72 Hoorain Movie:  Are there Houris for Terrorists?

After 'The Kashmir Files' and 'The Kerala Story', '72 Hoorain' has become the talk of the town and is facing strong criticism from all over the nation for 'hurting the sentiments' of a certain community and 'portraying wrong facts' to the audience within the framework of teaser and trailer. As per the makers of the movie, it is intended to explore the psychological aspect of terrorism which will revolve around the radicalization of young men into becoming terrorists and suicide bombers.[i]

In the earlier released 51-second-long teaser, it started with pictures of infamous terrorists Osama Bin Laden, Yakub Memon, Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed, followed by a thought-provoking voice-over praising those who choose the path of Jihad. After a little intro of the lead casts, the video concludes with the voiceover promising ‘untouched Hoorain (beautiful maiden)’ in Jannah to those who do Jihad.[ii]

Upon the release of the teaser, many religious and political leaders especially the figures from Kashmir objected to the name of the movie as well as the connection of Islamic faith to the terrorist activities. Grand Mufti of Jammu & Kashmir Nasir ul Haque told Press Trust of India : "It is totally controversial and hurts the sentiments of the people, especially Muslims. We are not going to accept this title. Even this film needs to be banned and those who are producing these types of films should understand that such movies are against amity and brotherhood between the communities,"[iii] Furthermore, something that added fuel to the fire in this case of teaser is the fact that it was mention that the attack on the World Trade Centre and Taj Hotel Blast took place in 2011, while the actual incidents had happened in 2001 and 2008 respective. After this many secular minds mocked the standard of fact-checking in a film which deals with such a sensitive topic.[iv]

Before release of the trailer on June 28, the trailer was rejected by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and allowed only after removal of some images, animal welfare concerns, and Quranic allusions.[v] No matter what the movie is going to be entirely about, the major concern would be to see whether Islam has anything to do with "Hoor" for these kinds of people who are martyred in terrorist activities. Along the line, another controversy that has eaten up the minds of people is why there is no specific provision for females in Jannah as there is "Hoor" for their male counterparts. Before we dive into the discussion, it would be worth looking at the concept of 'Hoor' in Islamic perspective.

Concept of Hoor in Islam

Description of Jannah is among the one of the most ambiguous concepts in Islam as Allāh the Almighty has made it as limited as possible to make it out of human imagination. Allah says in the Holy Quran:

‏‏ فَلاَ تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَا أُخْفِيَ لَهُمْ مِنْ قُرَّةِ أَعْيُنٍ جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُون

َ‏‏ (No soul knows what comfort has been concealed from them, as a reward for what they did".) (Holy Quran: 32/17).

 The hadith that best describes the extensive and satisfactory experience therein Jannah would be what Abu Huraira reported:

"‏ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَعْدَدْتُ لِعِبَادِيَ الصَّالِحِينَ مَا لاَ عَيْنٌ رَأَتْ وَلاَ أُذُنٌ سَمِعَتْ وَلاَ خَطَرَ عَلَى قَلْبِ بَشَرٍ ذُخْرًا بَلْهَ مَا أَطْلَعَكُمُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ ‏"‏ ‏.‏

(Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: I have prepared for My pious servants which no eye (has ever) seen, no ear has (ever) heard and no human heart has ever perceived those bounties leaving apart (those bounties) about which Allah has informed you.) ( Sahih Muslim 2824/53)

Thereafter, even if it has been kept in secret what the divine adobe (i.e. Jannah) possesses in terms of delight and gratification, on several occasions Allah the Almighty has ensured sufficient information is provided to motivate the believers and build up their morale to achieve it. Among the detailed and brief accounts of what has been mentioned in the Holy Quran about Jannah is gardens, family, thrones of dignity, food & drink, and eternal home. Hoor is in the list which has been named time and again for those who enter Jannah and experience the exotic experience of divine hospitality of Allah the Almighty. There are several verses in the Qur'an which describe the attributes of Hoor and to whom they would be endowed. In a verse describing the availability of the Hoors in the Jannah, Allah the Almighty said in Surah Baqarah:

وَلَهُمْ فِيهَآ أَزْوَٰجٌۭ مُّطَهَّرَةٌۭ ۖ وَهُمْ فِيهَا خَـٰلِدُون

َ (They {people in Jannah} will have pure spouses, and they will be there forever.)[vi] whereas in another verse, He described their attributes saying:

وَحُورٌ عِينٌۭ كَأَمْثَـٰلِ ٱللُّؤْلُؤِ ٱلْمَكْنُون

Furthermore, upon looking into some of the books of Hinduism, it became clear that the concept of Hoor does also exist in several books of Hinduism. They refer to these Hoors (celestial damsels) as Apsaras. In Skanda Purana, it is mentioned: "If one takes the holy bath for the sake of sexual pleasure with celestial damsels in heaven, he attains the same." (Skanda Purana: 3:1:1:77) Unlike the counting of 72 Hoors in Islam, there are thousands of Apsaras mentioned in Mahabharat for the martyrs: "Foremost of Apsaras, numbering by thousands, go out with great speed (for receiving the spirit of the slain hero) covering him for their lord." (Mahabharat: 12:98) In most of the cases, people who claim that the terrorists are promised to have 72 Hoors in Jannah don't even know that the number of 72 doesn't come from the Qur'an, rather from the hadith:

