Age of Jahiliyah

A blog of wide and varied interest, including Islam, Muslims, Poetry, Art and much more.

More Women than Men in Hell?

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

I recently received the following from someone who is earnestly attempting to follow the deen, but did not know how to reply in this regard. Your help would be greatly appreciated. May Allah shower you all with his infinite graces for all your service to the ummah:
“I came accross this Hadith and was very disheartened:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet said: “I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful.” It was asked, “Do they disbelieve in Allah?” (or are they ungrateful to Allah?) He replied, “They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, ‘I have never received any good from you.” Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 28

Women tolerates injustices from their husbands during the entire period of their lifetime. 99% of the wives are treated like servants. However, Islam does not give women the right to complain, or to react against the injustice of their husbands, or to show the same bad attitude to the husband as he shows. If a woman does any of this, hell fire is her destiny!!

Please comment.”

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Dear Questioner,

I pray this message finds you in good health and iman.

Hadith literature is a rich and fascinating glimpse into the life of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. One of the most amazing aspects of this literature is the fact that many women shared in the transmission and preservation of the Prophet’s legacy.

After all, if it weren’t for the Prophet’s wives, may Allah be well pleased with them, countless facets of the Prophet’s life might have been lost to future generations. For those who claim that women had no stake in Islamic history, all I can say is look to the hadith and the phenomenal contributions of women like Aisha, Hafsa, and Umm Salama, may Allah be pleased with them.
You may wonder why I’m saying this. I’m saying this because you have to approach the hadith with some understanding of its context. There is an entire field of studies called Hadith Studies. Scholars, past and present, have devoted their entire lives to memorizing, understanding, classifying, authenticating, tracing, and commenting on the thousands of traditions associated with the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace.

Ordinary students like us have no business taking one hadith and running to the races with it. If we’re confused about a hadith, then we should go to an expert and ask him or her what it means. We owe the Messenger, who is the Beloved of Allah, something called husn al-dhann, or the benefit of the doubt. If we see a hadith that looks strange to us, we put the best construction on the matter.

First, we should recognize that we may not have sufficient knowledge of the Arabic language to come to any conclusion on the hadith.

Second, we need to understand that this is one hadith in thousands. Look how many hadith there are that speak positively of women, and remind men to honor women. Foremost of these hadith are the ones that deal with motherhood. For example:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

A man came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man said. “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man further said, “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man asked for the fourth time, “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your father. ”

[Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 2]

Third, there are other hadith that indicate a plentitude of women in Paradise. For example:

Muhammad reported that some (persons) stated with a sense of pride and some discussed whether there would be more men in Paradise or more women. It was upon this that Abu Huraira reported that Abu’l Qasim (the Holy Prophet) (may peace be upon him) said: The (members) of the first group to get into Paradise would have their faces as bright as full moon during the night, and the next to this group would have their faces as bright as the shining stars in the sky, and every person would have two wives and the marrow of their shanks would glimmer beneath the flesh and there would be none without a wife in Paradise.

[Muslim, Book 040, Number 6793]

It looks like this was a topic of debate even in the early days of Islam. It’s important to also keep in mind that the Qur’an frequently mentions the presence of hoor al-ain, or beautiful virgins, in Paradise. The Qur’an says, “But those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds We shall bring into gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide beyond the count of time; there shall they have spouses pure: and [thus] We shall bring them unto happiness abounding.” [Al-Nisa, 4:57]

This verse is a very clear statement on the spiritual parity between men and women. Both believing men and women are promised a peaceful abode in Paradise with loving spouses.

Once again, there is no indication that women are excluded from Paradise and its rewards.

Fourth, even if we take the hadith at its literal meaning, is it really an issue? Since we’re all supposed to be striving for Paradise anyway, we should welcome the hadith as advice on how not to act.

In other words, the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, may have seen certain behavior from the women of his community. Out of love and concern, he warned them that these behaviors would lead to Hell rather than Paradise. This hadith is telling us how serious ingratitude is. And it’s a warning to both sexes.

The scholars frequently explain that hadiths like these can apply to both sexes. Of course, there are ungrateful husbands. That goes without saying. And of course many women have suffered at their husbands’ hands.

However, this hadith is addressing situations where women are in the wrong. We have to be honest. A lot of women do take their husbands for granted. We should be grateful that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, warned us of the consequences of such unbecoming behavior.

Last but not least, this hadith is not saying that any woman who complains is going to Hell. This hadith addresses a very specific behavior. Women certainly have the right to voice their grievances.

Isn’t there an entire chapter of the Qur’an called al-Mujadilah? This surah is the 58th chapter in the Qur’an and it is devoted to the story of a woman who came to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and complained about her husband.

The Prophet did not tell this woman that she was going to Hell. Instead, he listened to her, and Allah Most High revealed verses directly addressing this woman’s situation and condemning the husband for his unacceptable behavior.

I pray that Allah Most High helps your friend to find peace in this beautiful way of life that has enriched and inspired the lives of countless women.

And Allah knows best.

Single Post Navigation

5 thoughts on “More Women than Men in Hell?

  1. Gulam Mohd Qadri on said:

    hadith is light which end the darkness of our ignorance , hadith has to be focuss on each any every aspect of life, for example if I ask any one what would I need during travelling one would say take your baggage, some may say it would be very cold take some warm cloth and so on . similarly there are many hadith related to hell and heaven and mercy of god you must know all of them to understand you can take one hadith and your own opinion , seek answer find right answer and progress Allah does no injustice to any one , Prophet Mohammad has bought Allah mercy to us he would help us prevent in going to hell , on our path we must obey the god command


  2. Amalie on said:

    Has no one heard the second part of this hadith? I just did recently and was amazed. It also says the majority of people in hell are men. The ulema were puzzled at first- how could both be? But its because women are there mainly for little things (gossiping, etc) and will only be there a short time. ONce they are gone, there will be a majority of men, as they are there for the heavier sins (rape, murder, etc)


  3. If you take it in the context of other sound Hadiths, 999 out of every 1000 (in some places as 99/100) people will enter Hell. Most of these people will be of Gog and Magog (wild Aryan/Indo-Aryan tribes near the Day of Judgement… and most people today are related to them genetically, have beliefs like them (no beliefs at all) and our time is close to the Final Hour).

    Taking all that into account, that would just mean that more women than men today wind up in Hell for the reasons cited in the Hadith. This is obvious around everyone around us.

    Pious and believing women do not behave in that way, and it would stand to reason then that greater percentages of women would attain salvation from past ages if the women of today form such a disproportionate chunk of Hell.

    It could just mean that women should be increasingly vigilant in these times as the propensity to sin, while tempting enough for a man, is sometimes forced onto the woman by the environment these days. Women are exploited.

    Exert your say in the person you are to become and stick to piety and taqwa.


  4. Salaam Anita,

    I was very glad to come across this hadith myself. Like you said it is the best response out there at the moment. Thank you for visiting our blog.


  5. This hadith has also bothered me for a long time. Great topic to put out there and so far the best response I’ve seen.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: