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Did Muhammad Permit Wife-Beating?

Did Muhammad Permit Wife-Beating?

Wife beating

If Prophet Muhammad had really permitted wife-beating, we would have found out that the Muslim countries record the highest domestic violence rates in the world

It is widely circulated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) permitted wife beating and Islam in general encourages violence against women. Some people go farther claiming that Islam has a violent nature not only when it comes to women but also in all respects.

However, the following are statistics which are sufficient as practical evidence that it is the wives of those criticizing Islam who experience intense suffering and need Islam to alleviate such suffering.To tell the truth, criticism should be directed to the critics of Islam when talking about domestic violence. This is what the following statistics say not me. The following is a section of a report about the United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign to End Violence against Women “UNiTE”. We notice from the following title that this section deals with violence against women by intimate partners, including, of course, husbands.

Violence by an Intimate Partner

• In Australia, Canada, and Israel 40 to 70 per cent of female murder victims were killed by their partners, according to the World Health Organization. • In the United States, one-third of women murdered each year are killed by intimate partners. • In South Africa, a woman is killed every six hours by an intimate partner. • In India, 22 women were killed each day in dowry-related murders in 2007. • In Guatemala, two women are murdered, on average, each day.

We observe that when reviewing any international statistics about domestic violence against women prepared by such an unquestionably neutral, credible organization, like the UN, including the above statistics, we do not come across any Muslim state which follows Prophet Muhammad who allegedly permits wife-beating. We remark that the countries where domestic violence rates are the highest ever worldwide are non-Muslim countries. If Prophet Muhammad had really permitted wife-beating, we would have found out that the Muslim countries record the highest domestic violence rates in the world. The relevant UN reports per se serve as evidence that Prophet Muhammad did not permit wife-beating and that Islam does not encourage violence against women. Before discussing the Islamic attitude towards wife-beating, let’s first have a look at the biblical attitude to have a full picture of what the divine messages really say in this regard.

The Biblical Attitude

The Bible delineated the marriage relationship by calling the husband ba`al which implies both ownership as well as lordship (Ex. 21:28). The woman is property, whose ownership is transferred to the husband upon marriage. In the case of a divorce, the husband renounces his right to his (sexual) use of the property. If the husband’s property is damaged, compensation is paid to him. He is not only the owner of his wife, he is also the owner of her pregnancy (Ex. 21:22). All of this may have contributed to an attitude that there was nothing wrong with physically abusing women. Immodest behavior deemed worthy of punishment includes “going out with uncovered head, spinning wool with uncovered arms in the street, conversing with every man.” The list of women deemed worthy of being divorced without receiving their ketubbah, (“divorce compensation”), includes the following case as well: “Abba Saul said: Also that of a wife who curses her husband’s parents in his presence [and in his children’s presence]. R. Tarfon said: also one who screams. And who is regarded a screamer? A woman whose voice can be heard by her neighbors when she speaks inside her house” (B. Ketubbot 72a). Although beating is not allowed or even suggested in the case of the screamer, the woman who curses is in later texts repeatedly used as an example where beating is seen as a justified means to an end. A bad wife is one who does not perform the duties required of her by Jewish law, who behaves immodestly, or who curses her parents, husband, or in-laws. Rabbis regularly advise men to restrict their wives to the home and be responsible for educating them. Thus the husband, who “owns” his wife, is given a great amount of latitude in educating her. In this view it is permissible and acceptable to beat one’s wife in order to keep her in line. The rabbis who justify beating see it is a part of the overall “duties” of a husband to chastise his wife for educational purposes. In Babylon, during the post-Talmudic Geonic period, Zemah ben Paltoi, Gaon of Pumbedita (872–890), “calls upon a man to flog his wife if she is guilty of assault.” Rabbi Yehudai b. Nahman (Yehudai Gaon, 757–761) writes that: “…when her husband enters the house, she must rise and cannot sit down until he sits, and she should never raise her voice against her husband. Even if he hits her she has to remain silent, because that is how chaste women behave” (Ozar ha-Ge’onim, Ketubbot 169–170).

