Slave women could be sold without their consent, expected to provide concubinage, required permission from their owner to marry; and children born to them were automatically considered Muslim under Islamic law if the father was a Muslim.The University of al-Qarawiyyin (Université Al Quaraouiyine) in the Moroccan city of Fes was founded as a madrasa-mosque complex by a Muslim woman – Fatima al-Fihri, the educated daughter of a wealthy merchant – in 859.According to a hadith in Saḥih Muslim variously attributed to 'Ā'isha and Muhammad, the women of the ansar were praiseworthy because shame did not prevent them from asking detailed questions about Islamic law.While it was not common for women to enroll as students in formal religious schools, it was common for women to attend informal lectures and study sessions at mosques, madrasas and other public places.Additional influences include pre-Islamic cultural traditions; secular laws, which are fully accepted in Islam so long as they do not directly contradict Islamic precepts; and spiritual teachers, which are particularly prominent in Islamic mysticism or Sufism.Many of the latter – including perhaps most famously, Ibn al-'Arabī – have themselves produced texts that have elucidated the metaphysical symbolism of the feminine principle in Islam.A fragment of Sūrat an-Nisāʼ – a chapter of Islam's sacred text entitled 'Women' – featuring the Persian, Arabic and Kufic scripts.
The secondary sources of influence include ijma, qiyas and, in forms such as fatwa, ijtihad.
In Arabian culture, marriage was generally contracted in accordance 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 emphasised as a tribal honour.
Islam's basic view of women and men postulates a complementarity of functions: like everything else in the universe, humanity has been created in a pair (Sūrat al-Dhāriyāt, ) – neither can be complete without the other.
There are many examples – both in the early history of Islam and in the contemporary world – of Muslim women who have played prominent roles in public life, including being sultanas, queens, elected heads of state and wealthy businesswomen.