In Islam, a woman is seen as an individual in her own right, an independent person, and not as a shadow or adjunct to her husband or any other man. Muslim women are fully entitled to education, work, business ownership, and inheritance. At the time of Muhammad, granting women just these rights alone was considered revolutionary.
In marriage, the Muslim woman retains full rights to own and dispose of her own property and earnings, without any interference from her husband or anyone else. Women are free to work and earn a living but are not obligated to support themselves from those earnings. The Islamic system sets up an overlapping circle of relatives to guarantee the financial security of women. The obligation is on these relatives, not the woman herself, to cover expenses such as housing and food. Thus, any money that a woman earns is hers to keep or spend as she sees fit.
There are many women in history who serve as successful role models to Muslim women. Khadijah, the first wife of Muhammad, was a successful businesswoman. During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, women endured persecution, exile, and martyrdom side by side with their male counterparts. In the battlefield, women carried water to the wounded, tended the injured, and even participated in the fighting. Among the earliest scholars of Islamic learning were Aisha and Asmaa bint Zayd, who shared their knowledge with men and women alike.
Women are active in politics and education throughout the modern Muslim world. Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Turkey have had female prime ministers or presidents. In many Muslim countries, women serve in parliament and make up the majority of college and graduate school students.