Misquoting Hadith – The Claim Most Dwellers of Hell Are Women

Source: https://www.peakpx.com

“Is it true that most people in hell are women? Why does it seem like women are to blame? Why does it seem like men and women are so different?”

The main sources of Islamic teachings are the Al-Qur’an and the Hadith. It talks about the different ways men and women relate to each other. They are made in pairs, like how the two sides of a coin can’t be taken apart. 

Through the idea of khalifatullah fil ardh, which is explained in Q.S. al-Baqarah verse 30, men and women are both servants of Allah and leaders on earth, which means they have the same duties and responsibilities. In a number of hadiths, the Prophet talked about how the role of women affects whether or not a life will last. Kindness is about women, and especially about a mother. The same goes for how to compare Shalihah women to the most beautiful jewelry in the world. So, both the Qur’an and the Hadith always see women as a key part of bringing about integrity, existence, and harmony in society. 

On the other hand, there are a few hadiths that are said to be misogynistic. These are hadiths that “seem” to hate women, treat them unfairly, and put them in the background. According to a story in the histories of Imam Bukhari, Muslim, and Tirmidhi, the majority of people in hell are women:

اطَّلَعْتُ فِى الْجَنَّةِ فَرَأَيْتُ أَكْثَرَ أَهْلِهَا الْفُقَرَاءَ وَاطَّلَعْتُ فِى النَّارِ فَرَأَيْتُ أَكْثَرَ أَهْلِهَا النِّسَاءَ  

When I looked into heaven, I saw that most of the people who lived there

were poor, and when I looked into hell, I saw that most of the people who

lived there were women.” 

Textually, this hadith is often used by men as proof that they have the right to treat women badly. So, is it true that most people who live in hell are women? Why do you think they make up most of the people who live in hell? 

As Al-Mubarakfury says in his book Tuhfathul Ahwadzi, “What is meant in the hadith does not mean that most of the people in hell are women. Instead, it is a warning to women to watch what they do so they don’t end up in hell’s fire.”  

In the book al-Manhaj Syarhu Shahih Muslim bin al-Hajjaj, the opinion of Imam an-Nawawi is used to explain that this hadith is meant to warn women who are immoral and do bad things to their husbands that they will go to hell. Ibnu Hajar al-Asqalani wrote in Fath al-Bari that the hadith about the people who live in hell came about because the women of Jahiliyah often cursed and swore at their husbands. So, this is a way that the Prophet tried to teach women so that they wouldn’t do the same thing.Also, Imam Syamsuddin al-Qurthubi says in his book Tadzkirah that the reason so many women go to hell is because their lust is too strong, they like worldly pleasures more than the afterlife, and they turn away from it. So, these are the things that could make a woman go to hell. 

We can say that this hadith is more about what makes a person go to hell than about what hell is like. As with other verses and hadiths that often talk about the nature and behavior of the people in Hell, we should focus on its nature and not its gender. Then the other thing happens, too. If a man has qualities that will send him to hell, he will also go there. 

Even though the above hadith says that most of the people who live in hell are women, that doesn’t mean that most of the people who live in heaven are men. It’s the same as the sentence that says most people who live in heaven are poor. It doesn’t mean that most rich people live in hell. This is because the prophet was trying to warn the rich not to become too comfortable with their wealth. 

It is clear that the main point of the hadith, which says that women are the majority in hell, is not to put women down or make them look bad. Simply put, this hadith is a “message” to women that they should always protect themselves from violent acts that can send them to hell. One way the prophet shows how much he loves his wives is by always reminding them of this. Wallahu a’lam bishawab~


Al-‘Asgalani, Ahmad In Ali Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari. Beirut: Darul Ma’rifah.

Al-Bukhari, Abu Abdillah Muhammad ibn Isma’il. Matn Masykul al-Bukhari bi Hasyaiyah al-Sindi. t.kp: Maktabah Dar Ihya’ al-Kutub al-‘Arabiyah,

Al-Mubârakfûrî, Abû al-‘Alî Muhammad Abd al-Rahmân bin Abd al-Rahîm.  Muqaddimah Tuhfat al-Ahwadzî: Syarh Jâmi’ al-Tirmidzî Juz. II; Madinah Munawwarah.

Al-Nawawi, Al-Imam, 1987. Shahîh Muslim bi Syarh al-Nawawi. Kairo: Dar al-Diyān li al-Turats.

Al-Qurthubi, Imam Syamsuddin, 2001. At-Tadzkirah, Kairo: Maktabah ash-Shafa.

Kodir, Faqihuddin Abdul, 2019. Yogyakarta : IRCiSoD.

Mernisi, Fatimah, 1997. Menengok Kontroversi Peran Wanita Dalam Politik. terj. M. Masyhur Abadi. Surabaya: Dunia Ilmu.

Penulis: Imarotuz  Zulfa

Editor: Desy Putri R.


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