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Women's right to Entrepreneurship in Islam

Men and women have gifts from Allah-some greater than others. They seem unequal, but it is assured that Allah has allotted them by a scheme by which people receive what they earn. If this does not appear clear in sight, it is to be remembered that human have no full knowledge but Allah has. Probably things are equalized in the aggregate or in the long run, or equated to needs and merits on a scale which people cannot appraise. 

The Qur’an says: “And in no wise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed his gifts more freely on some of you than on others: to men is allotted what they earn and to women what they earn: but ask Allah of His bounty: for Allah hath full knowledge of all things.”(Qur’an;4:32). 

A woman in the Islamic system is NOT required to work for her living. Her husband or her guardian is responsible to look after her. If she has none to support her, the state is required to undertake that task. At the same time, a woman is fully entitled to work either as a free agent or an employee. A woman has equal rights to be entrepreneur, contract, earn, possess property and assets independently. From the Islamic point of view, there is no decent job, which is restricted to or made the absolute reserve of men. Provided that the Islamic standard of propriety and morality is maintained, a woman may have any respectable job. 
Women conducted trade and business even during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). In fact, his first wife Khadija was a successful and famous business woman of Makka. A Muslim woman’s life, property, and honour are as sacred as those of a man. If she commits an offence, her penalty is no less or more than a man’s in a similar case. If she is wronged or harmed, she gets due compensation, equal to what a man in her position would get. 

Contrary to prevalent belief, in Islam there is NO concept of FORCE marriages of women. Parents have no right to force their daughters to marry against their will. Just as a woman has the right to choose her spouse, she also has the right to seek divorce (khula) from him.
Women are the Twin Halves of Men!

The Quran states that men and women were created to be equal parts of a pair. Muhammad said that the rights of women are sacred and that they are the “twin halves of men”. Considering women in Britain received the right to vote, inherit and own property thirteen centuries later, Muhammad’s campaigns were both radical and revolutionary. 

Muslim women gained full ownership over their money, while husbands had the responsibility to provide for them even if their wives were wealthier than them. Women had the right to divorce instantly on returning the dowry, something other religions don't allow. One duty enjoined upon them was that of education. Early Islamic history saw the establishment of Muslim women as scholars, politicians, businesswomen, jurists and doctors. Fatima al Firhi founded the first university in 859 in Fez, Morocco; Razia al Din ruled the Delhi Sultanate in India in 1236; Umm Darda, a scholar from Syria, taught imams, jurists and even had the 5th Umayyad caliph who ruled from Spain to India as her student. In fact some eight thousand accounts of Muslim female scholars have been documented, many of whom in addition to theology and jurisprudence, were skilled in calligraphy and philosophy, women who not only contributed to their society but actively shaped it. 

The fruits of Muhammad’s reforms are as visible now as they have been throughout history. Today, Muslim women in Britain are achieving positions of status and respect as police officers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, medics, social activists, MPs and peers in the House of Lords. Remaining true to the ideals cemented 1,430 years ago, Muslim women were and still are role models for future generations.

Sultana Tafadar:

“Working as a barrister at a leading human rights firm, I often get asked the question: how are you able to reconcile your choice of profession with Islam’s views regarding the role of women? The question usually stems from the false presumption that Islam sees women as unequal to men. This could not be further from the truth. My answer is that there is no conflict to reconcile. Rather my choice of profession is entirely in sync with, and indeed promoted, by Islam.

If you study the rights and status of women in Islam, it is easy to conclude that the laws and practices put in place by Prophet Muhammad were, and still are, revolutionary. He brought recognition to their rights in both the private and public spheres in a society which inflicted the worst kinds of degradations on women. His reforms continue to be revolutionary in that they do not regard men as being the comparator or the benchmark by which equality is measured. Whilst Islam promotes the notion that men and women are spiritual and intellectual equals, it also gives value to the differences between the sexes as strengths rather than weaknesses.

From an Islamic perspective, women are regarded as being particularly suited to engaging in the legal arena. This is not only because we are intellectual equals to men, but also because we were more likely to introduce a level of empathy and thereby give recognition to the human dimensions of justice. I certainly try to adopt this approach in my work.

I believe that a return to the Prophetic legacy would further empower women. We will see the valuable roles we have to perform more clearly, and that to be equal is not to be ‘the same as a man’, but to be a woman.” 

Muslim Women and politics

William Montgomery Watt claims that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in the historical context of his time, can be seen as a figure who improved women's rights among those who were free and Muslim. Many classical Islamic scholars, such as al-Tabari, supported female leadership.In early Islamic history, women including Aisha, Ume Warqa, and Samra Binte Wahaib took part in political activities. Abdurrahman ibn `Awf consulted with women in their rooms when he was charged of choosing `Uthman or Ali as the third caliphate after the death of Umar.The Caliph Umar appointed Samra Bint Nuhayk Al-Asadiyya as a market inspector in Mecca and Ash-Shifa bint Abdullah as an administrator in Medina. Ash-Shifa would later on become the head of Health and Safety in Basra, Iraq. Other historical Muslim female leaders include Razia Sultana, who ruled the Sultanate of Delhi from 1236 to 1239,and Shajarat ad-Durr, who ruled Egypt from 1250 to 1257.

In 1988 Pakistan became the first Muslim majority state with a female Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. In the past several decades, a number of countries in which Muslims are a majority, including Indonesia,Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Kyrgyzstan have been led by women. Nearly one-third of the Parliament of Egypt in 2002 consisted of women. In 2004, an Afghan woman (Massouda Jalal) ran for presidency. Females also have a significant representation in the Afghan Parliament. A number of Afghan women are also ministers, governors and business owners. Azra Jafari became the first Afghan mayor.

According to Sheikh Zoubir Bouchikhi, Imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston’s Southeast Mosque, nothing in Islam specifically allows or disallows voting by women. Until recently most Muslim nations were non-democratic, but most today allow their citizens to have some level of voting and control over their government. The disparate times at which women’s suffrage was granted in Muslim-majority countries is indicative of the varied traditions and values present within the Muslim world. Azerbaijan has had women's suffrage since 1918.

Saudi women have been allowed to vote in some elections.In 2012, among all regions of the world, Arab region had the lowest percentage of women in parliament, and no women in the parliaments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.The Shura Council of Saudi Arabia, after January 2013 decree by Saudi King, that created reserved parliamentary seats for women, now includes female members.
Source: Wikipedia
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