The belief that the Koran promises 72 virgins in heaven for Muslim martyrs is the result of a monumental "mistranslation," according to Islam scholar Irshad Manji, who claims that these individuals are, instead, offered "raisins" after death.
"Nowhere in the Koran does it promise 72 virgins, 70 virgins, 48 virgins. What it promises, as far as heaven goes, is something lush," Manji told CNN's Fareed Zakaria. "The Arabic word for virgin has been mistranslated. The original word that was used in the Koran was the word for 'raisin,' not 'virgin.' In other words, that martyrs would get raisins in heaven, not virgins."
Manji, who made this claim last month during a CNN special titled, "Why They Hate Us," cited "several scholars" who she said have investigated this issue and concluded that the word "raisin" is a more appropriate Koranic fit:
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh referenced Manji's comments on the matter in a recent segment as well, explaining that he subsequently began looking into the dispute over the Arabic meaning of the word.
"I just am not wantonly accepting of this stuff. I actually dug into this," Limbaugh said last month. "I found out that it is an ongoing controversy within Islam, the definition of the word that has been translated 'virgins' as it's used by militant Islamists as they recruit."
The radio host said that the debate remains unsettled and that "there is one interpretation that does mean raisins."
WMAL radio host Chris Plante also addressed the issue on his show, taking a more sarcastic approach to the dispute over the definition.
"They've got bad news for jihadists," he quipped before playing Manji's comments, laughing throughout the segment and taking aim at Zakaria and Manji. "Seventy-two raisins in a Sunkist box, and they are doing this straight faced. They are a satire of themselves."
He continued, "The wheels have come off inside what's left in their minds. These people are not well."
This idea about raisins is not new, as a 2002 piece in the Guadian noted that author Christoph Luxenberg's book "Die Syro-Aramaische Lesart des Koran," posited that "many obscurities of the Koran disappear if we read certain words as being Syriac and not Arabic."
Based on this methodology, Luxenberg came to the conclusion that "white raisins" or "crystal clarity" were the real potential meanings behind the text attributed to virgins, according to the article.
(H/T: Christian Today)
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