"Virgins of Paradise" in Christianity

Published on: Sunday 16 Oct, 2005

By: administrator
Asif Iqbal

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:

houri1 "Virgins of Paradise" in Christianity1

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

houri2 "Virgins of Paradise" in Christianity2

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

houri3 "Virgins of Paradise" in Christianity3

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 Grimme4, and later the famous Swedish Islamic scholar and a competent master of Syriac, Tor Andrae5 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 passages6, 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.

  1. The Diwan of ‘Abid ibn Al-Abras of Banid, vol vii, 24; ed., Sir Charles Lyall [back]
  2. ‘Adi bin Zaid; See F. Sezgin, G.A.S., bd. ii, S. 321-22, Leiden 1975 [back]
  3. Qa’nab, Mukhtarat, viii, 7 [back]
  4. Hubert Grimme, Mohammed, M?, i. W., Aschendorff, 1892-5, bd., ii, S. 160-61, n. 9 [back]
  5. Tor Andrae, Les origines de l’Islam et le Christianisme, Paris: A. M., 1955, pp. 151-161 [back]
  6. i.e., 2:25; 3:15; 4:57 [back]

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Category: Bible ,Polemical Rebuttals


  1. ROBINS says:

    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?

  2. Ali says:

    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?

  3. dav says:

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

  4. Emmanuel says:

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

  5. Syed says:

    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