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Am I Depressed for ‘Unjust Rewards’ for Women In Paradise?

22 October, 2023
Q I have depression. I have spoken to my psychologist who is a non-Muslim, but I did not tell her what is causing the depression, because she is non-Muslim, just told her very depressed but don’t feel comfortable sharing why, so she said just move away from what is causing the depression.

My depression and hate for myself is because I started learning about Islam. I know it is strange, because it was meant to create peace and tranquility but I just feel the opposite. It is all because of how Islam views women. I thought if a male and female have the exact same piety, sincerity and number and quality of good deeds then both are equally loved by Allah and are given equitable bliss and reward, even if not the exact same reward, but I thought it would at least be equal but different, so the man not better nor the woman.

Learning about Islam more, has taught me the excat opposite, have a man and a female same sinceirty and good deeds, the male is given alot more and he is more loved by Allah and that woman is equivalent to a man with much less piety and good deeds than her. Because of this there is nothing more hurtful to me and more depressing than thinking about the word paradise or reward and reading what the Quran says about paradise and how men get everything they desire is like knife stabbing if not worse.

The descriptions of paradise for men are so nice and stunning but for women it is so dull. Not to mention the fact that women have the exact same sincerity and good deeds as men, yet even though they have the same sincerity and good deeds they are worth more. In this case, can I just stop learning about Islam as the more I learn the worse I feel the more haterd I have for myself and just stop thinking about paradise or even avoiding anything that mentions this word, and just aim for not going to hell and so long as I do not go to hell, I just do not care about ceasing exitance, going or not going to paradise.

So in a nutshell can I just avoid encountering anything about the descriptions of paradise and only working towards avoiding hell in whatever I do without expecting anything else, like zero reward other than not going to hell. Because i had high expectations of reward and paradise, so i feel if I make them as low as possible, then learning about women getting lesser reward for the same worship performed with same sincerity, even though yes it will still be sad, but not as sad, because the expectation and wish now has become avoid hell and nothing else to expect.


Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu,

Thank you, sister, for turning to us with your concern. You are stating that you are depressed, and the root cause of this depression is the way Islam sees women, especially regarding the rewards in Afterlife according to your understanding. You also stated that you went to a non-Muslim psychologist, but you were not comfortable to disclose your thoughts related to your religion.

Islam & Psychology

Let’s start briefly with this last statement: this is unfortunately quite common, as for Muslims spirituality and religion is deeply part of their identity, so they perceive secular therapists as being unable to grasp their struggles, and find it hard to connect with them.

Even with a culturally sensitive approach, you may feel that you cannot express yourself without referring to Islam and your Muslim identity in a session, just like it happened in your case.

Alhamdulillah, there are more and more Muslim psychologists who integrate Islam and the Islamic approach to treatment. I encourage you to seek – whether online or in your local community, a Muslim professional who can provide you a proper care considering the teachings of your faith.

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Ask a Scholar

Secondly, I will focus on the psychological aspects of your question, although your concern is partly related to Islamic sciences, the understanding of the Hereafter, our deeds, and the rewards for them, especially for women. 

You might be looking for a scholarly answer by someone qualified in this field. I encourage you to write to our section Ask About Islam, to get a more detailed answer. Furthermore, you can find previous answers to similar questions here, here, or here.

Discovering Beliefs Behind Thoughts

You write that the most hurtful thought for you is that while men and women do the same good deeds, and have the same piety; men in Paradise will get what they want, while women do not, as there is a detailed, beautiful description for men, and not the same for women.

Sister, you are right when you are saying that women and men are equal in front of Allah, in terms of responsibility, good deeds, and accountability. We both strive to please Allah, and to get our reward in Afterlife:

“Surely ˹for˺ Muslim men and women, believing men and women, devout men and women, truthful men and women, patient men and women, humble men and women, charitable men and women, fasting men and women, men and women who guard their chastity, and men and women who remember Allah often—for ˹all of˺ them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” (Quran 33:35)

Equal But Not Identical

However, Allah created men and women with complementary roles, and with distinct natures in some aspects; therefore our needs and desires may differ from one another. 

Of course, not every single man, and every single woman are the same, with the same desires and attitudes; but certainly, there are general tendencies that one can observe across time, places, or cultures.

This means, that while men tend to have certain desires, women might have different ones, and the reward in Jannah is according to the particular need and deeds of the individual:

“And do not crave what Allah has given some of you over others. Men will be rewarded according to their deeds and women ˹equally˺ according to theirs. Rather, ask Allah for His bounties. Surely Allah has ˹perfect˺ knowledge of all things.” (Quran 4:32)

Just because the description is more detailed for men, does not mean that women are not considered equally worthy for being granted with the pleasures of Jannah. In the Quran or Sunnah there is no indication that women would not get what they desire, and what is most pleasing for them.

