The status of woman in Islam is unique and unprecedented. Islam honors women and regards her as equal and vital to life as man. However, the rights of woman are meant to preserve her identity, honor, and chastity.
The prominent Muslim scholar and da`iyahZienabMostafa states that the Islamic approach to women is great and unique. Islam considers women as equal as men. This can be found in the Qur’an: (O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (that bore you): for Allah ever watches over you) (An-Nisaa’ 4: 1). Also, the hadith says: “Women are men’s counterparts.”
So both Allah Most High and His Messenger never discriminate between men and women. Allah has given both the ability to perform acts of worship and the capability to undertake responsibilities and we will find in our history that women used to be in charge of the market place during the time of Caliph `UmarIbn Al-Khattab. Women used to be doctors, scholars, and sometimes judges. Women can be in charge of any position, except the head of the state. So, she could be a minister but she cannot be the head of the state. There is a hadith where the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) describes the Persian people as being in error because they put a woman as the head of the state. But this hadith does not indicate that women are less than men; however, it shows us that it is better and more suitable that the head of the state should be a man. This is the opinion of most scholars of Islam. One of them, namely IbnHazm, said that women could be the head of the state. Actually in our time women participate in making political decisions by being practicing members of the Parliament. May the future make the women more active in doing good than they are now.