Do women form majority in the hell?

Christians often use a Hadith to malign Islam that women are not given equal rights and are condemn to remain in the hell fire. While they lie they try to make some issue out of the following Hadith.

عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أُرِيتُ النَّارَ فَإِذَا أَكْثَرُ أَهْلِهَا النِّسَاءُ يَكْفُرْنَ قِيلَ أَيَكْفُرْنَ بِاللَّهِ قَالَ يَكْفُرْنَ الْعَشِيرَ وَيَكْفُرْنَ الْإِحْسَانَ لَوْ أَحْسَنْتَ إِلَى إِحْدَاهُنَّ الدَّهْرَ ثُمَّ رَأَتْ مِنْكَ شَيْئًا قَالَتْ مَا رَأَيْتُ مِنْكَ خَيْرًا قَطُّ

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, Hadith 28)

Context of the Hadith:

The very first thing that is a must to be kept in mind when going through the Islamic Sources is that you cannot pick up a verse or a Hadith, take it in isolation from the rest of Islamic rubric and run to races with it. This is criminal only. Indeed one has to consider all the various Ahadith pertaining to an issue one way or the other, consider the context of each of them and then draw some conclusion. Unfortunately most of the Christian readers of Quran and Hadith fail on this account.

Now clearly we see that at the time this was said, Holy Prophet (pbuh) was not actually dwelling on the point if men or women will form the majority in the Hell and Paradise, he was only asking women to mend their ways and was pointing to a common problem in the attitude of the women. This was his duty being Al-Nazeer (the Warner).

They do not go to hell for being women:

The Hadith does not say they go to hell for being women, it actually points out to a wrong behavior on women’s part. The real misunderstanding comes with the notion that women outnumber men in hell because of their womanhood. This is indeed wrong, there is nothing like that in the Hadith, not even in the least.

Secondly, most probably either men or women will be more in the hell. It’s very difficult that they number exactly the same. Whoever will do more wrong deeds will be punished for that. It’s about deeds not gender and that’s where people take a wrong turn and are lead astray.

Women will outnumber men in Paradise:

Infact there is another Hadith which tells us that there will be more women in the Paradise then the men. It is recorded in Sahih Muslim.

عَنْ مُحَمَّدٍ قَالَ إِمَّا تَفَاخَرُوا وَإِمَّا تَذَاكَرُوا الرِّجَالُ فِي الْجَنَّةِ أَكْثَرُ أَمْ النِّسَاءُ فَقَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ أَوَ لَمْ يَقُلْ أَبُو الْقَاسِمِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ أَوَّلَ زُمْرَةٍ تَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ عَلَى صُورَةِ الْقَمَرِ لَيْلَةَ الْبَدْرِ وَالَّتِي تَلِيهَا عَلَى أَضْوَإِ كَوْكَبٍ دُرِّيٍّ فِي السَّمَاءِ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِنْهُمْ زَوْجَتَانِ اثْنَتَانِ يُرَى مُخُّ سُوقِهِمَا مِنْ وَرَاءِ اللَّحْمِ وَمَا فِي الْجَنَّةِ أَعْزَبُ

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 Abul 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, Hadith 5062)

The context of Abu Huraira narrating this Hadith clearly shows that he meant to convey that according to Prophet’s sayings, women will outnumber men in the Paradise.

Ibn Kathir (d. 774 A.H.) commenting on this Hadith said:

فالمراد من هذا ان هاتين من بنات آدم ومعهما من الحور العين ما شاء الله عز وجل

“The meaning hereby is, these two are from the daughters of Adam (i.e. women of this world) and with them are wide-eyed maidens as Allah the Almighty wishes.” (Siffah al-Jannah p.132 pub. Mo’assas al-Kutab al-Thaqafiyyah, Beirut 1993)

The same is mentioned by Hafiz Zainuddin al-Iraqi (d. 806 A.H.) in his Tarah al-Tathrib fi Sharah al-Taqrib 8/270. Hafiz al-Ayni (d. 855 A.H.) has also mentioned that it refers to the women of this world. See ‘Umdatul Qari 15/155

Ibn Hajr (d. 852 A.H.) while discussing the issue says:

وَاسْتَدَلَّ أَبُو هُرَيْرَة بِهَذَا الْحَدِيث عَلَى أَنَّ النِّسَاء فِي الْجَنَّة أَكْثَر مِنْ الرِّجَال ... وَهُوَ وَاضِح

‘Abu Huraira used this Hadith as a proof to maintain that women will outnumber men in Jannah (paradise) … and this is much clear.’ (Fath Al-Bari 10/30)

Ahadith about majority in hell do not tell the present or permanent state:

Lest one would say there is some contradiction in the both the Ahadith lets clarify another thing about the Ahadith that say women were in majority in the Hell.

