Q&A: Women Serving Deen

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Question:

We are a group of women who intend to help and uplift the poor. We have been motivated by the great rewards for assisting humanity. The projects we intend to embark on will require, among other aspects, working together with males. Some members have objected to this. Please advise (summary of question).  

 

Answer:

May Allah Ta`ala accept your noble intentions and reward you abundantly. Helping the poor and needy is an act of great virtue. We should all endeavour to do our utmost in this regard.

While the intention is very noble, it is also necessary that the manner of carrying out the action is also correct. Our primary concern should be the pleasure of Allah Ta`ala. If Allah Ta`ala is pleased with us then we are successful. If we displease our Creator, we are unsuccessful, even if we have apparently done a great service to Deen.

It is reported in a Hadith that among the first people to be thrown into the fire of Jahannum will be a martyr, a generous wealthy person and a learned person. Though they served Deen very greatly,  they will be failures because their intentions were to gain name and fame. They benefited the Ummah greaty by their contributions, yet they gained destruction for their apparently noble efforts. Likewise, if a sincere noble intention is carried out in a manner which violates the commands of Allah Ta`ala, one cannot expect to be rewarded for it. Instead, one could be taken to task for it.

 

CODE OF LIFE

Islam is a complete code of life. Part of this perfect code is the separation of duties of males and females. A woman’s primary duty is that of a home-keeper. When women played this vital role and focused their main energy towards the proper tarbiyat (nurturing) of their children, the Imaam Bukhaaris, Ghazaalis and Rumis of the time were produced.

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) also emphasised this role for the women and did not make them responsible for other tasks outside the home. Once, Hazrath Asma (R.A.) came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and stated that the women stay at home and take care of all the household chores as well as look after their families while the men attended to numerous Deeni activities outside the home. Thus, she enquired, what will the women get for staying at home and fulfilling their responsibilities? Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) informed her that the women will be granted an equivalent reward of their men folk for all the work of Deen that the men undertake outside.

 

BOUNDARIES OF DEEN

Nevertheless, while fulfilling one’s primary responsibilities of home-keeping and nurturing one’s children, a woman may also do whatever possible to serve Deen within the boundaries of Deen. Among other clear injunctions of the Qur’an is the segregation of males and females. The most noble companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) were commanded by the Qur’an that if they ask the chaste wives of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) for anything, they should do so “from behind the curtain” (S:33 V:53). If this applied to the Sahaabah (R.A.) and the pure wives of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), it applies to a far greater extent to the rest of the Ummah. Therefore, to embark on any project which involves the intermingling of males and females and transgresses the laws of hijaab is impermissible. 

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