Islam is a monotheistic religion founded by Muhammad, who is considered to be the last prophet of God. One aspect of Islam that is not much discussed is the concept of houris. Houris are beautiful virgin women who reside perpetually in paradise. Perhaps the nearest equivalent to them is the angels in Christianity and the apsara in Hindu thought. Apsara’s are beautiful supernatural beings who are adept in dancing.In Islam the houris are perpetual virgins and the epitome of beauty. Islam says that houris are a reward to a true believer for following the injunctions and practices of Allah.
The concept of Houris is one of biggest motivating factor for Muslims. True followers of Islam believe that if they have been faithful to their faith and believed in Allah then they will be rewarded with perpetual virgins for their pleasure after death in heaven.
The Houri’s in Quran
The Koran mentions about the Houris at a number of places. The stress is on female houris as all the characteristics mentioned are feminine. Various scholars have defined Houris as women who are pure virgins who stand and await the arrival of the true believers as a reward for a lifetime of devotion to God. The Koran refers to Houris as ‘spotless virgins’ and ‘eternal beautiful and pure wives”
Significance of the Houris for Muslims
For Muslims the concept of Houris has a special significance. They believe that a true believer who has lived his life as a good Muslim will be rewarded on his death with a number of young boys and 72 beautiful virgins. The Koran does not mention the number of virgins but the Hadiths specify the number as 72.
These virgins are termed ‘eternal virgins’ as they have the god given quality of regenerating their hymens. They will give endless pleasures to the man and believer.
Various Islamic sources describe many characteristics of these Houris. The Quran promises men voluptuous virgins. Many characteristics of the virgins have been described in various Islamic sources. They are supposed to be voluptuous and full breasted. Some Islamic scholars have described the Houris as having ‘large, round breasts’ which are not inclined to hang. They have wide and beautifully eyes and are hairless, except for the eyebrows and head.
The concept of 72 virgins is also used to entice young Muslims into carrying out ‘Martyrdom operations’ and terrorist acts with the promise of 72 virgins in paradise. In one case young Muslim teenage boys from Britain, were told to train with AK-47 rifles and promised 72 virgins in paradise if they died as religious martyr
The Quran Chapters 52 to 56 refer to Houris. (Refer: The Quran 55:56; 55:58; 78:33; 56:12; 52:16-17, 24; 56:35-38; 52:20)
The belief in Houris is strong in Islam. It is one of the beliefs that is unquestionable and sacrosanct.