Many non-Muslims and some Muslims have criticized the Qur’an in terms of its explanation of paradise. In some Surahs (55: 56) it mentions “in them will be maidens, chaste, restraining their glances”. Critics like to say that this is ‘giving the wrong impression’. So could you please explain to me how to argue this point in defense of the Qur’an when in discussion with non-Muslims?
I do not fully understand what exactly do you imply by the words ‘giving the wrong impression’. Some people have criticized the Qur’an for appealing to the very basic needs and desires of man, which also include his desire for beauty and chastity in his/her partner. I really do not know how can a person who has some knowledge and exposure of human nature criticize this appeal of the Qur’an. The Qur’an has simply stated that in the life hereafter, man shall be granted all these things that he very strongly desires to possess in the life of this world and due to which, many a times, he is driven away from the path of his Lord’s liking.
I am sure you would agree with me that one of the strongest attractions that has, generally, led man away from God and His directives is that of the opposite sex. Many a times, man has sinned because of this impulse. The Qur’an has simply assured man that there is no harm in this attraction if one’s behavior is controlled within the boundaries prescribed by the Shari`ah. It has assured man that if in the life of this world, man would control himself within the boundaries prescribed by the Shari`ah, his Lord in His infinite mercy shall grant him all that he desired to get but from which he refrained himself, only to deserve the mercy and the good will of His Lord.
If you look at these verses in this perspective, I am sure you will also agree with me that a more just and equitable reward, in the hereafter, cannot even be imagined than the one which promises man to get exactly what he sacrificed in the life of this world.
26th March 1999