07 Jul Do Men get “Houris” in Heaven? What about Women?
Do Men get “Houris” in Heaven? What about Women?
Assalamu alaykum. I’m a sorta new Muslim and I had a question about heavenly maidens. I’d heard that when men get to jannah they get “hourines” (I’m sorry if I’m misspelling that) but my question is, if jannah is every thing we’ve ever wanted, what if men don’t want these hourines? Do they have to get them anyway? And, what if women want something similar to hourines? Would women be allowed to have multiple husbands in jannah?
Wa alykum as-salaam,
I think the issue of Heaven (Jannah) is something that is beyond our perception as human beings.
When discussing the passages of The Qur’an that describe what Heaven will be like, my father asked me what I read. I told him, in which I essentially just summarized (because I’m stupid). He responded (I’m paraphrasing, of course, he is much more articulate than I):
What do we see of value here? We see what a Bedouin Arab would find to be the ultimate in paradise. These were the things that were the most desirable, the most rare, and they were then put forth to the Bedouin Arabs to give some semblance of a description of paradise. However, even within this framework we still get reminded that this Heaven will not be governed by the rules and frameworks of this world, and that the descriptions are that of another world, beyond the human conception.
When you read about Heaven, it becomes clear that this description is many times metaphorical, which is a process that The Qur’an acknowledges that is used in its text (see 3:7-9) and thus, we must readjust how literal we take description of a world that will be beyond our human conception.
As far as the word used to describe these “virgins,” “maidens,” etc it is hur, and for some reason it is described as some sort of virginal woman, and frankly, that might be what it will be, or it might be “grapes” as others have argued (which I am actually quite skeptical about) but, regardless of what it means, the reality is that when The Qur’an wants to be very explicit about something, it is, and when something is more vague, I generally believe this underlines a metaphorical or a meaning that goes beyond our human conception. In this instance, as it involves the description of heaven, I am inclined to believe that hur is one of those terms.
Just to be thorough, let us explore the plural noun hur, which is actually a plural noun that is bothmasculine and feminine.
The word hur is actually the plural of the word ahwar (masculine) and hawra (feminine) which in either sense describes a “person distinguished by hawar,” which is to denote a sort of purity, by being a descriptor of the extreme “whiteness” of their eyes, which is to describe the purity of their morality since, according to Razi, “a person’s eye reflects his soul more clearly than any other part of the human body.”
Regardless of whether Razi, Tabari, or Asad are correct in their deductions of what hur means, the reality is that the word is one that is the plural form of both male and female forms, and thus, you can decide what you want to make out of that. Perhaps you can disagree with me, and that’s fine, because ultimately, I don’t think it matters what hur means, because it simply is up to the reader to determine that.
Now, there is a good reason why I am apathetic towards the description of the particulars of Heaven in The Qur’an, because I believe that this oft-forgotten phrase in The Qur’an is what underlines what Heaven truly is:
“(60) We have [indeed] decreed that death shall be [ever-present] among you: but there is nothing to prevent Us (61) from changing the nature of your existence and bringing you into being [anew] in a manner [as yet] unknown to you.” [56:60-61] Muhammad Asad
It is because of this passage from The Qur’an that I am inclined to believe that Heaven will be something beyond my conception of what true Paradise could actually be. It will be a state which I do not understand, a state which will be beyond any of our understanding, and thus beyond the politics of whether a man or a woman wants a hur or not, whether they want gardens, or whatever.
I don’t think we will be concerned with multiple spouses, because these are concerns of our humanity, and our physical bodies, constructed by our society which dictates how to understand our appetites.
I’m not sure if that answered your question or not, but I apologize if it did not. The simple answer is that I do not think Heaven functions within those parameters that you outlined, and I do not think it is particularly useful to be concerned with that, because it is clear within The Qur’an that what will come will be beyond our wildest imagination.
Insha Allah, I pray that we all earn the privilege to be within The Grace of our Creator, our Sustainer, The Almighty, through our sincere belief and our righteous deeds.
Insha Allah, if you, or anyone else, has a question on this, or any other topic, please do not hesitate to ask me.