More women in hell?
By Ebrahim Saifuddin
http://www.peopleofsunnah.com/images…en_in_hell.jpgحدثنا سعيد بن أبي مريم قال أخبرنا محمد بن جعفر قال أخبرني زيد هو ابن أسلم عن عياض بن عبد الله عن أبي سعيد الخدري قال خرج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في أضحى أو فطر إلى المصلى فمر على النساء فقال يا معشر النساء تصدقن فإني أريتكن أكثر أهل النار فقلن وبم يا رسول الله قال تكثرن اللعن وتكفرن العشير ما رأيت من ناقصات عقل ودين أذهب للب الرجل الحازم من إحداكن قلن وما نقصان ديننا وعقلنا يا رسول الله قال أليس شهادة المرأة مثل نصف شهادة الرجل قلن بلى قال فذلك من نقصان عقلها أليس إذا حاضت لم تصل ولم تصم قلن بلى قال فذلك من نقصان دينها۔ بخاری، کتاب الحیض، باب ترک الحائض الصوم
It is related that Abu Sa’id al-Khudri رضي الله عنه said, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ, set out to the place of prayer on the Day of Adha or Fitr and passed by the women. He said, ‘O congregation of women! Give alms for I have seen that you will make up the majority of the inhabitants of the Fire!’ They said, ‘Why, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘You call down too many curses and show ingratitude to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intellect or deen. Yet the mind of even a resolute man might be swept away by one of you.’ They said, ‘In what way is our deen and intellect deficient, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Is not the testimony of a woman worth only half that of a man?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is how your intellect is deficient. Is it not so that when a woman is menstruating, she neither prays nor fasts?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is how her deen is deficient.'” – (Bukhari; Book of Menstruation, Chapter of Menstruating Women Abstaining from Fast)
Majority of the Dwellers of Hell
A number of questions have been raised regarding the above-mentioned Hadith which is reported in a number of collections. The first objection raised is regarding more women being dwellers of Hell-fire. This statement has been reported in both Bukhari and Muslim.
The narration in Muslim is as follows:
حدثنا هداب بن خالد حدثنا حماد بن سلمة ح وحدثني زهير بن حرب حدثنا معاذ بن معاذ العنبري ح وحدثني محمد بن عبد الأعلى حدثنا المعتمر ح وحدثنا إسحق بن إبراهيم أخبرنا جرير كلهم عن سليمان التيمي ح وحدثنا أبو كامل فضيل بن حسين واللفظ له حدثنا يزيد بن زريع حدثنا التيمي عن أبي عثمان عن أسامة بن زيد قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قمت على باب الجنة فإذا عامة من دخلها المساكين وإذا أصحاب الجد محبوسون إلا أصحاب النار فقد أمر بهم إلى النار وقمت على باب النار فإذا عامة من دخلها النساء۔ مسلم، کتاب الرقاق، باب أكثر أهل الجنة الفقراء وأكثر أهل النار النساء وبيان الفتنة بالنساء
Usama bin Zaid رضي الله عنه reported that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “I stood at the door of Paradise and I found that the overwhelming majority of those who entered therein was that of poor persons and the wealthy persons were detained to get into that. The denizens of Hell were commanded to get into Hell, and I stood upon the door of Fire and the majority amongst them who entered there was that of women.” – (Muslim; Kitabul Riqaq, Chapter of Majority of People of Jannah are the Poor and Majority of the People of Hell are Women and Fitnah by Women)
These Ahadith suggest that the population of women will be more than men in Hell. In another Hadith reported in Sahih Bukhari it is stated:
It is related from Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The first group to enter the Garden will be like the moon on the night of the full moon. They will not need to spit nor blow their noses nor defecate. Their vessels will be golden and their combs will be gold and silver. Their braziers will burn fragrant aloes-wood and their perspiration will be like musk. Each of them will have two wives, so beautiful that the marrow of their thighs will be able to be seen through the flesh, and there will be no disagreement between them nor any ill will. Their hearts will be one, glorifying Allah morning and evening.” – (Bukhari; Book of Beginning of Creation, Chapter of What has come about the description of the Garden and that it is created)
