مَّثَلُ الْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي وُعِدَ الْمُتَّقُونَ فِيهَا أَنْهَارٌ مِّن مَّاءٍ غَيْرِ آسِنٍ وَأَنْهَارٌ مِّن لَّبَنٍ لَّمْ يَتَغَيَّرْ طَعْمُهُ وَأَنْهَارٌ مِّنْ خَمْرٍ لَّذَّةٍ لِّلشَّارِبِينَ وَأَنْهَارٌ مِّنْ عَسَلٍ مُّصَفًّى وَلَهُمْ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ كَمَنْ هُوَ خَالِدٌ فِي النَّارِ وَسُقُوا مَاءً حَمِيمًا فَقَطَّعَ أَمْعَاءَهُمْ
Quran 47:15 (above) has varying translations. Two examples are:
A parable of the garden which those guarding (against evil) are promised: Therein are rivers of water that does not alter, and rivers of milk the taste whereof does not change, and rivers of drink delicious to those who drink, and rivers of honey clarified and for them therein are all fruits and protection from their Lord. (Are these) like those who abide in the fire and who are made to drink boiling water so it rends their bowels asunder. -- Shakir
Is the description of Paradise, which the righteous are promised, wherein are rivers of water unaltered, rivers of milk the taste of which never changes, rivers of wine delicious to those who drink, and rivers of purified honey, in which they will have from all [kinds of] fruits and forgiveness from their Lord, like [that of] those who abide eternally in the Fire and are given to drink scalding water that will sever their intestines? -- Sahih International
These translations seem to be inconsistent: one suggesting a literal interpretation, one suggesting a non-literal interpretation.
Question: Are the rivers of milk, wine, and honey in paradise to be taken literally?
Googling the question title (here) yields e.g.:
Oliver Leaman, The Qur'an: An Encyclopedia, p.487, writes:
...there is an old exegeical tradition that regards the houris and other parts of the Qur'anic description of paradise as metaphors or allegories. According to this tradition, the descriptions of paradise were -- like those of hell -- not to be taken literally.
Mohamed Mahmoud, Quest for Divinity, p.100, quotes Mahmoud Mohammed Taha:
...the words are meant to be taken literally. Paradise concretely contains what God promises in the Qur'an.
Which again gives inconsistency, although it's hard for me to judge which of these are more reliable.