By Khaula Siddique

Money is a lot easier and a lot less scary to handle than we think or are taught. I feel from my experiences that a large part of our communities make a mountain out of a mole hill and the consequences of making a mistake are so greatly exaggerated that women stay away from any kind of major financial decision making, handling and in turn literacy. I can see that changing in the younger generations and I am really happy and excited for that much needed change. Our daughters will be able to navigate their lives much better than we did.

One of the biggest and in some cases the only reason many women stay in abusive and intolerable relationships is simply because of the fear of not having money, not knowing how to earn enough and not knowing how to handle it. And this is such a shame especially for Muslims when Islam is so clear about women and their rights to their own money as well as the fact that it is the duty of the men in their lives to support all their financial needs. But we read of so many situations in the group where a woman either married or unmarried is forced to stay in a toxic environment because she lacks financial independance. Women trapped in abusive marriages unable to leave because they have children and don’t know how they can support themselves. Single women staying in their parent’s or brother’s homes in very toxic conditions because they aren’t allowed to work or upgrade their education or skills.

One of the saddest things is the lack of Islamic knowledge and financial knowledge. One of the most common issues that comes up is the woman being expected to bear much of the household expense if she is working while her husband sends all his money to his family back home. If she isn’t working she is expected to sacrifice her needs and her children’s needs so that money can go to support the husband’s family. Yes, we know that in Islam it is the son’s duty to care for his parents financially, but we see just how much this is abused and the younger siblings as well as parents are often taking advantage and spend on extravagant lifestyles thinking dollars grow on trees here in Canada. Also it is still the man’s duty to make sure his wife and children have what they need. The irony is that a woman is questioned if she wants to send her money to her parents. In Islam no one has the right to question how and where a woman spends her money as long as she is a responsible adult of sound mind. But the double standard in our communities is very disappointing!

A few important things women need to know:

  1. A woman is not obligated to spend her money (her inheritance or pay) on the household or children. If she does so out of the goodness of her heart then her reward is with Allah swt.
  2. A woman is not obligated to disclose how and where she spends her money. She is not obligated to inform anyone how much money she has.
  3. A woman has the right to go out and work if she wants.
  4. A woman is not obligated to do household chores.
  5. A woman is not obligated to take care of her in-laws.

These however are the biggest issues in our South Asian families, once a daughter-in-law enters the house the in-laws suddenly have a maid and anything she has is all of a sudden theirs. We need to teach our daughters that Islam has given them rights and that they can set boundaries! We need to teach our sons to be kind, respectful and that their wives will have the right to be financially independant. We need to remind our own sisters, mothers, aunts and grandmothers that their daughter-in-law is not their servant and is not obligated to spend her money on them or their sons.

Some advice I would like to share with women in the community. Please invest time in yourself. The kids will grow up and have their own lives, spouses leave, become ill and sometimes pass away. I don’t mean to be a downer, but these are the realities of life, and that is okay. Just be prepared, we dedicate all of our time and effort to our families, but never to self-care or self-development. Please educate yourself, upgrade yourself, find a passion and a career, it doesn’t have to be some high level demanding job. Something that gives you joy, is manageable and gives you purpose as well as an income. Teach your daughers to handle money, give them an allowance and follow up with their spending and give advice. Have a saving account for yourself! Save and even learn to invest. It is a lot easier than we are led to believe so do your homework!

Some resources to get you started:

Books:

  1. The Broke Millenial by Erin Lowry
  2. The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton

Scholar Talks:

  1. YouTube: Noman Ali Khan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18Z1Sz2KS_A
  2. YouTube: Mufti Menk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrG0se3RfRk
  3. YouTube: Omar Suleiman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz9youcQMjg

Articles:

  1. How I Raised My Daughters to Become Leaders
  2. Teaching Kids Financial Realities
  3. Breaking Through the Cycle to Empower Women
  4. Investing Basics

 

About the Author

Khaula Siddique, artist at Khaula’s Art, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now paints stories on large walls. She loves bringing art to the community and achieves this through interactive art activities and public art projects. When she is not painting, she is over-indulging her large eccentric orange tabby who part-times as her critic and her muse. You can find her art shenanigans on her website, Khaula Siddique.com.