Early feminism

From Karen Armstrong’s A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam:

Today it is common in the West to depict Islam as an inherently misogynistic religion, but, like Christianity, the religion of al-Lah was originally positive for women. During the [pre-Islamic period] … the majority were on par with slaves; they had no political or human rights, and female infanticide was common.  Women had been among Muhammad’s earliest converts, and their emancipation was a project that was dear to his heart.  The Koran strictly forbade the killing of female children and rebuked the Arabs for their dismay when a girl was born.  It also gave women legal rights of inheritance and divorce: most Western women had nothing comparable until the nineteenth century.  Muhammad encouraged women to play an active role in the affairs of the [community of believers], and they expressed their views forthrightly, confident that they would be heard. … One of their most important questions was why the Koran addressed men only when women had also made their surrender to God.  The result was a revelation that addressed women as well as men and emphasized the absolute moral and spiritual equality of the sexes.  Thereafter the Koran quite frequently addressed women explicitly, something that rarely happens in either the Jewish or Christian scriptures.