In this Hadith it is observed that people entering Jannah will all have two wives. When some people were discussing the issue of whether there will be more men or women in Jannah, Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه assessed that there will be more women in Jannah and this narration is reported in Sahih Muslim as follows:
حدثني عمرو الناقد ويعقوب بن إبراهيم الدورقي جميعا عن ابن علية واللفظ ليعقوب قالا حدثنا إسمعيل ابن علية أخبرنا أيوب عن محمد قال إما تفاخروا وإما تذاكروا الرجال في الجنة أكثر أم النساء فقال أبو هريرة أو لم يقل أبو القاسم صلى الله عليه وسلم إن أول زمرة تدخل الجنة على صورة القمر ليلة البدر والتي تليها على أضوإ كوكب دري في السماء لكل امرئ منهم زوجتان اثنتان يرى مخ سوقهما من وراء اللحم وما في الجنة أعزب۔ مسلم، كتاب الجنة وصفة نعيمها وأهلها، باب أول زمرة تدخل الجنة على صورة القمر ليلة البدر وصفاتهم وأزواجهم
“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 Hurairah رضي الله عنه reported that Abu’l Qasim ﷺ said: 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 Pertaining to Paradise, Its Description, Its Bounties and Its Intimates, Chapter of First Group to Enter Paradise will have Faces Bright as Moon, Their Description and Their Wives)
This shows that the number of women will be higher than the men in Jannah. However, a question arises that how can women be majority in both Hell and Heaven. Imam Nawawi رحمة اللہ علیه in Sharh Muslim (First Edition; al-Matba’ah al-Misriyyah bil Azhar, v.17 pg 172) has written:
قال القاضي : ظاهر هذا الحديث أن النساء أكثر أهل الجنة . وفي الحديث الآخر أنهن أكثر أهل النار ، قال : فيخرج من مجموع هذا أن النساء أكثر ولد آدم
“Al-Qadhi said: ‘It is apparent from this Hadith that most of the people of Jannah are women, and from the other Hadith most of the people of Hell are women. What one can understand from both these Ahadith is that majority of the children of Adam are women.’”
Mufti Taqi Usmani is quoted in In’amul Bari (v.1 pg 454) to have stated:
“Some people have stated that this is not an issue as there can be a majority of women in both places. This answer will be acceptable when it is stated that the majority of the population of the world is of women.
But to state this is difficult as by the population of the world it is meant, the collective population that was since the beginning and will be till the end of time. However in a Hadith it is stated that towards the end of times the ratio of women will be more than men and in some countries we see this condition today.”
A Hadith in Sahih Bukhari confirms:
حدثنا مسدد قال حدثنا يحيى عن شعبة عن قتادة عن أنس بن مالك قال لأحدثنكم حديثا لا يحدثكم أحد بعدي سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول من أشراط الساعة أن يقل العلم ويظهر الجهل ويظهر الزنا وتكثر النساء ويقل الرجال حتى يكون لخمسين امرأة القيم الواحد۔ بخاری، كتاب العلم، باب رفع العلم وظهور الجهل
“Anas رضي الله عنه said, ‘I am relating a hadith to you which no one after me will relate to you. I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say, ‘Among the signs of the Hour are that knowledge becomes negligible, ignorance appears, fornication appears, and there are many women and few men so that one man has to look after fifty women.’” (Bukhari; Book of Knowledge, Chapter of Disappearance of Knowledge and Appearance of Ignorance)
قلت: و هذه مشاهدة النبي ﷺ في هذا الوقت, فعلهن كن إذ ذاك أكثرها, و ليس فيه بيان حكم جميع النساء, و لا مشاهدة جميع الأزمان
“I say, ‘This is what the Prophet ﷺ saw at that time, so perhaps till then, they were majority of the people in Hell and neither does it include any general ruling on all the women, nor does it indicate the seeing of women of all times.’”
It should be understood that this issue is not as plain as reading one Hadith and thinking that one has reached an understanding of that topic. It is often seen in Muslims, especially in this day and age of the internet where they have access to a whole lot of information without proper knowledge, that they read something from here and something from there and think they have learnt the topic. We have seen how there are a number of Ahadith on this topic and some seem contradictory. In order to reconcile these Ahadith, the great scholars of Islam have offered a number of explanations for these Ahadith so that one can understand the true picture.
