According to Peacetv, before discussing the position of women in Islam, it is important to understand what the condition of women was before the advent of Islam. In pre-Islamic Arabia, and in the rest of the world, their condition was equal to that of slaves and chattels with no rights. Women could neither own nor inherit property. In domestic affairs, they had no rights over their children or themselves; in fact, they could be sold or abandoned by their husbands at will. If they were abused by their husbands, they had no recourse to divorce. They had no real status in the society, not being respected as wife, mother or daughter. In fact, daughters were considered worthless and were often killed at birth. Women were given little or no education, and had no say in religious matters, being regarded as limited in spirituality and intellect.
These abusive conditions existed well into the 19th century in most parts of the world, even in the United States, where some basic rights were given to women only in the beginning of the 20th century. But in Arabia, in the 6th century, with the advent of Islam the condition of women changed dramatically. Almost overnight, women were endowed with equal rights and put on the same level with men. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah makes it clear that He created men and women as equal beings. He says:
“He has created you from a single being; then of the same kind made its mate.”(39:7)
This single verse removes any taint of inferiority leveled at womankind by men, as in some other scriptures. The Holy Qur’an further ensures woman’s equality on the spiritual, intellectual, social and economic level. In addition, women’s rights were safeguarded by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), as he himself carried out the commands of Allah and treated women with great honor, kindness and dignity.