Women As Housewives
The notion that Islam ties the woman down to a homemaker’s role is frequently heard as a reflection on the way things are, and this is why it is worth discussing. But before going into the depth of the subject, we should point out the presence of two kinds of rulings in Islam.
The first kind is the binding rules that necessitate a person to do something or not to do it, and they are called the obligation and prohibition rules.
The second consists of the rules that urge a person to do something but do not compel him to do it; or exactly the opposite, wishing him not to do something but at the same time do not prevent him from doing it. They are called the preferable and the detested or the rules that allow a person the possibility of choosing whether to do or not to do, and so they are called the allowed.
Well, does Islam oblige a woman to be a housewife before and after marriage? According to Islam, no one, whether father, mother, brother or any relative, is authorized to legitimately oblige the woman to manage domestic work in her parental house before marriage. So, housework is not imposed on women just like neither the father nor the mother has the legitimate right to oblige the boy to handle housework.
Yes, she can take on this charge if she willingly volunteers to, out of the sense of responsibility towards the house that is taking care of her. And when the girl becomes a wife, the fact that she manages the domestic work in her house or does not, will also remain a voluntary matter that is up to her to decide. The contract of marriage does not bind women, from a legal aspect, to do housework, not even to rear her children and take care of them, unless the two married people worked on including the performance of these tasks in the marriage contract under special terms. But Islam does not consider that women’s housework as one of the marriage contract articles, and it also does not require the women to carry out any kind of jobs outside home to support her family or to contribute toward supporting it. On the basis of the marriage contract, a man can demand nothing from his wife but the rights to the private marital relationship and all that is related to it. Anything other than that, such as arranging the household affairs and bringing up the children, would not be imposed on her. From this perspective, we can approach the issue of women’s work in the house as women’s finest contribution that completes men’s finest contribution.
When Islam didn’t force women to manage the household affairs, it offered them the opportunity to participate in building the society they live in. From an Islamic point of view, women are as responsible as men to help people find their way to God and to guide society to the right path with all the power they have. And as we have previously mentioned, women are also charged to enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil, the thing that represents the social practical surveillance against deviation in all the domains of life; a role that might get to the level of revolt against unjustness and deviation.