There has been a lot of chatter recently about Muslim mums working outside of the home.
Some mothers chose to, some mothers need to.
I, alhamdolilah, do both. I am self employed and work from home. I chose my hours, my days, when I want to work and how. I can plan my day around the children's routines and alhamdolilah, my family does not need to rely on my income.
Islam tells us that a woman can work if she wishes to, but her husband has no right over what she earns, she can of course, spend it towards the family if she wishes to, but does not have to.
We now live in an age where people no longer marry partners that are equally matched. In the old days, if you lived in a small village in Pakistan somewhere, you were likely to marry someone from a small village nearby, or perhaps a small city nearby, but partners were certainly more evenly matched in that respect, i.e., coming from similar backgrounds, similar upbringing and growing up people were exposed to similar opportunities, (or the lack of as the case may be).
Now we are in an age where travel is easier and more affordable, the world is a smaller place, there are opportunities a plenty and people are marrying partners that are perhaps not so evenly matched, that didn't have a similar upbringing or similar opportunities in life.
I find more and more that I come across Muslimahs who were born and brought up this country, who benefited from a free education system and free health care and access to a wealth of information and knowledge. This is of course, one of the reasons our parents came to this country. To give their children the opportunities they didn't have. But often I find, these educated young ladies are marrying brothers from a less blessed background, often from a foreign country where people are keen to come to this country, marriage often making that possible. In some cases these brothers are well educated but their degrees and diplomas mean little or nothing here and are forced to work in lower paying jobs that they are far too qualified for or to set up whatever business they can try their hand at to earn a living to support their families. Allah provides and all our jobs do is keep us busy, we are deluded if we think these jobs are what sustains us. But in circumstances where the husband is not evenly matched for the wife, the wife often ends up having to work to help the household meet its needs. Personally, this is not something I agree with. I believe THE most important job for a mother is raising her children. There is nothing more important, vital, crucial or rewarding.
Alhamdolilah, by Allah's mercy I am blessed to be in the position I'm in. Many others aren't, but I want to share that there was a time when I thought I too *had* to work for my family and sometimes for my sanity.
When I left full time employment our household income was slashed by almost 40%. A huge chunk. But my husband and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that Allah provides and we will be fine insha'Allah. And we alhamdolilah, are.
Don't get me wrong. Its not like my income wasn't relied upon. It very much was, but we decided to pay less attention to worldly things, to try and forget about Dunya and massively cut back our spending. We had to cut back on a huge amount of things, we don't go out and socialise, we don't eat out, we spend extremely little on clothes and shoes, we got rid of our car and walk to many places, or use the buses. We don't buy presents often. We don't have cable TV or Sky TV. We have the cheapest price plans on mobiles, home phone, broadband. We use water, electricity & gas sensibly. We don't live in the plushest part of town, although we absolutely love the place Allah has blessed us with. We don't take holidays, in the past five years or so, we've had 2 holidays, both were humble and fairly inexpensive. We made sacrifices for this to happen. We decided to put our money where our mouth is and live a humble existence. It could probably be more humble but we do our best. We had to work hard at living with one income and it isn't always easy, but Alhamdolilah, we're fine.
My current income from my self employed business is not a massive amount to say the least and all I earn from it, goes straight back into the business.
I believe Allah takes us through life showing us opportunities to better ourselves in some way. To teach us a lesson, to show us another way. I believe that when I decided to leave employment Allah's reasons were more than what I thought at that time. It was to prepare me for what was to come. But that's another story. Fact is I would not have been able to be the step mother I am, the role model I am, if I was working full time. Fact.
I don't think for a second that I am the best at it. Far from it. No-one is perfect, so how can there be a perfect mother? But we do the best we can.
I left work for different reasons, but later I found the true meaning of me being able to work from home.
More and more I see now what is happening to the new generation. I see bad and rowdy behaviour on our buses and public places, often girls at the forefront.
I recently went into one of the local businesses in my area and found they had two girls there for work experience. Their behaviour was shocking and it didn't surprise me to hear that the business owner had received many complaints from customers about the children's behaviour. I wondered if they come from household where the mother is working outside of the home.
Now, I know this may seem very judgmental of me, I'm making a huge generalization. But believe me, I'm saying all this with the utmost humility. I am humble about this. I know Allah has blessed me with the position I'm in. Alhamdulillah. But I'm saying this because I care about our Ummah, and our children are a massive part of that. How we raise them will play a huge role in years to come.
With all the recent earthquakes, Japan and the earthquake in Burma last week, many of us are thinking about the minor signs of the hour and the end times. Allah tells us that earthquakes will increase. All of the minor signs have come now. Its our duty to prepare the next generation. How can we do this if we're at work?
Its Dunya that tells us we must work, and send our children to school so they can study and grow up to work as well and join the "system". But in doing this we've forgotten that the only work that really matters is to learn our deen, apply it to our lives and live by it. We should be working for the hereafter, not for the here and now.
I think if a mother can work in a part-time job while the children are at school, or work around the children from home, go for it. Even if you'll be earning a lot less money, don't worry, Allah provides. Our financial situation has very little to do with us.
This life is an illusion. Its the next life we all need to be working for.