Controversial Fatwa To Working Muslim Women: Don't Talk To Male Colleagues


The largest Muslim seminary in India, Darul Uloom of Deoband, has issued a fatwa against working Muslim women, saying working with men is not Islamic.

The fatwa says it is unlawful for Muslim women to do any job in government or private institutions that entails men and women working together and women having to talk to men without the veil.

The Deoband clerics say it is clearly mentioned in the Shariat that women should wear the veil in office and should not mix with male colleagues.

The fatwa has been endorsed by Muslim clerics of other schools of thought.

Sunni Muslim cleric Maulana Abul Irfan Firangimahli says, "Those women who are following their careers may get great success in this life...but they have to be accountable and answerable for this in their afterlife and then they will regret their career choices."

Expectedly, the fatwa has not gone down well with women. For well-known Lucknow fashion designer Asma Hussain, the fatwa has no significance. Asma makes her living dressing up women against whom this fatwa has been issued. For more than 10 years she has had dozens of men working for her and points out that their livelihoods depend on her continuing to work.

"If I stop working, then more than me those men will suffer who depend on me for their living. And so I feel that perhaps Allah may not accept my prayers, but he may accept me for trying to contribute to society," Asma says.

Then there is Wajeeda, an entrepreneur who runs a beauty parlour in Lucknow. She has both male and female clients. "These fatwas are issued so frequently, and are so regressive, that it only ends up creating hurdles for Muslim women to move forward. In fact, I think every Muslim woman should work.