I know a lot of people might like to beat me up for saying that, but that’s a good question. Is it possible for a Muslimah to be career driven and still fulfill her duties as a mother and a wife?
I have brothers – and now a brother in law as well – and until we had to find matches for them, I didn’t realize just how hard it was to find a Muslimah whose number one priority was her duty at home. When I was going through college, most girls put off marriage because they wanted to get an education, so it’s not surprising that a lot of women put off having children – or raising them – for their careers. Nowadays, really, who sees homemaking and mothering as a high goal?
Why is that? Why do the Muslim women these days have such a “I can do it if he can” attitude? I wait for the day that a man says, “Well, I can raise two kids, handle a job and a home all at once! I must prove myself!” Come on sisters, let’s not make things difficult on ourselves. We already have enough responsibilities, let’s not add supporting the home financially to the plate.
Certainly, if having a career is pleasure for you, then by all means, do so. Just don’t let it take away from your duty as a mother. Responsibility comes before recreation. Our children are a blessing and a trust which God has given us.
In a hadith, in which the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam talks about responsibility, he says, “A woman is the guardian over the household of her husband and his children and shall be questioned about them (as to how she managed the household and bought up the children).” [Bukhaari, Sharh as-Sunnah 10/61] Why do Muslim women not see mothering as the huge responsibility it is? Why would we prioritize something else over the greatest and most difficult task at hand?
Now don’t misunderstand. I think a woman should definitely get an education. As the author of Ideal Muslimah says, “Intelligent and brilliant women did produce far more noble sons than intelligent and brilliant men did.” If she has the time after caring for her kids, she has every right to have a career and do what she likes. My point is that her priority should be her children.
Before we got married, my friends and I would talk about marriage, kids, etc. We were discussing this very issue once… Would we want to work after children? Now, as a mom, I can say without a blink, no. At least, not until my children are all in school. But even then, we had all admitted that coming home to your mother and a warm meal was one of the most relaxing parts of the day. If you had the worse day ever, you’re just driving home, waiting to sound off on your mom and have a warm (yummy!) meal. And the days that our moms weren’t there? The house felt empty, and we stayed down until she did come home.
It’s ok if you’re “just a mom.” It’s better to be an excellent mother to your children than to be a mediocre mother who works. If Allah hasn’t asked that of you, why make things difficult for yourself?
When we were pregnant with our baby girl Khadeejah, my husband had told me, “I’m scared about having a girl.” I asked him why. He said, “Because, it’s a huge responsibility. It’s much harder.” I, being the hasty, emotional person that I am, was instantly offended. “And why are girls harder to raise?” I demanded. “Because,” my husband said quietly, “When you raise a boy, you raise a man. When you raise a girl, you raise a nation.”