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Old 12 March 2007, 12:49 AM
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Soapbox Debunking the ‘Suicide for 72 Virgins’ Myth

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One of the biggest Israeli propaganda myths is the invention of 72 virgins as a Muslim reward for suicide. This has been repeated to the western world so often that most people accept it as fact.
http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-b...7/03/11/p15072
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Old 12 March 2007, 01:34 AM
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You know, I'm sure that article has an interesting point to make about Islamic suicide bombers, but the anti-Semitism was so repulsive that I couldn't get past the second paragraph.
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Old 12 March 2007, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by BringTheNoise View Post
You know, I'm sure that article has an interesting point to make about Islamic suicide bombers, but the anti-Semitism was so repulsive that I couldn't get past the second paragraph.
I tried to read it, I really did. Can I have a cookie now?
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Old 12 March 2007, 01:55 AM
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I have a sneaking suspicion that religious zealots who hijack planes and declare, with their last words, that they are doing so in service of their god, might believe that they are killing themselves (and others) in service of their god. If one potential reward in that religion is 72 wives (who, if we look at the context for wifely qualifications, are likely to be virgins) then even if this is not a mainstream belief, it's possible some of the zealots who commit suicide in service of their God believe they will be rewarded thusly. The fact that their holy book denounces suicide is irrelevant, as the fact that they knowingly killed themselves is not being debated.

It's an interesting thing to ponder what goes through the mind of a suicide bomber, and while we may never know for certain, we can have an educated discussion based on the scriptures. However, when an article starts by spewing such conspiracy theorist venom, it tends to scare away anyone interested in or capable of having an educated discussion.
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Old 13 March 2007, 05:43 AM
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I'm relieved that others had the same reaction I did...
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Old 13 March 2007, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snapdragonfly View Post
I'm relieved that others had the same reaction I did...
I know it's not in the Qur'an.

Aha, there is a Wikipedia page. It doesn't say very much though.
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Old 13 March 2007, 11:14 AM
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How exactly does this work anyway?

Presumably the majority of women who die are already not virgins, unless there is an abnormally high rate of deaths amongst the young. So there is a small pool to start with. Secondly, they must be black eyed. That cuts it down even further.

Once our martyr has had his wicked way with them, they are no longer virgins, therefore not eligible for further duty.

So at a ratio of 72:1 I'm thinking that unless they are anticipating a very low number of martyrs, or black eyed women are being deliberately kept in virginhood until their demise, then the numbers just don't add up.
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Old 13 March 2007, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
How exactly does this work anyway?

Presumably the majority of women who die are already not virgins, unless there is an abnormally high rate of deaths amongst the young. So there is a small pool to start with. Secondly, they must be black eyed. That cuts it down even further.

Once our martyr has had his wicked way with them, they are no longer virgins, therefore not eligible for further duty.

So at a ratio of 72:1 I'm thinking that unless they are anticipating a very low number of martyrs, or black eyed women are being deliberately kept in virginhood until their demise, then the numbers just don't add up.
Hey, it's God. He wants to give somebody a bunch of virgins, he can cook them up made-to-order.

I do not, of course, believe that suicide bombers have their own harem waiting for them in the afterlife, but when dealing with supreme beings all things are possible.

Nonny
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Old 13 March 2007, 02:47 PM
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This article came out a few months after 9-11 and has quotes from the Hadith as well as the 'no, it's really raisin brandy' explanation:

Virgins? What virgins?

Last edited by hoitoider; 13 March 2007 at 02:48 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #10  
Old 13 March 2007, 03:20 PM
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Anti-semitism is a tricky subject when refering to the Isreali/Palestinian conflict.

Honestly, I have always felt the "religous zealot" excuse was an easy way to dehumanize the enemy which is why it has becoem so very popular.

I don't doubt that there is a religous component to the recruiting and the rehtoric of various terrorist groups. But then again there are religous components to the recruiting and rehtoric in our own armed forces. People fight for God, Mom, and Apple Pie, regardless of what country they come from.

The constant repeating of the 72 virgins meme is a way to hold up the "foolish belifes" of the enemy, and to make them seem irrational and ignorant. It allows us to feel better than them, and lets us feel good as we once again take up "the white man's burden" to bring civilization to the world.

In truth what leads people to terrorism and suicide missions is desperation and devotion. If you belive in your cuase (usually some vauge notion of freedom from outside interference) and belive that the only way to achieve this end is via violence, and the only way to commit this violence is a suicide mission, it is not nearly as illogical as we imply with the 72 virgins meme.

