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When Your Husband Doesn’t Want You to Work (and You Do)



Reply Date

Jan 24, 2017


I am an American woman who reverted to Islam 4 years ago. Alhamdulellah I've been married to a good Muslim man. He is also American but with an eastern background. Thank God, my husband is a really gentleman, he is caring and loving and I love him very much. However, the problem is that he doesn't want me to work. He says that it's haram to mix with male colleagues at work and that he is jealous because he loves me. His income is very good and stable Alhamdulellah that he can afford a good life for us, but I can't imagine staying at home and doing nothing, especially that we don't have kids yet. I used to work since high school days and I'm very active and I love my career. I tried to convince him many times but he insists that I have to stay at home. I really love him but I also feel that he has no right to control my life this way and refuse my own choices. Please tell me what shall I do?



When Your Husband Doesn't Want You to Work (and You Do)


As-Salamu ‘Alaikum sister,

Alhamdulilah that you have chosen to take the right path in accepting Islam.

Alhamdulilah, it is pleasing to read that you have married a good man who is financially stable enough to take good care of you without you needing to work. However, understandably, you feel frustrated that you can’t live the life you once did in terms of your career. Your husband does not want you to work in a mixed environment and, therefore, would prefer you to stay at home. You, on the other hand, feel like you can’t do this, and don’t like the way he is controlling your life. Indeed, the prospect of staying at home doing nothing does not make you feel happy.

Firstly, to take the Islamic perspective, working in a mixed environment is generally not preferable due to the numerous risks of working in such an environment, although, in certain professions, certainly in the West, there is no way to avoid it at times. For example, in a hospital where both men and women work, even if a woman only works with female patients, she will likely be on the same team as another man, or have to cross paths with another man at some point in order to get the job done in the interests of the patient. The dangers of working in mixed environments include things such as fornication, potentially leading to adultery, which, unfortunately, commonly take place in such environments, so he is understandably concerned at the prospect of his own wife working in such an environment.

Aside from working in mixed environments, there are many other opportunities to work that your husband might be more agreeable with if you talk to him about it. For example, working in a female only environment. You might also consider working from home. These days, with advancing technology, there are many options available to work from home. These are two options that you might look into.

Furthermore, given that your husband has a good income and, therefore, it’s not the financial side of things that is an issue, but you being able to get out and about mixing with others, you might consider taking up a hobby that allows you to get out and mix with other women. This would satisfy your need to get out and do something with yourself and not just stay at home feeling unproductive while also satisfying your husband’s desires.

Likewise, you might chose to study, do a course to keep your brain working and learning new skills whilst you do not yet have the commitment of children to attend to as well. Doing these kinds of things will enable you to feel more productive again in a way that your husband is happy with, that’s acceptable in Islam as well as keeping you busy and not feeling like you are being controlled. You will feel like you are doing something that you want to do without feeling forced to stay at home doing nothing.

May Allah (swt) make you and your husband the coolness of each other’s eyes and bring contentment in your marriage. May He (swt) open up opportunities that you did not even think of before and allow you to do something you want to whilst remaining in line with acceptable Islamic guidelines.



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About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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