Is it permissible for a woman to become a speech and language therapist.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
From the outset, it should be noted that in Islam it is best for women to remain in the home and go out only when necessary. Allah ﷻ says in the Quran, Surah Al Ahzab: 33
وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى……
…Remain in your homes, and do not display (your) beauty as it used to be displayed in the days of earlier ignorance; …
As for women working in Islam, it is permitted for a woman to earn a Halal livelihood within the confines of the Shari’ah. There are many jobs and other sources of revenue that a woman can achieve within the four walls of her home.
Having said that, it will be permissible for a Muslim woman to be a speech therapist provided that she stays within the confines of the Shari’ah during her practice. Her services should be offered to women and children alone whether she is self-employed or not. If she is has to seek employment from the government or another organization, she should make a request for her to work with women and children alone citing religious reasons.
It is not permissible at all for a Muslim woman to work with non-mahram men. However, in a dire situation where there is no father, husband or brother financially attending to her needs and she has no alternative means of income, only then there will be a leeway to take such a job with a few further conditions. They are:
- She should observe the laws of Hijab i.e. she should be properly attired.
- She should control her gaze by not staring at the man’s face or his body. Allah ﷻ says in Surah Nur: 31:
وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ…
And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls, and must not expose their adornment, except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands, or to their sons or the sons of their husbands, or to their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters, or to their women, or to those owned by their right hands, or male attendants having no (sexual) urge, or to the children who are not yet conscious of the private aspects of women...
- She should not be secluded with a non-mahram male[i].
- She should change the tone of her voice so that it may not sound alluring to the male client.
- The conversation should be kept professional and to the topic i.e. laughter, joking and unnecessary conversations should be avoided. In Surah Al Ahzab verse: 32 Allah ﷻ says:
فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَعْرُوفًا……
… So, do not be too soft in your speech, lest someone having disease in his heart should develop fancies (about you); and do speak with appropriate words …
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Mujahid Dan Lubrin
Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)
[i] صحيح البخاري- 1862
– حدثنا أبو النعمان، حدثنا حماد بن زيد، عن عمرو، عن أبي معبد، مولى ابن عباس، عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما، قال: قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: «لا تسافر المرأة إلا مع ذي محرم، ولا يدخل عليها رجل إلا ومعها محرم»، فقال رجل: يا رسول الله إني أريد أن أخرج في جيش كذا وكذا، وامرأتي تريد الحج، فقال: «اخرج معها»