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Very often I see daughters who are not taught to look after themselves and/or how to provide for themselves, i.e. to be self reliant. I'm not sure if this is a cultural thing or an Islamic thing, but I see many Muslims where daughters are 100% reliant on their father and/or their husband only.

As a father, this scares the hell out of me. What if I die before my daughter is married, and/or her possible future husband dies after she is married. If she relies 100% on her father or her husband, what will she do? She will end up on the streets homeless or in some women's only shelter. I hate the thought of that.

Which is why I am teaching my daughter from a very early age to be self reliant, i.e. I will be teaching her about how to provide for herself and be self reliant, so she doesn't have to rely on me or her possible future husband.

My question is, if Islam teaches us that the husband is to provide for the wife, or the father is to provide for the daughter, does that mean that it's a sin for me to teach and give my daughter the relevant skills to be self reliant?

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From a secular, psychological perspective, do note that while a woman's identity comes from acceptance, a man's identity comes from his competence. The fastest way to hurt a woman's feelings is saying "You are ugly. If I didn't marry you nobody would." The fastest way to hurt a man's feelings is saying "You are incompetent. You can't even take care of your own family." I'd think that any sin associated to women not being reliant is that lack of trust hurts their husband's feelings. Try to bring up the issue with your husband; most men would hate the idea of their daughters being defenseless. –  Muz Mar 18 '13 at 1:20
    
As far as I read, there is no explicit forbiddence nor encouragement regarding whether you should teach your daughter to be independent. Since you aim for the good of your daughter then I postulate that there is no harm. –  user2350 Jun 6 '13 at 6:05
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3 Answers 3

This is more a cultural than Islamic thing. In much of the world, like Malaysia, Indonesia, or the first world nations, Muslim women are very self reliant and are often just as wealthy and skilled as men.

You need to look no further than the Prophet Muhammad's first wife, Khadija bint Khuwaylid. She did not stay at home quietly, but ran a very wealthy and powerful business.

Khadija's father, Khuwaylid ibn Asad, who died around 585, was a merchant, a successful businessman whose vast wealth and business talents were inherited by Khadija, who successfully managed her father's business interests and preserved the family's fortune. Her renown for business dealings caused many highly respected Arabian men to seek her hand in marriage.

She had even hired her future husband:

Khadija did not travel with her trade caravans; she relied on others to trade on her behalf, whom she compensated with commissions. As Khadijah dealt with far away markets she was sure to hire hard working and distinguished employees to act on her behalf in order to preserve the image of her business. In 595, Khadija needed an agent for a transaction in Syria. Several agents whom she trusted (notably including Abu Talib ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib) and some relatives of hers recommended her distant cousin Muhammad ibn Abdullah.

Later on, she was the breadwinner and supporter of the family:

Khadijah's wealth was another contributing factor in spreading Islam. Once Khadijah and Muhammad got married, Muhammad no longer had work, for her wealth is what gave Muhammad the time for his spiritual path.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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Didn't Khadijah stop working after getting married? I remember someone telling me this to emphasis that women shouldn't be working if they have a male provider? –  user3550 Mar 15 '13 at 9:40
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There's not a lot of evidence to validate or disprove that. The sahih hadiths don't seem to cover the finer details of her life and a lot of these are from secondary/tertiary sources. However, it's perfectly clear that there's nothing wrong with a woman starting a business (before getting married or after being widowed) and that there's nothing wrong with a woman supporting her husband with her wealth. Difficult to say if it's not allowed for a woman to work after being married. But anything that is not specifically prohibited in Islam is by default permissible. –  Muz Mar 17 '13 at 23:52
    
@user3550 I agree with Muz, that it appears to be a personal decision whether a wife stops working or not, as long as she performs her duty to her family. –  user2350 Jun 6 '13 at 6:08
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Although it is true that Islam demands the Man to be the one who should support the family, But as bro, Yahya said: "It is only allowed within the boundaries set by islam"

However the baisc principle is that women should stay at home and not go out except for necessary purposes.

The verse:

وقرن في بيوتكن ولا تبرجن تبرج الجاهلية الأولى وأقمن الصلاة وآتين الزكاة وأطعن الله ورسوله إنما يريد الله ليذهب عنكم الرجس أهل البيت ويطهركم تطهيرا

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.

http://quran.com/33/33

Although this is addressed to the wives of the Prophet (PBUH), the believing women are to follow them in that because they are an example for the believing women.

