Vir­gins of Par­adise” in Christianity

It has already point­ed out pre­vi­ous­ly that the Ara­bic word hur al-ayn” (houris), mean­ing a beau­ti­ful, volup­tuous woman, was already well known in the pre-Islam­ic Ara­bia and many instances of its usage have been pre­served in the pre-Islam­ic poetry.

Some exam­ples may be seen as follows :

And the maidens like ivory statues white of eyes, did we captureThe Diwan of Abid ibn Al-Abras of Ban­id, vol vii, 24 ; ed., Sir Charles Lyall

Run­ning trans­la­tion : And the maid­ens like ivory stat­ues white of eyes, did we capture.”

They have touched your heart, these tender white maidens, beside the river bankAdi bin Zaid ; See F. Sez­gin, G.A.S., bd. ii, S. 321 – 22, Lei­den 1975

Run­ning trans­la­tion : They have touched your heart, these ten­der white maid­ens, beside the riv­er bank.”

"Virgins of Paradise" in Christianity 1Qa’nab, Mukhtarat, viii, 7

Run­ning trans­la­tion : And in the wom­en’s cham­ber when the house is full, are the white maid­ens with charm­ing voices.”

In all these vers­es, we are deal­ing with human women, flaw­less in beau­ty — a very dark pupil and a very white iris of their eyes being an essen­tial and par­tic­u­lar­ly appeal­ing fea­ture of their beau­ty. As the verse of Abid indi­cates, such women were con­sid­ered a very pre­cious booty by the pre-Islam­ic Arabs in the raids of those times.

It must be not­ed here that the con­cept of houris of Par­adise” was gen­er­al­ly unknown to the pre-Islam­ic Arab since they did not believe in the idea of Here­after. How­ev­er, the con­cept of Maid­ens of Par­adise” was known to the Chris­tians (espe­cial­ly the Syr­i­ac Chris­tians) of the pre-Islam­ic times.

In the last cen­tu­ry, first Hubert GrimmeHubert Grimme, Mohammed, M?, i. W., Aschen­dorff, 1892 – 5, bd., ii, S. 160 – 61, n. 9 , and lat­er the famous Swedish Islam­ic schol­ar and a com­pe­tent mas­ter of Syr­i­ac, Tor AndraeTor Andrae, Les orig­ines de l’Is­lam et le Chris­tian­isme, Paris : A. M., 1955, pp. 151 – 161 dis­cov­ered the idea of the Maid­ens of Par­adise” — which were sup­posed to com­pen­sate for the earth­ly chasti­ty and absti­nence of the Chris­t­ian monks — in the hymns of the fourth cen­tu­ry Syr­i­ac Church Father St. Ephraim (spellings vary), enti­tled : Hymns on Par­adise”.

St. Ephraim, in explic­it sex­u­al con­no­ta­tion, evoked the wel­com­ing fem­i­nin­i­ty of the heav­en­ly vines” (“gup­na”, gram­mat­i­cal­ly fem­i­nine in Syr­i­ac), which were to take to their immac­u­late bosoms the aged monks, whose life of absti­nence had nev­er known the earth­ly loves and tenderness.

Thus we read in the stro­phy 18 :

    Who­ev­er has abstained from wine on earth,
    for him do the vines of Par­adise yearn.
    Each one of them holds out to them a bunch of grapes.
    And if a man had lived in chasti­ty, they [fem­i­nine] receive him
    in a pure bosom,
    because he as a monk did not fall into the bosom
    and bed of earth­ly love.

Here we clear­ly see St. Ephraim’s fee­ble attempts to spir­i­tu­al­ize his sen­su­al imagery.

Just a lit­tle ear­li­er in the text (in stro­phy 15) we find a soli­tary vir­gin, absti­nent in her earth­ly lives, being sur­round­ed by male beings (prophets, angels, apos­tles) in the heavens :

    The vir­gin who rejected
    the mar­riage crown that fades
    now has the radi­ant mar­riage chamber
    that cher­ish­es the chil­dren of light,
    shin­ing out because she rejected
    the works of darkness-
    To her who was alone
    in a lone­ly house
    the wed­ding feast now grants tranquility :
    here angels rejoice,
    prophets delight,
    and apos­tles add splendor.

The intend­ed sex­u­al­i­ty and the reward, of a sex­u­al nature, in the heav­ens for the right­eous of the world, are clear in these pas­sages. Hence it is proved that the con­cept of Maid­ens of Par­adise” was also known in the pre-Islam­ic Ara­bia, espe­cial­ly among the Chris­tians. The Qur’an, as is its style under nor­mal cir­cum­stances, used the same words for the deliv­er­ance of its mes­sage, which were gen­er­al­ly in vogue in the envi­ron­ment that it addressed. Since the idea of the Here­after formed the cor­ner­stone of the ear­ly Mec­can preach­ing of the Qur’an there­fore, to effec­tive­ly make it preach­ing get across its addressees, it employed the same known word hur” to describe the excel­lence of the reward for the right­eous in the known Chris­t­ian manner.

