Al Rahman 55:46-78 (Itani)

But for him who feared the standing of his Lord are two gardens. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? Full of varieties. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? In them are two flowing springs. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? In them are fruits of every kind, in pairs. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? Reclining on furnishings lined with brocade, and the fruits of the two gardens are near at hand. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? In them are maidens restraining their glances, untouched before by any man or jinn. (56) So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? As though they were rubies and corals. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? Is the reward of goodness anything but goodness? So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? And beneath them are two gardens. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? Deep green. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? In them are two gushing springs. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? In them are fruits, and date-palms, and pomegranates. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? In them are good and beautiful ones. (70) So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? Companions, secluded in the tents. (72) So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? Whom no human has touched before, nor jinn. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? Reclining on green cushions, and exquisite carpets. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? Blessed be the name of your Lord, Full of Majesty and Splendor.

The verses (56), (70) and (72) are commonly interpreted as referring to female beings, as in Tafsir ibn Kathir:

Allah said: "Therein will be Khayrat Hisan;" meaning, there are various types of good and delightful things in these two gardens in Paradise, according to Qatadah. It was also said that Khayrat is plural of Khayrah and it is a righteous, well-mannered, beautiful woman, according to the majority of scholars, and it is also reported from Umm Salamah as a Hadith from the Prophet. There is another Hadith saying that Al-Hur Al-`Ayn will sing, "We are Al-Khayrat Al-Hisan, we were created for honorable husbands.''

Allah said: "Hur (beautiful, fair females) guarded in pavilions;" but He said about the first two gardens, "Wherein both will be Qasirat At-Tarf." There is no doubt that the chaste wives that restrain their glances themselves, are better than those guarded in pavilions even though both are secluded. About Allah's saying: "in pavilions;" Al-Bukhari recorded that "Abdullah bin Qays said that the Messenger of Allah said, 'Verily, in Paradise, the believer will have a tent from a hollow pearl, the width thereof is sixty miles. In each corner of it there are wives for the believer that do not see the other wives, and the believer will visit them all.'"

However, neither the Quran text nor the Hadith text (Sahih al-Bukhari 4879, 4880) explicitly say wives or spouses. The Hadith uses أَهْلٌ ('ahl), which can be relatives, family members, or people in general.

In the Quran text, only a female conjugation indicates "female beings". Moreover, the ending is only visible in the vocalised version, so that it would have had to be transferred orally over some centuries, which is probably true in most cases but there is still a possibility that the pronunciation may have been adapted to how the verse had been understood.

An Orientalist publishing under the pseudonym Christoph Luxemberg suggests in "Die Syro-Aramäische Lesart des Koran" (written in German) alternate meanings of several passages. Some of his suggestions do not really make more sense than the usual understanding; however his alternative to the "" seems quite reasonable to me.

Luxemberg suggests:

fīhinna In them qāṣirātu hang down l-ṭarfi leaves lam not yaṭmith'hunna has touched them insun any human qablahum before them walā and not jānnun any jinn. (55:56)

fīhinna In them khayrātun pure ḥisānun beautiful (55:70)

ḥūrun fair/white, maqṣūrātun secluded in fī l-khiyāmi in the pavilions. (55:72)

waḥūrun and white ʿīnun grapes(56:22)

The interpretation as fruits of paradise makes sense as it fits perfectly into known images of original Paradise and the Paradise to come. The interpretation as grapes is not without a reason; also the Lisan has one mention:

وعُيون البقر: جنسٌ من العنب يكون بالشام

Cow’s eyes: a type of grape that originates in the Levant (Sham)

It is not unlikely that the name of a variety of grapes got forgotten as soon as viticulture decreased because alcoholic wine was forbidden.

