The husband is obliged to spend on his family, pay the rent, cover food expenses and so on, and the wife is not obliged to provide any of that, even if she is working or is wealthy.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Let the rich man spend according to his means”
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Their rights over you are that you should provide for them and clothe them in a reasonable manner.” Narrated by Muslim (1218). And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Hind the wife of Abu Sufyaan: “Take [i.e., from his wealth] what is sufficient for you and your child on a reasonable basis.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5364).
The basic principle is that women should stay at home and not go out except for necessary purposes. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance”
Although this is addressed to the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), the believing women are to follow them in that. It is addressed to the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) as an honour to them due to their standing with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and because they are an example for the believing women.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Woman is ‘awrah and when she goes out, the Shaytaan gets his hopes up. She is never closer to Allaah than when she is in the innermost part of her house,” Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan and Ibn Khuzaymah; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2688.
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said regarding women’s prayer in the mosque: “Their houses are better for them.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (567) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
It is haraam for a woman to work in a place where she mixes with men, because of the evils and problems that result from that mixing for both men and women. She may work outside the home in a permissible job in which there is no mixing with men, subject to the following conditions:
- That she needs to work
- That the work is suited to women’s nature and suited to their femininity and physical constitution, such as working in medicine, nursing, teaching, sewing and so on.
- That the work is in a place that is only for women, and there is no mixing with non-mahram men
- That the woman adhere to proper shar’i hijab at work
- That her work should not lead to her travelling without a mahram
- That her going out to work does not involve her committing any haraam action, such as being alone with the driver, or wearing perfume where non-mahram men may smell it
- That it does not lead to her neglecting a more important duty such as taking care of her house and looking after her husband and children.
Shaykh Muhammad al-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The field of work for women is that a woman should work in areas that women specialize in, such as teaching girls, whether it is an administrative or teaching position, or she may work in her home, sewing clothes for women and the like. As for working in fields in which men specialize, it is not permissible for her to work where she will be required to mix with men, as this is a great fitnah which must be avoided. It must be noted that it is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I am not leaving behind after me any fitnah that is more harmful to men than women; the fitnah of the Children of Israel had to do with women.” A man must make his family avoid all areas and causes of fitnah in all circumstances. End quote from Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah (2/981).
There is nothing wrong with you working as a babysitter. If it is in your house there is no problem; if it is in the house of the family you are working for, it is essential that you avoid being alone with the father of the child and any other non-mahram men, and beware of other things that are haraam, such as looking, shaking hands, speaking to men unnecessarily.
You are not obliged to work even though it is permissible, so long as your husband did not stipulate that in the marriage contract. If you are afraid that your husband will divorce you, then you have the choice between working and getting divorced, and in this case it is better for you to look for permissible work, and you will find it in sha Allaah, for the bitterness of having to work may be less than the bitterness of divorce.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).
3. And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allaah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allaah has set a measure for all things”
We ask Allaah to set your affairs straight and to bring you together in obedience to Him.
And Allaah knows best.