Heaven - What is in it for women?

Q250 :It is mentioned in the Qur'an that there will be women in heaven. May I ask why will they be there? In our country, some scholars suggest that a true believer will be offered as many as seventy such women. Are they correct? If so, what about women? Being a married woman, I cannot think of my husband having seventy women around him in heaven. I want him to be mine only. Is this possible? Do I commit a sin by entertaining such thoughts? Being a non-Arabic speaking woman, I am intrigued by the fact that every time a reward from Allah is mentioned for a particular action, it is suggested that it will be given to a man. What is the reward for women, then? In the translation of the traditions of Al-Bukhari, the writer makes the comment women can never achieve the grade of men with regard to worship. Is the writer correct? Are men superior to women in Allah's judgement?

A250 : When we speak about the life to come, we must bear in mind that whatever we may do, we cannot formulate a "true to life" picture of what things will be like there. How does the resurrection take place? We believe in the resurrection as an essential part of our faith. We have accepted the passage of the Prophet Muhammad as the final and correct message from Allah to mankind, and that the religion of Islam is the faith chosen by Allah for human beings. To believe in the resurrection is a basic requirement of believing in Islam. Hence, we accept it without question. We are told by the Prophet in this connection that women who will be admitted into heaven will be made to look in their best form, full of life and vigor, as they were in their prime of life. How will women regain this form after having lived sixty, seventy or even ninety years? The answer is that we do not know. We believe in it because we believe that Allah has the power to accomplish anything He wills. We must also bear in mind the Hadith which describes the luxuries which true believers will enjoy in heaven as follows: "In it (i.e. in heaven) there are things that no eye has ever beheld, and of which no ear has ever heard, and the thought of which no human mind has ever entertained." This Hadith emphasizes the fact that what those who will be blessed with admission into heaven will have much more than they can enjoy. Yet, there are detailed description of what we are likely to have in heaven. Moreover, the description is made in terms of this life and its luxuries. A Muslim cannot entertain any doubt with regard to the truthfulness of any description given in the life to come. We must not forget that the Qur'an is the world of Allah, and whatever Allah tells us is truth, clear and simple. How do we reconcile the Hadith quoted above with the descriptions of heaven given in the Qur'an? This is very simple. Had Allah described the luxuries and happiness of heaven as they actually are, we would not have understood his description, because our life experience is too modest to comprehend it. Therefore, Allah has given us descriptions which we can understand through our experience. But the luxuries and happiness of heaven are in actual fact much more than we can visualize. In other words, their measure is much more than we can imagine. It is true that in the Qur'anic descriptions of heaven, the presence of young,pretty woman is mentioned. But it is not to be contemplated for a second that these will compete with the believers' wives over their husbands. Your feelings about wanting to have your husband all for yourself are quite understandable. You will certainly have him as you please, if both of you are included among those whom Allah will bless with admission into heaven. It is perfectly legitimate for a believer to pray Allah to give him or her in the hereafter the same marriage partner they have in this life. As for the number seventy, referring to women who will be assigned to every man in heaven, this is news to me. I have not heard it before. However, seven and seventy are often used in Arabic as figurative numbers. They denote plenty. Perhaps I should mention another point with regard to the relationship between believers and these heaven women. In this life, the main purposes of marriages are the satisfaction of our natural desire and having children. Indeed Allah has made sex so enjoyable in order to ensure the survival of man. The continuation of human life is part of Allah's creation. This does not apply to life in the hereafter. People in heaven will not go on giving birth to children and increasing their own numbers. At no time the description of heaven given in the Qur'an mentioned children being born to believers. You may, therefore, rest assured that you will not be fighting other women over your husband. That the Qur'an uses the masculine reference when it speaks of Allah's reward to believers is a requirement of Arabic language. This is indeed the case in many languages. The Qur'an makes it clear that the same reward is given to men and women for the same actions. Allah states in the Qur'an: "A person, whether male or female, who does good works while at the same time he is a true believer shall be given a good life of Us, and We will give them their reward according to their best actions." Indeed, you should read all references to reward in the hereafter that occur in the masculine as equally applicable to the feminine. The Prophet says; "Women are the sisters of men." This denotes total equality between the two sexes, except where differences are necessitated by their physical differences and their different roles. May I correct you on the last part of your question. Al-Bukhari has not written this book. He only made a compilation of statements made by the Prophet, making sure of the authenticity of the traditions attributed to the Prophet. He included in his Sahih only those Hadiths the authenticity of which he was absolutely certain. These statements are not made by Al-Bukhari. They were made by the Prophet and Al-Bukhari's role was only to confirm their authentic attribution to the Prophet. May be you are referring to the commentary on the Hadiths listed by Al-Bukhari. If so, this commentary is written by a human being who is liable to err. I do not think that it is correct, from the Islamic point of view, to say that a woman will never attain to the grade of man with regard to worship. This is a fallacy. The fact is that women may excel men in any respect, including work for pleasing Allah.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )