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December 31, 2005

Raisins in Paradise

By Neil the Ethical Werewolf

Recent scholarship on the Koran suggests that the 72 virgins promised to Islamic martyrs may actually turn out to be 72 raisins:

For example, the famous passage about the virgins is based on the word hur, which is an adjective in the feminine plural meaning simply "white." Islamic tradition insists the term hur stands for "houri," which means virgin, but Mr. Luxenberg insists that this is a forced misreading of the text. In both ancient Aramaic and in at least one respected dictionary of early Arabic, hur means "white raisin."

Mr. Luxenberg has traced the passages dealing with paradise to a Christian text called Hymns of Paradise by a fourth-century author. Mr. Luxenberg said the word paradise was derived from the Aramaic word for garden and all the descriptions of paradise described it as a garden of flowing waters, abundant fruits and white raisins, a prized delicacy in the ancient Near East. In this context, white raisins, mentioned often as hur, Mr. Luxenberg said, makes more sense than a reward of sexual favors.  

Somebody's going to be disappointed in the afterlife.  (Unless those raisins are really good.) In this vein, it's interesting to consider the commentator al-Suyuti, whose more traditional views of heaven were recorded over 500 years ago:

"Each time we sleep with a houri we find her virgin. Besides, the penis of the Elected never softens. The erection is eternal; the sensation that you feel each time you make love is utterly delicious and out of this world and were you to experience it in this world you would faint. Each chosen one [ie Muslim] will marry seventy [sic] houris, besides the women he married on earth, and all will have appetising vaginas." 

It seems that al-Suyuti may be due for an appetising experience either way.  I haven't found scholarship on the fate of female martyrs, but here's one female Islamic fundamentalist's opinion:

MD:  According to the Koran, male martyrs are welcomed to paradise by 72 beautiful virgins; and women martyrs?

A: A woman martyr will be the person in charge, the manager, the officer of the 72 virgins, the fairest of the fair.

Administrative authority might appeal to some people, but to me it doesn't seem like quite as good a deal.  Especially if you only end up being in charge of 72 raisins. 

December 31, 2005 in Religion | Permalink

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Comments

Having an eternal erection sounds pretty awful. Even Cialis recommends that you seek medical attention after four hours.

Posted by: Julian Elson | Dec 31, 2005 1:52:39 PM

I think the straight female martyrs should strike until they get 72 Chippendales dancers. And, as for the ones who aren't straight, I imagine they'll have a good time anyway.

"It seems that al-Suyuti may be due for an appetising experience either way."

That line gave me one of the biggest laughs all year.

Posted by: Pepper | Dec 31, 2005 2:31:50 PM

Raisins, virgins, either way it's a pretty good deal.

Posted by: Dadahead | Dec 31, 2005 3:10:13 PM

Mmmmm.... Raisins. Gotta love 'em!

Reminds me of this Onion article:

"Hijackers Surprised To Find Selves In Hell"

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/38673

Posted by: Andrew | Dec 31, 2005 6:51:53 PM

"Each time we sleep with a houri we find her virgin."
In other words, no matter how many times you sleep with them, they don't get any better in bed. You don't need to go to heaven for that. On the other hand, I've never slept with a white raisin.

Posted by: SimCat | Jan 1, 2006 6:50:36 PM

Raisins. MMMMmmmmm.

NOT, however, worth dying for.

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