Ustadha Zaynab Ansari answers questions on Muslim women working in fashion and finance, and how to cover properly in the company of in-laws.

Question:

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

1. I have a question regarding a career in fashion design or banking–finance. Is it allowed in Islam to have a career in these fields?

2. How should women maintain hijab from her father and brother in-laws after marriage if she has to live with them in the same house.

3. How should women maintain hijab in a non-Muslim working environment?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

1. Given that I am not familiar with your circumstances nor the details of your career opportunities, I do not feel comfortable telling you where to work. I will say that there is a need for women in the fashion industry who can design modest clothing for the needs of the contemporary Muslim woman.

As for the banking industry, please consult with local scholars. As a general rule, you should try to ensure that your career reflects the values of Islam and that you’re not directly involved in interest-bearing transactions or any type of work which is exploitative of women or children.

2. You do not have to wear hijab around your father and father-in-law. You do have to wear hijab around your brothers-in-law. I don’t know the details of the housing situation, but they should endeavor to give you as much privacy as possible so you don’t have to wear hijab whenever you leave your room.

3. I’m not familiar with workplace politics in India, so I’m not sure what I can suggest about hijab at your place of employment. I assume that India, as a democracy, has provisions for freedom of religious expression and that hijab would be protected under those laws.

I pray this helps,

Zaynab Ansari


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