(1) In Arabic language “Hoorun ‘Een” literally means the appearance of slight whiteness in the blackness of the eyes. It was considered to be a sign of great beauty among the ancient Arabs (“al-Mufradaat fi Ghareeb al-Quran” by Imam al-Isfahani).
Others have said that it means eyes with exceedingly white cornea and exceeding black iris.
Arab linguists have also mentioned that the word “hoor” is exclusively used for women in Arabic.
(2) The “Hoorun ‘Een” are mentioned in four verses of the Quran:
- al-Tur: 20
- al-Rahman: 72
- al-Waqia: 22
They are always referred to in feminine gender by the Quran. For example, Surah al-Rahman refers to them as “maqsuraat” and “yat-miss-hunn.”
(3) Moreover, all the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ refer to them in the feminine as well using “la-haa“, “hunna“, and other feminine constructions. The Prophet ﷺ has described their beauty, their scarves, legs, smell, and singing in great detail.
(4) All the scholars of Islam for the past fourteen centuries have agreed that “Hoorun ‘Een” are special female creation of Paradise.
(5) There is not a single scholar of Islam who has held that “hoor” or “Hoorun ‘Een” means angels or heavenly beings as it is against the Arabic language, the Quran, and the Sunna.
(6) In light of the above, the English translation of “Hoorun ‘Een” could be:
- wide-eyed maidens
These words describe their different qualities and all are accurate.
(7) According to mainstream Muslims the pleasures of Paradise are “literal” and not merely symbolic or metaphorical.
Some people err in saying that hoorun ‘een includes masculine beings due to their lack of understanding the Arabic language. They say that the word “hoor” is grammatically not feminine, eg. it does not end with taa marbota, etc.
There are many exceptions to it, for instance Mu’awiya (معاوية), a masculine name, ends with taa marbota, but is never used for females.
Likewise, some Arabic words used exclusively for females are grammatically masculine. An example is the Arabic word “haamil” (حامل means “pregnant woman”) and “haa-idh” (حائض means a menstruating woman), even though both words are structurally masculine.
And Allah knows best.
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