Allah & the 40 Virgins

by Jon Long Sr on January 18, 2010

Good Morning,

We will call this one Allah and the 40 Virgins.

I suppose ever since 9-11, Islam and Muslims in general have been on many minds in America and the rest of the world as well.  I think much of this could be from a huge “lack of trust” in the motives concerning all Muslims in general.  Yes, it is a generalization of a group and something I try to avoid.  You know, when we say something like “all men are creeps”, “all women are bad drivers” and “all men want is sex”.  Well maybe that last one isn’t too far off the mark, but you get the idea.

Anyway, I think my feelings about this were perpetuated by the painfully obvious lack of condemnation by the “State of Islam” for the acts of terrorism we saw on 9-11, even though there were Muslims killed as collateral in the attacks.  I guess you could say the silence was deafening. The “Martyrs” go without saying, as it always was their intention to die for “Jihad” and reap the benefits of being with Allah in the Garden of Paradise.

So with an awareness of this particular religion brought to an unavoidable conscious level on a daily basis by the World Media and of course, with a lot of help from the fundamentalist Islamic Sunni movement called Al Qaeda and their proclaimed Jihad, I needed to understand a bit more of what could possibly motivate someone to turn their bowels into a bloody mist, blow their head the distance of a football field and in the process kill as many of the humans around him/her as possible.  There has to be some kind of “crazy wicked” reward for doing that!  I know that here in the United States, I cannot think of a single family that would love to see their son or daughter BLOW THEMSELVES UP and kill everyone around Them.  But that’s just me, I was raised Christian.

I started to look into this “40 Virgins” thing I kept hearing about (frankly one was enough for me, but that’s another story ) and discovered very quickly that it isn’t “40 Virgins” after all, but rather “72 Virgins”. But wait, there is more… add to that 80,000 servants and a huge palace!  (80,000 servants… I guess you would need a big place) Now we are getting somewhere… maybe it would be worth it after all, especially if you have literally nothing in your present mortal life.  In all fairness, I have also heard that there have been intelligent/educated people that have done this as well.  Go figure.

Oh, by the way, the 40 Virgins thing is a confusion with another incident that occurred where 40 Holy Virgins and St. Ammoun the Deacon were from Adrianopolis in Macedonia.  Deacon Ammoun was their guide in Christian faith. They were captured by Baudos, the pagan governor, and were tortured because they would not offer sacrifices to idols.   So now that is cleared up and they had nothing to do with Islam.  Well maybe a little because since they were Christian, they also believed in the same God as Abraham, Jews, Christians and yes… Muslims.  They just didn’t refer to God as Allah.

Looking a little deeper I also discovered that nowhere in the (Qua’ran) Koran does it mention the number of “virgins” in the Garden of Paradise.  That comes from another writing called a Hadith (Islamic Tradition) that quotes Mohammed in describing Paradise.  I would think it has validity as much as the New Testament Gospels have for quoting Jesus.  Also the Koran doesn’t mention “virgins” either.  By one translation it refers to translucent pure beings with dark eyes (houris).  Well, that’s pretty cool and it would be fun to meet them, even if I couldn’t have human physical sex with them.  If you noticed, I mentioned one translation…yep just like the Bible, the Koran can be interpreted differently by who is doing the translation.  We know that has gone on for millennium with the Bible, so why not for the Koran?

(4-24-2011 Easter Sunday) I need to mention here that I have received comments since writing this post, stating that I do not understand Islam.  I have also been told that to understand the Koran, you should have someone who is well studied in the teaching, interpret it for you.  You see that is where I have a problem, how do I know what they are telling me it the right stuff?  They may tell me to only way to paradise is to fly a jet airliner into a building for all that matter.   Yes, I do not understand Islam.  I was not raised as a Muslim, but I am working to understand more.

A Christoph Luxenberg in Germany has discovered that if you translate the Koran in Syriac and not Arabic, it shows that many obscurities of the Koran disappear.  So Christoph translated the words that were supposed to mean doe-eyed, and ever willing virgins – the houris, to none other than “white raisins” of “crystal clarity”.  Luxenberg claims that the context makes it clear that it is food and drink that is being offered, and not unsullied maidens or (houris).  Imagine the surprised look of that suicide bomber when as a martyr he meets Allah and is presented with “very clear white raisins”.  I never once thought that our God would sanction unbridled sex with virgins anyway, so I guess I’m not disappointed.  Is it possible that all of these years the translation has been wrong?  Humm… or not.

Obviously, I have much more research to do on Islam, but so far it has been interesting.

Love, Dad

BTW: If Al Qaeda is trying to convert the world to Islam, they have a strange way of going about it.

Christoph Luxenberg’s book, Die Syro-Aramaische Lesart des Koran, available only in German, came out just over a year ago.

Citations: Virgins what Virgins, by Ibn Warraq Note: There are more, but I didn’t keep track like I should have.

Please Note: If you have read this post, please also read my followup:  Allah and the 40 Virgins (Revisited).

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

anon January 19, 2010 at 1:39 am

Muslim organizations, scholars, community members, politicians and ex-politicans have all condemed terrorism—and continue to do so. Westerners don’t hear about it because it isn’t “newsworthy” enough.

