History of women’s rights in Islam

Women’s rights have been a controversial topic throughout history. In Islam, men and women have similar rights, and in some areas women actually enjoy certain privileges that the men do not. In terms of property, married and divorced women have been given rights, and in fact at each turn they have been considered and provided for as appropriate. It is true to say that Islam gave women rights that are unparalleled in the history of women.

Prophet Muhammad said, “A person who is blessed with a daughter or daughters and makes no discrimination between them and his sons and brings them up with kindness and affection, will be as close to me in Paradise as my forefinger and middle finger are to each other.”

The Holy Quran repeatedly proclaims men and women’s equality in spiritual status: “But who so does good works, whether male or female, and is a believer, such shall enter Heaven.” (Ch.4: V.125)

Regarding education for girls, Prophet Muhammad said: “It is the duty of every Muslim man and every Muslim woman to acquire knowledge.” On the economic front, Islam entitles women to possess money, property and other assets.


2 thoughts on “History of women’s rights in Islam

  1. I note that the author of the article belongs to the Ahmadiyya community. Is it possible that though he is scripturally more on board with some things, he represents a minority view within Islam?

    This could parallel much (almost all) of Christianity. There are communities in which equality of women and men is the hallmark, but there is much, much more around the world where women are not considered anything but subservient, and created to serve men.

    Is the “inequality paradigm” a plague in both Islam and Christianity AS PRACTICED in the 21st century?

    • Interesting that you ask this about the Ahmadiyya community which grew out of an anti missionary movement in India in the 19th century. They have often sold themselves as being more open and tolerant, and actually are in the west, but are outside the Muslim mainstream and see themselves as a kind of mission movement to convert Christians to Islam, creating an apologetics to counter Christian claims.

      I need to do some more research about them in America, as more than likely their desire to “inculturate” Islam as a missionary movement has led to more openness in terms of women’s rights.

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