For a moment we will say that Ahadith teach that the majority of the dwellers of Hell will be women. Even if this is true, there should be no contention in this matter. One of the two had to be more in Hell, either the men or the women. It is just as such that women are the majority. If men had been the majority then people would have questioned ‘why are men the majority?’ It is thus not any ‘flaw’ of Islam that women will form the majority but rather the flaw of the way man thinks about what is stated.
Secondly to think that this is something which gives men superiority over the women is rather ridiculous. A man who may boast his superiority and lack behind in following the deen and be sinful will end up in Hell along with everyone else. One has to worry about themselves rather than worrying about others. Will this man then point finger at his mother, sister, wife and daughter and be happy that they have a “better chance” of being in Hell? Every man and woman has been given the opportunity to save themselves from being the dwellers of Hell and they should grasp this opportunity instead of worrying how many percentage of women and how many of men will end up in Hell. How about worrying about how much we have done to ensure our entrance into Jannah.
Rasulullah ﷺ, along with the reason has also mentioned a cure. The reason he gave are a matter of nature of women. Now a woman might say, ‘but this is not true as I do not have those qualities.’ Her statement that she does not have those qualities might be true but on what basis can she say that all the women Rasulullah ﷺ saw in Hell for this quality did not have those two qualities in them? The best course of action for one to take is to simply avoid cursing as well as showing ingratitude. Apart from this, one should also give charity as that helps cleanse our ill-doings. These cures have been mentioned by Rasulullah ﷺ for our benefit and one should focus on securing their Hereafter by using the antidote given to us.
Just like when a person is affected by some illness or born with some deficiency, he goes to the doctor for the cure and when a cure is advised then the person ensures to act upon it. So even if we state that all women till the end of time were created with this nature of cursing and showing ingratitude, the cure is mentioned and one should use it. Why do we waste time arguing over this instead of securing our Aakhirah?
However, as stated before, scholars have explained the seeming contradictions in the Ahadith in a number of ways. Four such explanations were mentioned above and will be repeated in a summarized manner below.
First is that scholars have maintained that it is possible that initially the majority of people in Hell would be women and later after they have completed their punishment they will end up in Jannah.
The second explanation is that women will be a majority by possibility but then Allah will forgive them and they will enter Jannah.
A third possibility is that it refers to the entire number of women from the start of creation to the end of it. The number of women would be more than the number of men and thus it is not surprising that the number of women in Hell and Jannah will be higher than the number of men.
Fourth explanation given is that it referred to women till that time at which Rasulullah ﷺ had seen them and it does not incorporate all women and does not refer to all times.
All these are all matters of the unseen and the conditions of Hell and Paradise cannot be explained and understood in their entirety with our limited intellect and knowledge. What we know is that Allah is Just and will not put in Hell anyone who does not deserve to be in Hell. Thus it is better to worry about our doings and not give much thought on such issues as to who will be more in Hell and who will be more in Jannah. May Allah, by His Mercy, save us from the Hellfire and grant us Jannatul Firdous.
We live a short life in this world and have a limited amount of time to do good deeds to secure a place in Jannah with the Mercy of Allah. However, we spend that time dwelling over questions which have no productive effect on our deeds and in no way help us in the Hereafter. The history of Islam is full of women with great achievements in different fields. On the witness of one woman, ‘Ayesha رضی اللہ عنھا, we have a great many number of Ahadith on which many rulings of fiqh are based. Hasan al-Basri رحمة اللہ علیه narrated from his mother Khayrah رحمة اللہ علیھا, a woman. Al-Aqd ath-Thanein mentions Zulaykha bint Ilyas al-Wa’iz رحمة اللہ علیھا who narrated from the scholars of Makkah and earned dual blessings of worship and narration of Hadith. There are many such examples of great women in Islamic history who excelled in their fields. Our time should not be wasted on contemplating how the Hereafter will be. Its state will be seen once we are there but while we are here let us not waste time on asking the question ‘Who will be in Jannah or Jahannam?’ but let us all ask ourselves ‘Will I be in Jannah or Jahannam?’واللہ اعلم