Saturday, July 05, 2014

More Women in Hell... or in Heaven?

Many a misogynistic Muslim man has gleefully quoted the hadith that mentions that women will make up the majority of the inhabitants of Hellfire, and many a Muslim woman has felt despair and resentfulness regarding it.

Yet what is lesser known is that the scholars of the past had a different debate - did this hadith mean that the majority of the inhabitants of Paradise would also be women?

It appears that the general conclusion is yes - women will indeed be the majority of the inhabitants of Jannah, inshaAllah!

"Muhammad reported that some people 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 RasulAllah 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. (Sahih Muslim, Book #040, Hadith #6793)"

It was the opinion of Abu Hurayrah (radhiAllahu 'anhu) that women would in fact outnumber men in Jannah, due to the above hadith - which according to some narrations included the clarification that of the two wives mentioned, both would be from among the *human* believing women (and not the Hoor al-'Ayn).

Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Qadhi 'Iyadh, and others also considered it to be a logical extension that women will make up the majority of the inhabitants of Paradise.

This is not only due to Abu Hurayrah's statement, but also the understanding of the fact that every Muslim who experiences a punishment in Hellfire will *also* be removed from it and enter Jannah, due to the shafaa'ah (intercession) of RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) or even simply the fact that they uttered the Shahaadah (as per the hadith, "Whoever says Laa ilaaha illAllah, will enter Paradise"). Accordingly, those women will leave Hell and enter Jannah - subsequently tilting the scales in their favour, as it were.

It is also generally accepted that women have and will continue to outnumber men in terms of sheer population numbers; extended to the Muslim Ummah, this continues to be so.

Thus, many scholars believed and understood that the original hadith regarding the number of women in Hell was *not* to be taken in isolation, nor limited in understanding, nor meant to be used as an 'evidence' against women (although the spirit of the hadith, as a warning to believing women, of course still stands), but rather, to be understood in a much more holistic manner... one which recognizes that there is no superiority of the genders other than in terms of piety and righteousness.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

These are really great posts, thanks, sister. The 'women as deficient in intelligence' hadith was another that depressed me when I read it.

Anonymous said...

I've also wondered about this, especially when this hadith is used to illustrate the "innate evil" of the female species...anyway I was also thinking of number versus degree..i.e. even if women were more numerous in hell, perhaps men were subjected to greater degrees of punishment... I mean, they tend to be the murderers, rapists, oppressors of the weak..

Anonymous said...

There are more men on earth, always were. Man/woman sexratio is like 102/100. There is also more chance to give birth to a boy. So how does this work? How could there be more woman in paradise and in hel?

Anonymous said...

Woman wil go to hel because they are not thankfull to their husbands. Yeah what about al the manly oppressors in our homes? Are they going to be punishd for their behavior? Are they doomd like a woman shaping her eyebrows? I still have this feeling of unjustise about islam. It hurts me.

AnonyMouse said...

Men will also go to hell for their oppression - there are very clear ahadith about the *many* reasons that people (of both genders) will be punished. This is merely one of them.

If one feels that there is injustice in Islam, then there's nothing I can do about it except pray that Allah opens your heart to the Truth and Beauty of this religion, and puts your heart at ease.

candy said...

A very nice post.

candy said...

Please can you also shed light on the Hadith which was reported by Abu Sa`id Al Khudry who said: Once Allah's Messenger went out to the Musalla (a place where Salah is performed) to offer the Salah of `Id-ul-Adha or Al-Fitr Salah. Then he passed by women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Messenger?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Messenger! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion." [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim)

AnonyMouse said...

I have an article on this coming up, inshaAllah.

Anonymous said...

About this hadith. I too have a question. Because we ourselves arent responsible for our menses Allah has designed female beings to reproduce so it perfectly isnt their fault

Anonymous said...

This particular hadith reported by Bukhari and narrated by Abu Sa`id Al Khudry does not seem to qualify the concept of justice as documented in the Quran. Allah created women to experience a short period of instability/disability/pain. Then Allah turns around and teaches the Prophet Muhammad to use this disability against them. This particular hadith does not seem to pass the litmus test offered by Allah in the Quran and it surely does not coincide with the reasonable/just nature of the Prophet Muhammad. Folks! Can we please use a little critical thinking here?

Anonymous said...

thank you. jzk i felt sad about that hadith before but this is very logical and helpful.

Ussma Ghani said...

Sheikh Hamza Yusuf answers this:
https://youtu.be/n2isSX3dKJU