Is it true that Samraa bint Nahik and Shifa bint Abdillah (radiyallahu ‘anhuma) were appointed as inspectors of the marketplace?
Yes, this is correct as is recorded by senior biographers of the Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum).
As a rule, the laws of segregation and veiling from strange men apply to women, wherever they may be exposed to strangers.
It is important to note that these examples are of elderly women in the golden era of the Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum). The challenges and fitnas of our era were completely non existent then.
1. Sayyidatuna Samraa bint Nahik (radiyallahu’anha):
Hafiz Ibn ‘Abdil Barr (rahimahullah) states: ‘She met Nabi (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam), and lived a long life. When she passed through the market place, she would instruct the people there with good and forbid them from evil. She would also warn/hit them with a whip that she carried.’
(Al-Isti’ab, vol.4 pg.335)
2. Sayyidatuna Shifa bint ‘Abdillah (radiyallahu’anha).
Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) states about her: ‘Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu) would accept her views and prefer her opinions. He would sometimes entrust her with some of the duties of the marketplace.’
(Al-Isabah, vol.4 pg.341)
Sayyidah Shifa (radiyallahu’anha) was the cousin of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu), and also elderly in age.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar