It is said that unless you speak fluent Arabic, you’ll never fully understand its nuances in translation. Interpretations are chosen by individuals or embedded by radical teachings influencing even the very young. That may variously be called indoctrination, conditioning, even ‘brainwashing’
English readings from the Qur’an promise those in Paradise will be rewarded with blessings that eclipse anything on earth; unlimited food of your choice, riches, and wishes that come true. Things considered sinful on Earth such as wine will be allowed, and people will be able to eat and drink all they want and not get full, hungover or sick. People will be reunited with their friends and relatives, they will all be made young again, and there will be no anger or pain. There will be rivers of the purest water, milk, wine, and honey, all of which are better than any found on earth.
The believers who make it into Paradise, male and female, are promised beautiful companions, known as “houris” in Arabic.
“Serving the believers will be immortal youths with jeweled and crystal cups filled with the purest wine and fruits and meats of their desire, a reward for the good deeds of their past life.”
The Moslem scholar Yusuf Ali defines the word “houris” in English as “youths of perpetual freshness.” He also describes the females as “pure, lustrous, virgin, and more perfect than any human on earth. Imagine the woman of your dreams.”
He says there is no direct evidence in the Qur’an to support there being 70 or 72 “virgins” for each person, which is the most common misconception of Paradise.
Believers are promised they will experience incredible physical pleasures when they enter Paradise; they will be happier in Paradise than they could ever be in life.
“Incredible physical pleasures” must mean sex, surely? Not necessarily. The houris are not necessarily actual but a metaphor, say scholars, for the ineffable joys of the afterlife and “ineffable” is the perfect word to describe it, since Allah promises rewards beyond imagination, meaning one can’t even guess what reward lies ahead since there is no equal on earth.
Innocence versus sin
Islamic radicals teach that all non-believers are guilty of sin, seen as another frequent misinterpretation of the Qur’an. It is this misinterpretation of innocence that makes Christian children not innocent and makes it permissible to harm them. Being a Christian or an agnostic, an atheist or just a non-believer can therefore be a punishable.
In the end, it is all gets down to the question of interpretation of the antiquated, lyrical and ambiguous wording of the teachings that an individual chooses to believe in and act upon.
But the scholar Yusuf Ali again: “Islam is unambiguous on the issue of suicide and hurting innocent people, which are completely sinful and sins are never rewarded, only punished.”