Main Article: Women in the Quran and Muhammad's wives
The Islamic Prophet Muhammad was in a precarious position as he began to spread His teachings to His disciples. As an abtar (a man without male offspring), in a natalist and patriarchal culture, his proclaimed identity as the creator of a new religion was viewed as an affront by many who attached authority to a man with a proliferation of wives and children, and in particular, a male heir to ensure the descendance of his authority.  Nonetheless, Islam spread to become the dominant religion in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Somalia and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, the Anatolian region such as Turkey, and South Asia as far as Pakistan, India, Nalaysia and Indonesia.
The patriarchal character of pre-Islamic Arabic culture influenced not only the content of the Qur'an and related doctrine, it persists today in the interpretation and application of Islamic dogma. Theological scholarship and practices vary widely according to the country, region, or sectarian beliefs where an Islamic community is located. The largest groups of Muslim women are in: Indonesia (over 100 million), Bangladesh (over 75 million), Pakistan (over 85 million), India (over 80 million), Egypt (nearly 40 million), Nigeria (nearly 40 million), Turkey (over 35 million) and Iran (over 35 million). These countries total more than 60% of the world's Muslim; there are more than 750 million Muslim women worldwide, including sizable minorities in several countries of Africa and Europe, and in China.
Islamic doctrine is the product if Quranic guidelines, as understood by Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), as well as of the interpretations derived from the traditions of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (hadith), that were agreed upon by majority of Sunni Muslim scholars as authentic beyond doubt based on the science of hadith.
The Sunni Muslims are the largest Islamic sect, comprising approximately 80% of the world's Muslims. The Sunni sect includes many theological schools and doctrines interpreting the Quran. To Sunni Muslims, the hadith constitutes an important source of legislation. The fiqh is the basis of jurisprudence, or legal practise, developed by Muslim jurists during the centuries following the creation of Islam, and largely influenced by the hadith.  These interpretations and their application were shaped by the historical context of Muslim world at the time they were written.  Many of the earliest writings were from a time of tribal warfare which could have been inappropriate for the 21st century, but most remain appropriate to how a Muslim following the sunnah should behave.
Under Islamic law, marriage was no longer viewed as a "status" but rather as a "contract", in which the woman's consent was imperative. "Women were given inheritance rights in a patriarchal society that had previsously restricted inheritance to male relatives/ family members." Annemarie Schimmel states
that "compared to the pre-Islamic position of women, Islamic legislation meant an enormous progress; the woman has the right, at least according to the letter of the law, to administer the wealth she has brought into the family or has earned by her own work."
William Montgomery Watt states that Muhammad, in the historical context of his time, can be seen as a figure who promoted women's rights and improved things considerably. Watt explains: "At the time Islam began, the conditions of women were terrible - they had no right to own property, were supposed to be the property of the man, and if the man died everything went to his sons." Muhammad, however, by, "instituting rights of property ownership, inheritance, education and divorce, gave women certain basic safeguards."
During his life Muhammad married eleven or thirteen women depending upon the differing accounts of who were his wives. In Arabian culture, marriage was generally contracted with the larger needs of the tribe and was based on the need to form alliances within the tribe and with other tribes. Virginity at the time of marriage was emphasized as a tribal honor.  Watt states that all of Muhammad's marriages had the political aspect of strengthening friendly relationships and were based on the Arabian custom. Esposito points out that some of Muhammad's marriages were aimed at providing a livelihood for widows.  Francis Edwards Peters says that it is hard to make generalizations about Muhammad's marriages: many of them were political, some compassionate, and some perhaps affairs of the heart.