Unfortunately, depression frequently causes distorted cognitions (thinking), resulting in unrealistic conclusions.  

Where Is Your Focus?

Sister, certainly, your thoughts have a lot to do with your emotional well-being. Sometimes, for some reason, we develop certain beliefs that we perceive as correct ones, although they do not reflect reality exactly. 

The popping up of these thoughts can trigger you, causing you negative emotions that are meant to support that particular core belief. These beliefs can be related, for example, to our sense of worthiness, lovability, capability; and of course, the lack of these qualities.

I am telling you this, because it seems to me that you focus on supporting the idea that you (as a woman) are not worthy enough for being rewarded for your efforts and deeds, and you tend to disregard evidence that goes against this belief

This could happen, because you might have some negative experience that led you to arrive at this conclusion, and caused you certain issues with self – worth, self-esteem, and proper confidence in your capabilities and lovability. 

These underlying issues can lead to depression, low expectations, and feelings of not being motivated enough to reach your goals.

These beliefs need to be challenged and checked to see whether they reflect reality. I suggest you seek further counseling – especially CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy – where your thoughts and related beliefs are examined and modified into more realistic ones.

You certainly are worthy enough for being rewarded, and you can have as high expectations for your good deeds and worship as Allah has promised you in the Quran: 

“That is the Paradise which you will be awarded for what you used to do.” (Quran 43:72)

Challenge Your Thoughts with an Activity:

Find verses, ahadith or tafseer that deal with women in Islam: their reward, their status and their rights; and make a list of them, including those ones that mention both men and women.

1. Instead of comparing these rewards with the ones for men, try to examine these ideas in the light of women’s needs in general. See whether these verses really disregard these needs, just because their desription are less explicit or detailed.

2. Try to search for verses, or ahadith that details the blessed status of women, and their rewards, like for example, the ones related to motherhood, to mercy, to the kind treatment they deserve, etc.

3. Try to search for evidence that indicates that men will also have their punishment for their wrong deeds, and they also have duties to fulfill to deserve Paradise. 

Insha Allah, you will realize that there are plenty of verses and ahadith about the rewards and respect of women in our tradition.

Lost Hope

You also write that you prefer lowering your expectations, avoid thinking about Paradise, and not expecting any reward anymore. Paradise in a psychological sense is connected to hope, providing meaning and ultimate goal for your actions. 

Not thinking about Paradise is like not having hope anymore and losing faith in the divine justice of Allah, that is superior to any justice you probably have ever experienced. You may reflect upon why you think that you will not be treated with justice, according to what you deserve. Do you remember any “worldly” experiences that led you to this conclusion? 

Hopelessness, no expectations, and unrealistic thinking are all signs of a possible depression. With treatment you may see these religious questions with another attitude, in sha Allah. I strongly recommend you visit a therapist who will make an assessment and diagnosis. You can find Muslim professional, if you prefer, and you can share your thoughts with her with more confidence.  

Study with the Right Perspective 

Beside this, Masallah, it is very commendable that you are trying to learn more about the deen. However, take care that sadly, cultural influences could  distort the message of Islam regarding women. These practices tend to be excused by the teachings of the religion, but actually have no real basis in Islam.

While you study Islam, put aside what you might see and hear about “Muslims”, as you might end up mixing Islam with culture. 

Also, make sure that you are critical enough about those explanations and views that try fitting Islam to modern Western ideologies, like feminism for example, and focus on the original teachings of the religion.

To conclude,  by focusing on the deen, and trying to fulfill your religious obligations, doing good deeds, and staying away from wrong actions and sins, you can certainly expect the highest reward from Allah:

“So their Lord responded to them: “I will never deny any of you—male or female—the reward of your deeds. Both are equal in reward.” (Quran 3:195)

I wish you ease and comfort, may Allah reward you for your actions.


Views expressed by hosts/guests on this program (live dialogue, Facebook sessions, etc.) are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. 

About Orsolya Ilham O.
Orsolya Ilham has a BA in Communication and Manager in Public Relations, MA, BSC in Psychology. She studied Islamic sciences and obtained certificates in Islamic Counseling and Islamic Marriage Counseling. Previously she worked in a client-centered atmosphere; currently, as a translator, counselor, and content creator related to Islam, counseling, and psychology.