The Islamic Attitude

Prophet Muhammad said: “Let none of you lash his wife in the same way as he lashes a slave and then come to sleep with her at the end of the day.” (Al-Bukhari) Prophet Muhammad was such a gentleman who was so kind, polite, and friendly. He disliked violence and the use of force in General. It is narrated on the authority of ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said: “The Messenger of Allah never beat a servant nor a woman (of his wives).” (Declared authentic by Al-Albani) Prophet Muhammad used to urge husbands to give their wives kind treatment. For example, he said: “The one who is the most perfect in faith among the believers is he who has the best moral character among them; and the best among you are those who are the best of you (in treatment) to their wives.” (At-Tirmizi and authenticated by Al-Albani)

He also said: “No believing man should hate a believing woman (his wife): if he dislikes one characteristic of her, of a surety, he would be pleased with another.” (Muslim) Prophet Muhammad wished that all Muslims are given good treatment. However, to err is human. This important fact is duly taken into consideration. Each human being has a sort of deviation which needs to be corrected. Islam has designed a disciplinary system where believers correct one another according to rank and the authority wielded. The ruler is given the right to correct the errors of his subjects. There is a mechanism thereby the errors of the ruler himself are corrected. Each unit of the Muslim community has a head, who is entitled to correct the errors of his unit members. There is also a mechanism thereby this very head has his very errors corrected. Family may be the smallest unit of any given society. Its natural head is the father and, at the same time, the husband. He is spontaneously authorized to discipline the members of the unit he heads. Hence, the husband has an instinctive right to reform his wife and children. Islam does not allow a husband to wrong his wife, but if she does something wrong, her husband is entitled to educate and discipline her. Under Islam, the wife disciplinary scheme is multi-tiered, graded, and progressive. Such a disciplinary scheme takes into account the human nature and the steps by which it is more likely to be disciplined. Such steps are prescribed by the Qur’an. Allah says:

Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], hit them (gently). But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things]. (An-Nisaa’ 4:34-35)

The above verses prescribe the measures to be taken to tame a rebellious wife. Such measures are ordered by effectiveness. According to the above verses, the first measure is an oral one, which is represented in admonition, advice and warning. The second measure is an emotional one as represented in turning one’s back to one’s wife in the same bed or sleeping in another bed. The third measure is a physical one where a wife is physically disciplined by such a light hitting which is not intended to harm her but to let her feel escalation and to pressurize her into changing mind and taking heed. If all of those measures do not help, the last and final measure is having arbitrators sent by each side. If such arbitrators manage to agree on a positive result, the marriage will be allowed to continue. If they fail to reach a settlement, then marriage can be terminated peacefully.

Considering such measures, they are, I think, quite reasonable, practical and effective. As a matter of fact, successful discipline is initiated by an oral action which is, failing that, followed by an emotional action which is, failing that, concluded by a physical action. If all such actions do not work, separation can then take place to put an end to an unsuccessful marriage. Such a disciplinary scheme was dictated by the human nature. Islam had to adopt it for it is a practical way of life which should bear the human nature of its followers in mind. Prophet Muhammad did not like such hitting, albeit symbolic and light, given that he himself did not have recourse to it. Prophet Muhammad initially forbade any form of physical discipline of women, but this was unviable.

Reality imposed itself on Islam. There are some women who cannot be disciplined except by hitting. There are certain environments, contexts and milieus where physical discipline is the most effective method of correction. Islam has to deal with such atmospheres. The ignorance of the nature of the environment and the insistence on the adoption of utopian ideals are more likely to spoil rather than reform societies. Prophet Muhammad’s prohibition of beating wives is historically established. `Abdullah ibn Abi Dhubab reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Do not beat the female slaves of Allah.” Then `Umar came to the Prophet and said, “The women have become bold towards their husbands,” and so he made an allowance to hit them. Then many women surrounded the family of the Messenger of Allah to complain about their husbands. The Messenger of Allah then said, “The household of Muhammad has been surrounded by many women who were complaining about their husbands. Those men are not among the best of you.”

From this time on, Prophet Muhammad permitted hitting (rather than beating) women. There is a big difference between hitting and beating. Islam permits hitting which is just a physical expression of disapproval which is not intended for causing injury, wound or any form of harm, unlike beating, battering or similar synonyms which stand for the intention to cause harm deliberately as a sort of revenge or retaliation. Describing the method of hitting permitted by Islam, Ataa remarked that it is light hitting by a Siwak (a tooth stick which used to be used as a toothbrush). However, Prophet Muhammad did not prescribe a certain method of hitting because he himself did not hit anybody before as a form of discipline outside battles. Nevertheless, Prophet Muhammad used to stress that the hitting permitted by Islam is a light one.