The bottom line is, people may belive they will receive physical joy in the afterlife if they die a martyr. But that is not the motivation to be a martyr, the motivation is the same as ours, a hope for a better life for their family, and a hope for freedom.
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  #11  
Old 13 March 2007, 10:23 PM
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See? First of Two can contribute something meaningful to a discussion when he chooses to! And he is entirely correct: the houri is not only a virgin, she remains virginal during her service to the elect of Allah. She soothes his brow and bathes his feet. She doesn't do the horizontal mambo! Like the Japanese Geisha or the eastern Belly-Dancer, it's purely a matter of "look but don't touch."

Silas
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Old 13 March 2007, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
See? First of Two can contribute something meaningful to a discussion when he chooses to! And he is entirely correct: the houri is not only a virgin, she remains virginal during her service to the elect of Allah. She soothes his brow and bathes his feet. She doesn't do the horizontal mambo! Like the Japanese Geisha or the eastern Belly-Dancer, it's purely a matter of "look but don't touch."

Silas
I felt incredibly mean for thinking this, but I often wondered that if you want to believe that you get 72 vrgins, than how do you keep getting virgins. Wouldn't you run out? This explains it. Wow, I feel like a terrible person, must have been the caffiene and the fact that it feels like 90 degrees in her. Oh well, I'll grab the fish.
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Old 13 March 2007, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
Secondly, they must be black eyed. That cuts it down even further.
Nah. One good punch, and you can make anybody black eyed.

Blushing "Does Not Condone Violence" Bride
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  #14  
Old 14 March 2007, 01:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by First of Two View Post
They're not actually human female virgins, they're houri.
Hey, hey, you don't have to insult them.
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Old 14 March 2007, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Admiraldinty View Post
Hey, hey, you don't have to insult them.
When they were filming the "Swedish Bikini Team" commercials, where the women were in an inflatable boat, the director called, "Okay, get the oars out of the water," and one of the women responded, "What did you just call us?"

Silas (gets paid by the hour...)
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  #16  
Old 14 March 2007, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by First of Two View Post
With a holy houri (pardon the rhyme) a man can have as much contact as he desires without being contaminated by the filth of femaleness.

*blinks*

Holy crap, do I sound like Ryda?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
When they were filming the "Swedish Bikini Team" commercials, where the women were in an inflatable boat, the director called, "Okay, get the oars out of the water," and one of the women responded, "What did you just call us?"

Silas (gets paid by the hour...)
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Originally Posted by Admiraldinty View Post
Hey, hey, you don't have to insult them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlushingBride View Post
Nah. One good punch, and you can make anybody black eyed.

Blushing "Does Not Condone Violence" Bride
Wow... I've been reading this entire thread and chuckling. You all owe me a new keyboard, darnit. You cna split the cost amongst yourselves. And a cup of chai, but you can split the cost on that too. Because I'm nice.
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  #17  
Old 15 March 2007, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by First of Two View Post
The Quran refers to the houris as "mates" (55:56, 55:70)
Which translation are you using? The one I'm looking at doesn't have anything about "mates" in those verses, or even anything similar. Or is it possible there's a typo in the verse numbers you gave?
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  #18  
Old 16 March 2007, 05:35 AM
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Quote:
Here are some selections where Hur are mentioned in the Qur'an. These verses are from the English translation by Muhammad Asad.

"Thus shall it be. And We shall pair them with companions pure, most beautiful of eye."[Chapter (Surah) Ad-Dukhan (The Smoke)(44):54]
"In these [gardens] will be mates of modest gaze, whom neither man nor invisible being will have touched ere then." [Chapter (Surah) Ar-Rahman (The Most Beneficent(55):56]
"[There the blest will live with their] companions pure and modest, in pavilions [splendid] [Chapter (Surah) Ar-Rahman (The Most Beneficent(55):72]
"reclining on couches [of happiness] ranged in rows!” And [in that paradise] We shall mate them with companions pure, most beautiful of eye [Chapter (Surah) At-Tur (The Mount)(52):20]
Here is a verse that refers to one’s own renewal to a pure state:

"And [with them will be their] spouses, raised high: for, behold, We shall have brought them into being in a life renewed, having resurrected them as virgins [Chapter (Surah) Al-Waqi'a (The Event)(56):34-36]
And among His wonders is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind. [Lit., “from among yourselves”] so that you might incline towards them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you: in this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who think! … And He it is who creates [all life] in the first instance, and then brings it forth anew: and most easy is this for Him, since His is the essence of all that is most sublime in the heavens and on earth, and He alone is almighty, truly wise. [Chapter (Surah) Ar-Rum (The Romans)(30):21…27]
A verse regarding other companionship:

“And, O our Sustainer, bring them into the gardens of perpetual bliss which Thou hast promised them, together with the righteous from among their forebears, and their spouses, and their offspring - for, verily, Thou alone art almighty, truly wise [Chapter (Surah) Ghafir (The Forgiver)(40):8]
From:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houri

The 72 number is from the Hadith. The translation is 72 "wives" but as one of the verses above show spouses in Paradise are ever virginal (permavirg). Imagine having a screen door that stays tight no matter how many times you slam it hard.

I imagine that Mohammed (PBUH) may have had trouble finding recruits for the war with the Mecchans.
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  #19  
Old 16 March 2007, 05:11 PM
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Thanks for the quotes, HoneyBunching Oats.

My Arabic background is with Modern Standard Arabic, not Qur'anic Arabic, but I'm willing to take a crack at the Arabic itself. In 55:56, the line is

فِيهِنَّ قَاصِرَاتُ الطَّرْفِ لَمْ يَطْمِثْهُنَّ إِنسٌ قَبْلَهُمْ وَلَا جَانٌّ

In transliteration*, it's

fiihinna qaasiraatu al-tarfi lam yatmashhunna insun qablahum wa laa jaanun

Word-for-word, it's something like

in-them (restricted-(feminine-plural) of-gaze) not he-touches-them-(feminine-plural)* mankind before-them and not jinn-plural

Glossing over a lot of grammar, the important word here is qaasiraatu. Most Arabic words derive their meaning from a three-consonant root; the root for this word is q-s-r. (-aatu is a feminine plural ending in the nominative case.)

By itself, q-s-r has meanings dealing with being short; the everyday adjective for a short person, qasiir, comes from this root. Some of its derived meanings deal with missing the mark, locking up or confining something (qaSr, "fortress"), and restrictions, which brings us to qaasir.

qaasir by itself has meanings like "restricted," "reserved," and "legal minor."*** The Hans Wehr dictionary lists the phrase (in the singular) separately, qaasiratu al-tarf, and translates it as "(of a woman) chaste-eyed, chaste, demure, modest."

There's no connotation of "mates" for qaasiraatu, or, as far as I can find, for any other words here. Perhaps someone who knows Islam better than I do would argue for the meaning; it isn't in the text itself, though.

So while the general sense is along the lines of the translation you posted, or the three translations below, the word "mates" doesn't appear in the Arabic (or other translations), and I suspect it's an addition by the translator.

055.056
YUSUFALI: In them will be (Maidens), chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or Jinn before them has touched;-
PICKTHAL: Therein are those of modest gaze, whom neither man nor jinni will have touched before them.
SHAKIR: In them shall be those who restrained their eyes; before them neither man nor jinni shall have touched them.

(Whoops, meant to list the dictionaries:

Concise Oxford English-Arabic Dictionary
Al-Mawrid Arabic-English Dictionary
and that old warhorse, The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic)

* Transliteration of Arabic is always dicey, because there's no single accepted way to do it, and a lot of Arabic sounds don't occur in English. I hope this is a reasonable approximation for our purposes, though, even if others could be argued for (assimilating the definite article to the sun noun, for example. or distinguishing emphatic consonants.)

* The verb root "tamasha" doesn't appear in either of two Arabic-English dictionaries I checked, either on its own or as an entry under the English "touch"; I'm guessing it's probably a Qur'anic Arabic word that has dropped out of Modern Standard Arabic. The translators consistently use "touched" and I've followed them.

*** And "intransitive," when it's applied to a verb, but I think we can rule that out here.

Last edited by Traveler in Black; 16 March 2007 at 05:29 PM. Reason: Bibliography
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  #20  
Old 17 March 2007, 07:01 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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My guess on the issue is that it's a simple misunderstanding of what's just common sense: having 72 wives will drive you to suicide.

Just think about how all discussions will end with 72 wives ganging up on one husband. Or 72 wives nagging about mowing the lawn. And don't even get me started on how long the bathroom queue will be! I think the song say it best: "Suicide is painless".
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