Can Women Work With Men?

06 May, 2017
Q Assalamualaikum, I had a question regarding whether a women in a workplace with men can interact with men only in professional level, such as only talk professional things? Would this be mingling? Can women work in a workplace with men if there are other females there as well?

Answer

Peace be upon you dear sister,

Thank you so much for sending your question, can women work with men.

This issue needs to be handled carefully and several issues need to be considered.

First of all, we should remember here that Allah and His Messenger and the teachings of Islam essentially want for all believers to follow a pure and righteous life as per the Knowledge of the Creator and what He taught His Messenger, and this is what brings them peace in this life and immense rewards in the next.

We need to be completely honest with ourselves and honest with Allah Almighty.

Simply think about it, if men and women are freely mixing and mingling and eating together and spending long hours together at work, which lead them to talk and laugh about things beyond work … do you think this will have no influence on their hearts at all?

Do you think the haya’ (bashfulness/modesty) of women and men, the decorum and God-consciousness will still be there in these conditions? Of course not, and we can read stories and research on how workplace interactions between mixed genders that isn’t disciplined by taqwa has led to much fitnah and negative influence on people’s hearts and marriages … etc.

Read this article for example.

We have to put this in mind, and to remember that Allah honored women, and made men maintainers and protectors of women, and that women are allowed to work, but there should be boundaries and rules that discipline this act to avoid following the footsteps of Satan that lead to fitnah.

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

After me I have not left any trial more severe to men than women. (Sahih Al Bukhari)

Also, Allah has commanded men and women to lower their gaze. Staying together in one office for long hours and constantly interacting will make it hard for them to lower their gaze, right?

So, we have to be honest.

If your heart is in doubt about this issue, then you must have observed something and you’re not sure in general if this is the best and purest condition for you. So, try to always seek what’s purest.

In general, women are allowed to work, but there are conditions. For example:

-Women should observe proper hijab in the workplace

-Women should maintain a professional attitude, not discuss non-work matters with male colleagues, and lower their gaze.

-Women should not work in an environment where they will have to be alone with male coworkers.

-Women should not prioritize work duties over taking care of their children, families and their Islamic obligations.

So, if the work involves free mixing, you have to be alone with a male colleague in one room for a private meeting, it involves compromising your religious duties and commandments, or you have to be less than modest in any way, then it would be best to reconsider working in such an environment.

Try to put limits, and if these limits are not allowed, we should seek another place for work. And remember, do not fear losing sustenance because Allah is The Sustainer, the Provider and He told us:

{And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him[…]} (Qur’an 65:2-3)

Allah can always provide you from purer places if you’re uncomfortable. For example, you can find online, which is work that doesn’t involve too much physical interaction with the opposite gender.

You can find work with sisters. You can start your own project … there are many options insha’Allah, with dua and taqwa and taking the means, Allah will provide.

May Allah guide you to all that is good and pure in this life and the next!

Here are additional resources.

Opposite Sex Interactions – Nouman Ali Khan – Quran Weekly

Interacting With The Opposite Sex – Mufti Menk

Also please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

UK Muslim Women Face Employers Discrimination

Working Muslim Women: How to Reduce Stress

Mixed-Gender Interaction: Prophet’s Time vs. Today