Likely, Luxemberg reviews other passages (44:20, 52:20, 78:31-34, 2:25, 3:15, 4;57). In his interpretations, he partly uses his knowledge of Aramaic to derive different possible meanings of the words. I cannot cite here in length; so I just add his suggestions.

kadhālika Thus warawwaḥnāhum and We will make them comfortable biḥū under white ʿīn grapes. (44:54, 52:20b)

(Luxemberg reads وَرَوَّحْنَاهُمْ instead of وَزَوَّجْنَاهُمْ)


And give good news to those who believe and do righteous deeds; that they will have gardens beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with fruit therefrom as sustenance, they will say, “This is what we were provided with before,” and they will be given the like of it. And they will have ...

...walahum and from them fīhā therein azwāj(un) kinds muṭahharat(un) pure (fruit) (2:25)

= .. all kinds of pure fruit.

Alike parallel


Say, “Shall I inform you of something better than that? For those who are righteous, with their Lord are Gardens beneath which rivers flow, where they will remain forever, and all kinds of pure (fruit), and acceptance from God.” God is Observant of the servants.


As for those who believe and do good deeds, We will admit them into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. They will have all kinds of pure (fruit) therein, and We will admit them into a shady shade.

And he points out that it is revealed in the Quran that husband and spouse would be together in Paradise:

Ya sin 36:55-57

The inhabitants of Paradise, on that Day, will be happily busy. They and their spouses, in shades, reclining on couches. They will have therein fruits. They will have whatever they call for.

Al-Zukhruf 43:70-73

Enter the Garden, you and your spouses, Joyfully. They will be served around with trays of gold, and cups. Therein is whatever the souls desire and delights the eyes. Therein you will stay forever. Such is the Garden you are made to inherit, because of what you used to do. Therein you will have abundant fruit, from which you eat.

The Hadits (graded Sahih) as referenced by UmH (Bukhari 3327 , Bukhari 3254 , Muslim 188) clearly affirm the usual reception as to females; Ibn majah 2014 (graded Hasan) declares it a punishment to the wife that the husband enters with two other women, what indeed it would be.

As to the interpretation of Luxemberg cannot be held up if the Hadith is considered reliable inspired speech of the prophet (p.b.u.h) but it resolves the question that the conventional interpretation arises; how Jannah with those Houris may be a paradise also for women, and it repaints the image of a pure Garden (faradis) where couples may enter together and feel happy, as described in 36:55-57 and 43:70-73.

My Question: Has this interpretation or other alternate interpretation also been discussed within Muslim scholars? If yes: How? If no: would a scholar fear to discuss this?

  • Please properly format your post and clearly mark quotes. The Quran (44:54, 52:20) and hadith ( Bukhari 3327 , Bukhari 3254 , Muslim 188 , Ibn majah 2014 ) do explicitly say that the Hoor al-ayn will be wives of the believers.
    – UmH
    Jan 2, 2022 at 16:30
  • @UmH Luxemberg has explanations for all Quran passages; i will join them in "short" (he wrote 40 pages thereon). As he is a Quranist, he ignores Hadith. Unless a Sunni (Shia?) scolar has analysed everything, I would have to look over the Hadith; maybe with your help?
    – Jeschu
    Jan 3, 2022 at 14:06
  • I don't understand the point of this question. If a person wanted to ignore all previous scholarship for no good reason and ignore all the authentic ahadith on the topic, he could come up with any interpretation he liked for any word.
    – The Z
    Jan 4, 2022 at 0:49
  • And rejecting the recitation of the Quran everyone agreed upon for something an orientalist made up should hold some sort of issue one would think for a Muslim.
    – The Z
    Jan 4, 2022 at 0:53
  • @TheZ The scope of us all (where I do not want to exclude Luxemberg either) is understanding the Word of God which is for sure a good reason. I am not saying that Luxemberg is right but I wonder whether such considerations have been discussed openly amongst established Islam scholars. I found positive and negative answers among people of non-confessional university-type Islamic studies but not in confessional Islam scholarship.
    – Jeschu
    Jan 4, 2022 at 17:06


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