The Qur'an promotes creation of new values by working hard, both for man and woman. Woman enjoys the right to work, either at home or outside, which will contribute to the household expenditures. Collaboration and cooperation between men and women produce better results.
Woman enjoys the voting right in the elections. She has also the right to be elected. They can be employed in administrative work in the public sector and are eligible to occupy all sorts of offices. There is not the slightest indication in the Qur'an to prohibit woman from working either as an employee or an employer. It is expected that both women and men work for the welfare of the society. This will bring about a peaceful atmosphere and coexistence upon the earth and a paradisiacal afterlife.
It is a sad fact that women were destined to be cooped up in their homes, being deprived of proper education and the right of contributing to the welfare of the community by working outside her home.
MAN AND WOMAN SHALL WORK
… "Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: Ye are members, one of another .. (3/195)
"Work (righteousness): Soon will Allah observe your work, and His Messenger… (9/105)
Far from prohibiting work for women, the Qur'an explicitly state that females shall work. To work both at home and outside is encouraged for women. Being complementary parts of a whole, man and woman shall jointly share the productive work which will contribute to their household peace and ease. However, because of the special characteristics of women, their first duty is to bring up her children and take care of the household chores. Man, on the other hand, shall work outside his home and protect his family against all untoward happenings.
In changing circumstances the respective roles man and woman may be swapped. What is important is the preservation of mutual love and affection. . And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. (30/21)
YOUR OBJECTIVE MUST BE DEEDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them. (4/124)
Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions. (16/97)
Here is the warning addressed to both sexes: Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; whoever works evil, it is against his own soul: nor is thy Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His Servants. (41/46)
Your work must have the objective to contribute to the welfare of the community. What are good deeds? What is righteousness?
Righteousness is the quality or state of being righteous; it is conformity to the divine or the moral law, rectitude and uprightness in conduct; it is the quality or state of being rightful or just; it is the state of acceptance with God: a right relationship to God. Good deeds are those acts that are directed toward the wellbeing of humanity, the philanthropic activity usually carried out by women. A woman teacher who does her best in bringing up and educating her pupils: … Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard… (4/34)
Those who have faith and do righteous deeds,- they are the best of creatures. (98/7)
WORKING IN TERMS OF SUNNA
It was not rare to see women armed fighting in the army of Muhammad. At the headquarters, during campaigns, there were women who nursed the wounded. The tent of a certain Rufayda in Medina is often mentioned. It is reported that this tent had been pitched in the vast court of the Big Mosque at Medina. It is quite possible that Rufayda had a higher position than that of a simple nurse. According to the account of Ibn Hisham, she bandaged among others the wounds of the fighters from the Aslam tribe. Aisha had taken part in a good many campaigns, during which she cooked meals, carried buckets of water and served as nurse. Women did go out to perform their business; this state continued even after their veiling. There were women who gathered date stones and to either sell them or give them to their camels as fodder. Women participated in congregational prayers in mosques. They went to pay visit to their women friends. The Prophet's wives used to receive guests and parents and performed other tasks. The leisure was spared for recitation of the Qur'an and telling of tales.
Shifa bint Abdillah, a relative pf Umar was literate even before the advent of Islam. As a matter of fact it was she who had taught to read and write to Hafsa, the Prophet's wife. It appears, basing on certain evidences, that the Prophet gave her sometimes work to be performed in the market. This may have been during the Chalifate of Umar. Whatever the actual truth is it is a fact that this female Companion had made use of her right to pass judgments on commercial transactions. According to Taberi, women had the right and authority to occupy the position of a judge. Abu Hanifa made an exception, in this connection, of the criminal cases involving murders." (See Prof.Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah-Islam Peygamberi II)
JUST IS ENJOINED AND EVIL FORBIDDEN
The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise. (9/71)
Here we observe plainly the equality of man and woman. Therefore, man and woman shall cooperate together and work for the good of each other. Their joint labor will contribute to the welfare of society. As a matter of fact, the nations that barred women the right to work outside her home have remained underdeveloped. Woman enjoys then right to vote and be elected. She can be elected as president of state and work in all sorts of public works, provided she is qualified. For instance, Turkey had once her woman prime minister, just like other nations of the world. This is corroborated by the following verses: But the Hoopoe tarried not far: he (came up and) said: "I have compassed (territory) which thou hast not compassed, and I have come to thee from Saba with tidings true. "I found (there) a woman ruling over them and provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne. "I found her and her people worshipping the sun besides Allah. Satan has made their deeds seem pleasing in their eyes, and has kept them away from the Path,- so they receive no guidance,- "(Kept them away from the Path), that they should not worship Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what ye hide and what ye reveal. "(Allah)!