For example, he once said: “Fear Allah regarding your wives, for you have taken them by Allah’s covenant and were allowed to sexually enjoy with them by Allah’s Words. You have a right from them that they do not allow anyone you dislike to sit on your mat. If they do that, then hit them gently. They have the right to be spent on and to be clothed according to what is reasonable.” In reply to a question about the wife’s right, he also said: “To feed her whenever you feed yourself, to dress her whenever you dress yourself, and not to slap the face, nor to ascribe her to ugliness (i.e. to say ‘may Allah deface you’), nor to leave the house in case you are to forsake her.” (Abu Dawud and authenticated by Al-Albani)

Finally, it is ironical that the critics of Prophet Muhammad blame him for something they are heavily engaged therein. It is sarcastic enough that they blame him for permitting light hitting of wives, while they harshly batter their wives as established by the statistics provided above.

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References:

1- The Glorious Qur’an (Sahih International Translation)

2- Sahih Al-Bukhari

3- The Holy Bible (Visit biblegateway.com)

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Watch also: Wife Beating

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Hijab (Veil) between the Bible and the Qur’an

Hijab (Veil) between the Bible and the Qur’an

Hijab between the Bible and the Qur'an

Hijab was made incumbent by all divine messages, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam

As a matter of fact, the desire for woman as a female is one of the desires which man naturally craves for a divine rationale, which is the perpetuation of mankind and their preservation from extinction. There must be some impulse which man cannot resist so that he will live with woman and beget offspring from her. God has rendered the desire for women one of the most burning desires alluring men. In the Qur’an, God says:

Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return. (Aal `Imran 3:14)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “I have not left after me any temptation to men which is stronger than women.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Indeed, such sexual desire is something which is indicative of God’s mercy towards His servants. Were it not for it, a husband would not have shouldered any responsibility for his wife and would not have endured hardships to provide for her as well as her children. In the Qur’an, God says:

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Since the desire for women is something which men cannot resist easily, God has imposed strict regulations in His successive divine messages to make sure that such a desire will play its legitimate role in the human life and will not be got out of the lawful context in which it was essentially placed, given the fact that the satisfaction of such a desire outside its legitimate framework has considerable disadvantages and enormous damage threatening man’s happiness as they ruin his life and lose him the Hereafter.

One of such strict regulations is the imposition of hijab on women. That is to say, women are commanded to conceal their attractive parts whose charm cannot be resisted by men and only allowed to expose such outer parts of the body which do not cause much temptation and have such humanly reasonable adornment which is quite far away from such finery which involves deliberate display of woman’s beauty and intentional arousal of men’s desires.

In this sense, hijab was made incumbent in all divine messages, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. No wonder, the female believers in any of the divine messages used to wear hijab.

Hijab in Judaism

Here is the Old Testament telling us that women used to wear the hijab (or the veil) and praising those decent women. In the Old Testament, we read the following verses: “Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, ‘Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?’ ‘He is my master,’ the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.” (Genesis 24:64-65)

In the Old Testament, we also read: “Take millstones and grind flour; take off your veil. Lift up your skirts” (Isaiah 47:2), “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves.” (Song of Songs 4:1), “Now Susanna was exceeding delicate, and beautiful to behold. But those wicked men commanded that her face should be uncovered, (for she was covered,) that so at least they might be satisfied with her beauty.” (Daniel 13:31-32)

Hijab in Christianity

This is the New Testament commanding women to wear hijab (or the veil) and warning them against unveiling and uncovering themselves. In the New Testament, we read: “But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.” (1 Corinthians 11:5-6)

The New Testament also commands women to dress modestly and be characterized by decency and propriety and prohibits them from finery and from uncovering or unveiling themselves. We read: “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” (1 Timothy 2:9)

Hijab in Islam

Being the final divine message, Islam has not introduced novel teachings. Rather, the teachings of Islam came as an extension of the previous divine messages. Therefore, Islam also commands women to be modest and decent and avoid finery and unveiling or uncovering themselves. In the Qur’an, we read:

And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed. (An-Nur 24:31)

We also read:

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification. (Al-Ahzab 33:33)

The Qur’an accounts for the command to wear hijab, indicating that it is intended for protecting women from any potential harm to which they may be vulnerable if men happen to perceive their beauty and finery. We read:

O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (Al-Ahzab 33:59)

Prophet Muhammad confirmed women’s obligation to wear the hijab. He said: “O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this.” He pointed to his face and hands. (Abu Dawud)

The obligation to wear hijab is more stressed upon offering prayers. Prophet Muhammad said: “The prayers of a woman who has reached the age of menstruation is not accepted without a khimar (veil).” (Recorded by the five compilers except Al-Nasa’i)

Finally, the obligation of the hijab is better proven by the fact that devout, godly and pious women believing in all divine messages wear it, be they religious Jewish women, Christian nuns or strict Muslim women.

