The Effect of Islam on the Social Status of Women At the introduction of Islam the social status of women was deprived at best. Before Muhammad, women were property and were treated accordingly. The introduction of Islam by Muhammad had a dramatic effect on the improvement of the status of women and their rights as people. The condition of women has progressed, at much the same rate as the rest of advanced society, since the conversion to Islam. The Koran, presented by Muhammad, significantly influenced the treatment of women by addressing the issues of primogeniture, marriage and infanticide.
The women of pre-Islamic Arabia were the social equivalent of livestock. They were included as property when one assessed the worth of another man. There was a lack of an official marriage arrangement and the right, of women, to inheritance. The period was so sexually lopsided that it came to be known as the "days of ignorance"Ã¯Â¿Â½ (Smith, 1991).
Primogeniture was not specifically a bias towards women but it had a major effect on their status. Even if women were given an opportunity to succeed their progress would have been stagnated by a lack of financial resources. Primogeniture limited inheritance to the first-born son. This excluded women from any rights to land or wealth or any means for improving their condition.
The ambiguity of an Islamic marriage led to the taking of several wives by Arabic men. Marriage arrangements were so loose as to be scarcely recognizable (Smith 1991). The relationships between men and women were very fickle, to the point were they seemed to be casual sexual relations free from any responsibility. Any woman, beyond the first or second wife, had almost no claim to her supposed husband.
However, much should be said for the woman that continued to live long...