Woman’s employment in a job which necessitates her continuous communication with men who are not Mahram to her, is Makruh, and if it necessitates her to involve in Haram, it is undoubtedly forbidden, but regardless of this aspect, whenever she is a Muslim, intellectual and mature woman, there is no prohibition for her chairwomanship, and obeying her within the limits of the religion is permissible; as the Messenger of God peace and blessings of God be upon him and his household, before the Prophethood worked in a commercial convoy whose chairwoman was Khadija may God be pleased with her.
Yes, Abu Bakrah has narrated: «لَمَّا بَلَغَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّ أَهْلَ فَارِسَ قَدْ مَلَّكُوا عَلَيْهِمْ بِنْتَ كِسْرَى، قَالَ: لَنْ يُفْلِحَ قَوْمٌ وَلَّوْا أَمْرَهُمُ امْرَأَةً»; “When the Prophet peace and blessings of God be upon him and his household, was informed the Iranians made the daughter of Kisra their ruler, he said: A nation that leaves its affairs to a woman will not succeed” and this, if proved, indicates that the presidency of women, especially in the field of sovereignty, is Makruh, but considering the story of Bilqeys in the Book of God, cannot prove it is forbidden; because the Book of God has mentioned the sovereignty of Bilqeys and has described it as good and disciplined, where He has said: ﴿وَأُوتِيَتْ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ﴾; “And she has been given of all things” and has said: ﴿قَالُوا نَحْنُ أُولُو قُوَّةٍ وَأُولُو بَأْسٍ شَدِيدٍ وَالْأَمْرُ إِلَيْكِ فَانْظُرِي مَاذَا تَأْمُرِينَ﴾; “We are possessors of strength and possessors of mighty prowess, and the affair is yours, therefore see what you will command” and has mentioned her good intellect and prudence in four places: Firstly, she honored the letter of Sulayman peace be upon him: ﴿قَالَتْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ إِنِّي أُلْقِيَ إِلَيَّ كِتَابٌ كَرِيمٌ﴾; “(Bilqeys) said: O courtiers, an honorable letter has been delivered to me” and this was out of her intellect; secondly, she was not a tyrant and consulted with her courtiers: ﴿قَالَتْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ أَفْتُونِي فِي أَمْرِي مَا كُنْتُ قَاطِعَةً أَمْرًا حَتَّى تَشْهَدُونِ﴾; “(Bilqeys) said: O courtiers! Advise me in my affair, for I make no decision without your counsel” and this was out of her intellect; thirdly, she did not accept the offer of war with Sulayman peace be upon him, rather considering the outcome of the work and the public interest, she sent a gift and adopted peace and friendship: ﴿قَالَتْ إِنَّ الْمُلُوكَ إِذَا دَخَلُوا قَرْيَةً أَفْسَدُوهَا وَجَعَلُوا أَعِزَّةَ أَهْلِهَا أَذِلَّةً ۖ وَكَذَٰلِكَ يَفْعَلُونَ وَإِنِّي مُرْسِلَةٌ إِلَيْهِمْ بِهَدِيَّةٍ فَنَاظِرَةٌ بِمَ يَرْجِعُ الْمُرْسَلُونَ﴾; “(Bilqeys) said: When kings enter a town, they ruin it and humiliate its proudest inhabitants. This is what they do, and I will send them a present, and see with what answer the messengers return” and this was out of her good prudence; fourthly, when she realized that Sulayman peace be upon him is a Prophet and is not after this world, she responded to his invitation: ﴿قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي وَأَسْلَمْتُ مَعَ سُلَيْمَانَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ﴾; “(Bilqeys) said: O Lord! I wronged myself: now I submit myself along with Sulayman, to God, the Lord of the Universe” and this was out of her intellect, and there is no doubt the nation that left its affairs to her, succeeded; because she converted to Islam and had them convert to Islam as well, and if they had left their affairs to a man from courtiers, they would have surely perish; because they advised to fight Sulayman. This story proves that the mentioned narration from the Prophet peace and blessings of God be upon him and his household, is not proved; as Abu Bakr al-Bazzaz has said: «لَا نَعْلَمُ رَوَاهُ غَيْرُ أَبِي بَكْرَةَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ»; “I do not know anyone other than Abu Bakrah who has narrated this narration from the Prophet peace and blessings of God be upon him and his household” and if proved, it indicates the most, not the absolute, and with this description, if a Muslim woman is found to have sufficient intellect and prudence, there is no prohibition on her presidency, unless there is another obstacle to her presidency.
