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Meaning of the Hadith of fifty women being looked after by one man

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Q. Dear Sheikh i was reading a hadith and i just want clarification if the hadith is valid and the Quran approves its statement or if it is not valid and proofed by the Quran. Men will decrease in number, and women will increase in number, so much so that fifty women will be looked after by one man 
 
(Question published as received)
 
A. The Hadith in question is Sahih (rigorously authenticated) and is found in Sahih Bukhari. The full text is, “Anas Radhiyallahu Anhu narrates: I will narrate to you a hadith that none other than I will tell you about after it. I heard Allah’s Messenger Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam saying: From among the signs of the Hour are (the following): Religious knowledge will decrease. Ignorance will prevail. There will be prevalence of fornication. Women will increase in number and men will decrease in number, so much so that there will be one (male) caretaker for fifty women.”
 
The Hadith is not in conflict with the Qur’aan and hence there is no reason to doubt it. It is of the signs of the Last Days and speaks of a time to come when there will be such a disparity between the male and female population that one man would be responsible to see to the maintenance of fifty woman. Some commentators have mentioned the cause of this being the amount of men dying in battle due to the many wars that will be fought at the time. Also to note is that the Hadith does not mention one man marrying 50 woman. Rather, he will have to see to the maintenance of fifty woman. Even in today’s times, there are huge families in poverty stricken areas that rely on the earnings of one individual for their sustenance. At the time of the prophecy, such a situation will become commonplace.
 
And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
 
Mufti Moosa Salie
 
Confirmation: 
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa
 
(The answer hereby given is specifically based on the question asked and should be read together with the question asked. Islamic rulings on this Q&A newsletter are answered in accordance to the Hanafi Fiqh.) 
 
 

Fatwa Department

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) 

Council of Muslim Theologians

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