The Quran is quite clear about the issue of the claimed superiority or inferiority of any human, male or female. The sole basis for superiority of any person over another is piety and righteousness not gender, color, or nationality (see the Quran 49:13).
One major objective of this article is to provide a fair evaluation of what Islam contributed toward the restoration of womans dignity and rights. In order to achieve this objective, it may be useful to review briefly how women were treated in general in previous civilizations and religions, especially those which preceded Islam (before 610 AD). Part of the information provided here, however, describes the status of woman as late as this century, more than 13 centuries after Islam.
(1) Describing the status of the Indian woman, The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, states: In India, subjection was a cardinal principle. Day and night must women be held by their protectors in a state of dependence says Manu. The rule of inheritance was agnatic, that is descent traced through males to the exclusion of females. In Hindu scriptures, the description of a good wife is as follows: a woman whose mind, speech and body are kept in subjection, acquires high r ...more