But shaking hands with a foreign Muslim woman, although without Reybeh and the intention of pleasure, is not permissible, unless there be a barrier like gloves between, in which case, without Reybeh and the intention of pleasure and squeezing, there is no problem; because this is touching the barrier and is not considered touching the body of woman; as Samma’ah ibn Mihran has narrated: «سَأَلْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ -يَعْنِي جَعْفَرَ بْنَ مُحَمَّدٍ- عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ عَنْ مُصَافَحَةِ الرَّجُلِ الْمَرْأَةَ، قَالَ: لَا يَحِلُّ لِلرَّجُلِ أَنْ يُصَافِحَ الْمَرْأَةَ إِلَّا امْرَأَةً يَحْرُمُ عَلَيْهِ أَنْ يَتَزَوَّجَهَا، أُخْتٌ أَوْ بِنْتٌ أَوْ عَمَّةٌ أَوْ خَالَةٌ أَوِ ابْنَةُ أُخْتٍ أَوْ نَحْوُهَا، فَأَمَّا الْمَرْأَةُ الَّتِي يَحِلُّ لَهُ أَنْ يَتَزَوَّجَهَا فَلَا يُصَافِحْهَا إِلَّا مِنْ وَرَاءِ الثَّوْبِ وَلَا يَغْمِزْ كَفَّهَا»; “I asked Abu Abdullah, meaning Ja’far ibn Muhammad, peace be upon him, about a man shaking hands with a woman, he said: It is not Halal for a man to shake hands with a woman, except for a woman his marriage to whom is Haram, that is, sister or daughter or mother’s sister or father’s sister or sister’s daughter or the like, but a woman his marriage to whom is Halal, he should not shake hands with her, unless from behind a garment, and should not squeeze her hand” and Abu Basir has narrated: «قُلْتُ لِأَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ: هَلْ يُصَافِحُ الرَّجُلُ الْمَرْأَةَ لَيْسَتْ بِذِي مَحْرَمٍ؟ فَقَالَ: لَا إِلَّا مِنْ وَرَاءِ الثَّوْبِ»; “I said to Imam Sadiq peace be upon him: Can a man shake hands with a woman who is not Mahram to him? He said: No, unless from behind a garment” and Sa’idah and Aymanah the sisters of Muhammad ibn Abi ‘Umayr have narrated: «دَخَلْنَا عَلَى أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ فَقُلْنَا: تَعُودُ الْمَرْأَةُ أَخَاهَا فِي اللَّهِ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ، قُلْنَا: فَتُصَافِحُهُ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ مِنْ وَرَاءِ ثَوْبٍ، كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَبِسَ الصُّوفَ يَوْمَ بَايَعَ النِّسَاءَ، فَكَانَتْ يَدُهُ فِي كُمِّهِ وَهُنَّ يَمْسَحْنَ أَيْدِيَهُنَّ عَلَيْهِ»; “We came to Imam Sadiq peace be upon him and said: Can a woman visit her religious brother? He said: Yes, we said: Can she shake hands with him? He said: Yes, from behind a garment, on the day when women pledged allegiance to the Prophet peace and blessings of God be upon him and his household, he wore a woolen dress, so his hand was in his sleeve and they pulled their hands on his sleeve”. Also, the precaution is to avoid shaking hands with foreign woman of the Book, although its permission without Reybeh and the intention of pleasure is possible; because the reasons for prohibition are only about Muslim women, not non-Muslim women, and there is no prohibition regarding non-Muslim women and for this reason, it is permissible to look at them without Reybeh and the intention of pleasure; as it has been narrated from the Prophet peace and blessings of God be upon him and his household that said: «لَا حُرْمَةَ لِنِسَاءِ أَهْلِ الذِّمَّةِ أَنْ يُنْظَرَ إِلَى شُعُورِهِنَّ وَأَيْدِيهِنَّ»; “There