- there is no god but He!- Lord of the Throne Supreme!" (Solomon) said: "Soon shall we see whether thou hast told the truth or lied! "Go thou, with this letter of mine, and deliver it to them: then draw back from them, and (wait to) see what answer they return"... (The queen) said: "Ye chiefs! here is delivered to me - a letter worthy of respect. "It is from Solomon, and is (as follows): 'In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful: "'Be ye not arrogant against me, but come to me in submission (to the true Religion).'" She said: "Ye chiefs! advise me in (this) my affair: no affair have I decided except in your presence." They said: "We are endued with strength, and given to vehement war: but the command is with thee; so consider what thou wilt command." She said: "Kings, when they enter a country, despoil it, and make the noblest of its people its meanest thus do they behave. "But I am going to send him a present, and (wait) to see with what (answer) return (my) ambassadors." Now when (the embassy) came to Solomon, he said: "Will ye give me abundance in wealth? But that which Allah has given me is better than that which He has given you! Nay it is ye who rejoice in your gift!"Go back to them, and be sure we shall come to them with such hosts as they will never be able to meet: We shall expel them from there in disgrace, and they will feel humbled (indeed)." He said (to his own men): "Ye chiefs! which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me in submission?" Said an 'Ifrit, of the Jinns: "I will bring it to thee before thou rise from thy council: indeed I have full strength for the purpose, and may be trusted." Said one who had knowledge of the Book: "I will bring it to thee within the twinkling of an eye!" Then when (Solomon) saw it placed firmly before him, he said: "This is by the Grace of my Lord!- to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! and if any is grateful, truly his gratitude is (a gain) for his own soul; but if any is ungrateful, truly my Lord is Free of all Needs, Supreme in Honor !" He said: "Transform her throne out of all recognition by her: let us see whether she is guided (to the truth) or is one of those who receive no guidance." So when she arrived, she was asked, "Is this thy throne?" She said, "It was just like this; and knowledge was bestowed on us in advance of this, and we have submitted to Allah (in Islam)." And he diverted her from the worship of others besides Allah. for she was (sprung) of a people that had no faith. She was asked to enter the lofty Palace: but when she saw it, she thought it was a lake of water, and she (tucked up her skirts), uncovering her legs. He said: "This is but a palace paved smooth with slabs of glass." She said: "O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul: I do (now) submit (in Islam), with Solomon, to the Lord of the Worlds." (27/22-44)
Her conduct had been judged exemplary except for her adoration of the sun. She accepted counsel. Despite the resolution reached by the assembly she had preferred to send an envoy to the opposing party and wanted to engage in peace talks. She was made conscious of facts thanks to Solomon's suggestions. If a woman is qualified in terms of her administrative merits, she may be elected head of a state.
SPECIAL LAW TO THE PROPHET'S WIVES
O Consorts of the Prophet! Ye are not like any of the (other) women:… (33/32)
The Prophet's wives had a special position as matriarch. The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers…. (33/6) For the faults they would have committed they would be punished two-fold. O Consorts of the Prophet! If any of you were guilty of evident unseemly conduct, the Punishment would be doubled to her, and that is easy for Allah. (33/30) To avoid imbroglios by circulating malicious rumors among the public, the Prophet's wives were to be careful about their manners lowering their voices while conversing, while except for the important business affairs they had to attend outside their home, they would remain indoor and devote themselves to prayer and teach other women about the injunctions of the Qur'an. O Consorts of the Prophet! Ye are not like any of the (other) women: if ye do fear ((Allah)), be not too complacent of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak ye a speech (that is) just. And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless. (33/32-33) O ye who believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses,- until leave is given you,- for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation: but when ye are invited, enter; and when ye have taken your meal, disperse, without seeking familiar talk. Such (behavior) annoys the Prophet: he is ashamed to dismiss you, but Allah is not ashamed (to tell you) the truth. And when ye ask (his ladies) for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs. Nor is it right for you that ye should annoy Allah's Messenger, or that ye should marry his widows after him at any time. Truly such a thing is in Allah's sight an enormity. (33/53)
Certain groups of people in line with their views that served their own ends generalized the rules foreseen exclusively for the spouses of the Prophet, adding to the verses in question traditions alleged to have originated from the Prophet himself. There are no restrictions in the Qur'an regarding the cooping of women in their homes and barring them working outside the four walls of their houses. The actual truth is quite the reverse, as women are encouraged to work and study. After the Prophet, sex segregation was instituted without the least justifiable reason. Thus, certain Islamic countries that were keen to apply the said sex segregation failed to benefit of the social contribution of women and ended up by being among the underdeveloped countries of the world.