Does the Koran really promise Islamic martyrs 72 virgins? Beginning with the September 11th suicide/homicide bombers who destroyed themselves and thousands of others, there has been talk that the murderers of so many expected their reward to be 72 virgins in paradise. Is this a true interpretation of the Muslim faith? Is there any Koranic basis for believing that those who kill and die for the faith will be gifted by Allah with three score and twelve comely virgins?
The difficulty in determining what the Koran has to say about virgins or anything else is establishing what the Koran says, period. Translations vary widely. In a Web-based version of Islam's holy book (www.unn.ac.uk/societies/islamic/index.htm) there is: "Verily, for the Muttaqun [righteous], there will be a success (paradise); gardens and grapeyards; and young full-breasted (mature) maidens of equal age; and a full cup (of wine)" (An-Naba 78:31-34). Other translations replace "full-breasted maidens" with less volumptuous words such as "companions." The Arabic word at issue is WakawaAAiba, which appears nowhere else in the Koran. The French usually translate that word as des belles aux seins arrondis, which is literally "beautiful women with round breasts".
The actual number of virgins allotted to the faithful, seventy-two, is found nowhere in the Koran. For this promise Muslims must read the Hadith, traditional sayings traced to Muhammad. Hadith number 2,562, known as the Sunan al-Tirmidhi reads, "The least [reward] for the people of Heaven is 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome of pearls, aquamarine and ruby."
It is anyone's guess as to what the holy Prophet of Islam had on his mind when he made such promises to his followers. Was he only appealing to any normal man's eternal quest? I will take the 80,000 servants perhaps, if that is what they really are. That is servants who are paid well and treated with respect. However, if "servants" in the Hadith, translates in reality to "enslaved persons", then that Heaven or Paradise where lives the holy Allah does not sound appealing to me. And why would I want 72 wives, anyway? Or 72 concubines, as that is what they likely are. Oh, I forget. Allah was speaking only to men. Women I suppose, receive the glory of being one of the 72 virgins.
There are words to describe followers of any religion who would take innocent human life to satisfy their own lusts for virgins, heavenly or earthly, and the words are "murderous sexual perverts". That is the same phrase that is already applied to persons who commit the same horrific deeds, but not in the name of Allah, to satisfy their sexual perversions on earth.
Linked at Mudville Gazette.