Hadith have various levels of validity from those considered authentic to those considered fake—Historical critical method is used to analyse Hadith (from very early on in Muslim History)

Interpretation—-Which is why Quran translations are considered “Tafsir”(commentary) .

Luxenberg—As other scholars will tell you (including non-Muslims) he doesn’t know what he is talking about. (Any serious scholar of Islam knows the history of the Quran which is why they do not make ridiculous claims like Luxenberg)

If you want to know motives—read Robert Pape book “Dying to Win”—which is based on research rather than myth.

Jon Long Sr January 19, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Anon, I appreciate your comments. I think that the condemnation of terrorism should be newsworthy. Without that, you can see what impressions are given. I know I am not the only “Westener” that feels that way.
I did discover that there were different levels of validity when it comes to Hadiths and that is why I made the comment about the New Testament Gospels. Many of the Gnostic Scriptures are not considered valid interpretations of what Jesus was quoted as saying as well. That seems to be the way this stuff works.
I cannot read German, so I may never get to read Luxenberg’s book, but I will search for commentary on it.
I am interested in reading Robert Pape’s book and apprecite the suggestion. It will be on my to read list.
I find it truly amazing that someone would do such a thing to themselves and others and I do need to understand it.
Thank you for the candid and constructive feedback.

anon February 1, 2010 at 3:26 am

Thankyou for making the effort to find knowledge—when it comes to Islam, there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings.

Personally, I don’t condone “suicide attacks” nor terrorism of any kind by anyone. Ofcourse, I am not in a war zone so it is easy for me to take this position. The Japanese kamikaze pilots may have thought differently. The IRA of Ireland may have disagreed with my position, Maybe the Tamil tigers of Sri Lanka feel I don’t have a clue what I am talking about……I don’t know….
…..It is always difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of another.

kat

Jon Long Sr February 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Kat,
For most of my life I have studied how things work. As I get older I am prefering to know how people work. Maybe that way I will understand more about myself. I am looking forward to the book. Amazon shipped it today.
Thanks, Jon

Stratos May 9, 2010 at 3:19 am

Thanks for the article. It was interesting and enlightening reading.

Stratos

Jon Long Sr May 9, 2010 at 6:40 am

Stratos, I appreciate the feedback. Kat was very instrumental in changing my perception on this. The book is worth the read, if you can make the time. There is so much more to this that most of us realize. Peace.

Steve September 18, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the article. It is non-polemical and sober. Firstly, I would like to state that I know many moderate and good Muslims, men and women, here and in the Middle East. I think the Iraqis are some of the kindest and most generous people in the world, in spite of any impressions you may have picked up from the media.

As regards Christoph Luxenberg. a pseudonym and of what nationality I wouldn’t care to speculate, his book referred to above has been translated into English and is available free on Googlebooks.com. A most recent book (2010)to which he has contributed is Hidden Islam edited by Puin and Ohlig. His first work is very controversial and has been the subject of two conferences at Notre Dame and two more I believe at the University of Saarlandes in Germany.

There are a number of Western scholars that disagree with him, de Blois et al, but there are a number who agree with his methodology, Puin, the editor of the above volume and the expert called in by the Yemeni government to examine the cache of Qur’anic manuscripts discovered in the Great Mosque of Sana for one.

A good synopsis of Luxenberg’s work is to be found in the entry for him in Wikipaeda. By the way, Ibn Warraq is an apostate from Islam and is rather virulent in his denunciation of Islam. You should be aware of that when you read him but one should judge the arguments for a position and not the person putting them forth

I hope this helps

Steve

Jon Long Sr September 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Steve,
Thank you for your comments. I hope you have also read the post “Allah & the 40 Virgins (Revisited)”. It was after I read “Dying to Win”. I recommend it. I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there about Muslims and Christians. That I believe is unfortunate. I will look into Luxenberg’s a bit more. Thanks, Jon

Ismail April 13, 2011 at 7:54 am

Greetings ,
Mr. your understanding of Islam is full confusion and error. First , the ‘ Houri ‘ for the ppl of paradise
are WEDDED to their ‘husbands’ is its not like adultery like you thing. Second , the German guy is WRONG , he is not a Muslim and he is self -thought wrongly or have a confused teacher. Truth is you cannot commit suicide in Islam. The ‘suicide bombers’ shoul used remotely detonated bombs instead of killing themselves. Suiciders are tortured in Hell according to Islam. The Quran are rehersed in a clear Arabic tongue and not in other languages. You must learn the Quran by a LEARNED and GUIDED Muslim teacher rather than interpreting yourselves lest you be misguided by Shaytan and Ibless (LAKNATULLAHIALAIH). Lastly , the Quran is not like the Gospel and the Torah bacause those has been changed buy many people. The Quran are kept their authenticity and sanctity by the Muslims ever since the time of the Prophet (Peace be upon Him).

I hope Allah show you the Way !

Jon Long Sr April 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Ismail,
Thank you for your feed back. I appreciate all constructive comments. I did revisit this post after I read “Dying to Win”. I believe there are many misconceptions regarding Islam, just as there are with Christianity and the Jewish faith. It seems that the fundamentalist and radicals cause most of this in all religions. I am learning more everyday as I continue to read and communicate with others caring enough to share, like yourself.
Peace, Jon

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