their youth in heaven. Justice seems to demand that women, therefore, should have the same liberty as men, but Muhammad shrank from this legitimate conclusion to his teaching.

The question naturally arises whether these statements were meant to be literal or allegorical. No doubt Muslim mystics1 and philosophers have refined them away into allegory, and such a course naturally commends itself to men of high moral tone in modern Islamic society, where it has been

1Syed Amir 'Ali in the Spirit of Islam says : ' The Huris are creatures of Zoroastrian origin, so is paradise, whilst hell in the severity of its punishment is Talmudic. The descriptions are realistic, in some places almost sensuous ; but to say that they are sensual, or that Muhammad, or any of his followers, even the ultraliteralists, accepted them as such, is a calumny, p. 394.
It is interesting to note how this admission of the human origin of this part of the Prophet's teaching completely disposes of the dogma of the eternal nature of the Qur'an and of its claim to be an inspired book in all its parts.
Maulavi Muhammad 'Ali (Holy Qur'an, p. 1009) in a note on Sura At-Tur(lii) 20 says that
حُوْرٍ عيْنٍ means 'pure beautiful ones' and that they are 'plurals of words applying to men as well as to women, as also to qualities and good deeds' and that they here refer to 'heavenly blessings which the righteous women shall have along with the righteous men.' 'Womanhood stands for a symbol of purity and beauty' and so as 'purity of character and the beautiful deeds of the righteous' are here referred to, these 'blessings are described in words which apply to women.' It is a clever apology, but not orthodox nor convincing. This divergence from the 'received view' however does credit to the author's moral sense.
The accepted interpretations are :—
The Tafsir Husaini translates the words by
زنان سفيد روى كشادة جشم — bright-faced, large-eyed, women.'
The Khulaatu't-Tafasir has,
اور نكاح كرديا هم نى حور خوش جشم —we marry them to beautiful-eyed Huris. So also Ibn 'Abbas.
The Maqbul Tarjuma has,
برى بري آنكهون والى حورون سى هم ان كى شاديان كردينكى — we will marry them to large-eyed Huris.
The Urdu translators Nadhir Ahmad and Ahmad Shah so interpret it. 
Zamakhshari has,
قّرناهم بالحُور — we joined them to Huris.


influenced by Christian thought and western culture; but it is difficult to believe that Muhammad so intended his words to be taken, or that his hearers so understood them. Muhammad's mind was intensely practical and not in the least given to mysticism. In the arrangements of the world and in the affairs of men he saw no difficulties and no mystery. The punishments of hell are material, no orthodox Muslim attempts to allegorize them; why then should the material joys of paradise be set aside? It must, however, be noted that these descriptions of a voluptuous paradise are given at a time when Muhammad was living a chaste and temperate life with a single wife. This is urged as a plea in support of the allegorical view; but it must be borne in mind that, though Muhammad was undoubtedly fond of and faithful to Khadija,1 yet he was subject to her. She was the master, she had raised him from poverty, given him a position, placed him in comparative affluence; but she kept her fortune in her own hands. Muhammad had not, even assuming that he wished so to do, the means of granting dowries, or of, in any way, obtaining other wives. That his moderation then was compulsory seems to some critics evident from the fact that as soon as he was free he gratified his

1 It is said that Khadija was alarmed when she was told that her parents were in hell, lest her deceased sons should be also there, a statement which would not have commended the new religion to her; but her fears were allayed by the revelation :—

To those who have believed, whose offspring have followed them in the faith, will we again unite their offspring. Sura At-Tur (lii) 21.

This was an apt statement, and, as her son's salvation depended on her belief, it helped her so to do. The story is told by Musuad and is quoted by Margoliouth, Mohammed, p. 93