Women have played a great role in Islamic history, not only now but also in the past and covering all walks of life. This includes everything from being successful entrepreneurs (such as Khadija, the first wife of the Prophet PBUH), doctors, teachers and much more. Many of them continue to play important roles today. Here are a few examples:
• Hanan Al Haroub: won an award for being the best teacher in the world; awarded by the Pope in 2015
• Dr Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed: medical doctor and winner of the UK Master chef 2017 title
• Dr Ingrid Mattson: convert to Islam, professor and public speaker
• Yvonne Ridley: former BBC journalist who was kidnapped in Afghanistan then converted to Islam
• Maaria Mozaffar: lawyer and attorney from Chicago in the US
Here is a video I made with a few historic examples:
This is in complete contrast to how many women in various societies have been treated throughout history. An example of this is that women were not allowed to divorce or own their own property until the late 19th /early 20th Century in the UK. Likewise, debates were held in France until the 19th Century about whether a woman was a human or some other creature.
Muslim women were given rights about 1400 years ago, which included many things from the right to divorce, to handle money, gain inheritance and more. There is even a verse in the Quran, Surah Al Nisa (Women).
The Prophet PBUH advised that the best of you (his community) are those who are best towards their women. When he was at home, he was busy working for his family.
During the final sermon of the Prophet PBUH he advised his companions to deal well with women. You can see my translation of the sermon from the “Translations” section.
Islam is also the fastest growing religion in the world today, especially in Western, secular societies such as the US and the UK. There are many women among them including women that worked as models and posed for various magazines.
There are just a few excepts to the rule of “equality” that some people might mistake for inequality. An example of this is that two female witnesses are needed for financial matters rather than one male. This is an exceptional case related to money as men (usually) deal more with money than women in Islam as they are required to work and support their families. In nearly all other cases such as moon sighting for the month of Ramadan requires only one witness, even if it is one female. There are however cases where only females can be used as witnesses such as being witnesses for someone who is deceased.
There is another misconception that men are given preference over women as they gain twice as much money from inheritance than women. However, there is a very simple explanation for this: in Islam, men are given an additional responsibility to protect and provide for their families, including female relatives. Therefore, if a man receives money through inheritance or otherwise, he is obliged to use it to support his family whereas women are under no obligation to give any of their money to anyone! Based on the above, who do you think gets “the better deal”?