You may wonder why the Muslims are more eager to sacrifice their lives for their faith. It is because of the promise of the Quran about the bliss in heaven. The pleasant and happy life promised for a faithful Muslim is so great that the several pleasures waiting in heaven will give the needed courage to undergo any sacrifice, including laying down one’s own life. Quran teaches that the Houris are mystical spirits that exist in paradise. They are described as most beautiful and eternally young virgins that linger in paradise.
The Houris in Quran
The Holy Quran mentions in several places about the Houris. Although they are described as feminine by qualities they are mentioned as both sexes. Men will have woman-like Houris and women will have man-like Houris. They will be available in paradise for all faithful Muslims.
Significance of the Houris for Muslims
William Harwood commenting on Quran in his work “Mythology’s Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus” says that Mohammed promised his followers seven heavens in which the faithful Muslims can enjoy the heavenly bliss with the Houris. The Quran chapters 52 to 56 describe about the eternal pleasures that they can have with these Houris. (Refer: The Quran 55:56; 55:58; 78:33; 56:12; 52:16-17, 24; 56:35-38; 52:20)
Each Muslim man, who obeys the laws stated in the Quran and leads an obedient life, will be rewarded after death with an unspecified number of pretty boys plus eight heavenly Houris with whom he can enjoy endless pleasures.
William Harwood, Mythology’s Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus, p 248) (http://www.harrington-sites.com/Islam.htm)
The Encyclopedia Britannica describes the Houris, as beautiful maidens who await the devout Muslim in paradise. There are numerous references to the Houris in the Quran describing them as “purified wives” and “spotless virgins.”
Islam traditions about Houris
Islam traditions elaborate on the sensual image of the Houris and define some of their functions, when a faithful Muslim reaches paradise. For example, the faithful believer is presented with a large number of Houris, with whom he can enjoy as per the good deeds he performed while he was on this earth and as per the observations of laws of the faith such as fasting in Ramadan and so on.
Some Muslim theologians, like al-Bay?awi, say that the Houris are some kind of metaphoric interpretation to mention the celestial bodies. Some also suggest that Prophet Muhammad reinterpreted the angels seen in pictures of Christian paradise as the Houris.
The Houris are divine promise for faithful life in Islam. The life on earth is very short and the pleasures here on earth are only short-living. The Houris are meant to induce humans to be attracted to the divine pleasures of the paradise than the temporary carnal pleasures of this world.