After I had finished laughing at the desperately fabricated concept of the 72 virgins and the bigoted men who illustriously invented the idea for their own sexual satisfactions, there was a feeling of sorrow and heartbreak for such a beautiful thing to be twisted and corrupted and made revoltingly obscene. And there is also rage–as when patriarchy makes its claim it does not only destroy what is beautiful, but it does so by stealing it in an attempt to greedily misuse its power.
Men have no shame.
In Heaven, there are beings. Despite man’s assertions that these beings are “virgins” for him, to be owned by him, to be used by him–imagine that! it’s worse than Voldemort killing innocent, pure unicorns!–the Qur’an uses a different word:
In Arabic the word is houri, derived from hur, which means bright-eyed. An adjective, neither male nor female. When the word takes the plural the ending confirms that it is a gender neutral noun–either both masculine or feminine, or neither. And God, over and over, emphasizes that these are the companions of both men and women:
Thus shall it be. And We shall espouse them with companions pure, most beautiful of eye. (Qur’an 44:54)
The verb used to express espouse, or pair or match, has a root subject–referring to one of a pair–of gender neutrality. The one is both masculine and feminine, clearly stating that both men and women who enter Heaven are promised companions–definitely not just men, and not just martyrs.
In these [gardens] will be mates of faithful gaze, whom neither human nor invisible being will have touched ere then. (Qur’an 55:56)
(Again, mates is gender neutral.) The idea of virginity comes from this verse, because apparently no one has touched them… but naturally men have taken this to a whole new level: supposedly if you end up having sex with one, and then return again, you’ll find that she (because she is she to them) is a virgin once more.
This is where I usually say something like reading comprehension/world understanding fail!, but seriously, at this point it’s obviously just someone’s wet dream taken to a “scholarly” level.
Most translators also translate the term faithful gaze as modest gaze, undoubtedly to reinforce the idea of virginity. But it is unsuited in the context. I am translating it as faithful gaze, and I would be as radical as to say that most times, when the Qur’an is translated to say modest, it should really be translated to say faithful. Modest can be as deep as faithful, but thanks to how its been abused the connotation has changed to a drastically shallow existence. Faithfulness is a promise of friendship, a declaration of loyalty, a commitment of trust, a proclamation of love–the love for God, the love for friends, and the love for lovers.
It is boundless depth, and it is most suited for this verse because of the exact words used in Arabic. The Arabic words used here [qasirat at-tarf] refer to not a modest gaze but a restrained one–i.e. I only have eyes for you. The word faithful is more suitable a translation than modest. So if it fits so perfectly, why isn’t it used? Because men.
I’m using it. It’s correct, and modest is wrong.
And this may be extended to other verses. I only have eyes for God–no doubt men will find a way to corrupt it eventually and replace God with themselves. Until then. We will always have the original.
So that’s where they derived the idea that these beings are virgins. Because analysis and translations have been so shallow, when men think of virginity they think of sex–even though the Qur’an emphasizes a purity of heart.
And [in that paradise] We shall mate them with companions pure, most beautiful of eye (Qur’an 52:20)
Not pure as in virgins, pure as in pure!
The word for virgin is rooted in the same word for pure–but we don’t have a noun form of it in English, or if we did–if you consider virgin the noun form–it’s usually used with a much shallower connotation.
The shallow way this verse is interpreted isn’t entirely shallow; men have interpreted that other ways these beings are pure is that they don’t urinate or menstruate or give birth or sweat or do other things us disgusting earthly women do. Yup. That’s about as deep as it gets. (These assumptions are all baseless, if you didn’t guess already.)
So what are they, the hour’in? From these verses, they don’t seem human. And many conclude that they aren’t quite human. After all, if they were, they would be here on Earth with us. (Could there be reasons certain humans are excused of living this life first?) However, there is also a suggestion that they are us: the companions are what we will be to each other once we’ve died.
And with them will be their spouses, raised high: for, behold, We shall have brought them into being in a life renewed, having resurrected them as virgins.(Qur’an 56:34-36)
Resurrected in Heaven. Through this interpretation the beauty described in text is the accumulation of good deeds taking an outside, visible form of beauty in correct portions that ideally express the pure heart within.
And what could be more Heavenly than friendship? It’s one thing to promise, you’ll have everything of that you ask! and another to say there will be pure, unconditional love. Love in its truest form, unrestrained and uncontrolled and limitless. There will be friends who understand you, who are loyal to you in the highest degree of nobility, with whom you may laugh and with whom you may love and with whom you may express and enjoy pristine happiness.
Science has defined life for us with a list of conditions, including to change and to adapt and the ability to die. But there is also another.
And it is wanting and pursuing that drives us to live. And when we have all we want, perhaps we’ve then died. And what does any of us want, really, other than love? We purchase things like large houses and fancy cars because we think I’ll impress people and they’ll like me. But we don’t always realize this, and instead we think we want the material, and so we charge after it continuously–but really we are seeking that affection.
I don’t think I need to go over what men have turned this into: after trying to change the text so that the hour’in are only female–female beings who don’t urinate or menstruate or sweat and who obey their husbands–for centuries they’ve used the concept as a weapon against their wives and earthly women. They’ve fabricated hadith that say treat your husband right because he’ll have better women after you–God says so. They’ve asserted even more strongly that women are filthy (hour’in don’t menstruate!) and can do no right. Nice try, douchebags. Oh, and 72 is a weird number.