The position of Muslim women in their society is different from other cultures. Their society is largely patriarchal, and even the effects of urbanization and industrialization have not completely changed that.
This way of thinking and its effect on their culture is largely due to the influence of Islam. It has been said, although not thoroughly proven, that when Islam had not yet touched Arabian countries, its women had lived in a lot more liberation. This, however, is based on folklore and is not a certainty. But a strong clue is the worship of goddesses in Mecca, which points at the position of females at that time.
However, there is argument to that claim. Some writers have said that female infanticide was widely practiced at the time, and that polygamy was frequently practiced. These claims are against the idea that Arabic women have ever had a higher place in society, but that the opposite is true.
Whichever claim we believe, it is true that Islam as a religion has altered a lot of aspects of Arab society, and standardized the possibly ambiguous gender roles of the past. While some other cultures may disapprove of it, it has, at least, served the purpose of uniting the people in common beliefs. Also, according to experts, it has actually improved the status of female citizens, giving them a number of new rights, such as education and property ownership.
Marriage in Muslim Society
The Muslim culture also altered the society's view on the matrimony of its women. While many customs were not abolished, they were looked at in a different light. For example, the practice of giving a dowry, which was considered a bride-price by the bride's father to the groom, became a gift from the father to the bride, and was now considered her property, not her husband's.
Marriage was also now considered as a contract. Consent of the woman was now compulsory, because she was no longer considered as a piece of her father's property. This also led her to have inheritance rights if her husband passed away. This used to be limited to male family members. It became recognized that a woman could bring bread and butter to the family and had the right to administer whatever it was that she earned through her own hard work.
Divorce is actually more common in Arabic countries than in the Western world. This was happening even before modern times. In fact, they were allowed to marry more than once.
Education and Work Opportunities
A Sunni scholar called Ibn Asakir declared that females were allowed to have an education even in early Islamic society. This is because Muhammad's wives were schooled and successful, and he was motivated by the fact.
Now, Muslim women continue to have the right to education, and the chance for employment in a large range of industries.
Regardless of the broadening of their rights and society's perspective, Muslim women are still said to have the primary roles of being wives or mothers before anything else. This is because of what is decreed in the Qur'an. It states specifically that "Men are the maintainers and protectors of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women)." That is the primary basis for their position in their society.