Beware of the dangers of having (male) drivers and (female) servants in the home.
Striving to ward off evil is a religious duty, and closing the doors of evil and fitnah (temptation) is one of the priorities of sharee’ah. A lot of fitnah and sin has come to us through servants and drivers, but many people do not pay attention to this, and if they do notice it, they do not take it seriously. A person may be stung repeatedly from the same place, but he does not feel the pain, or he may hear of a disaster that happened near his own home, but he does not learn from it. This stems from weak faith and the failure to feel that Allaah is near, failings that affect the hearts of many people in the modern age. We will briefly explain the bad effects of having servants and drivers in the home, so that it will be a reminder to the one who has the eyes to see or who wants to follow the right path in his own home.
Having female servants in the home presents men, especially young ones, with fitnah and temptation, through their adornment and being alone with them. We hear so many stories, one after another, of some youth being led astray, and the reason for this is that the servant entered upon a young man, or a young man took advantage of the fact that no one else was home and entered upon the servant. Some young men have told their families frankly about what happened, and the families did not respond; in other cases the family may have discovered something, but their response was bereft of any sense of honour or jealousy. “O Yoosuf! Turn away from this! (O woman!) Ask forgiveness for your sin. Verily, you were of the sinful.” [Yoosuf 12:29 – interpretation of the meaning]. So the fire remains close to the fuel, and the situation is left as it is, with no changes being made. It has also happened that servants have taught misbehaviour to the daughters
of the household.
– The lady of the house neglects her duties and forgets her responsibilities, and becomes accustomed to being lazy, then when the servants travels things are very hard indeed for her.
– The children receive a bad upbringing, represented by the following examples: The children learn the beliefs of kufr from kaafir servants, Christians and Buddhists. There have been children who make the sign of the cross on their heads and two sides of their chests, as they have seen a Christian woman doing when she prays, and she tells them, “This is something sweet from Christ.” Or a child may see a servant praying to a statue of Buddha, or another celebrating her people’s festivals and conveying to our children her feelings of joy, so they get used to taking part in festivals of kufr. The children are deprived of their mother’s love and care, which is an essential part of their upbringing and psychological stability. A servant cannot make up this lack for a child who is not hers.
The child’s Arabic will be corrupted because it is mixed with foreign words, so he grows up lacking something, which will have an adverse effect on his education in school. Some heads of households feel the financial strain of paying salaries for drivers and servants. Then there are the family disputes that arise over who should pay these salaries, especially in cases where the wife is employed. If the wife would stay at home instead of working outside the home, she would spare herself a lot of trouble. The fact of the matter is that in many cases we create trouble for ourselves, then we demand a solution, and often the solution we come up with is far from decisive.
Getting used to having servants has created dependency and negative character traits. Some women may include having a servant as a condition in their marriage contract; others may plan on bringing their family’s servant with them when they get married.
Thus our daughters have lost the ability to deal independently with anything in the home,
no matter how small it is.
– When women brought servants into their homes, they started to have a lot of free time and did not know what to do with it. So some women began to sleep a lot, and some are never home because they are always going to gatherings where they gossip and backbite and waste their time. The result will be regret on the Day of Resurrection.
– Harm comes to the members of the family in different ways, for example:
1- Witchcraft and magic, which can cause the separation of husband and wife, or cause physical harm.
2- Harm to the possessions of family members because of theft.
3- Damage to the family’s reputation. How many decent homes have been turned into dens of immorality and corruption in the absence of their owners. You must surely have heard of female servants who receive men when the homeowners are absent.
– The freedom of men (those who fear Allaah) within their own homes is restricted, as is also the case for those who try to call their families to put things in order.
– Women end up being alone with drivers who are strangers (non-mahrams) to them, in the house or car, and women do not refrain from going out wearing adornments and perfume in front of the drivers. They act as if he is one of their mahrams or even closer, and because they go out with them so often and talk to them so much, the psychological barrier is broken down and so forbidden things are done. The frequency
of such incidents in our society demonstrates to those who have the eyes to see just how serious the matter is.
– Bringing servants and drivers from all sorts of kaafir nations clearly goes against the Prophet’s specific orders that kaafirs should not be allowed into the Arabian Peninsula. There is absolutely no need to do this, as it is possible to bring Muslims in if there is a need for workers. Added to this is the fact that employing kaafirs strengthens the economies of kaafir nations, as the employees transfer their salaries to their homelands, even though Muslims should have priority in this matter. By mixing so much with these kaafirs, Muslims can no longer see the difference, which gradually destroys the concept of al-walaa wa’l-baraa’ (loyalty and allegiance vs. enmity and disavowal) in their minds. Added to this is the ugly role played by some agency owners who have no fear of Allaah, who will tell you that there are no Muslim employees. Or they may engage in deceit and trickery, so that after a driver or servant who is described as a Muslim in official papers has arrived, the head of the household discovers that this is a lie, or the new employee may be playing a role that started in his country of origin, where the agency taught him a few Islamic words so that he can
pose as a Muslim in front of the family that employs him.
– Family breakup resulting from the householder’s affair with a female servant. Look at what really happens and think how many divorces have happened because of servants, and how many servants have become pregnant with illegitimate children. Then ask the people working in hospital maternity departments, or find out about police reports detailing the problems caused by illegitimate children born as a result of the temptation posed by female servants. Then try to understand the extent of the spread of venereal diseases which have been brought into our society because of that.
