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Does the Quran really promise Islamic martyrs 72 virgins?

The simple answer is NO! There is no promise of 72 virgins for martyrs, terrorists or suicide bombers anywhere in the Quran.

The section many people claim promises this is Chapter (78) sūrat l-naba (The Great News). The controversy is due to the poor translation of ONE verse from verses 29 to 34.








The translation by Moshin

  And all things We have recorded in a Book. (29)

 So taste you (the results of your evil actions); No increase shall We give you, except in torment. (30)

 Verily, for the Muttaqûn[], there will be a success (Paradise); (31)

 Gardens and vineyards, (32)

 And young full-breasted (mature) maidens of equal age, (33)

 And a full cup (of wine). (34)


The translation by Yusuf Ali

  And all things have We preserved on record. (29)

 "So taste ye (the fruits of your deeds); for no increase shall We grant you, except in Punishment." (30)

 Verily for the righteous there will be a fulfilment of (the Heart's) desires; (31)

 Gardens enclosed, and Grape-vines; (32)

 Companions of Equal Age; (33)

 And a Cup full (to the Brim). (34)

We see from these 2 translations that the verse that causes all the problems is verse 33.


  The word for word translation of this verse is,

arbic   wakawāʿiba = And splendid companions  CONJ – prefixed conjunction wa (and)
                                                                                                         N – accusative feminine plural noun


arbic atrāban = well-matched,  ADJ – accusative feminine plural indefinite adjective


So how can some translators get it so wrong! Well the answer is simple. Many translators of the Quran from Arabic to other languages have used the Hadith and other sources to help in completing the translations. You therefore find many translations that use stories from the Hadith to elaborate the actual Quran translations. This is clearly the case with this verse in Mohsins and many other English and other language translations.

It is therefore essential to check any controversial verse translation such as this with a true word for word translation of the actual Arabic Quran. It is clear from the true word for word translation of this verse that no such promise of 72  or even 1 virgin  exists in the Quran.    

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