is no prohibition regarding women of Dimma to look at their hairs and hands” and it has been said in another narration that he said: «لَيْسَ لِنِسَاءِ أَهْلِ الذِّمَّةِ حُرْمَةٌ، لَا بَأْسَ بِالنَّظَرِ إِلَيْهِنَّ مَا لَمْ يَتَعَمَّدْ ذَلِكَ»; “There is no prohibition regarding women of Dimma, there is nothing wrong with looking at them as long as it is not intentional” that is, not with the intention of pleasure, and it has been narrated from Ali ibn Abi Talib peace be upon him that said: «لَا بَأْسَ بِالنَّظَرِ إِلَى رُؤُوسِ نِسَاءِ أَهْلِ الذِّمَّةِ»; “There is nothing wrong with looking at the head of women of Dimma” and it has been narrated from Ja’far ibn Muhammad peace be upon them that said: «لَا بَأْسَ بِالنَّظَرِ إِلَى رُؤُوسِ أَهْلِ التِّهَامَةِ وَالْأَعْرَابِ وَأَهْلِ السَّوَادِ وَالْعُلُوجِ، لِأَنَّهُمْ إِذَا نُهُوا لَا يَنْتَهُونَ، وَالْمَجْنُونَةِ وَالْمَغْلُوبَةِ عَلَى عَقْلِهَا، وَلَا بَأْسَ بِالنَّظَرِ إِلَى شَعْرِهَا وَجَسَدِهَا مَا لَمْ يَتَعَمَّدْ ذَلِكَ»; “There is nothing wrong with looking at the head of Tihamah and Bedouin and village and irreligious women; because they do not refrain if they are forbidden, and so is the crazy woman and the woman who has lost her mind; There is nothing wrong with looking at their hairs and bodies, if it is not intentional” that is, not with the intention of pleasure; because it being no problem if it is not intentional, is not specific to this group of women, and this is the opinion of Sufyan al-Thawri that has been quoted from him: «لَا بَأْسَ بِالنَّظَرِ إِلَى زِينَةِ نِسَاءِ أَهْلِ الذِّمَّةِ، إِنَّمَا يُنْهَى عَنْ ذَلِكَ لِخَوْفِ الْفِتْنَةِ، لَا لِحُرْمَتِهِنَّ»; “There is nothing wrong with looking at the adornment of Dimma women; because it is forbidden only for fear of sedition, not for respecting them” and he has reasoned by God’s words regarding Hijab that has said: ﴿وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ﴾; “And Muslim women” and it has been narrated from Ja’far ibn Muhammad peace be upon them that said: «إِنَّمَا كُرِهَ النَّظَرُ إِلَى عَوْرَةِ الْمُسْلِمِ، فَأَمَّا النَّظَرُ إِلَى عَوْرَةِ مَنْ لَيْسَ بِمُسْلِمٍ مِثْلُ النَّظَرِ إِلَى عَوْرَةِ الْحِمَارِ»; “Looking at a Muslim’s private parts alone is indecent, but looking at a non-Muslim’s private part is like looking at a donkey’s private parts” that is, without Reybeh and the intention of pleasure is permissible; because they ﴿كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ ۚ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ﴾; “are like beasts, rather are more misguided, they are indeed the heedless ones”. With these descriptions, if a Muslim man fears that avoiding handshaking with a foreign woman of the Book will cause him significant harm, as sometimes happens in some non-Islamic countries, he can shake hands with her without Reybeh and the intention of pleasure; because it is a Taqiyya by which he repels a hardship, and God has said: ﴿إِلَّا أَنْ تَتَّقُوا مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً ۗ﴾; “unless you perform Taqiyya against them” and has said: ﴿مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ حَرَجٍ﴾; “God does not want to lay upon you any hardship”.
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