What is the correct Islamic concept of houris (hoor al-ayn)?


    A lady from Germany wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa regarding the mention of the hur in the Holy Quran. She said that non-Ahmadi Muslims interpret the hur incorrectly. She asked for the actual meaning of the hur mentioned in the Holy Quran.

    Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 20 December 2021, provided the following reply to her question:

    “The descriptions of the blessings of Paradise are all conveyed in the Holy Quran and the Prophetic traditions [ahadith] through figurative language, which draws comparisons to worldly objects only in order to facilitate our comprehension. Allah the Exalted states:

    مَثَلُ الۡجَنَّةِ الَّتِيۡ وُعِدَ الۡمُتَّقُوۡنَ

    “‘The similitude of the Heaven promised to the God-fearing is […].’ (Surah ar-Ra‘d, Ch. 13: V. 36)

    “Allah the Exalted further states:

    فَلَا تَعۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ مَّاۤ اُخۡفِيَ لَہُمۡ مِّنۡ قُرَّةِ اَعۡيُنٍ ۚ جَزَآءًۢ بِمَا کَانُوۡا يَعۡمَلُوۡنَ

    “‘And no soul knows what joy of the eyes is kept hidden for them, as a reward for their good works.’ (Surah as-Sajdah, Ch. 32: V. 18)

    “Likewise, the Holy Prophetsa stated:

    يَقُولُ اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى أَعْدَدْتُ لِعِبَادِي الصَّالِحِينَ مَا لَا عَيْنٌ رَأَتْ وَلَا أُذُنٌ سَمِعَتْ وَلَا خَطَرَ عَلَى قَلْبِ بَشَرٍ ذُخْرًامِنْ بَلْهِ مَا أُطْلِعْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ

    “‘Allah the Exalted states, ‘I have prepared for My righteous servants such things as no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard of, and nobody has ever thought of. All that is reserved, besides which, all that you have seen, is nothing.’’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab at-tafsir)

    The Promised Messiahas stated the following in this regard:

    “God has described the good things of Paradise in the guise of things that were cherished by the Arabs so that their hearts would be drawn towards it. In reality, those things are of a different nature and not things of this world. But it was necessary to describe them in this way so that the hearts may be drawn towards them.” (Appendix to Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya V, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 21, p. 424)

    “Explaining the above-mentioned verse of Surah As-Sajdah [32:18], the Promised Messiahas stated:

    “That is, no virtuous one knows what bliss is kept hidden from him, as a reward for that which he used to do. Thus, God has described all those bounties as hidden, the like of which is not to be found in this world. It is obvious that the bounties of this world are not hidden from us and we are familiar with milk, pomegranates and grapes etc. which we eat here. This shows that the bounties of the next life are something else and have nothing in common with the bounties of this life, except the name. He who conceives of the conditions of paradise in the terms of the conditions of this life has not the least understanding of the Holy Quran.” (Islami Usul Ki Falasfi, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 10, pp. 397-398)

    “Explaining the wisdom behind keeping these blessings hidden, the Promised Messiahas stated:

    “‘Concealment, as an act of Allah, carries an inherent greatness. God’s act of concealing is like what is articulated in the following about Paradise:

    فَلَا تَعۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ مَّاۤ اُخۡفِيَ لَہُمۡ مِّنۡ قُرَّةِ اَعۡيُنٍ

    “‘(‘And no soul knows what joy of the eyes is kept hidden for them.’)

    “‘In fact, there is an honour in the act of concealing itself, akin to the presentation of food under a covering cloth. That too is a sign of respect.’ (Al-Badr, Issue 11, Vol. 1, 9 January 1903, p. 86)

    “The concept of the hur in Paradise is a figurative one and is mentioned in the Holy Quran on four occasions. The first two references (in Surah ad-Dukhan and Surah at-Tur) promise that the dwellers of Paradise will be consorted with fair maidens with wide, black eyes. The remaining two references (in Surah ar-Rahman and Surah al-Waqi‘ah) describe the exquisite attributes of the hur – they will be in well-guarded pavilions like pearls and corals, i.e., they will be adorned with qualities of modesty and shyness, as well as goodness, purity, beauty, and excellence of character.

    “Thus, the Holy Quran proved that the term ‘hur’ actually refers to pure and virtuous spouses who will be wedded to the believing men and women in Paradise as a reward. As for the specific qualities and characteristics of these spouses, only Allah knows best. It is only after entering Paradise that one will know for certain.

    “As far as the commentary of the Quran on this issue is concerned, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra explained the verse from Surah al-Baqarah that states, وَ لَہُمۡ فِیۡہَاۤ اَزۡوَاجٌ مُّطَہَّرَۃٌ, as referring to the pure companions, i.e., wives or husbands, that believing men or women will be blessed with in Paradise. They will assist each other in their spiritual progress. Therefore, if a husband and wife wish to stay together in the hereafter, then the husband should also look after the piety of his wife along with his own righteousness, and the wife should also look after the piety of her husband along with her own righteousness. Both should strive to make each other virtuous so that neither spouse ends up in Hell while the other is in Paradise. (Abridged from Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 1, p. 252)

    “Hazrat Khalifa-tul-Masih IIIrh has also interpreted the following verse from Surah Ad-Dukhan:

    وَ زَوَّجۡنٰہُمۡ بِحُوۡرٍ عِيۡنٍ

    “He explained the verse to mean, that the spouses of the believers will be transformed into hur and bound together in the bond of matrimony. In the subsequent verse, he states, it is mentioned that their children will also be gathered with them in Paradise. The reason why wives are not mentioned in the second verse is that they have already been referred to in the first verse, i.e. ‘وَ زَوَّجۡنٰہُمۡ بِحُوۡرٍ عِيۡنٍ’.

    “The Holy Prophetsa told an elderly woman that no elderly woman would enter Paradise. She began to cry and asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, where will I go then?’ He replied, ‘I did not say that you will not enter Paradise. Rather, no elderly woman will enter Paradise as an elderly person. You will enter Paradise as a young person.’ Thus, when an old woman will enter Paradise, she will be transformed into a young woman, and an ‘unattractive’ woman into an ‘attractive’ woman. Similarly, a woman who was disabled or disfigured in this world will have a healthy body and perfect features in Paradise. Hence, when it is said that ‘وَ زَوَّجۡنٰہُمۡ بِحُوۡرٍ عِيۡنٍ’, i.e., the companions of Paradise will be wed to ‘hur’, it does not mean elderly women, as they left them behind in the world. Rather, those women who enter Paradise will be hurin ‘inin i.e. young, beautiful, and righteous, regardless of whether they were elderly or young in this world. In any case, the word ‘hur’in this context refers to a spouse-like companion. (Abridged from Friday sermon, 19 February 1982; Khutbat-e-Nasir, Vol. 9, pp. 386-387)”

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