and you want to see her succeed. This will be a huge lesson you would be teaching your son unknowingly. As a man who truly loves his wife, your main concern should be the welfare and security of your family with or without you. You need to ask yourself if your family would be fine without you? Without your financial support, can your family eat, clothe and be sheltered? Without your monthly salary will your family have to beg? You need to focus on the future and not just the present. Be a good husband by supporting your wife’s good dreams and ambitions. If it is her dream to start a business, help her even if you would limit her to the home, a book she wants to write or a foundation she dreams of starting, be there for her. What is more adorable than seeing your wife do things that will raise the name of your family and make you proud?
Women, work hard, excel and maintain your families to the best of your abilities. Let us not lose focus of our purpose in this world and our duties to our spouses. In our quest for discovering our full potentials, we should not lose our place as women in Islam and the world at large. Learn to stay within the limits and remember that no matter the situation, Allah is in control. Know that your sustenance looks for you more than death looks for you in a day however do not rest on your laurels for Allah helps those who help themselves. Glory be to Allah, the Greatest.
Image Credit: king nemuel