There are  Ahadith that contain the words ‘I was shown the Hell-fire’ and we know from other Ahadith that Holy Prophet (pbuh) was shown the Hell-Fire on his journey during the miraculous Night of Ascension. So we can easily conclude that Ahadith indicating women being in majority in the hell refer to the time when the Holy Prophet actually saw it and they do not mention if same is the case even now. (Fayd al-Bari 1/192)

An apparently contradicting narration:

There is a narration that seemingly contradicts the above. Imran bin Husain –may Allah be pleased with him- reported:

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: إِنَّ أَقَلَّ سَاكِنِي الْجَنَّةِ النِّسَاءُ

Allah's Messenger –may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said: Amongst the inmates of Paradise the women would form a minority. (Sahih Muslim Kitab al-Riqaq)

But this narration does not mean women will always form the majority in the hell.

Zainuddin Muhammad al-Manawi (d. 1031 A.H.) explained this Hadith saying;

أي في أول الأمر قبل خروج عصاتهن من النار فلا دلالة فيه على أن نساء الدنيا أقل من الرجال في الجنة

“means, initially before the sinful among them coming out of Hellfire. And there is no evidence in this (report) that women of the world are fewer than men in the paradise.”  (Fayd al-Qadir Sharah Jami’ al-Saghir 2/428 Hadith 2215)

Hafiz Ibn Hajr in Fath al-Bari (10/30) and Hafiz al-‘Ayni in ‘Umdatul Qari (15/155) have explained it the same way.

Some statistical facts:

Also we ought to keep in mind that women today outnumber men. Even if more males are born, their mortality rate is higher then female babies and we learn in Hadith that near the End of Times women will outnumber men greatly so if equal ratio of men and women goes to hell and the paradise even then it is quite possible that women remain in majority in both.

Women can complain against husbands for genuine reasons:

Let me make clear another point that the Hadith does not ask woman to bear with her husband even when he is wrong and refrain from complaining. No, this is not the case as we know that there is complete Surah (chapter) in the Quran i.e. Surah Mujadila (No. 58) which is about a woman who came to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to complain against her husband and the Prophet (pbuh) did not say that she was going to hell for complaining and infact he listened to her and Allah also revealed verses addressing the issue and condemning the unacceptable behavior of the husband.


Thus the conclusion is that Holy Prophet –may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- stated only what he had seen during his Miraculous Journey which is not bound to remain the same for ever. And that women will be fewer in the Paradise only initially and eventually women will form the majority in the Paradise as more and more of the people are taken out of Hell and admitted into Paradise. Other traditions plainly establish that in the Paradise women will be much larger in number compared to men. And the particular tradition that Christians dwell upon only asks women not to complain and be ungrateful to their husbands without reason.

Indeed Allah knows the best!

* The article was last updated on November 16th, 2011

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    1. Assalaamualaikum,
      I am very impressed by your response to this allegation commonly made against Islam. I also commend you on being concise and addressing all related issues.
      Ibn Rafe

    2. Assalaamualaikum,

      Lest one would say there is some contradiction in the both the Ahadith.

      I think that first Hadith refers to men and women in Jahannam only, while the second Hadith refers to men and women in Jannah only.
      So there can't be a contradiction.

      In both the cases since women are numerically or demograhically greater than men, I think no other reasoning is required.

      It would be better if you include with reference, His(s.a.a.w.s.) duty as Al-Nadheer towards men, as well when you say:
      This was his duty being Al-Nazeer (the Warner).
      Like Fattaqullaaha Finnisaa on Hiijatul Wadaa'.

      WE must also emphasize that Madinah was a female-dominated society, as evident from the event when Umar(r.a.a.) complained of the rebellious nature of His wife influenced by the women of Madinah.
      If it is proved that the Hadith is Madani then another strong point would be added to rebuttal.

    3. Your answer wasnt a good one to say the least, you say that women will be in hell because they're ungrateful. Then you come with another hadith only stating that every man will have a wife in jannah.

    4. There is no wrong with my answer atleast on the lines you say. The Hadith clearly says that one of the big reasons of women going to hell is their being unfrateful. Secondly it is quite possible that women outnumber men in both the heaven and the hell. I wonder whats wrong with it.

    5. Salam love the article God bless you...I write online articles at the following site



    6. Asalamo alekum.
      Regarding the part where you said women will outnumber men in paradise there is a hadith which says otherwise:

      Imran b. Husain reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Amongst the inmates of Paradise the women would form a minority.
      (Sahih Muslim::Book 36:Hadith 6600) The Book of Heart-Melting Traditions (Kitab Al-Riqaq)

      I am no scholar and have very limited knowledge but i think the hadith you quoted ...every person will have two wives... aren't those wives other than the human companions/ladies they have in this world (i am not talking about 70 hoors or the wife from this world).

    7. Wa alaikum assalam wr wb

      I have updated the article answering both your questions/queries.

      About the "two wives" in that hadith I have given the statement of Ibn Kathir showing its about the women of this world.

      Whereas about the Hadith you quoted I have added a separate heading and given the explanation to it from al-Manawi.


    8. the site you're referring to is well-known propaganda site against Islam.It has been debunked for good many is the site providing good responses to the garbage site you posted . . .

