My maternal grandmother was only 22 when her husband died and she had three little children to bring up. It was in 1952. She shifted to a small slum like house in a village and walked 3 miles every day to buy and sell milk and curds in the scorching heat of summer and the chilly mornings of winter. By the time I was born, she already had a huge mansion like house and all her children married and settled. By the village standard she had built an Empire. . It was under compulsion that she had to swim across the current. She did not have any personal experience or formal training but her hardship taught her those lessons which Hawards and Camrbidge don't teach you in their volumnous books.
Today as the results of various matric courses are out in the Gulf, in India, in Pakistan, the outcome shows a huge increase in compeititiveness among the girl students. Ratio wise, they are scoring well ahead of boys ! Alhamdolillah. Many girls are looking for prospective careers. My cautious advices for them.
What is the concept of a career from a female's perspective? We understand that men look for career because they have to run their houses and bring up their childrenand get their children settled... but Islam has exempted women from wandering from offices to offices and soaking in files and paper works and bargaining and pleasing costumers and then reaching home to cook for tired husbands and children and the next morning then pak up kids for school and herself for the office..
Certain careers can be put into the column of fard e kifaya when it comes to women. Medical profession is one of the best example. I would be uncomfortable for my daughter or wife or some one else's women approaching a male doctor for her treatment because of lack of lady doctors... Gheerah (gairat)is a part of faith...
Teaching girls only whether it is Maths or Language,and grooming them into a practising muslimah through hijab, and other etiquette related to women is another career that pops in my mind. There is a big vacancy and opportunities in this section as more and more schools running on Islamic principles are coming up. This also means that I am not denying females to take up Maths and Physics if their aim is to be a teacher in those subjects and not an engineer which requires intermingling with opposite sex through out your working days. Who does not know what happens in the offices and other other such working places?
But there should be a section of girls who manage to score above 80 or A grade yet they chose Islamic studies as their first option. Many girls ,upon scoring A grade or 80+ , rarely think of taking up Islamic studies and doing masters in it. It may be that there are girls who would love to do it but their parents find it risky...Some girls find themselves confused in choosing between a medical degree and an Islamic one.. I assure them that a degree in Islamic studies is as precious as medical when it comes to women. The reason being the same as I mentioned above... It is uncomfortable for a woman to ask certian questions related to feminine issues to a male no matter how big a scholar he is. In Islamic studies there are many options as well.
You can become a Da'ee (caller to Islam) and to support my assurance.. more than two third of new entries into Islam are women... A female da'ee can run her center of her own or a website catering ot non Muslim females only... or can deliver talks to female audience....
You can become a scholar of Arabic language and then learn fiqh and tafaseers..like Dr Farhat Hashmi did. If I say Dr Farhat Hashmi is one of the best things to have happened to Pakistani women.. then it wont be an exaggeration. If I say the community requires hundreds of Farhat Hashmis even then I am not exagerrrating the need. You can also straight away join a formal degree in Islamic studies in a reputed Islamic university.
All the careers that I have highlighted can be taken as a service to the society and not to run your houses, for that you have your husband to do it, but if you earn through it , yet the money is only yours.Meanwhile wait for my next note on 'Dangerous Careers for Muslimah' Inshallah
Author: Nisaar Nadiadwala speaks and writes on socio-educational issues from Islamic perspective. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org