Fatwa ID: 05501
Answered by: Maulana Syed Johir Miah
Someone from our congregation has asked; What is the Islamic stance on women being allowed to go out of the home for work, leisure etc.?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Intermixing of sexes is forbidden in Islam. Segregation of sexes is an integral part of Islam.
Therefore, a female cannot work in an environment of men or interact with men without any necessity.
If a woman has not got married, then it is the duty of her father or the guardian to see to all her financial means.
After she is married, it is her husband’s responsibility to provide for her.
If there is a need for a woman to work, she may do so in an environment where there are women-only and the work is not deemed contrary to Shariah.
If a woman does not have any financial support, then only she may seek employment. In such a situation, she must adhere to the laws of Hijab.
There are a few conditions that must be adopted by a woman if she was to work:
- Seclusion: A woman must always remain firm on not being secluded with a non-mahram male, as this is prohibited by the Shariah and lead to sins.
Sayyiduna Umar ( رضى الله عنه ) narrates that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)said:
لَا يَخْلُوَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ بِامْرَأَةٍ فَإِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ ثَالِثُهُمَا
“A man should not be alone with a woman, for indeed the third amongst them is Shaytan”.
Likewise, Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Abbas ( رضى الله عنهما ) said;
مَن كانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ واليَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلا يَخْلُوَنَّ بِامْرَأةٍ لَيْسَ بَيْنَهُ وبَيْنَها مَحْرَمٌ
Whoever believes in Allah and the last day, should not be in solitude with a woman whose mahram is not present between him and her. 
- Guarding the Gaze: This is another aspect that is extremely important for both men and women that they should guard their gaze against looking at people from the opposite gender.
Allah (عز و جل) says in the Quran:
قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks (they keep away from prohibited), guard their chastity; that is purer for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do. (Surah Noor, Ayah 30)
In the next verse He says:
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا
And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks (they keep away from prohibited) and guard their chastity. They should not display their ornaments except what is visible (hands, face and feet) (Surah Noor, Ayah 31)
- Physical Contact: No physical contact should take place between the genders, even handshakes.
- Dress Code: The awrah must be covered at all times, which for a woman is to wear the complete Hijab as well as cover the rest of the body so that her body shape may not be exposed in any way.
- Communication: When it comes to speaking with men, it should only be limited to what is relevant to the work and nothing outside of that, as it leads to being too open with the opposite sex which is not allowed.
Only Allah knows best.
Written by Maulana Syed Johir Miah
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
 Mujam Ibnil Arabi, Hadith 1036, 534/2, Dar IbnilJawzi, Saudi Arabia, 1418 H.
 Mujam Kabir, Tabrani, Hadith 11462, 191/11, Maktabah Ibn Taimiyah, Cairo, Egypt.