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References:

1- The Glorious Qur’an (Sahih International Translation)

2- Sahih Al-Bukhari

3- Sahih Muslim

4- Sunan Abu Dawud

5- The Holy Bible (Visit biblegateway.com)

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Read Also:

Your Illustrated Guide to Hijab in the Modern Western History

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Houris (Heavenly Wives) in Paradise

Houris (Heavenly Wives) in Paradise

Houris (Heavenly Wives)

There are more Houris in the Bible than in the Qur’an

Houris” (linguistically, beautiful white women) or heavenly wives are often used for attacking and ridiculing Islam and Muslims by focusing on calculating their number per man and criticizing Islam on the pretext that it is unjust towards women for not giving them equal otherworldly treatment.

In fact, Islam is the most balanced and moderate faith especially in terms of the otherworldly reward for men and women.

Clear and Just Otherworldly Reward

Islam is deemed the clearest and fairest faith when handling the Last Day in general and Heaven and Hell in particular.

Reward and Heaven are clearly promised for faith and good deeds, whereas punishment and Hell are clearly cited as intimidation for disbelief and evil deeds in the Qur’an and the Sunnah (prophetic tradition). For example, in the Qur’an, we read:

And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you should be truthful. But if you do not – and you will never be able to – then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers. And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, “This is what we were provided with before.” And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally. (Al-Baqarah 2:23-25)

The Qur’an and the Sunnah often reflect absolute justice in terms of the otherworldly reward among all human beings, either between Prophet Muhammad’s community and the other communities or between male believers and female believers etc.

About justice between Prophet Muhammad’s community and the communities of the other prophets, we read in the Qur’an:

Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve. (Al-Baqarah 2:62)

About justice between male believers and female believers, we read in the Qur’an:

And their Lord responded to them, “Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed – I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah , and Allah has with Him the best reward.” (Aal `Imran 3:195)

As I once stated, we do not find such clear and just requital in the other Abrahamic religions, especially Judaism and Christianity.

Do Houris Constitute Everything in Heaven for Men?

While the otherworldly reward has various forms and manifestations in Islam, we, unfortunately, observe that some Islamophobes disregard all of those forms and manifestations and concentrate only on the Houris in an attempt to defame Islam and Muslims.

In fact, the forms of otherworldly reward as varied and infinite as man’s desires, be they physical or moral.

The more man restrains oneself, keeps patient and curbs one’s desires to avoid indulgence and illicit enjoyment, the more rewards God promises this one in Paradise. For example, we read:

Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while Allah has not yet made evident those of you who fight in His cause and made evident those who are steadfast? (Aal `Imran 3:142)

We also read:

And those who are patient, seeking the countenance of their Lord, and establish prayer and spend from what We have provided for them secretly and publicly and prevent evil with good – those will have the good consequence of [this] home – Gardens of perpetual residence; they will enter them with whoever were righteous among their fathers, their spouses and their descendants. And the angels will enter upon them from every gate, [saying], “Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home.” (Ar-Ra`d 13:24-26)

While the believers are commanded to restrain their desires for, for example, food, sex and the like in this worldly life, they are promised full satisfaction in the otherworldly life. For example, we read:

And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, “This is what we were provided with before.” And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally. (Al-Baqarah 2:25)

We also read:

Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return. Say, “Shall I inform you of [something] better than that? For those who fear Allah will be gardens in the presence of their Lord beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally, and purified spouses and approval from Allah. And Allah is Seeing of [His] servants (Aal `Imran 3:14-15)

As I have just indicated, there are no limits or bounds for the otherworldly reward in Paradise, including food, drink, Houris, rivers and the like. About that, we read in the Qur’an:

Whoever does an evil deed will not be recompensed except by the like thereof; but whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – those will enter Paradise, being given provision therein without account. (Ghafir 40:40)

The last verse above indicates that the forms of otherworldly reward are infinite for both men and women on an equal footing. But, what about the satisfaction of the sexual desire for men and women in Paradise?

Are There Houris in the Bible as Well?

Before dealing with Houris as a form of the otherworldly reward in Islam, we have to discuss whether or not there are Houris or, in other words, heavenly wives for men in the Hereafter according to the Bible.

As a matter of fact, Houris or heavenly wives do not sound strange to or absent from the Bible, either the Old Testament or the New Testament. They are rather an integral part of Judaism and Christianity as well as their Scriptures. However, they are not as clear in Islam as in Judaism and Christianity.

