August 05 2021

The Beauty of the Houri - Heavenly Virgins and Feminine Ideals

The Beauty of the Houri - Heavenly Virgins and Feminine Ideals

The Beauty of the Houri - Heavenly Virgins and Feminine Ideals
pdf | 8.1 MB | English | Isbn:‎ 978-0190249342 | Author: Nerina Rustomji | Year: 2021


A captivating look at the history of the pure females of Islamic paradise known as the houri

The fascination with the houri, the pure female of Islamic paradise, began long before September 11, 2001. The Beauty of the Houri shows how the ambiguous posthumous reward of the houri, mentioned in the Qur'an and developed in Islamic theological writings, has occupied a distinctive place in the cultural eye from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century.

The houri had multiple functions in Islamic texts that range from caretaker, to pure companion, to personal entertainment. Historically, French, English, and American writers used the houri to critique Islam and Muslim societies, while at the same time adopting the houri as a model of feminine beauty. These texts presented different forms of the houri or universalized the example of the houri for all women. After September 11th, however, writings about the houri offer contradictory messages about Islam. In the twenty-first century, the image of the houri has come to symbolize both a reward for violence and the possibility of gender parity within Islam.

A cosmic figure that inspires enduring questions about the promise of paradise and the idealized feminine form, the houri has a remarkable past and broad potential for future interpretation. The Beauty of the Houri offers an intellectual history of the houri, showing how theological ambiguity has led to varying interpretations of this Islamic religious icon.

Category:Women in Islam, History of Islam, Gender & Sexuality in Religious Studies
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