This is fur­ther con­firmed by the fact that it is only in the Mec­can (and espe­cial­ly the chrono­log­i­cal­ly ear­ly Mec­can) Qur’an­ic pas­sages in which the term hur al-ayn” is used in sen­su­al con­no­ta­tion. In the rel­e­vant Med­i­nan Qur’an­ic pas­sagesi.e., 2:25 ; 3:15 ; 4:57, we only find per­fect­ed counterparts/​spouses (i.e., for both the right­eous men and women).

This should be a slap in the face of the polemic mis­sion­ary pro­pa­gan­da. And only Allah knows best.Endmark

Cite this arti­cle as : Asif Iqbal, “Vir­gins of Par­adise” in Chris­tian­i­ty,” in Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma, Octo­ber 16, 2005, last accessed April 17, 2024, https://​bis​mikaal​lahu​ma​.org/​b​i​b​l​e​/​v​i​r​g​i​n​s​-​o​f​-​p​a​r​a​d​i​s​e​-​i​n​-​c​h​r​i​s​t​i​a​n​i​ty/

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5 responses to “Vir­gins of Par­adise” in Christianity”

  1. Syed Avatar
    Syed

    Robins, you are miss­ing the point, the point is there is noth­ing wrong with get­ting such things in par­adise. The thing is many use dou­ble stan­dards when claim­ing that such a things is perverted

  2. Emmanuel Avatar
    Emmanuel

    Ali, you real­ly missed the point of that parable.The para­ble refers to the End of Days.

  3. dav Avatar
    dav

    Ali,Very sor­ry to read your com­ment. Won­der if you under­stand what u postedd.

  4. Ali Avatar
    Ali

    Note to ROBINS :

    You are the sic one say­ing that the notion of com­pan­ions in Heav­en are cor­rupt­ed not Islam and from the arti­cle not even Chris­tian­i­ty con­demns the notion!!!

    If it is bad to have the plea­sure of women in par­adise then why do you enjoy the plea­sure of your wife if it is some­thing evil ?

    Lets sup­pose for the sake of argu­ment your per­ver­sion has a point :
    If hav­ing beau­ti­ful wives in heav­en is some­thing bad then why did your God cre­ate beau­ti­ful women on earth ?
    If to have sex in heav­en is some­thing bad then why do you have sex in the first place ?
    If sex in heav­en is some­thing bad then why did your God invent sex ?
    Why do you have sex with your wife and in your case girl­friends if its so vile and despicable ?

    I won­der what kind of per­vert­ed stan­dards do you adhere to if you find both Islam­ic and Chris­t­ian views of heav­en­ly com­pan­ion­ship as cor­rupt­ed… next time pro­vide ref­er­ences instead of writ­ing your own per­vert­ed trans­la­tions and asso­ci­at­ing it with Mus­lim Scholars.

    Out of inter­est you might wan­na check this out in your bible :

    Matthew 25

    The Para­ble of the Ten Virgins

    1. At that time the king­dom of heav­en will be like ten vir­gins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
    2. Five of them were fool­ish and five were wise.
    3. The fool­ish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.
    4. The wise, how­ev­er, took oil in jars along with their lamps.
    5. The bride­groom was a long time in com­ing, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
    6. At mid­night the cry rang out : Here’s the bride­groom ! Come out to meet him!’
    7. Then all the vir­gins woke up and trimmed their lamps.
    8. The fool­ish ones said to the wise, Give us some of your oil ; our lamps are going out.’
    9. ” No,’ they replied, there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
    10. But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bride­groom arrived. The vir­gins who were ready went in with him to the wed­ding ban­quet. And the door was shut.
    11. Lat­er the oth­ers also came. Sir ! Sir!’ they said. Open the door for us!’
    12. But he replied, I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
    13. There­fore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

    Para­ble of the virgins…5 women alone in a room with a guy.…

    Besides it is in Chris­t­ian cir­cles that angels are depict­ed as semi naked women with wings … hmmm won­der why ?

  5. ROBINS Avatar
    ROBINS

    The whole point of this post is that Ppl shoulkd­n’t con­demn the Mus­lims sim­ply because the Quran says that “…dark eyed damsels awaits all Mus­lims in the here after”(even Mus­lim schol­ars like Al-Suyu­ti ““Each time we sleep with a houri we find her vir­gin. Besides, the penis of the Elect­ed nev­er soft­ens. The erec­tion is eter­nal ; the sen­sa­tion that you feel each time you make love is utter­ly deli­cious and out of this world and were you to expe­ri­ence it in this world you would faint. Each cho­sen one [ie Mus­lim] will mar­ry sev­en­ty [sic] houris, besides the women he mar­ried on earth, and all will have appetis­ing vaginas.”)
    because the sim­i­lar promis­es are made by them as well. This is just the same way of telling that you are doing the same so don’t crit­cize us”. But the prob­lem is Mus­lims always boast that oth­er reli­gions are cor­rupt­ed. If your reli­gion is not cor­rupt­ed then why does it also have cor­rupt ele­ments of oth­er religions ?

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