As for Judaism, the New Testament tells us that before Jesus’ prophetic mission Jews had known that men will have wives in Paradise. Therefore, they asked Jesus as follows:

“Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.” (Luke 20:28-33)

As for Christianity, the New Testament quotes Jesus as promising his followers not only one but a hundred wives in the Hereafter. In the New Testament, we read: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29) – (New International Version)

Houris in Islam

Before elaborating on Houris in Islam, as a refutation of any suspicion of adultery, the Qur’an tells us that God prepared for male believers “purified spouses” i.e. wives rather than concubines or girlfriends. For example, we read:

But those who believe and do righteous deeds – We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide forever. For them therein are purified spouses, and We will admit them to deepening shade. (An-Nisaa’ 4:57)

The Qur’an describes those spouses in more than one position as “limiting their glances” i.e. gazing only at their husbands only. In the Qur’an, we read:

And with them will be women limiting [their] glances, with large, [beautiful] eyes (As-Saffat 48:37)

The above spouses are also described as “reserved in pavilions” i.e. staying at their husbands’ houses in Paradise and so they neither get out nor are they seen by any people other than their husbands. In the Qur’an, we read:

Houris reserved in pavilions (Ar-Rahman 72:55)

About those Houris, we also read in the Qur’an:

Indeed, the righteous will be in a secure place; within gardens and springs, Wearing [garments of] fine silk and brocade, facing each other. Thus. And We will marry them to Houris with large, [beautiful] eyes. (Ad-Dukhan 44:51-54)

Do Women have Male Houris in Paradise?

In Paradise, married female believers will be wives of their believing husbands in this worldly life. About that, we read in the Qur’an:

Our Lord, and admit them to gardens of perpetual residence which You have promised them and whoever was righteous among their fathers, their spouses and their offspring. Indeed, it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (Ghafir 40:8)

If a female believer was married to several husbands in this world, she will be the wife of the last of them in Paradise. It is reported that Grand Companion Hudhayfah said to his wife: “If you wish to be my wife in Paradise, do not get married after me for a woman in Paradise will be the wife of the last of her husbands in this world. That is why God forbade the Prophet’s wives to marry after him for they will be his wives in Paradise.” (Sunan Al-Bayhaqi)

However, there is no explicit text in the Qur’an or the Sunnah about such a female believer who dies unmarried or was married to a man who will not enter Paradise. Nevertheless, some scholars argue that God will make any such woman a wife of a believing man in Paradise.

They offer as evidence the following hadith (prophetic statement). Abu Huraira reported that Abul-Qasim (Prophet Muhammad) said: “The (members) of the first group to get into Paradise would have their faces as bright as full moon during the night, and the next to this group would have their faces as bright as the shining stars in the sky, and every person would have two wives and the marrow of their shanks would glimmer beneath the flesh and there would be none without a spouse in Paradise.” (Muslim)

Yet, it is safe to say that what matters to man, male or female, is just to enter Paradise. If man does, God will ensure eternal bliss for him/her therein, and so one will have complete satisfaction of one’s desires and even more. About that, we read in the Qur’an:

But those who feared their Lord will have gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein, as accommodation from Allah. And that which is with Allah is best for the righteous. (Aal `Imran 3:198)

We also read:

And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer – those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, [even as much as] the speck on a date seed. (An-Nisaa’ 4:124)

It is worth noting that one’s worldly needs in the Hereafter differ from the otherworldly ones. In Paradise, the worldly norms will be replaced by otherworldly ones and then one, man or woman, will be satisfied with one’s lot of heavenly bliss. About that, we read in the Qur’an:

And We remove whatever rancor may be in their hearts. Rivers flow beneath them. And they say: The praise to Allah, Who hath guided us to this. We could not truly have been led aright if Allah had not guided us. Verily the messengers of our Lord did bring the Truth. And it is cried unto them: This is the Garden. Ye inherit it for what ye used to do. (Al-A`raf 7:43)

It must be borne in mind that there are varied gardens or grades of Paradise and the otherworldly reward itself differs from the worldly one and assumes various forms. Some people may have exclusive reward in Paradise to the exclusion of others.

This does not mean that those other people will be wronged or done an injustice. Nonetheless, everybody in Paradise will have one’s own reward and bliss which one deserves along with or to the exclusion of others for otherworldly reward differs from one person to another.

