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Salamun Alaikum (Peace be upon you


!opyright " #$$% &oseph A 'slam: Article last modified #(th &anuary #$)*

+uite e,travagant and graphic portrayals of female virgins are found in 'slamic secondary sources. -emale virgins reserved specifically for men in heaven constitute one such e,ample.


The term ./ur0 is one of the most abused and graphically portrayed concepts in 'slamic secondary sources. 'ts restricted interpretation to denote female virgins finds no support in the +uran1 or for its male2centric bias. The Arabic word 3H"#3 is the plural of both the word $Ah%a#$ (4asculine and $Ha%#a$ (-eminine . 't literally translates as 5white2eyed51 or persons distinguished by 3/awar31 signifying the intense whiteness of the white of an eye and intense black of the pupils. 6enerally1 it has the significance of .whiteness01 .purity01 or .pure beings0. 't is not .gender specific0 for a male audience as it is more commonly known. A better and correct rendering is .companions pure0.

Source: 7dward 8anes 8e,icon &'(

Source: 7dward 8anes 8e,icon &)(

Therefore : Ha-Wa%-Ra (/a2Alif29a is: The white around the eye1 intense whiteness of the white of the eye and intense blackness of the black: not found in humans but attributed to them by way of comparison. ;r it is applied to one bearing the following significations: one who is freed and cleared of every vice1 fault or defect1 one who has been tried and proved time after time and found to be free of vices1 faults or defects. A thing pure. ;ne who advises<counsels or acts sincerely<honestly<faithfully1 friend<assistant1 fair woman<man. :likened to the eyes of ga=elles *++,*-+ >7ven so (it will be . And ?e shall wed them to fair ones with wide1 lovely eyes (Arabic: /ur3in @

'llustration 2 &oseph 'slam

*--,.* -.) >'n them will be fair (!ompanions 1 good1 beautifulA2 Then which of the favours of your 8ord will ye denyB2 /ompa01o0s restrained (as to their glances 1 in (goodly pavilions@

'llustration 2 &oseph 'slam

The root /a2?aw29a has also been used in other parts of the +uran.


The definition denotes one who whitens clothes<garments by washing them or is applied as a signification of one who is free from vice1 faults or defects proven time after time. Again1 the underlying significance of p"#e and 4lea0 is apparent, This is supported by further analysis of e,amples from early &ewish sects at the time of Prophet &esus such as the 7ssenes1 who1 adopted the use of white clothing and were referred to as the .brethren in white clothing0. This was possibly as a mark of their insistence on purity.

5The white garment given to the novice accords well with &osephus3 previous statement in &. ?. # C)#D that the 7ssenes were always dressed in white (Eote )(F 5 &5( A fuller discussion of the 7ssenes within the ambit of academic literature and history1 including further evidence found from the Gead Sea scrolls1 is outside the scope of this particular article. /owever1 readers are encouraged to research this interesting area of study.

Source: 7dward 8anes 8e,icon &+(

Source: 7dward 8anes 8e,icon &-(

Please note that a true rendering of ./awariyun0 (9;;T /2?29 as .white garbed ones0 is often #emo6e7 from translations and replaced by .Gisciples0 **58*-) ?hen &esus found Hnbelief on their part /e said: 5?ho will be 4y helpers to (the work of 6odB5 Said the disciples 9A#a2148 Ha%a#1:"0a3: 5?e are 6od3s helpers: ?e believe in 6od1 and do bear witness that we are 4uslims.

'llustration 2 &oseph 'slam


The out of conte,t references to these verses is unfortunately abused by both 4uslims and polemics of the +uran. 9ead in conte,t and carefully analysed1 one notes that there is 0o reference to .H"#s0 in these verses and the complete purport of the message is a reference to all of the companions of the #1;h< ha071 both male and =emale (Those that will inherit the kingdom of heaven (IJ.#F .