Main Article : Women Education
Knowledge is one of the important pillars upon which the edifice of Islam is raised. The very fact that the first revelation upon the Holy Prophet (saw) contained the commandment about 'reading' speaks volumes of the emphasis Islam lays on education. All interpreters of the Holy Qur'an have consensus on this that the first five verses of surah Al-Alaq from the beginning of the sending of revelation :
"(O Beloved !) Read (commencing) with the Name of Allah, Who has created (everything). He created man from a hanging mass (clinging) like a leech (in the mother's womb). Read and your Lord is Most Generous, Who taught man (reading and writing) by the pen, Who (besides that) taught man (all that) which he did not know." (Al-Alaq-96:1-5)
The first commandment contained in these verses related to 'reading' as a part of process of acquisition of knowledge. In addition to to the description of Allah Almighty being the Creator and Sustainer, there the mention was also made of two branches of knowledge is sociology and creations. While indicating knowledge of biology and morality in the verse number two and three, it was also explained that Islamic concept of knowledge is very vast and when Islam talks of acquisition of knowledge, it embraces all branches of knowledge, religious and secular, in its fold, which are productive for mankind. Traditional religious sciences are not exclusively meant here. Many verses of the Holy Qur'an invite man to ponder and meditate over the creation of universe; heavens and earth. This meditation and reflection led to the laying down of the foundation of modern science. History bears witness to the fact that the modern science upon which humanity takes pride today, was not only founded by the Muslims but they were also the ones who determined its rules and regulations and undertook early discoveries and inventions. (Since this is not the main subject of this article here, therefore, those interested in knowing more about it should consult Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri's two-volume book Muqaddima Sirat-ur-Rasool.)
Following the rise of Islamic civilization for one thousand year, one of the basic reasons underlying the total decline of its civilization is that those basic and clear concept upon which there was no ambiguity in history were not only obscured but also got polluted. One of these is related to women's acquisition of knowledge. There is a particular mindset in the contemporary age that opposes women's learning and education tooth and nail and if it does not oppose it in an outright way, it is in favor of putting such restrictions as make it almost next to impossible for female students to get knowledge.
No disagreement is found on acquisition of knowledge being binding and obligatory. The importance and excellence of knowledge has been highlighted both directly and indirectly at about five hundred places in the Holy Qur'an. Describing the duties of the Prophet of the Holy Prophet (saw). Allah Almighty says :
"Likewise, We have sent to you (Our) Messenger from among yourselves who recites to you Our Revelations and purifies and sanctifies (your hearts and ill-commanding selves) and teaches you the Book and inculcates in you logic and wisdom and enlightens you (on the mysteries of spiritual gnosis and divine truth) which you did not know." (Al-Baqara, 2: 151)
"He is the One Who sent a (Glorious) Messenger (pbuh) among the illiterate people from among themselves who recites to them His Revelations and cleanses and purifies them (outwardly and inwardly) and teaches them the Book and Wisdom. Indeed they were in open error before (his most welcome arrival)." (Al-Jumu'a, 62: 2)
The basic principle of Islamic Sharia is that whenever a commandment is revealed, the masculine from of word is used, but female gender is also included in this commandment. If this principle is rejected then basic pillars of Islam such as prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and alms-due will become null and void for women. So this is a proved fact that though God Almighty and the Holy Prophet (saw) used the masculine form of sentence to describe most of the commandments, but women are also bound to act and follow those rules and regulations.
The study of these verses clearly shows that the prophetic responsibilities of Prophet Muhammad (saw) as his Prophethood included recital of verses, purgation of self, education of the Book and wisdom and communication of knowledge. Four duties out of five directly talk of knowledge whereas the fifth one, one second in the sequence is purgation of self, refers to a particular kind of knowledge, which is technically defined as mysticism or sufism. Now if the doors of acquiring knowledge are shut on women or unjustified restrictions are imposed upon their acquisition of knowledge, which religion will they act upon or what kind of contact will they have with the Prophet's religion because the religion the Holy Prophet (saw) brought with him is characterized by knowledge in its entirety.
A number of Prophetic traditions also talk directly about knowledge being obligatory and binding in character. The Holy Prophet (saw) said : "Acquisition of knowledge is biding on all Muslims (both men and women without any discrimination)". (Sunan Ibn Maja)
The Holy Prophet (saw) also said at another place : "Acquire knowledge even if you may have to go to China for it. Verily acquisition of knowledge is biding on every Muslim." (Ibn 'Abd al-Barr)
The Holy Prophet (saw) said another place : "Allah Almighty makes the path to paradise easier for him who walks on it for getting knowledge." (Sahih Muslim)
Therefore when it becomes clear now that the Holy Qur'an has made acquisition of knowledge obligatory for women in the same way as in case of men, the study of the life the Holy Prophet (saw) also shows that He Himself made special arrangements for the education and training of women.
Abu Sa'id Khudri reports that women said to the Holy Prophet (SAW) : 'Men have gone ahead of us (in terms of acquisition of knowledge). Therefore, appoint a special day for our benefit as well.' The Holy Prophet (SAW) fixed one day for them. He (SAW) would meet them on that day, advise them and educate them about commandments of Allah Almighty. (Sahih Bukhari)