Are the verses about houris in the Quran trigger lust? For instance, "... And voluptuous women of equal age..."

The Details of the Question

The following is stated in verses 31-34 of the chapter of an-Naba in the Quran: "Verily for the Righteous there will be a fulfilment of (the heart´s) desires; Gardens enclosed, and grapevines; And voluptuous women of equal age; And a cup full (to the brim)." Is the phrase "... and voluptuous women of equal age..." not a statement that triggers lust?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The states that the people of Paradise and Hell will encounter are narrated as follows in the chapter of an-Naba:

"21 Truly Hell is as a place of ambush,
22 For the transgressors a place of destination:
23 They will dwell therein for ages.
24 Nothing cool shall they taste therein, nor any drink,
25 Save a boiling fluid and a fluid, dark, murky, intensely cold,
26 A fitting recompense (for them).
27 For that they used not to fear any account (for their deeds)."

"31 Verily for the Righteous there will be a fulfilment of (the heart´s) desires;
32 Gardens enclosed, and grapevines;
33 And voluptuous women of equal age;
34 And a cup full (to the brim).
35 No vanity shall they hear therein, nor Untruth:-
36 Recompense from thy Lord, a gift, (amply) sufficient."

After mentioning the bad state of the people of Hell for a while, Allah Almighty mentions the place of salvation and victory of the people of Paradise; they were saved from Hell and put in Paradise. It is explained that it is a grace and grant of Allah.

Showing the states of the good and the bad is a means of thinking and comparing, encouragement for worshipping, which leads people to Paradise, and warning against sins, unbelief and denial, which lead people to Hell. To sum up, after mentioning His threat against unbelievers, Allah Almighty explains His promises to good people.

In those verses, Allah gives examples from the bodily/material pleasures that people need, desire and love the most in this world using similes according to the power of understanding of people so that His slaves will have a rough idea about the otherworldly boons and will have the desire for them, as He does in other verses. It can be said that the expectations of the first addressees of the Quran are considered in this narration. It is also possible to deduce form this narration that everybody who deserves to enter Paradise in the hereafter will be given whatever he wishes and expects based on his deeds in the world, mental and spiritual maturity, and the understanding of happiness.

This narration describes the spouses prepared for believers in Paradise. They are generally divided into two: The first ones are virgin wives of the same age who were created in Paradise when Paradise was created, who are called “houris” and whose nature is not known by us. The others are the righteous wives in the world, who will be the same age and will be like young girls when they enter Paradise.

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