These verses inform the reader1 that the people of the right hand will be recreated as a new creation (IJ.DI as virgins untouched (IJ.DJ and of similar age (IJ.DF . All this is for the people of the right hand (IJ.DF . 8et us note the verses in conte,t. *->,*).-5+ ?The !ompanions of the 9ight /and12 what will be the !ompanions of the 9ight /andB (They will be among 8ote2trees without thorns. Among tall trees with flowers (or fruits piled one above another. 'n shade long2e,tended1 Ky water flowing constantly1 And fruit in abundance. ?hose season is not limited1 nor (supply forbidden1 And on Thrones (of Gignity 1 raised high@ *->,*5.8o@ ?e have created <hem a (Eew !reation @ There is no support from the verse for the often mistranslations that this is referring to the virgin wives of the believing men. The verse is clear that it is dealing with the companions of the right hand and it is them that are being recreated as a new creation. I00a 9I07ee7 %e@ Lo3 I0sha0ah"00a 9We ha6e p#o7"4e7 <hem3 I0shaa 9I0<o a 4#ea<1o03 *->,*5> >And we have made them virgins 9A#a2148 A2Aa#a0 - Roo< BCR3@ KL9 2 A virgin 2 anything untouched1 new1 fresh. *->,*5. Gevoted 9A#a2148 !#"2a03 7qual in age < well matched 9A#a2148 A<#a2a03 *->,*5D -or the companions on the right hand 9A#a2148 Asha2-"l-amee03 The verse continues to inform us that these righteous people of the .9ight /and0 will be from the company of a former people (2o<h men and women and from a company of later generations (Again both men and women . *->,*5E A company of the former people 9A#a2148 Th"la<h"0 m10a A%alee03 *->,*+* And a company of the later people 9A#a2148 Wa Th"la<h"0 m10al AAh1#ee03


?e have clearly noted that the term ./ur0 is for all companions of paradise and remains genderless. Therefore1 the best rendering of this term is .pure companions0. This further underscores the doctrine that all rewards of paradise are eF"all: for both men and women. **E8*.) 56od has promised the believers1 both men and women 9L1<,G %aalm"m10oo0a 9male 2el1e6e#s3 %aalm"m10a<" 9=emale 2el1e6e#s31 gardens through which running waters flow1 therein to abide1 and goodly dwellings in gardens of perpetual bliss: but 6od3s goodly acceptance is the greatest Mbliss of allN 2for this1 this is the triumph supremeO5


Yes ?e do indeed find a reference which is an allusion to represent a .female0 entity. *.D,*55 >And youthful women (Lawaiba of equal age (well matched @ Gespite the popular understanding of the word .Lawaiba0 as a reference to youthful women1 it should also to be noted that the root P .L2AQE2KA0 has an underlying connotation of prominence1 splendour1 something which is physically prominent1 of nobility1 glory or anything elevated. 't is also a reference to a square chamber or building. ?hat will come as a surprise to many is that the same root is used in the word .LAKA/0 in the 4asRid /aram1 the /oly sanctuary. /ence1 some commentators continue to render .Lawaib0 as .splendid companions0 or .companions0. /owever1 given the general usage and feminine plural noun of the word1 there is support that this may be a reference to a female entity. Eevertheless1 this does not imply therefore1 that ./urs0 are to be interpreted as females. There is 0o H"s<1=14a<1o0 to make use of one verse to interpret the remaining genderless ./urs0 as females which are clearly similitudes for all companions of /eaven irrespective of gender. This point is often completely missed. As we note1 there is also a reference to male companions e,plicitly to balance the argument.

