It is a shame that in the twenty-first century, we have become so motivated by the media that we believe everything it says. We have become so lazy that we would rather gulp down fast answers than to look for answers ourselves. It is quite regrettable that such questions arise.
Our Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) came to this world at a time when morality had degraded to the point that female children were buried alive because they were thought of as a burden. Our Prophet (SAWS) changed that, called it wrong and established women’s rights more firmly in this world compared to any other religion. Islam can proudly call itself the fairest religion on earth. In Allah’s (SWT) own words: “O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from this pair scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and reverence the wombs (that bore you); for Allah ever watches over you.” ( Quran 4, verse 1). Thus, we can see that men and women have mutual rights, twin rights, in fact. A woman has rights exactly like those of a man. She has to meet different obligations. The rules of modesty are also different but they should, in no way, hinder her from achieving whatever she wants to achieve.
As long as she adheres strictly to Islamic values of dignity and modesty, is honest and sincere and chaste, she may do as she pleases. A woman has every right to work outside the house, irrespective of need. Some people have said that women may only work if there is a need. This is not true, a woman may work if she wants. If she can manage both the work at her home and outside, without compromising the needs of her family, she may work as long as she wants every day. This is not to say that she is bound to stay indoors until all her work at home has been completed. In fact, if she has a good understanding with her husband or other people at home who are ready to fill in for her, the roles of bread-winner may as well be reversed. However, the role reversal is not much encouraged in Islam because the burden of winning bread must almost invariably lie on the man. A man in Islam is not allowed to laze about. It is his duty to provide for and nurture the woman who he has married. So we can effectively understand that Islam is, in reality, harsher towards man and gentler towards women.
In Islam, every woman is to be treated like a queen and not just by her husband, but by every man. The hijab is to protect her from unwanted gazes, not everyone may gaze upon the queen whenever they wish. If a woman is chaste in her intentions and actions, then Islam provides a woman with all the freedom to whatever she pleases.