I read an explanation of the word “Hoor” on the web site Islamsmessage.com (islamsmessage.com/attacks8.html).
This is what they have written:
Meaning of Hoor
The word hoor is actually the plural of ahwar (applicable to man) and of haura (applicable to woman) and signifies a person having eyes characterized by hauar a special quality bestowed upon a good soul, male or female in paradise and it denotes the intense whiteness of the white part of the spiritual eye.
The Qur’an describes in several other verses that in paradise you will have azwaj which mean a pair or spouse or companion which means you will have spouses or companions pure and holy (mutaharratun means pure, holy).
But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is gardens, beneath which rivers flow. Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they say: “Why, this is what we were fed with before”, for they are given things in similitude; and they have therein companions pure (and holy); and they abide therein (forever)”. [Al-Qur’an 2:25]
But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, We shall soon admit to Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath _ their eternal home; therein shall they have companions pure and holy: we shall admit them to shades, cool and ever deepening”. [Al-Qur’an 4:57].
Therefore the word hoor has no specific gender. Mohammad Asad has translated the word hoor as spouse and Abdullah Yusuf Ali as companion. Therefore according to some scholars a man in paradise will have a hoor that is a beautiful maiden with beautiful big and lustrous eyes and a woman in paradise will get a man with beautiful big and lustrous eyes.
Since childhood we are taught that Hoor is a beautiful women with big eyes in Islam. Is it true that the word Hoor is not gender specific?
Do you agree with the above statements by author?
It is true that from a purely morphological perspective, the word Hoor (حور) is actually the plural form of the masculine noun Ahwar (أحور) as well as the feminine noun Hawraa (حوراء). However, due to the connotation of the word it was generally used to describe the feminine gender only. In the classical Arabic literature, “beautiful big eyes” is considered an extremely desirable quality in a beautiful woman. It is not so expressly mentioned as an attractive quality for men. Furthermore, the Qur’an has used this word at four instances1. Of these, at two instances2, the word is followed by other attributive nouns, which are gender specific and due to which, the word “Hoor” at these instances could not be construed as gender neutral.
In view of the foregoing, I do not agree with the referred opinion.
March 26, 2002