Now you will understand the vicious circle we are in because of bringing female servants into our homes.
Think about the misconceptions that these servants and drivers have about the Islamic religion when they see the behaviour of those who claim to be Muslim. Ask yourself, what kind of obstacles are we placing in front of them? How are we preventing them from discovering the way of Allaah by what we do to them? How could they possibly enter a religion when this is the state of those who claim to belong to it? Because of these matters and others, some scholars think that it is not permissible to bring female servants into the home in the manner in which this is done nowadays, and that it is obligatory to put a stop to fitnah and close the door to evil. (See the fatwa of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen on this issue).
In order to comply with the command of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning), “… and when you give your word, say the truth…” [al-An’aam 6:152], we should point out the following:
Firstly: we do not deny the fact that some servants and drivers are sincere Muslims, possibly more sincere than the members of the household. We have heard of a servant who keeps a Mus-haf (copy of the Qur’aan) on the shelf in the kitchen so that she can read it whenever she finishes her work, and a driver who prays Fajr in the mosque before his employer does.
Secondly: we are not ignoring the real needs that people sometimes have for essential reasons, such as needing the help of servants in a large house, or when a family has a lot of children, or when someone is chronically ill or has disabilities, or when there is hard work that the wife cannot do on her own. But what we Muslims should ask is: who is applying Islamic conditions and taking care of religious precautions when bringing servants and drivers into the home? How many of those who bring drivers into the home (let’s get real!) can guarantee that the driver will not be alone with one of his womenfolk, or that the man will not be alone with a female servant? He should also tell the female servant to observe hijaab, and he should not deliberately look at her adornment. If he comes home and no one is there but the servant, he should not enter. He should not accept any servants except those who are sincerely Muslim… and so on.
For this reason, everyone who has one of these servants or drivers in his home should make sure that this person is there for a legitimate need and that the Islamic conditions are being properly fulfilled. The story of Yoosuf (upon whom be peace) contains a lesson for us with regard to this matter. It clearly indicates the fitnah that exists when there are servants and drivers in the house, and that evil may be initiated by members of the household even though the servants are people who fear Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him (to do an evil act), she closed the doors and said: ‘Come on, O you.’ He said, ‘I seek refue in Allaah (or Allaah forbid)!’…” [Yoosuf 12:23]
We suggest to those who complain that things are too difficult in their homes without servants that they could do the following:
– Buy ready-made food from the market; use paper plates; use laundry services; have the house cleaned by workers who are supervised by the man; ask relatives to help care for the children when necessary, such as when the wife is recovering from childbirth.
– If that is not enough, they could seek the help of a temporary servant, under proper Islamic conditions, and when there is no longer any need she may be dismissed. There are, however, risks attached to this solution.
– It is better if the servant is paid hourly, so that she can do her job then leave the house. Whatever the case, things should be done only as they are needed.
– We have discussed this matter at length because the problem is so widespread in our society. It may be different in other countries. Before closing this discussion we should mention some matters that have to do with taqwa or fear of Allaah:
1- Everyone who has sources of fitnah in his home, whether from servants or from anything else, should fear Allaah and remove them from his home.
2- Everyone who thinks that he is going to impose Islamic conditions when bringing aservant to his home should fear Allaah and realize that many of these conditions will become less stringent as time goes by.
3- Everyone who has a kaafir servant in the Arabian Peninsula should present Islam to him or her in the best possible way. If he or she becomes Muslim, all well and good, otherwise the servant should be sent back to wherever he or she came from.
Finally, we will end this discussion on servants and drivers with a story that contains an important lesson about the dangers of having servants in the home, and about referring to the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and rejecting every ruling that contradicts the sharee’ah, and consulting people of knowledge, and purifying the Islamic society through application of the punishments prescribed by Allaah.
Abu Hurayrah and Zayd ibn Khaalid (may Allaah be pleased with them) said: “We were with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when a man stood up and said, ‘I urge you by Allaah to judge between us according to the Book of Allaah.’ His opposite number, who was more knowledgeable, stood up and said, ‘Judge between us according to the Book of Allaah and give me permission to speak.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Speak.’ He said, ‘This son of mine was employed as a servant by this man, and committed zina (adultery) with his wife. I gave him one hundred sheep and a servant in compensation [for the damage to his honour], then I consulted some of those who have knowledge, and they told me that my son should be flogged one hundred times and exiled for a year [because he was unmarried], and that the woman should be stoned [because she was married and she consented to the act].’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I will judge between you according to the Book of Allaah. Take back the hundred sheep and the servant. Your son is to be flogged one hundred times and exiled for one year. O Unays, go to this man’s wife tomorrow and if she confesses, then stone her.’ [Unays] went to her the next day and she confessed, so he stoned her.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 12/136).
Note: one of the things that upsets every Muslim who cares about the rulings of Islam is what happens in some homes, where cleaners and maintenance workers enter upon women when they are wearing nightdresses and house-dresses. Does these women think that these people are not men in front of whom Allaah has commanded them to observe hijaab?
Another evil thing that happens in some homes is where non-mahram men teach adolescent girls, or some women teach adolescent boys without wearing hijaab.
Muhammad Salih Al-munajjid..