Question: Are women allowed to work according to the Quran, although they do not have any financial needs? Does a husband have the right to forbid his wife from working even if she fulfills all of her main duties? Does he have to provide a reason for this?
According to the Quran, all believers can work for giving zakat:
“Believers will attain what they hope for. They are reverent in their prayers. They turn away from idle talk. They work for zakat.” (al-Mu’minun 23:1-4)
“They work for zakat” can both mean “they work for giving zakat” and “they work for having zakat delivered to its recipients”. In order to be responsible for giving zakat, Muslims must be having extra money after all of their basic needs are met. Since the word “mu’minoon = believers” covers both male and female believers, women can also work in order to give zakat, even though they do not need money themselves.
A husband does not have the right to prevent his wife from working unless:
– The job description includes acts that are forbidden in the Quran,
– Working causes her to ignore/disregard her main duties towards her husband and her family,
– The conditions of her work are unacceptable for a Muslim woman, such as preventing the woman from performing her worships or observing her hijab, or putting her in a position to be alone indoors with a man where there is not the possibility of a third person to get in.
– There is a safety problem in work or along the way to work.
Allah the Almighty commands:
“Believers! Guard yourselves and your household against a Fire which is fueled by human beings and stones. (…)” (al-Tahrim 66:6)
By this verse, Allah holds every person responsible for protecting his/her household against all kinds of sins. Protection can be performed by advising what is good and preventing from what is evil, not by force in any case. In this sense, a man has the right to warn his wife if (and only if) she gets herself in an unsafe or an inappropriate situation in order to earn money.
The Almighty God commands:
“(…) Live with your wives according to acceptable terms. (…)” (An-Nisa/The Women 4:19)
For the fatwa about a man’s right to command to his wife, please see the following link: