Sunday, November 13, 2011

Removing the Doubts: Hoor: Their Correct Gender

بسم الله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله، وبعد

This treatise has been divided into five categories in order to expound on the subject:

A. The importance of following the texts (the Book of Allaah and the Ahaadeeth of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم) in the matters of the unseen.

B. Who was the first one to raise the issue that Hoor are males and females?

C. The actual gender of the Hoor mention in the Qur’aan and the Ahaadeeth and the sayings of the Salaf (the pious predecessors).

D. The question asked to Shaikh al-`Uthaymeen رحمه الله.

E. The question of Umm Salamah رضي الله عنها to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

A. The importance of following the texts in the matters of the unseen:

Verily, the affair of interpreting the Qur’aan and the Sunnah according to one’s opinion is a very serious thing and it should not be taken lightly. We have been warned by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to beware from such practices.

There is a narration that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is supposed to have said: “If anyone interprets the Book of Allaah in the light of his opinion even if he is right, he has erred.” [Sunan Abu Dawood (3652) and Tirmidhee (2952) and it has been graded as “Dha`eef” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]

After mentioning the above Hadeeth Imaam Tirmidhee رحمه الله said: “This is how it was reported on the authority of some of the scholars from amongst the Companions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and other than them that they were very strict about this (issue) of interpreting the Qur’aan without knowledge.”

Even though this Hadeeth is “Dha`eef”,  its meaning is correct; because if left unchecked, it will give the opportunity to the people to interpret the Qur’aan according to their own opinion. Even if we were to discard this Hadeeth because of its weakness, we still have other narrations which still prohibit speaking about religion with one’s own opinion and understanding.

Narrated `Aaishah رضي الله عنها: Allaah's Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم recited the Verse: {It is He who has sent down to you the Book. In it are Verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundation of the Book, others not entirely clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the Truth), follow thereof that is not entirely clear seeking affliction and searching for its hidden meanings; but no one knows its hidden meanings but Allaah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in it (i.e. in the Qur'an) the whole of it (i.e. its clear and unclear Verses) are from our Lord. And none receive admonition except men of understanding.} [Surah aal-`Imraan (3):7] Then Allaah's Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “If you see those who follow thereof that is not entirely clear, then they are those whom Allaah has named [as having deviation (from the Truth). So beware of them.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (4547) and Saheeh Muslim (4823)]

Masruq reported that there came to `Abdullaah (Ibn Mas`ood) رضي الله عنه a person and said: I have left behind in the Masjid a man who explains the Qur’aan according to his own opinion and he explained this verse: {So wait for the day when the Heaven brings a clear smoke.} He says that a smoke would come to the people on the Day of Resurrection and it will withhold their breath and they would be inflicted with cold. `Abdullaah said: “He who has knowledge should say something and he who has no knowledge should simply say: ‘Allaah knows best.’ This reflects the understanding of a person that he should say about that which he does not know that it is Allaah who knows best.” [Saheeh Muslim (5012)]

Narrated `Alee ibn AbuTaalib رضي الله عنه: “If the religion were based on opinion, it would be more important to wipe the under part of the shoe than the upper, but I have seen the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم wiping over the upper part of his shoes.” [Sunan Abu Dawood (162, 164) and graded as “Saheeh” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]

Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq رضي الله عنه said: “Which land will carry me and which heaven will shade me if I said about Allaah’s Book that which I have no knowledge of?” [Tafseer Tabaree]

So, this acts as a clear warning to stick to the text especially in the matters of unseen. It is not befitting a Muslim to interpret the Qur’aan with his own opinion.

B. Who was the first one to raise the issue that Hoor are males and females?

The first person to raise the issue to the English language people, that the Hoor are also divided into males and females, is Muhammad `Ali in his translation of the Qur’aan. He said in his commentary to Surah al-Toor (52):20

“As regards the word húr, it is a plural of ahwar (applied to a man) and of haurá’ (applied to a woman), signifying one having eyes characterized by the quality termed hawar, which means intense whiteness of the white of the eye and intense blackness of the black thereof. The word ahwar (singular of húr) also signifies pure or clear intellect (Lane’s Lexicon). The other word, ‘ín, is plural of a‘yan (meaning a man wide in the eyes) and of ‘ainá’ (meaning a woman beautiful and wide in the eye). The latter word also signifies a good or beautiful word, or saying (Lane’s Lexicon). It may be noted that whiteness is also a symbol of perfect and unsullied purity, and hence the two words húr and ‘ín really stand for purity and beauty; and therefore, instead of white-eyed and large-eyed ones, I adopt the words pure and beautiful ones, as being more expressive of the true significance.”

Muhammad Asad, who also did a translation of the Qur’aan, relied mostly on the translation and commentary of Muhammad `Ali and said nearly the same thing as above.

There are a few problems with the authors and their translations:

The first problem: the Aqeedah.

Muhammad `Ali was Ahmadiyyah in his belief and belonged to “Lahore Ahmadiyaah Movement”; and he was the follower of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyaan.

From the belief of “Lahore Ahmadiyaah Movement” is that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the Messiah, and the awaiting Mahdi – two in one (other hardcore Qaadiyanees believe that Ghulam Ahmad was in fact a prophet).

The praise of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad by Muhammad `Ali can be found in the introduction to his translation of the Qur’aan:

“And lastly, the greatest religious leader of the present time, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, has inspired me with all that is best in this work. I have drunk deep at the fountain of knowledge which this great Reformer — Mujaddid of the present century and founder of the Ahmadiyyah Movement — has made to flow.”

From their false doctrine is that `Isaa عليه السلام died a natural death. Muhammad `Ali translated the ayah of [Surah al-Nisaa’ (4): 158] as:

“Nay, Allah exalted him in His presence. And Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.”

The word “exalt” means: praise, honor, raise in rank. It never means that Allaah physically raised `Isaa عليه السلا.

Muhammad Asad, in following the footsteps of his mentor (Muhammad `Ali) commented on the above ayah as:

“where God says to Jesus, “Verilly I shall cause thee to die, and shall exalt thee unto me.” The verb Rafa`ahu (lit. “He raised him” or “elevated him”) has always, whenever the act of raf` (“elevating”) a human being is attributed to God, the meaning of “honoring” or “exalting”. Nowhere in the Qur’an is there any warrant for the popular belief that God has “taken up” Jesus bodily, in his lifetime, into heaven.”

The correct translation is as has been translated by Muhammad Mohsin Khan and Taqeeuddin al-Hilali:

{But Allâh raised him [`Isâ (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) to Himself (and he ['alayhis-salâm] is in the heavens). And Allâh is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.}

The reality that `Isaa عليه السلام has not died but has been raised up alive by Allaah is clearly mentioned in the following Ahaadeeth:

Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (`Isaa عليه السلام). He will descend (to the earth). When you see him, recognise him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will perish all religions except Islam. He (`Isaa عليه السلام) will destroy the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him.” [Sunan Abu Dawood (4324) and authenticated by Shaikh al-Albaanee and he said: “It is as per the condition of Imaam Muslim”]

Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah's Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims who are in the protection of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and nobody will accept charitable gifts.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree]

And there are many more Ahaadeeth, but these two will suffice, inshaa-Allaah.

The second problem: not accepting the Hadeeth

The proper way of explaining the Qur’aan is as what Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله said in the introduction of his Tafseer:

“So one seeks the Tafseer of the Qur’aan with the Qur’aan itself and with the Sunnah. If one cannot find the Tafseer in the Qur’aan or the Sunnah, he should refer to the statement of the Companions, who were the most knowledgeable of Tafseer…”

And he also said:

“When unable to find the Tafseer in the Qur’aan, the Sunnah or with the Companions, the scholars then look to the Tafseer of the Taabi`een (the second generation of Muslims)…”

But you do not find this in the commentaries of both Muhammad `Ali and Muhammad Asad. This is the reason why both of them deviated from the truth, because they only relied on their own opinion, irrespective of what was mentioned in the Sunnah. One such example has already been stated above; the second is on the subject of Hoor.

Even though acknowledging the fact that the word “Hoor” has been mentioned in the Qur’aan and the Ahaadeeth in feminine form, they went on to explain it on the basis of the `Arabic language. And thus they spoke with their own understanding and opinion and they spoke about the unseen without clear knowledge.

The fact that both of these two were deviants in their `Aqeedah (Creed), which is openly seen in their translation and commentary; it is only befitting that we should not refer to these two translations or their commentaries at all.

Note: These are not the only two mistakes in their translations and commentaries; rather they even deny the Names and Attributes of Allaah, (like the Face, Hand, His rising over the throne etc.) and say that it is all metaphorical.

C. The actual gender of the Hoor mention in the Qur’aan and the Ahaadeeth and the sayings of the Salaf.

The description of the Hoor has been mentioned in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah many times. If one reads and understands `Arabic, they will find that in all these places the Hoor has been mentioned in feminine form.

Allaah knows best that if this is done out of ignorance or because of feminism. But surely those who try to explain that the Hoor can also be a male have no daleel (evidence) to support their claim. There is not a single incident where Hoor have been addressed in masculine form in the Qur’aan or the Sunnah.

The following are a few examples from the Aayaat, the Ahaadeeth and the saying of the Companions and their followers:

1. Surah Al-Dukhan (44):54 
﴿كَذَلِكَ وَزَوَّجْنَـهُم بِحُورٍ عِينٍ ﴾

{So (it will be), and We shall marry them to Houris (female fair ones) with wide, lovely eyes.}

Imaam Ibn Katheer said in explanation of the above ayah:

{So (it will be). And We shall marry them to Hoor (fair females) with wide lovely eyes,} This will be a gift in addition to the beautiful wives given to them.

2. Surah Ar-Rahmaan (55):56-58

﴿فِيهِنَّ قَـصِرَتُ الطَّرْفِ لَمْ يَطْمِثْهُنَّ إِنسٌ قَبْلَهُمْ وَلاَ جَآنٌّ فَبِأَىِّ ءَالاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ كَأَنَّهُنَّ الْيَاقُوتُ وَالْمَرْجَانُ﴾

{Wherein both will be Qaasiraat At-Tarf, whom never deflowered a human before nor Jinn. Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both deny. They are like Yaaqoot and Marjaan.}

Imaam Ibn Katheer said in explanation of the above ayaat:

﴿ قَـصِرَتُ الطَّرْفِ ﴾

{Qaasiraat At-Tarf} chaste females, wives restraining their glances, desiring none except their husbands, seeing them as the most beautiful men in Paradise. This was said by Ibn `Abbaas, Qataadah, `Ata' Al-Khurasani and Ibn Zayd.

It was reported that one of these wives will say to her husband, “By Allaah! I neither see anything in Paradise more handsome than you nor more beloved to me than you. So praise be to Allaah Who made you for me and made me for you.”

Allaah تعالى said: 
﴿ لَمْ يَطْمِثْهُنَّ إِنسٌ قَبْلَهُمْ وَلاَ جَآنٌّ ﴾

{whom never deflowered a human before nor Jinn} meaning they are delightful virgins of comparable age who never had sexual intercourse with anyone, whether from mankind or Jinns, before their husbands. This is also a proof that the believers among the Jinns will enter Paradise. Artat bin Al-Mundhir said, “Damrah bin Habeeb was asked if the Jinns will enter Paradise and he said, ‘Yes, and they will get married. The Jinns will have Jinn women and the humans will have female humans.’”

Allaah's تعالى statement:

﴿ لَمْ يَطْمِثْهُنَّ إِنسٌ قَبْلَهُمْ وَلاَ جَآنٌّ فَبِأَىِّ ءَالاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ ﴾

{whom never deflowered a human before nor Jinn. Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both deny} Then Allaah describes these women for the proposed:
﴿ كَأَنَّهُنَّ الْيَاقُوتُ وَالْمَرْجَانُ ﴾

{they are like Yaaqoot and Marjaan} Mujaahid, Al-Hasan, Ibn Zayd and others said, “They are as pure as rubies and white as Marjaan.” So here they described Marjaan as pearls.

3. Surah Ar-Rahmaan (55):72-74

﴿ حُورٌ مَّقْصُورَتٌ فِى الْخِيَامِ فَبِأَىِّ ءَالاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ لَمْ يَطْمِثْهُنَّ إِنسٌ قَبْلَهُمْ وَلاَ جَآنٌّ﴾

{Hoor (beautiful, fair females) guarded in pavilions; Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both deny, Whom never deflowered a human before nor Jinn.}

Imaam Ibn Katheer said in explanation of the above ayaat:

{Hoor (beautiful, fair females) guarded in pavilions} but He said about the first two gardens,

﴿فِيهِنَّ قَـصِرَتُ الطَّرْفِ﴾

{Wherein both will be Qaasiraat At-Tarf} There is no doubt that the chaste wives (of this world) that restrain their glances themselves, are better than those guarded in pavilions even though both are secluded.

About Allaah’s تعالى saying: 
﴿فِى الْخِيَامِ﴾

{in pavilions} Al-Bukhaaree (4880) recorded that `Abdullaah bin Qays said that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Verily, in Paradise, the believer will have a tent from a hollow pearl, the width thereof is sixty miles. In each corner of it there are wives for the believer that do not see the other wives, and the believer will visit them all.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (4880)]

In another narration the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said that this tent is thirty miles wide. [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (3243)]

Muslim recorded this Hadeeth and in his narration, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Verily in Paradise, the believer will have a tent made of a hollow pearl the length thereof being sixty miles. In it, the believer will have wives who do not see each other, and the believer will visit them all.” [Saheeh Muslim (5074)]

Allaah تعالى said: 
﴿لَمْ يَطْمِثْهُنَّ إِنسٌ قَبْلَهُمْ وَلاَ جَآنٌّ ﴾

{Whom never were deflowered by a human before nor Jinn.} We explained this meaning before. Allaah added in the description of the first group of the believers' wives,

﴿كَأَنَّهُنَّ الْيَاقُوتُ وَالْمَرْجَانُ فَبِأَىِّ ءَالاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ ﴾

{they are like Yaaqoot (rubies) and Marjaan (pearls}

4. Hadeeth:

Already two Ahaadeeth have been mentioned above, and this is the third.

Narrated Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “The first batch (of people) who will enter Paradise will be (glittering) like the moon on a full-moon night, and the batch next to them will be (glittering) like the most brilliant star in the sky. Their hearts will be as if the heart of a single man, for they will have neither enmity nor jealousy amongst themselves; everyone will have two wives from the Hoor, (who will be so beautiful, pure and transparent that) the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the bones and the flesh.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree (3245, 3246, 3254) and Saheeh Muslim (5066, 5069)].

D. The question asked to Shaikh al-`Uthaymeen رحمه الله.

Q.58. It has been mentioned that men will have Al-Hoor Al-`Ain in Paradise. What will there be for women?

Response of Shaikh Ibn 'Uthaimeen رحمه الله:

Allaah, the Most Blessed, the Most High says, regarding the blessings of Paradise:

{ ..Therein you shall have (all) that your inner-selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask for. An entertainment from (Allâh), the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.} [Surah Fussilat (41):31-32]

And He, the Most High says:

{..And therein all that inner-selves could desire, and all that eyes could delight in and you will abide therein forever.} [Surah Az-Zukhruf (43):71]

And it is well known that marriage is one of the things which the souls desire most, and so it will be found in Paradise for the people of Paradise, whether they be men or women. So, Allaah, the Most Blessed, the Most High will marry the woman in Paradise to the man who was her husband in the life of this world, as He, the Most Blessed, the Most High says:

{Our Lord! And make them enter the 'Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens) which you have promised them - and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Verily, You are the All Mighty, the All-Wise.} [Surah Ghafir (40):8]

If she did not marry in the life of this world, then Allaah, the Most High will marry her to one who pleases her in Paradise.

Taken from
Fatawa Arkan-ul-Islam, (Islamic Verdicts on the Pillars of Islam, Pages 178 - 179)
By the Honorable Shaikh Muhammad bin Salih Al-'Uthaimeen رحمه الله

E. The question of Umm Salamah رضي الله عنها to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

Allaah نعالى says:

{Verily, the Muslims (those who submit to Allaah in Islaam) men and women, the believers men and women (who believe in Islaamic Monotheism), the men and the women who are obedient (to Allaah), the men and women who are truthful (in their speech and deeds), the men and the women who are patient (in performing all the duties which Allaah has ordered and in abstaining from all that Allaah has forbidden), the men and the women who are humble (before their Lord – Allaah), the men and the women who give Sadaqaat (i.e. Zakaat and alms), the men and the women who observe Saum (fast) (the obligatory fasting during the month of Ramadaan, and the optional Nawaafil fasting), the men and the women who guard their chastity (from illegal sexual acts) and the men and the women who remember Allaah much with their hearts and tongues – Allaah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise).} [Surah al-Ahzaab (33):35]

Imaam Ibn Katheer reported the following Hadeeth in the explanation of the above ayah:

Imaam Ahmad recorded that Umm Salamah رضي الله عنها, the wife of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, said, “I said to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم: `Why is it, that we are not mentioned in the Qur’aan as men are?’ Then one day without my realizing it, he صلى الله عليه وسلم was calling from the Minbar and I was combing my hair, so I tied my hair back then I went out to my chamber in my house, and I started listening out, and he was saying from the Minbar:

«يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَى يَقُولُ:
“O People! Verily Allaah says:

﴿إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَـتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَـتِ﴾»
{Verily, the Muslims: men and women, the believers: men and women...}

to the end of the Ayah.” [Musnad Imaam Ahmad (26575, 26603, 26604) and graded as “Saheeh” by Shaikh Shu`aib al-Arnaoot. A similar narration is also reported by Tirmidhee (3211) and graded as "Saheeh" by Shaikh al-Albaanee]

It is sufficient for our Muslim sisters to suffice with what sufficed the Sahaabiyaat (the female Companions) رضوان الله عليهن اجمعين, and trust in Allaah that He is going to give them {a great reward}, which no eyes have seen, no ears have heard, and never perceived by any human heart.


  1. As salaam alyk,

    Muhammed Ali and Yusuf Ali are two different people? So even Yusuf Ali interpreted hoor as genderless?

    1. Muhammad Asad is not even reliable, for he has major errors. In his commentary of the Quran, he interprets gives allegorical interpretations to stories. He rejects that Isa was raised bodily to Allah. His translation claims that Jesus died. Also, he misinterprets Surah 2:54 and other verses.

      The senior scholars comment on his translation:

    2. Jazaak Allaahu kahira for the link.

  2. wa `alaikum assalaam,

    yes, Muhammad `Ali and Yusuf `Ali are two different people, and both have deviancies in their translations and commentaries.

    And this is the reason why the Saudi govt. after realizing the major faults in the translation by Yusuf `Ali, stopped its publication and distribution, and opted for the translation by Muhammad Mohsin Khan and Taqee-uddin al-Hilaalee (Allaah have Mercy on them).

    barak Allaahu feek.

  3. Assalamu Alaikum akhi. Please clarify the below statement, i came across long back which proofs that women would also get hoors. Barak Allahu feek

    A man will have ‘Hoors’, that is beautiful maidens when he enters Paradise - What will a woman get when she enters Paradise?

    The Qur’an has mentioned the word ‘Hoor’, in no less than 4 diffrent places. It is mentioned in Surah Dukhan, Surah Tur, Surah Rehman and in Surah Waqia, and many of the translations, specially the Urdu translations have translated the word ‘Hoor’, as beautiful maiden.

    Actually the word ‘Hoor’, is a plural for ‘Ahwar’, which is applicable to the man, and ‘Hawar’, which is applicable to the women. And it signifies the characteristic of ‘Hawar’, which means ‘big, white beautiful eye’, and describes especially, the whiteness of the eye. The similar thing is mentioned as ‘Azwajur Muthaharin’ in many places in the Qur’an, in Surah Baqrah, Ch. No. 2, Verse No. 25, and in Surah Nisa, Ch. No. 4, Verse No. 57 - It says... ‘Azwajur Muthaharin’, which means companion, pair.

    So the word ‘Hoor’, is rightly translated by Mohammed Asad as… ‘Spouse’ and also by Abdullah Yusuf Ali… Abdullah Yusuf Ali as… ‘Companion’ - So ‘Hoor’ actually means a ‘Companion’ or a ‘Spouse’ - It has no gender. For the man, he will get a good lady with big beautiful eyes - and for a woman, she will get a good man with big beautiful eyes.

    1. Wa `alaikum assalaam akhi,

      Kindly re-read the topic. It was already clarified, who first spoke with this meaning, and who Muhammad Asad is and what his `aqeedah is.

      As for playing with the words Hoor, Ahwar, Hawar...this is all linguistic interpretation. Here we are talking about unseen matters (`ilm al-ghaib), and we simply cannot rely on linguistic interpretations on the subject of unseen matters. We need to have evidence. Linguistic interpretation in the matters of unseen is no proof.

      And the word Hoor in the Qur'aan and the Sunnah has always come in feminine gender. So those who say that Hoor can be male, should bring evidence to support their claim.

      Allaah is not unjust to his slaves either male or female. He will reward the females immensely in the Jannah - and this has been mentioned in the Qur'aan many times.

      And if you still want to rely on Muhammad Asad's translation, then plz re-read the post, he believes that Isaa عليه السلام is dead and that he was not raised up alive into the Jannah.

      Allaahul musta`aan.

    2. Moreover, read the Tafaaseer of classical scholars like Ibn Katheer, Ibn Jareer al-Tbaaree, al-Qurtobee, al-Baghawee, Ibn Abi Haatim. These were all `Arabs or knew `Arabic very well. Why don't you find the same linguistic interpretation in their books?

    3. JazakAllahu Khairan ya akhi :)