‏"‏ أَدْنَى أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ الَّذِي لَهُ ثَمَانُونَ أَلْفَ خَادِمٍ وَاثْنَتَانِ وَسَبْعُونَ زَوْجَةً وَتُنْصَبُ لَهُ قُبَّةٌ مِنْ لُؤْلُؤٍ وَزَبَرْجَدٍ وَيَاقُوتٍ كَمَا بَيْنَ الْجَابِيَةِ إِلَى صَنْعَاءَ ‏.‏

( The least of the people of Paradise in position is the one with eighty thousand servants and seventy-two wives. He shall have a tent of pearl, peridot, and corundum set up for him,(the size of which is) like that which is between Al-Jabiyyah and Sana'a. ) (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2562/38)

Would terrorists get Hoors?

Now after a brief yet inclusive coverage of the concept of Hoors in Islam, it is indeed needed to clarify whether terrorists would be fortunate to have Hoors in heaven as claimed by most of the media outlets as well as anti-Islam mentality people. To be specific to the point, there is no evidence regarding the legitimacy of the authority of Hoors to these terrorists. In contrast, there are several verses and hadith which show how these terrorists don't even conform to the basic standard of entering Jannah let alone having Hoors therein as a part of reward from Allah the Almighty. In the Holy Quran, Allah the Almighty said:

 تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا ۚ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

(That ˹eternal˺ Home in the Hereafter We reserve only for those who seek neither tyranny nor corruption on the earth. The ultimate outcome belongs only to the righteous.) (Holy Quran: 83/28)

In the verse, Allah refuses the authority of entering Jannah for those who seek tyranny and corruption on the earth and the terrorists, maybe of any religion or creed, want nothing except tyranny and oppression.

In a hadith reported by Abdullah bin Umar, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

 مَنْ قَتَلَ مُعَاهَدًا لَمْ يَرَحْ رَائِحَةَ الْجَنَّةِ، وَإِنَّ رِيحَهَا لَيُوجَد مِنْ مَسِيرَةِ أَرْبَعِينَ عَامًا

(Whoever killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims, shall not smell the smell of paradise though its smell is perceived from a distance of forty years.) (Sahih Bukhari 6914).

This hadith implies the importance of human life, no matter which religion or ism they belong to. Likewise, there are several other hadith and verses which indicate the actual standpoint of Islam against these terrorist mentality people. In fact, the Holy Quran makes it further severe, saying: "Whoever takes a life—unless as a punishment for murder or mischief in the land—it will be as if they killed all of humanity; and whoever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of humanity." (Holy Quran: 05/32). This is what the maqāṣid al-syarī'ah also calls for where under the Circle of Essentials (Daruriyyah) ḥifẓ al-nafs (Preservation of Life) has been given such an important spot after the Preservation of faith and religion (ḥifẓ al-din) that shows how imperative the concept of life and its protection is in Islam.[xiv] Therefore, it wouldn't be justified to claim that Islam has called out its followers to fight for the religion for no reason and Allah has promised to grant Hoors to these terrorists.

What for females?

While talking about the Hoor for males, the first thought-provoking comment that questions our rational faculty is 'what for females'. For a secular mind, 'to enquire why the Quran only mentioned provision of Hoor for males and nothing specifically came out of the Qur'an or the Sunnah for females' may sound justifiable, but as Muslims we tend not jump into any conclusion on such matters which have connection with the realm of the unseen of which we have a very little and limited knowledge and understanding. Yet, there are several facts upon which a satisfactory standpoint can be drawn and we would have a look at them one by one.

There are several verses in the Qur'an which ensure that the deeds done by either male or female would be rewarded. In Surah Ali 'Imran, Allah the Almighty said: “I will never deny any of you—male or female—the reward of your deeds. Both are equal in reward."[vii] whereas in Surah al-Nahl Allah the Almighty said: "Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We will surely bless them with a good life."[viii] These verses imply how considerate Allah is about the rewards of His creatures' deeds done in the world and if He is so thoughtful about the rewards of deeds then how mindful He would be about the highest civilian award a Muslim can ever have in life and hereafter, the Jannah. In another verse of Surah an-Nisa, Allah the Almighty said: "But those who do good—whether male or female—and have faith will enter Paradise and will never be wronged even as much as the speck on a date stone."[ix] This verse accentuates that nobody would be wronged even to the least amount possible, after all the justice would be in the hands of Allah, the Most-Just and the Most-Merciful. Furthermore, the description "There will be whatever the souls desire and the eyes delight in"[x] about Jannah is further clarifying the provisions of both male and female as per the desire of their heart which could be anything as there wouldn't be any limitations whatsoever.

