72 Virgins: Drink lightly

9/11 brings many thoughts. Some of these are of the so-called martyrs who killed the people that day. They expected to be ushered quickly into heaven and given 72 virgins of their own. That’s brought up some interesting ideas.

Right on the Left Coast offers us “practical math.” He posits that the only way to get rid of the jihadis is to kill them off. But how will we know we are done? He suggests a problem in which we figure out everyone in the world (say 12 billion) and then half that for the females in the world (6 billion) [note that in bad times females are more likely to be born than males, so this may be slightly low], after that we want to figure out how many women lived to their teens (3 billion), and then, of those, how many never had sex in any fashion (3) [Okay, that’s a joke; but how many? Certainly I wouldn’t expect it to be in billions.] (x). Then divide that by 72, and you have the number of jihadis who must be killed before the virgins available for martyrs are all used up.

According to the Guardian, that may not matter. Turns out the language should be Syriac instead of Arabic and all those virgins in the Hadith [They are not mentioned in the Koran.] turn out to be chilled white raisins.

, to conjure away the wide-eyed houris promised to the faithful in suras XLIV.54; LII.20, LV.72, and LVI.22. Luxenberg ‘s new analysis, leaning on the Hymns of Ephrem the Syrian, yields “white raisins” of “crystal clarity” rather than doe-eyed, and ever willing virgins – the houris. Luxenberg claims that the context makes it clear that it is food and drink that is being offerred, and not unsullied maidens or houris.

In Syriac, the word hur is a feminine plural adjective meaning white, with the word “raisin” understood implicitly. Similarly, the immortal, pearl-like ephebes or youths of suras such as LXXVI.19 are really a misreading of a Syriac expression meaning chilled raisins (or drinks) that the just will have the pleasure of tasting in contrast to the boiling drinks promised the unfaithful and damned.