Shaykh Muhammad al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen said that women are allowed to work in:

The field of work for women is that a woman should work in areas that women specialize in, such as teaching girls, whether it is an administrative or teaching position, or she may work in her home, sewing clothes for women and the like. As for working in fields in which men specialize, it is not permissible for her to work where she will be required to mix with men, as this is a great fitnah which must be avoided. It must be noted that it is proven that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "I am not leaving behind after me any fitnah that is more harmful to men than women; the fitnah of the Children of Israel had to do with women." A man must make his family avoid all areas and causes of fitnah in all circumstances.

Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah (2/981).

And the Islam has provided other solutions to keep the women from working, because they have far more important role which is taking care of the husband and the kids.

On of these solutions is the hadith of the prophet mohameed PBUH:

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Prophet (PBUH) said, "One who strives to help the widows and the poor is like the one who fights in the way of Allah." The narrator said: I think that he (PBUH) added also: "I shall regard him as the one who stands up (for prayer) without rest and as the one who observes fasts continuously".

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Another way, the family/relatives can support her too that way they can have double deeds:

It was narrated that: Zainab, the wife of Abdullah said:

I asked the Messenger of Allah: 'Will it be accepted as charity on my part if I spend on my husband and the orphans in my care?' The Messenger of Allah said: 'She will have two rewards, the reward for charity and the reward for upholding ties of kinship.'

(Sahih)

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This seems to confirm that it is preferred that women be reliant on men, family, relatives, and even charity, before they start being self-reliant... By that time, it's going to be very difficult to get a woman to be self-reliant if it gets to the charity stage. Why not be reliant-from the beginning, but just allow the men to feel that you rely on them? Even though you don't need to? –  user3550 Feb 13 '13 at 11:26
    
I copy paste my comment below. The argument to limit women's work place is mostly due to the forbidden of free mingling of men and women. Using same argument, why don't we emphasize that men should not work in a place where there are already women but only vice-versa? If your workplace has a woman, yes she shouldn't have, but that doesn't justify your mistake by joining the workplace knowing that there is a woman. In a way I am seeing one-sidedness where we tend to limit where women should work but never mention of the same for men, this leads to very disadvantageous for women. –  user2350 Jun 6 '13 at 8:06
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Assalamu alaikum Sister,

Islam's beauty lies in the fact that it is highly adaptable to various kinds of circumstances without having to compromise on its basic principles.

The first thing that we have to bear in mind is that free inter-mingling of males and females is not allowed, no matter what the circumstances. Even when a woman is completely covered at her workplace, her very presence becomes a trial for the men around her owing to the fact that she has been created beautiful by Allah, and her beauty lies in the fact per se that she is a woman.

In other words the very fact that she is a woman is enough for her to be beautiful and attractive in the eyes of men, regardless of other factors like the color of her skin, her height and so on and so forth. Just the sound of a woman's voice or laughter is enough to attract the attention of a man. As such, even when a woman is fully covered it is impermissible for her to mix with men (and vice versa).

In the case of your daughter I would recommend that before anything else, teach her about Islam and people like the Mothers of the Believers and the other Sahaabiyah (RAA). Train and give her a strong grounding in Islamic morals first and foremost, and then in whatever vocation you feel would best suit her (like the brother in the answer above has mentioned).

While worldly education will help her make a good living (in case she finds herself in the unfortunate situation of not having a male mahram around her, God forbid), moral education, I feel is far more important since it will help her make the right decisions. The best part about having knowledge of Islam is that it also equips one with a strong hikmah about the right action to be taken in various situations. The more important question in point is not whether a Muslima should be dependent on her husband/father/brother; rather it should be: is she well aware of Islamic principles that guide her in taking the right decision at all times?

We Muslims find ourselves facing various kinds of novel situations as the world's culture evolves and changes (for the better or for the the worse). A very important need in times like these for a Muslima (and indeed all Muslims) is the ability to adapt ourselves to these situations and take the right decisions that please Allah or at least do not displease Him.

It's best to cling strongly to the principles; the rest are all details and I guess that's what Scholars are for.

HTH.

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Assalamu alaikum. "The first thing that we have to bear in mind is that free inter-mingling of males and females is not allowed, no matter what the circumstances." Using same argument, why don't we emphasize that men should not work in a place where there are women but only vice-versa? If your workplace has a woman, yes she shouldn't have, but that doesn't justify your mistake by joining the workplace knowing that there is a woman. In a way I am seeing one-sidedness where we tend to limit where women should work but never mention of the same for men. –  user2350 Jun 6 '13 at 8:01
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