...or, what Muhammad held of women...
This is the forst of a long series of posts about the treatment of women in Islam:
The following observation is to me one of the clearest evidences of the inequality of men and women under Islam.
Mohammed said, "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers are women."
This hadith can be found in: Bukhari (11 times); Muslim (6 times), Sunan Al-Tarmithi; Sunan Al-Nasa'I; Sunan Ibn Majah; Musnad Ahmad (27 times); Muwata' Malik and in Sunan Al-Darimi. Total number of occurrences (53 times). Based on it being reported in many of the authentic books and also by many different chains of narrators, it is not possible to argue that this hadith is not authentic in its essential meaning.
On the web you might consult these: Sahih Bukhari: Vol. 1:28, Vol. 1 301; Vol. 2:161; Vol. 7:124-26.
This is the strongest evidence that in Islam men and women are not equal. Let’s see why:
If men and women are more or less equal, then the number of men relative to women in hell should be almost equal too. If not, then it means that either women are more subject and tempted by sin, or that they don't have the same opportunities men do. Which in the end indicated that God wasn't fair in creating them.
Add to this observation that there are naturally more boys are born than girls (about 5% more), then this issue becomes even stronger.
Even though it seems quite clear what Muhammad meant, a possible objection could be raised from the English translation. What is the meaning of the word "majority" in the Arabic? Is it possible to interpret it as 50.1% to 49.9% or does the Arabic indicate a vast difference in numbers?
The word in Arabic is "akthar", and is usually used when there's a great difference in size, number, etc... That Hadeeth is understood by all Sheikhs and taken for granted that it means the "vast majority". I even once heard someone saying that it means two-thirds of the people of hell are women. From the context, it is impossible to interpret it as 50.1% to 49.9%.
Another reason for that is that Mohammed "saw" with his eyes the vast difference, he didn't do a survey, and God didn't tell him the number. So if the difference is seen then it cannot possibly be just a 1% or 2% difference.
In Bukhari, in one hadith, the Arabic phrase used makes it very clear that Mohammed is talking about a VAST majority here. Volume 7, Book 62, Number 124)
Narrated Usama: The Prophet said, "I stood at the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of the people who entered it were the poor, while the wealthy were stopped at the gate (for the accounts). But the companions of the Fire were ordered to be taken to the Fire. Then I stood at the gate of the Fire and saw that the majority of those who entered it were women."
The Arabic word used for "the majority" here is 'Aammah (or 3ammah), and it indicates beyond any shred of a doubt (in Arabic) the *vast majority*. You see, I don't think that "the majority" is a good translation.