The popular tradition among Muslims — could it be called an urban legend? — is that a shahid (martyr) who dies waging jihad is granted seventy-two virgins in Paradise. Not only may he have his way with the young heavenly beauties, but every day Allah magically restores their virginity so that he can start all over again. There’s no need to respect them in the morning.
However, this deal is for men only. The tradition does not promise that a woman who dies in the way of Allah will be granted even one gorgeous hunk of her very own when she attains Paradise.
So what’s in it for Muslim women? What reward in paradise awaits the devoted Muslima if she dies for her faith?
That very question was posed in the “Ask the Scholar” feature at Islam Online. In the chapter “What Is for Women?”, a Muslim woman asks:
My question is, how is it possible that Allah Almighty will grant the fulfillment of the desires of the male but not of the female — that is, to not share her husband with multiple women?
Instead of her desire/wish being fulfilled, she will be brainwashed, but on the other hand men won’t have to give up anything.
A male martyr will receive 70 wives, but if a female servant of Allah dies for Jihad, she will still be required to share her husband with other wives.
I personally feel like crying …
Dr. Sano Koutoub Moustapha, professor of Fiqh at the Islamic University in Malaysia, was forced to disappoint the unfortunate woman in his reply:
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… [T]he issue of polygamy, be it in this life or the hereafter, it should not be classified as a privilege but rather a solution [to avoid the haram] as you correctly mentioned in your arguments.
In other words, Islam does not open the door of polygamy for all men as it does not open it to women at all. As you may know well that each ruling or law has an exception and the exception is not the principle, therefore, we can not judge a law through its exceptions.
In this regard, I shall remind you that rewarding a mujahid with many wives doesn’t mean betraying the female mujahid.
This means that those women who don’t want their husbands to have more [wives] could be granted this wish and desire. At the same time if the husbands of those women want to have more than them Allah is great and can satisfy each of them in the way He, the Almighty, wants.
Therefore, a woman should not be frustrated for a privilege of polygamy offered to men. This is not, for sure, at the expense of woman. Heaven is meant for both men and women, both of them are equally entitled to get what they wish for.
But to prevent the Muslim woman from becoming an apostate on the spot instead of a useful mujahid, Prof. Moustapha continues:
Having said that, I shall inform you that the existing setup of humans in terms of desire, would be changed on the Day of Judgment.
In other words: there is nothing in it for women in the Islamic paradise (Jannah).
Hat tip: VH, who also supplied some of the commentary.