Houris, Heavenly Maidens In Islam

September 2005 version

Muslim men who die as martyrs (fighting in battle or other deaths) are promised 72 (or sometimes 73) beautiful, black-eyed perpetual virgins as wives in heaven. - And they have their regular wives on earth still tagging along too. This short page is simply a brief description of what the hadiths say about these heavenly virgins, called "houris".

In them will be fair (Maidens), good, beautiful;-
... Maidens restrained (as to their glances), in (goodly) pavilions;-
... Whom no man or Jinn before them has touched;-
Sura 55:70,72,74

According to Ibn Kathir (died 1373 CE ) in his Koranic commentary (Tafsir) of Surah Al-Rahman (55), verse 72:

"The Prophet Muhammad was heard saying: 'The smallest reward for the people of paradise is an abode where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby, as wide as the distance from Al-Jabiyyah [a Damascus suburb] to Sana'a [Yemen]'."

--- In heaven believers will have wives called "houris". ---

Bukhari vol.4:544 p.343: "Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, 'The first group of people who will enter Paradise, ... Their wives will be houris. All of them [Muslim men] will look alike and will resemble their father Adam (in stature), sixty cubits tall."

--- Houris do not want wives to annoy their husbands, since the houris will also be the spouses [i.e. wives] of the husbands in the afterlife. ---"Mu'adh b. Jobal (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, 'A woman does not annoy her husband but his spouse from amongst the maidens with wide eyes intensely white and deeply black will say: Do not annoy him, may Allah ruin you." He is with you as a passing guest. Very soon, he will part with you and come to us.'" Ibn-i-Majah vol.3:2014 p.212

According to some Shi'ites (not Sunnis), Fatima became a houri of Heaven. All the Muslims in Heaven will have as many houris as wives as they wish, except that 'Ali would have no other wife than Fatima. Some see a similarity between the veneration of Fatima and the Roman Catholic veneration of the virgin Mary. Fatima was been called "the mother of her father" by 12'er Shi'ites, (Encyclopedia of Islam vol.2 p.845-846),

Beautiful Women in Heaven

Houris have intensely black irises and intense whiteness of their eyes. They are very beautiful. Bukhari vol.4 chapter 6 p.41 and vol.4:53 p.42.

Bukhari vol.4:468-469 p.307-308 speaks of a group of believers who will have two wives; "the marrow of the bones of the wives' legs will be seen through the flesh out of excessive beauty." (vol.4:468). "...and everyone of them shall have two wives, each of whom will be so beautiful, pure and transparent that the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the flesh." (vol.4:469)

Mention of the hope of maidens of paradise after martyrdom. "Yet, by God, I feel happy for what we shall soon meet, for, by God, if all there is between us and the maidens of Paradise (ah-hur al-'ayn) is that these people should come against us with their swords, then I want them to come against us with their swords." al-Tabari vol.19 p.121

This proves that references to these in the Qur'an are "heavenly maidens", not "white raisins" as some from Germany have speculated.

Women in Hell

"Narrated 'Imran bin Husain : The Prophet said, 'I looked at Paradise and found poor people forming the majority of its inhabitants; and I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women.'" Bukhari vol.4:464 p.305. This is the entire hadith, and there is no reason given.

Does this command relate to the following words of the Prophet in the Bukhari vol.2:161; vol.1:301, and quoting from vol.1:28; "The Prophet said, 'I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women.'" (Most were ungrateful to their husbands.)

Most Hell-dwellers are women. Bukhari vol.2:161 p.92

Most hell-dwellers are women. They are ungrateful and unthankful to their husbands. Most heaven-dwellers are poor. Bukhari vol.7:125,126 p.96

Mainly poor in heaven and women in Hell. Bukhari vol.8:456 p.306 vol.8:554-555 p.362-363

The bulk of hell-dwellers are women. Sahih Muslim vol.1:143,147 p.47-48; Sahih Muslim vol.4:6596-6600 p.1431

Most women in Hell ungrateful to their husbands Sahih Muslim vol.2:1926 p.417

Most of the women will be in Hell. They had abundant curses and were ungrateful to their husbands. They are deficient in reason due to two women's testimony counting the same as one man. They are deficient in religion due to having to leave off prayer during menstruation. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5:4003 p.320

Women Restrained

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Qais Al-Ash'ari: The Prophet said, 'A tent (in Paradise) is like a hollow pearl which is thirty miles in height and on every corner of the tent the believer will have a family that cannot be seen by the others.' [Narrated Abu 'Imran in another narration. '(The tent is) sixty miles (in height).'" Bukhari vol.4:466 p.306

--- Note that this is not just houris who are in a spot, this is a family, which implies a wife and children.

"The statement of Allah, Beautiful fair females restrained [i.e. chained] in pavilions. Narrated Qaisi, Allah's Apostle said, 'In Paradise there is a pavilion made of a single hollow pearl sixty miles wide, in each corner there are wives who will not see those in the other corners; and the believers will visit and enjoy them.'" Bukhari vol.6:402 and prior p.374

Thus, I see no evidence (except translators' hopeful glosses) that restrained merely means to be free from human flaws, etc. Since women being restrained is in multiple places, can you show me one place where men are restrained in heaven? If the women are free from human flaws, why aren't the men too?

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