      On topic: Great effort brother(s)..May Allah grant you the reward and put Barkah in your work

    9. Brother waqar,
      i dont how did you missed such points.the hadith in concern is is talking about the enitial stage and for forever.Every Muslim will enter paradise even he is sinner by the grace and mercy of Allah Subhanahu Sala after their punishment wether men or women.Initially,women will outnumber men in hell but after punishment,they will be granted paradise.
      "Allâh has promised to believers - men and women - Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein[forever], and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allâh. That is the supreme felicity [or success]".(9:72)

      The sinner muslims after being punished in hell will be brought forth from Hell and will enter Paradise by means of intercession.
      Muslim reports from Abû Sa'îd that the Messenger of Allâh (saw) said:
      "The people of Hell will remain there, never dying, and never living. But there are people who will enter Hell because of their sins, and will bekilled therein, so that they become like coals. Permission will begranted for intercession to be made,and they will be brought forthin groups and spread on rivers of Paradise, and it will be said, "O people of Paradise, pour water on them. Then they will grow like seedsin the silt left by a flood". [Muslim, Kitâb al-Imân, Bâb as-Shafa'ah wa Ikhrâj al-Muwahiddinmin an-Nâr, 1/172]

      Muslim also reports from Jâbir ibn 'Abdullâh that the Messenger of Allâh (saw) said,
      "Some people will be brought out ofthe Fire, having been burnt all over except for their faces, and they will enter Paradise". [Muslim, Kitâb al-Imâm, Bâb adna Ahl al-Jannah Manzilatan, 1/178]

      The people of Paradise will call these people who are brought out of Hell and admitted to Paradise, al-Jahannamiyyûn. Al-Bukhâri reports from 'Imrân ibn Husayn (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said,
      "Some people will be brought out of Hell through the intercession of Muhammad (saw). They will enter Paradise and will be known as al-Jahannamiyyûn." [Sahîh al-Bukhâri, Kitâb ar-Riqâq, Bâb Sifât al-Jannah wan-Nâr, Fath al-Bâri, 11/418.

      They are also mentioned in a hadîth narrated from Jâbir by Muslim, 1/179 and al-Bukhâri from Anas, Fath al-Bâri 11/416]
      According to another sahîh hadîth narrated by Jâbir:
      "The Prophet (saw) said, "They will be brought out of the Fire through intercession, as if they are tha'arîr". I asked, "What are tha'arîr?" He said,"Daghabis [snake cucumbers]" ". [al-Bukhâri, Kitâb ar-Riqâq, Bâb Sifâhal-Jannah wan-Nâr, Fath al-Bâri,11/416]

      Muslim reports a lengthy hadîth from Abû Hurayrah, in which the Prophet (saw) describes the Hereafter, and in which he says:
      "...When Allâh (swt) has finished judging mankind, and wants to bring whomever He wills out of Hell by His Mercy, He will order angels to bring forth those upon who He wishes to bestow His mercy of the people who never associated anything in worship with Allâh (swt),and who said, "Lâ ilâha illâh Allâh". The angels will recognise them in Hell, and will known them by the mark of sujûd on their foreheads. The Fire will consume all of a man except the mark of sujûd which Allâh(swt) has forbidden the Fire to consume. They will be brought forth,having been burned in the Fire, the water of life will be poured on then, and they will grow like seeds left by still after a flood". [Sahîh Muslim, Kitâb al-Imân, Bâb ar-Ru'yah, 1/299, no. 182]

    10. Jazak'Allah brother

      But I think you missed something. I have actually mentioned this with reference to al-Manawi etc. under the heading "An apparently contradicting narration"


    11. السلام عليكم

      I have been crying and praying since I first saw this Hadith a few hours ago. I am not easily given to tears but Hell is not a matter any Muslim would take lightly. I am not married nor am I religious scholar and therefore cannot add anything substantial to the discussion. However, I will try my best to remain grateful and sincere in my prayers. Your work has given me some hope (even with the contradicting narration) and for that, I would like to thank you, brother. The article was wonderful, may Allah bless you always.

    12. I would like to raise couple of points that the context of where and to whom this was said to is also very important.

      Prophet (saw), after the Eid prayer, during khutba, went to the women's section (of the ground where everyone had gathered for Eid prayer) and said this while addressing the women. This is important as it points out that he was warning the women and not belittling them in front of the men.

      Also, in the Arabic, word "aksara" has been used which is often translated as majority. However, in the context, a better translation might be "a lot" which does not mean more than men. It just means that a lot of them might end up there if they do not fix there ways.

      I am not a scholar. My understanding is based on the course I took with Shaikh Abdul Nasir Jangda.

      Wallahu Alam.

    13. What exactly do people think is sexist here? Please stop and actually answer this question.

      Someone could only go to Hell based on their deeds. Nothing else. Not race, not gender, not family lineage. These are fundamental principles upon which every Muslim will agree. If it so happens that a particular group forms a majority, then that is simply something from which we should LEARN, not something that it stems from it coming from a woman hating man made religion.

      As the above poster mentioned, it is important point that it was addressed to the Muslim believers, and Prophet engaged in warning people from the Hell fire..that was his TASK! There hasn't been a muslim man or woman that hasn't been warned about the Hellfire.

      If a doctor

    14. Is it okay if i turn this into a thread on twitter please and thank you!