Psychologically, the creation of male and female is different and thus something that would please the male may not please the female and vice versa. In fact, male tend to have a strong passion for women and thus they prefer to have multiple wives whereas females love a single man most of the time. Holy Quran said: "The enjoyment of worldly desires—women, children, treasures of gold and silver, fine horses, cattle, and fertile land—has been made appealing to people."[xi] In this verse, among the appealing objects is woman who can only be fascinating to the male counterparts. Therefore, to provide someone, be male or female, with what pleases them is not failing rather a manifestation of the perfection of bliss found only in Jannah. Along with it, women in Jannah would get married to their husbands of dunya if they were pleased with them. Indicating the companionship of each other as happiness, the Qur'an mentioned in Surah Ya-Sin "They and their spouses will be in cool shade, reclining on canopied couches."[xii] and in Surah az-Zukhruf "Enter Paradise, you and your spouses, rejoicing.”[xiii]  Here some people argue that if such is the case that women would get married to their husbands then what would be the option when a woman is married to multiple husbands in dunya, would she be with all the husbands? There are three schools of thought in this matter; she would either select among them as supported by Sheikh Ibn-e Uthaymeen, or the best of them in character would be the husband as supported by Imam Ibn-e Katheer, or the last of her husbands would be the husband in Jannah as reported by Ibu Darda (r.a.) & Ummul Mu'min Ayesha (r.a.). Among these, the last thought of school has been widely attested by the scholars.

Last but not the least, life in Jannah would be different compared to the life of dunya. Everything that we enjoy here would be of a much better degree in Jannah and anything we tend to refrain from in dunya would no longer be there in Jannah. In fact, the state of mind we would have of a certain situation would not be the same in Jannah. In a hadith reported by Abu Huraira, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: "There would be no dissension amongst them and no enmity in their hearts. Their hearts would be like one heart, glorifying Allah morning and evening." (Sahih Muslim 2834/53) Therefore, there wouldn't be any form of jealousy and envy for each other in Jannah and all the women would be happy of what they and their husbands have of pleasing objects.

To encapsulate, if any matter of religion or Sharia' is silent on something, it doesn't mean Allah has neglected it and hasn't entertained any extensive attention to it. Rather, sometimes the matter could have been of so much importance that Allah preferred to keep it secret and present it in an unimaginable form that nobody could have thought or imagined. Along with it, the mention of Hoor for males doesn't imply that the females would be deprived of it or they wouldn't have as much as provisions as males would have in Jannah. These forms of presumptive hypotheses may sound illlogical sometimes as the extent of our knowledge and understanding of things in unseen realm is very limited, but as Muslims we shouldn't be grieved for something that is out of catch and have a firm faith in Allah the Almighty that He would never wrong with anyone, be it a male or female, and grant more than anybody deserves out of his generosity and munificence. Therefore, rather than reflecting upon what would be there in Jannāh and what would not be, our primary focus should be to make it happen and enter the Jannah to experience the first-hand hospitality of Allah's blessings and benedictions.


[i] Vashishtha, N. (2023, June 12). After The Kerala Story, 72 Hoorain to narrate stories of radicalised youth. Republic World.

[ii] Singh, S. P., Malhotra, P., & Bashir, A. (2023, June 5). 72 Hoorain first-look teaser: A deep dive into the dark world of terrorism and suicide bombing. Telegraph India.

[iii] Singh, S. P., & Pandit, A. (2023, June 14). 72 Hoorain: Religious, political leaders in Kashmir object to negative portrayal of Muslims. India TV News.

[iv] Entertainment Desk. (2023, June 5). Another Indian film '72 Hoorain' termed 'Islamophobic'. The Express Tribune.

[v] Tanwar, G. S., Dagar, K., Tanwar, A., & Pandit, A. (2023, June 28). 72 Hoorain trailer out: Sanjay Puran Singh's film is about manipulation of faith | WATCH. India TV News.

[vi] Holy Quran. 02/25

[vii] Holy Quran. 03/195

[viii] Holy Quran. 16/97

[ix] Holy Quran. 04/124

[x] Holy Quran. 43/71

[xi] Holy Quran. 03/14

[xii] Holy Quran. 36/56

[xiii] Holy Quran. 43/70

[xiv]  Abdel, Y.M., & Tarshany, R. (2016). Protection of Life in Islamic Law. (5th ed., Vol. 9). International Journal of Business, Economics and Law. ResearchGate.

About the author

Sirajuddin Shaikh is a PG research scholar at Darul Huda Islamic University, Kerala, India. His research areas include Islamic Studies, Study of human behavior, and Islamic psychology


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily mirror Islamonweb’s editorial stance.

Related Posts

Leave A Comment