*.>,*'E >There wait on them youthful boys1 whom1 when you see1 you would take for scattered pearls@

IA07 %1ll 41#4"la<e (?aQa Tufo amo0; <hem (Alayhim :o"0; males (?ildanun ma7e e<e#0al (4ukhalladuna %he0 ('dha :o" see <hem (9a2aytahum :o" %o"l7 <h10A (/asib2tahum pea#ls (8u0lu2an s4a<<e#e7 (4anthuran J As is now clear1 there is 0o Rustification to interpret ./urs0 to be females based on verse F(.DD as there is to interpret ./urs0 to be males based on the verse above (FJ.)% . *'>8*E. 5As for anyone 2 be it man or woman &A#a2148 L1<,G m10 9=#om3 <haAa#10 9male3 a% 9o#3 o0<ha 9=emale3( who does righteous deeds1 and is a believer 2 him shall ?e most certainly cause to live a good life1 and most certainly shall ?e grant unto such as these their reward in accordance with the best that they ever did5


All similitudes are for all companions of heaven. There is no neuter gender in Arabic. 36ender3 is a function of language convention and not necessarily 3physiology3. -or e,ample1 the feminine 3shams3 in Arabic (sun or the masculine 3qamar3 (moon is merely a function of language convention as understood by the Arabs where such genders are assigned. Similarly1 the +uran presents similitudes of a world that is as yet1 unknown to humans. Therefore1 references to a creation such as $H"#$ are arguably not best understood in terms of earthly concepts of gender1 physical attributes etc1 especially when the +uran is e,plicit that we will be formed into a new creation (IJ:DI2DF in a spiritual world that is only presented to us in similitudes. /ence1 $H"#$1 a plural formation of both a male (Ahwar and female (/awra counterpart is best rendered as $p"#e 4ompa01o0s$ even though in the Arabic language convention1 it is assigned a female gender. The ./ouri0 are mentioned in several places in the +uran and though in plural1 0o specific numbers are allocated. They are available to all 4uslims (regardless of gender . Amongst other verses1 both verses F(.DD and FJ.)% also balance the argument further1 underscoring the notion that +uranic similitudes are for all companions. There are no verses in the +uran which describe the graphic details found in 'slamic secondary sources. The +uran furnishes no information as to what the nature of these relationships will entail other than companionship of some kind. These entities will be pure and undefiled much like the righteous who also will be recreated as a new creation. There are also references in which the righteous will be Roined with their righteous counterparts on earth (*$.(A I#.#) .

*-),*)' >And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in faith1 ?e will Roin their offspring with them and ?e will not deprive them anything of their deeds: 7ach individual is a pledge for that which they have earned@

&'( LANE, E,WG E7%a#7 La0es LeK14o0G W1ll1ams a07 No#;a<e 'D>5L L12#a1#1e 7" L12a0 Be1#"<-Le2a0o0 'E>DG Vol"me )G Pa;e >>> /ighlights marked in red on the le,icon e,cerpt are my own insertions. They have no bearing on the original te,t other than they emphasise relevance to the topic at hand. These are merely illustrations and have solely been utilised for educational and e,planatory purposes. &)( I217, &5( BEALL, To77 S,G Joseph"s$ Des4#1p<1o0 o= <he Esse0es Ill"s<#a<e7 2: <he Dea7 Sea S4#ollsG /am2#17;e !016e#s1<: P#essG F1#s< P"2l1she7 'EDD Page )II1 Eote )(F 9eads: 5See discussion above1 p. *J (# C)#D . &. Ganielou3s statement that 5the practice of dressing the newly bapti=ed in a white robe inevitably recalls the description in &osephus of the white garments worn by those who were newly admitted to the 7ssenian community5 (The Gead Sea Scrolls and Primitive !hristianity MKaltimore: /elicon1 )%I(N1 *# ignores the fact that according to &osephus all 7ssenes wore white1 not simply the novices5 &+( LANE, E,WG E7%a#7 La0es LeK14o0G W1ll1ams a07 No#;a<e 'D>5L L12#a1#1e 7" L12a0 Be1#"<-Le2a0o0 'E>DG Vol"me )G Pa;e >>/ighlights marked in red on the le,icon e,cerpt are my own insertions. They have no bearing on the original te,t other than they emphasise relevance to the topic at hand. These are merely illustrations and have solely been utilised for educational and e,planatory purposes. &-( I217,G Pa;e >>>

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