Houris in Heaven: Are They Slaves and Prisoners?
Name of Questioner: Cecil
Date: 21-11-2019 11:45:55 PM
Consultant: Ask About Islam Editorial Team
I was just wondering what does 55:72 mean by houris restrained? The verse makes it sound like they're forced in the pavilions like slaves or prisoners as if they are not allowed to leave the pavilion. But I know it can't mean that. I don't know what it means. Can it mean restrained as to there glances? Meaning that they are pure, modest, respectful, and dignified? Does it mean this?
Thank you for your question.
Answering your question, Dr. Mohsen Haredy, PhD in Islamic Studies and Former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, states:
The verse you are referring to reads:
Houris reserved in pavilions. (Ar-Rahman 55:72)
From a linguistic view, houris mean beautiful, fair women or heavenly wives.
The issue of houris is always raised to cast doubts about Islam and how it is unfair to women when it comes to the number of houris that men are promised compared to what women will get in the Hereafter.
This is not the space to refute this misconception as houris are not the only reward in the Hereafter.
About the rewards for the believers and the punishments for the disbelievers, we read in the Quran what means:
And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you should be truthful. But if you do not – and you will never be able to – then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.
And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, “This is what we were provided with before.” And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally. (Al-Baqarah 2:23-25)
I will quote some verses from the Quran that refer to the houris and their description.
Allah says what gives the meaning of:
Indeed, the righteous will be in a secure place; within gardens and springs, Wearing [garments of] fine silk and brocade, facing each other. Thus. And We will marry them to Houris with large, [beautiful] eyes. (Ad-Dukhan 44:51-54)
And with them will be women limiting [their] glances, with large, [beautiful] eyes, As if they were [delicate] eggs, well-protected. (As-Saffat 37:48-49)
But those who believe and do righteous deeds – We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide forever. For them therein are purified spouses, and We will admit them to deepening shade. (An-Nisaa’ 4:57)
The meaning of the verse you referred to in your questions is as follows:
These houris as “reserved in pavilions” i.e. staying at their husbands’ houses in Paradise and so they neither get out nor are they seen by any people other than their husbands.
Muhammad Asad translates this verse as follows:
[There the blessed will live with their] companions pure and modest, in pavilions [splendid].
Therefore, there is no notion of being slaves or prisoners.
In another verse we read what means:
And [for them are] fair women with large, [beautiful] eyes. (Al-Waqi`ah 56:22)
We hope this answers your question.
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