- Religion and Philosophy
Islam, Paradise and Virgins
Concept of 72 Virgins in Paradise for the True Believer
Islam is the second great religion in terms of followers in the world, yet I am not sure that people have really understood what Islam says. Islam recognizes that the Koran is the word of God. I accept this belief in the Koran as the word of God and Mohammed as his chosen prophet. Having accepted this belief, it stands to reason that what ever is written in the Koran is true and inviolable.
One of the beliefs in Islam as spelt out in the Koran is the belief in virgins as a reward to the faithful after they die. The Koran clearly states in section 52-56 that those Muslims who have spent a lifetime in service to Islam and lived their life as per the teachings of the Prophet will go to paradise, where at the gates the man will receive virgins as a reward for a life time of service to Allah.There is no mention of any reward for women believers.
The concept of virgins is the bed rock of Islam. This is agreed by all and they are supposed to impart sensual pleasures. Muslim theologians like Ghazali (died 111AD) and Al- Ashan (died 945 AD) have similarly concluded that the purpose of the Houris is to provide sensual pleasures. Many later writers have tried to give a philosophical interpretation, but the theme of sensual pleasures is recurrent.
The number of Virgins that a man will get in paradise is not defined in the Koran. This is however elucidated and amplified in the Hadiths. The Hadiths as a source of Islamic thought are of equal importance as they contain the words of Mohammed as overheard by his followers. The Hadiths were compiled about 200 years after the death of Mohammed.
The Hadiths clearly specify that 72 virgins will be the just reward to a true believer who has lived his life as per the injunctions of the Koran . Further amplification as to the physical characteristics is given by the Hadith of Shah Imam Bukhari. He states that the celestial Houris are pure virgins who have never cohabited with any man. He specifically mentions that they have never been even touched by any other man or Jinn. The Hadith of Al Tirmidhi in the Book of Sunnah (chapter 21) is the source of the figure of 72 virgins in the chapter Features of Paradise. Women convicts in Islam who are virgins are repeatedly raped by their captors, to prevent them going to heaven as virgins go to paradise.
The Hadiths add to what the Koran says. They also mention that the virgins sweat will smell of musk and they use combs made of gold. They will dwell with the true believer in a large palace of immense proportion. Al –Suyati another famous Quranic commenter in 1505 AD. has indicated that the main purpose of these celestial virgins is to satisfy the man. He also goes on to state each time a Hourie has sex with the man, she will again regrow her hymen. The man will have an eternal erection .