Sura Nur (Quran 24:4) states something that is rarely reported.
"Those who accuse chaste women but do not produce four witnesses are lashed eighty times; and do not accept their testimony afterwards."
Eighty lashes are their recompense if someone accuses a chaste woman of illegal fornication without proof. Also any testimony, from the accusers, after this event is not accepted from them in any court after this. Why? because the honour of a woman is something precious. Look how Allah (the Exalted) guards the honour of a woman from those who are unrighteous.
Note that there is no equivalent verse about accusing men although they are under the same ruling but not specifically like women. Allah (the Exalted) knows that if the honour of woman is tarnished once she can rarely re-build it again and this is why this injunction is in place.
The only woman mentioned in the Quran, by name, is Maryam the mother of Jesus (upon him peace). She was a mother who kept herself pure from the diseases of her time.
“Maryam, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her of Our inspiration and she accepted the truth of the words of her Lord and His books, and she was of, the obedient ones.” (Quran 66:12.)
She is mentioned as a female waliyyah or saint and the greatest women of her time. She is addressed in the most respectful manner and she has a Quranic chapter named after her. Even the Christians do not have a chapter in the bible named after her!
Look at the mention of the queen of Sheba who was described as a just leader. When it becomes clear that she was incorrect, in her previous beliefs, she changes to the religion of Suleyman/Soleman (Quran 27:44). Consider how difficult it is for an average person to change your beliefs nevermind a ruler!
All the women in the Quran that are either implied or stated are inspirational. As is the story of the wife of the Pharaoh (Sura Yusuf 12) who after repenting later married Yusuf (upon him peace) and her story is one that should also inspire. As a woman can repent and attain a high rank.
Look at way the mother of Musa (upon him peace) placed her infant son into the river when babies were being killed. Yet the events that transpired meant that she was given her son back when the child came into the house of the Pharaoh.
Also look at the term ilyla' which is when a husband swears not to go near his wife for four months. Although the male might not consider this as anything, he now has to perform an expiation/kafarah before approaching his wife! In the books of Fiqh you can also look at the term Al-Zihar which is when the man says that his wife is like the back of his mother. This constituted as divorce in pre-Islamic Arabia but now he has to perform kafarah/expiation.
Women have more rights in marriage than men! Women have the right to the marriage gift (mahr), expenditure for their housing which has to be her choice, clothing, food and even conjugal relations. And only the latter does the man have any rights in.
You do not punish her with three pronouncements you punish yourself because she now has to marry someone else and consummate the relationship before returning to you. Marriage is not a joke and when you play with its rules you pay the price.
When the Prophet Musa/Moses (upon him peace) left his people after it became clear that they were going to punish him after an accident. He made the following supplication (Quran Al-Qasas 28:24)
رَبِّ إِنِّي لِمَآ أَنزَلْتَ إِلَيَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ
"O Lord, I am in need in whatever good you bestow upon me."
The answer was forthcoming, Shu'ab offered one of his daughters to him as well as a job. So ponder now how valuable this supplication is. When a Prophet asked for goodness he was sent a wife and a job. Is not your wife a great goodness in your life?
The famous Quranic passage, "Men are maintainers of women, since Allah has made some of them excel the others." (Quran Women 4:34).
ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّٰمُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَآ أَنْفَقُواْ مِنْ أَمْوَٰلِهِمْ
The meaning of this passage is that men have a responsibility towards their women folk. In terms of their education, upbringing and so forth. So this responsibility starts with the father then continues with the husband. Men have a duty of care towards their women and this is not to be misunderstood to be that the male is better, as only those who are more pious are better. This is of course regardless of gender, race and nationality. (Sheikh Abdullah Adhami Gender relations cd) There are some women who maintain their men so how high would their rank be!
So all these passages show us how highly Allah (the Exalted) has placed women. So all the women in the Quran are positive and shown as being pure, devoted mothers, devoted spouses, strong, just in leadership and most of all their hearts were full of faith and divine providence.
If the passage that is often quoted about beating ones wife, "Strike them." (Quran: Women 4:34), meant actual beat then why didn't the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) do it? And we all know he did not so it must mean something else then, right? It means admonishment and a beating that does not injure (according to many Quranic commentators). Everyone knows that women bruise easily so how can you have a beating that does not cause bruising? Answer it means admonish them and not a beating.
Women are the physically weaker gender (in most cases) yet are, in other cases, the mentally stronger. They can cope with situations that bring some men to their knees. Despite this endurance men should never abuse their spouse and should seek to heal the scars in their own soul. If they are feeling provoked then they must seek resolution in a dignified manner. Women are hurt much easier than men like to admit. Please see section of marriage for more details.
Although it should be noted that the treatment of women by men in many countries and many places leaves a lot to be desired. Those without religion abuse their wives as well. So its really a world wide problem and its not limited to a race or religion, no matter what the headlines would have us believe.
In masjids that are run by Arabs there is more family feeling to them; as women and children are allowed. This is not common practice for those who come from other areas.
Look at Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) the devoted wife and mother of the scions of the Ahl Al-Bayt. She is the greatest woman of Islam because of many aspects her chastity being just one. She is also considered to be the greatest woman of all time. So do not belittle yourself housewives because you are following the footsteps of the greatest woman in history.
Look at the story of 'Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) she was a strong and intelligent woman who later became a light to pass on sacred knowledge that she had learnt. At times she was outspoken and she is the woman who narrated the most hadith; and only four men are before her!
Look at Khadijah Al-Kubra (may Allah be pleased with her) a woman in total devotion to her husband and the cause of Islam. She was a powerful woman who possessed much wealth yet her criteria for marriage was not wealth like many people. She choose character and when she heard about the Prophet's (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) honesty she offered herself in marriage. In all these examples you find devoted wives and mothers who were strong. There is no doubt these are the choice examples that women should look for to inspire themselves.
As for our time, we are in dire need of trained spiritual guides for women to use as role models to follow. Female spiritual masters are needed in this time but we have yet to see any. This, like the previous note, is something that women need because a male spiritual master can only advise so far but a female spiritual master would go further with her student.
Men have to be aware that they have responsibility of children especially when they conceive with a partner that they are not married with. Just for the sake of clarification the act of procreation outside marriage is unlawful/haram; I am mentioning this here because it is a common problem. Sometimes men conceive with non Muslims which means that the offspring are brought up without faith. The men should have thought of this before the acts were done and not after. As you are now responsible for the child's future which you have destroyed because the mother is not going to bring them up Muslim. So why are you thinking about Islam now? This is one of reasons for its prohibition of marrying or procreating with those without faith. Children must occur in wedlock and there needs to be a conscience effort for them to get the best upbringing possible and this can only occur with a Muslim wife.
Some men will be resurrected with the great oppressors of history even though the only thing they were responsible for was their families.
If you are woman and are suffering abuse then know if your husband has done the above once, he will do it again. Seek assistance from elders in your family and or professional assistance if no other option is available. Do not allow yourself to be a punching bag for an unjust spouse.
This criminal element must be dealt with in the most severe way possible. A clear message that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and it must be driven home. Yet given the weakness of community leaders and the failure of those in influence means that there will be nothing done.
The reward of women in Paradise