For example, the highest garden which is the highest of the grades of Paradise is dedicated to some people to exclusion of others. Anas Ibn Malik reported that Umm Ar-Rubay`i bint Al-Bara’, who was the mother of Harithah bin Suraqah, came to the Prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah! Will you not tell me about Harithah? (He was killed in the battle of Badr). If he is in Paradise I shall show endurance, but if he has met another fate, I may exert myself in weeping for him.” He replied, “O mother of Harithah, in the gardens of Heaven there are many ranks, and your son has attained Al-Firdaus, the highest of gardens.” (Al- Bukhari).

Likewise, there is a river, namely Kauthar, in Paradise which is exclusively dedicated to Prophet Muhammad. Anas bin Malik reported that the Prophet said: “While I was walking in Paradise (on the night of Mi`raj), I saw a river, on the two banks of which there were tents made of hollow pearls. I asked, “What is this, O Gabriel?’ He said, ‘That is the Kauthar which your Lord has given to you.’ Behold! Its scent or its mud was sharp smelling musk!” (Al-Bukhari)

Similarly, there is a gate called “Ar-Rayyan” in Paradise through which only fasting believers will enter. Grand Companion Sahl reported that the Prophet said: “There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe Saum (fast) will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said: ‘Where are those who used to observe Saum (fast)?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.” (Al-Bukhari)

The above hadiths serve as evidence that Paradise has various grades and reward there is also varied. Therefore, one, man or woman, should make sure that if one enters Paradise will have more than a sufficient lot of bliss, regardless of the form of such bliss one will get.

Number of Houris per Man in Paradise

Unlike the New Testament which promises one hundred women per man, the Qur’an does not specify the number of Houris per man. It rather promises believers Houris in Paradise without specification. About that, we read in the Qur’an:

And with them will be women limiting [their] glances, with large, [beautiful] eyes, As if they were [delicate] eggs, well-protected. (As-Saffat 37:48-49)

As for the Sunnah, the most authentic hadiths indicate that a male believer will have only two wives in Paradise. “The (members) of the first group to get into Paradise would have their faces as bright as full moon during the night, and the next to this group would have their faces as bright as the shining stars in the sky, and every person would have two wives and the marrow of their shanks would glimmer beneath the flesh and there would be none without a spouse in Paradise.” (Muslim)

However, there are less authentic hadiths indicating that some male believers, specifically martyrs, will have a bigger number of Houris (about seventy two) as great reward and special honor.

Al-Miqdam bin Ma`dikarib reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “The martyr has six things (in store) with Allah: He is forgiven from the first drop of his blood that is shed; he is shown his place in Paradise; he is spared the torment of the grave; he is kept safe from the Great Fright; he is adorned with a garment of faith; he is married to (wives) from among the wide-eyed Houris; and he is permitted to intercede for seventy of his relatives.” (At-Tirmidhi)

To conclude, the lucky servants of God who will enter Paradise will have ultimate bliss and find all things they desired in this worldly life as promised by God.

Man cannot and even should not try to calculate the otherworldly reward and heavenly bliss unless there is evidence from the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah in this regard.

It is better for man to busy oneself with the concerns how to be admitted to Paradise and survive Hell. Whenever man is admitted to Paradise and survive Hell, one will be lucky and successful.

Man should realize that Paradise is an abode of infinite bliss and the Creator Who created him and will admit him to Paradise is better aware of the fair, individual bliss one deserves.

About that, we read in the Qur’an:

We were your allies in the worldly life and in the Hereafter. And you will have therein whatever your souls desire, and you will have therein whatever you request (Fussilat 31:41)

We also read:

(Ye) who believed Our revelations and were self-surrendered, Enter the Garden, ye and your wives, to be made glad. Therein are brought round for them trays of gold and goblets, and therein is all that souls desire and eyes find sweet. And ye are immortal therein. (Az-Zukhruf 43:69-71)

Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “Allah has said: ‘I have prepared for my righteous slaves what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and the mind of no man has conceived.’ If you wish, recite: ‘No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.”‘ (As-Sajdah 32:17) (Al-Bukhari)

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References:

  1. The Glorious Qur’an
  2. Sahih Al-Bukhari
  3. Sahih Muslim
  4. Sunan At-Tirmidhi
  5. Sunan Ibn Majah
  6. Sunan Al-Bayhaqi
  7. The Holy Bible
  8. St-Takla.org

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Read Also:

Last Day’s Portents, Descriptions and Judgment according to Jews, Christians and Muslims

Heaven (Paradise) and Hell according to Jews, Christians and Muslims

Will Christians Go to Hell?

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