Is it true that if a wife works, her household will not be harmonious?

Is it true that if a wife works, her household will not be harmonious? Working women are not always dependent on financial matters, there is a need to develop and achieve their potential in the field they are working in.

ISLAMLIBRARY | Some time ago, I attended a friend's wedding. In that meeting, my friends and I discussed "should we continue working after marriage or choose to stay at home full time and focus on taking care of our family?"

Some of them choose to continue working, and others choose to stay at home. Hearing their choice I smiled. One of them said in a joking tone, "Are you sure you bought the skincare?", and my best friend answered, "Don't worry, I want to find an established husband." 

For me, marriage is a strong commitment that we must carry out with a partnership and full of mutuality. In marriage there are rights and obligations that must be carried out to maintain the integrity and harmony of the household.

But in practice, there is often an imbalance in the roles and responsibilities of husband and wife. For example, a husband's obligation to support his wife is not fulfilled, so the wife is required to work to meet household needs. Women who work are not only financially dependent, there is also a need to develop and achieve their potential in the field they are working in.

Even though there are women who work for the needs of their families and other people, their presence is often blamed and not appreciated. Even though work is the right of every individual, both women and men. 

Rights and Obligations in Marriage

Marriage creates rights and obligations, so there will be a division of roles and responsibilities. Women and men both have the responsibility to take care of the household. But in reality, working women still have to be burdened with domestic affairs.

Even though homework is quite heavy and tiring. I remember a friend confiding in me, how she really wanted to work but her husband didn't give her permission, due to her husband's dominance in the household.

Most of them think that if their wife works, there will be more household expenses due to transportation. Even household members take care of the house, which should be done by the wife. Data from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Gallup shows that almost 30 percent of men prefer women to work at home and be housewives.

In principle, Islam exists to provide the same position for women and men as full subjects in the system of life, the only difference is piety. Likewise, the Prophet's mission was to uphold justice and respect universal humanity. Namely the liberation of humans from the shackles of determining their life choices, including in terms of work. 

"On the authority of Abu Hurairah who said: The Messenger of Allah said: Verily, Allah does not look at your physical appearance and appearance (man), but looks at your heart and your deeds". (HR. Muslim).

Benefits of Working

Working can build a relationship with Allah SWT if we intend to worship and seek His approval. Apart from that, there are also social relations to help others and relations with nature to fulfill needs and protect it. In the Qur'an, surah An-Nahl verse 97, Allah says;

"Whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while he believes, We will give him a good life, and a better reward than what they have done."

This verse addresses women and men who are active in doing good deeds and seeking the pleasure of Allah SWT. Both have relatively the same rights and obligations in the family, work and in society. Both have the same opportunities and opportunities to obtain rewards for their righteous deeds.

Then in the hadith it is explained that "There is no food consumed by a person that is better than the work of his own hands, in fact the Prophet Dawud (as) always ate the work of his own hands." (Sahih Bukhari).

This hadith applies to women and men who work to fulfill their daily needs, whatever the work is, as long as it is halal it is good. Thus, working and doing good deeds is a form of gratitude for the blessings we receive.

In this case, a wife can decide whether to work or have a career and there are still many jobs that require the role of women. So taking care of the household and doing other domestic work is not a woman's main task. Rather, it is the result of social construction which often subordinates women (men work to earn a living, women stay at home). 

Working Women

Furthermore, Surah An-Nisa verse 34 reads "Men (husbands) are responsible) for women (wives) because Allah has preferred some of them (men) over others (women) and because they (men) man) has spent part of his wealth. Pious women are those who are obedient (to Allah) and take care of themselves when (their husbands) are not around because Allah has taken care of (them). Women you are worried about nusyuz) give them advice, leave them in bed (separate beds), and (if necessary,) beat them (in a way that doesn't hurt). However, if they obey you, do not look for ways to trouble them. Indeed, Allah is Most High, Most Great." 

Some circles interpret this to mean that women do not have the right to be leaders in the household or society, women cannot be the head of the family. As a result, women often find it difficult to make decisions.

However, in reality not all men are able to play a role that exceeds that of women. For example, in the household when the husband is sick or experiences a disorder that means he cannot work, or the wife is abandoned by her husband.

We cannot deny that women have to earn a living by working. If the role of wives is more capable in the public sector, then why don't women play leadership roles in the family?

"Apart from that, the cause of disharmonious households is not the wife working, but rather the lack of effort to work together with each other in carrying out their respective roles and functions in the household."

Both partners must understand and respect each other in order to achieve harmony and happiness together. This is a form of implementation of rahmatan lil'alamin in carrying out their functions as servants of Allah and social creatures.