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During the Night Journey, it is proclaimed that the Angel Gabriel expounded on the four rivers when questioned by the Prophet. Water, Milk, Wine and Honey. 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. (Muhammad [47]; 15).

Contrasting this to an old translation of the Pentateuch, there are four rivers (angles) mentioned. These are (The People/The Farmers/The Artisans) + (The Priesthood/Sacrificing Priests/Sacredotal Instruction) +(The Learned/ The Scribes) +(State/Military Officials)

What, if any, connections may there be between the two views?

To drink can be interpreted as to quench the thirst of knowledge, the motivation for a scribe or learned (wine/drink?) They who protect perhaps (priests or state/military officials) but this can be related to milk, that which does not change (the priests who hold the knowledge and prevent corruption)

  • This sounds to me somewhat mystical the content of the referred link IMO should be checked as I never heard about these four rivers especially I wonder if two or three of the names really refer to a river. – Medi1Saif Dec 6 '19 at 7:04
  • @Medi1Saif Right, this book is old, it was written in the late 1800's. There isn't too much information about the book, but online research has suggested that many people consider the book to be of high quality research. – Moo10000 Dec 6 '19 at 19:54
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The only apparent connection is that both believe in "four rivers". Beyond that, it's hard to connect them.

As far as the Qur'an verse goes, the rivers are not tied to any specific people. Rather, the beginning of the verse says that these descriptions of Paradise (e.g., these rivers) are promised to Al Muttaqun (the righteous), which can include people from all different backgrounds.. not just the ones you mentioned.

The point of the verse: All that the verse is doing is comparing the qualities of these substances in Paradise to these same similar substances in the world which we are already used to, to highlight how inferior the worldly substances are.

e.g., Water does not alter in Paradise, whereas it gets polluted on earth. Milk of Paradise has an unchanging taste, whereas on earth it can become soiled and thus sour. Wine is always delicious in Paradise, whereas earthly wine can contain unsavory tastes of acids, alcohols, etc. Honey of Paradise is pure, whereas earthly honey often gets mixed with other additives/preservatives.

Generally in Islam, there has to be some evidence to say a verse hints at an underlying metaphor. I've not come across any evidence to this effect regarding the four rivers of Paradise as of yet.

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  • Interesting, you say there must be evidence of an underlying metaphor. Could you provide some examples? – Moo10000 Dec 9 '19 at 3:29

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