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A Muslim Woman’s Right to work and earn

Web posted at: 4/23/2009 23:28:40

Source ::: The PENINSULA

In Islam, a woman has a distinct and separate identity. She is not an accessory of her husband. Islam has given her the right to be the owner of her earnings. No one (her father, husband or brother) has a right over them. She can dispose of her earnings and property as she wishes, within the framework of Islam.


One of the greatest women in the time of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), was his first wife Khadijah. She was the daughter of a very prosperous businessman and inherited the business set up by her father.


Her astuteness and business ability made hers one of the most widespread businesses among the Quraish. Her policy was to employ hardworking and honest managers to deal on her behalf. She exported goods to far away markets like Syria and her managers brought goods from those markets to be sold back in Makkah. The managers received fifty percent of the profit and so she thrived.


Labour forces were employed from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, both men and women were involved in diverse occupations and economic activities.


Women were employed in a wide range of commercial activities and diverse occupations in the primary sector (as farmers for example), secondary sector (as construction workers, dyers, spinners, etc.) and tertiary sector (as investors, doctors, nurses, presidents of guilds, brokers, peddlers, lenders, scholars, etc.). Muslim women also held a monopoly over certain branches of the textile industry, the largest and most specialised and market-oriented industry at the time, in occupations such as spinning, dying, and embroidery.


In comparison, female property rights and wage labour were relatively uncommon in Europe until the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.


A unique feature of medieval Muslim hospitals was the role of female staff, who were rarely employed in ancient and medieval healing temples elsewhere in the world.


Medieval Muslim hospitals commonly employed female nurses, including nurses from as far as Sudan, a sign of great breakthrough. Muslim hospitals were also the first to employ female physicians, the most famous being two female physicians from the Banu Zuhr family who served the Almohad ruler Abu Yusuf Ya’qub Al Mansur in the 12th century. This was necessary due to the segregation between male and female patients in Islamic hospitals.

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