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January 20th, 2011
09:24 PM ET

Afterlife inflation: Have jihadists had to raise martyrdom incentive?

By Adam Levine, CNN

The promise of 70 or 72 virgins upon martyrdom has become a familiar expression in discussions among Islamic extremists, but a recent terror indictment raises the peculiar question of whether the incentive has been increased.

The case involves a man suspected of conspiring with a terrorist network responsible for the deaths of five U.S. soldiers in Iraq. He was arrested Wednesday in Canada, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York.

Faruq Khalil Muhammad, 38, was charged with conspiring to kill Americans abroad and providing material support to a terrorist network that conducted suicide bombings in Iraq, the statement said.

The complaint quotes from wiretaps of conversations between the defendant and the potential suicide bombers he is alleged to having aided.

In one snippet of conversation from March 2009, the defendant is encouraging a reluctant "Fighter 5" who is concerned about his mother. In the course of encouraging "Fighter 5," the complaint shows an inflation in the promise of virgins after martyrdom.

"May God give you 74 to marry. We want virgins of paradise, not the ones here," said "Fighter 5," according to the criminal complaint.

"You come short, brother," the complaint quotes Muhammad as responding. "God is more generous than that. It's supposed to be 76."

The promise of 76 is higher than even the defendant believes is traditionally due. In October 2009, according to the complaint, the defendant explains to his own mother the rewards of jihad.

"Do you know mother that when a martyr dies, he would have 7 characteristics. First, he receives forgiveness for all his sins, then he gets to see his own seat in paradise," the complaint alleges Muhamad said. "Also he gets to have 70 virgins."

So is the promised reward of martyrdom suffering from some sort of spiritual inflation? Is 70 no longer enough incentive?

"It seems to be an inaccurate and carelessly cited figure," said Dr. John Esposito, a professor at Georgetown University and author of The Future of Islam.

There is nothing in the Quran that rewards a suicide bomber, or martyr, with virgins, Esposito said.

"This has become a popular belief in some circles but is not based on scripture," Esposito explained.

The Quran does speak of "houris," dark-eyed or black-eyed virgins, noted Esposito, as a reward for men in paradise, but not specifically for martyrdom.

The number, typically 70 or 72, is not in the Quran, said Esposito, but rather comes from the oral tradition.

The focus on virgins as a reward for martyrdom is a modern phenomena said Salah Hassan, an associate professor at Michigan State University and coordinator of the school's Islam, Muslim and Journalism Education project. Interestingly, Hassan said, the virgin promise is one that is used both by jihadists to entice recruits and on the other side by those critical of Islam.

"It is polarized views sharing a particular image for different ends," Hassan said.

"They are in a way tapping into a public discourse in the U.S. because it is not widely cited by Muslims to promote jihad. It is more recent usage," Hassan said. "My sense is that is very often cited in the U.S. as a way of basically showing how vulgar Muslim piety is. To a degree that these images mean anything, they are interpretable. It is a metaphor. There is obviously not 72 virgins waiting for anybody in paradise."

Hassan said that inflated rhetoric is a hallmark of jihadist discourse, noting that the defendant is alleged to have written in an e-mail message "he is not just 100% but 1,000,000% with you. He is with you on the doctrine, the loyalty and the enmity and everything one million percent."

"These guys are obviously inflating and I am sure the rhetoric is inflated," Hassan observed. The promise of 76 is part of that exaggeration.

"The act itself is exaggerated. The idea you would blow yourself up is excessive. So it is all in excess. How would you justify an excessive thing?" said Hassan. "Muslims think (of) suicide bombing as unacceptable. It is not Muslim. It is weird extremism that looks for justification within extremism for rationales and recruits."

Brian Fishman, a terrorist analyst at the New America Foundation and researcher for the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, said, "They are rhetorically upping the ante to convince a guy who is wavering."

Fishman said the promise of virgins in exchange for martyrdom continues to be a common recruiting element in the online jihadist forums he monitors. Fishman said a much less talked-about incentive is the promise that a martyr can name 70 family members to heaven. But Fishman said the real recruiting pitch is to defend an Islamic country from an infidel force.

"Once you do that, you did a wonderful deed, you get the rewards," said Fishman.

Raising the number of post-martyrdom virgins to 76 does not reflect "a real ideological shift," concluded Fishman.

In the end, "Fighter 5" was stopped before he could complete his mission, turned back by the Tunisian government trying to cross into Libya, according to the complaint.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam

soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. nick

    Or you can just become a secular Mormon, and not have to wait until the afterlife to get several virgins.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  2. Davidloc

    LOL, Oops nobody said the virgins had to be girls 🙂

    January 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • nick

      Down boy!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  3. Muneef

    Al-Baqara sura 02:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Mankind were one community, and Allah sent (unto them) prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and revealed therewith the Scripture with the truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed. And only those unto whom (the Scripture) was given differed concerning it, after clear proofs had come unto them, through hatred one of another. And Allah by His Will guided those who believe unto the truth of that concerning which they differed. Allah guideth whom He will unto a straight path. (213).

    One Nation, One God Religion but mankind has divided it to many and each claims to be the righteous among all. Seems they will be more and more divided to no end until the day Kindom of God is established on Earth....
    Divided in to many faiths,the divided in to branches of each faith,then divided as sub branches for each branches of a major faith...
    http://focusonjerusalem.com/majorbranchesofislam.html

    January 21, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Muneef

      An example of one major faith and how it is divided among it's followers... And could be only one or more of those sub branches are making all the trouble in the world towards which seems all Muslims have to suffer...?!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_schools_and_branches

      January 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • Muneef

      Result of which was decided to be discussed openly.
      Baroness Warsi: "Anti-Muslim hatred and bigotry is quite openly discussed"
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12235237

      January 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • Andrew

      Rebranded Glenn Beck.... different god, same sad story.

      January 22, 2011 at 6:37 am |
  4. Muneef

    Al-Isra sura 17:
    Man prayeth for evil as he prayeth for good; for man was ever hasty. (11) And We appoint the night and the day two portents. Then We effact the portent of the night, and We make the portent of the day sight-giving, that ye may seek bounty from your Lord, and that ye may know the computation of the years, and the reckoning; and everything have We expounded with a clear expounding. (12) And every man's augury have We fastened to his own neck, and We shall bring forth for him on the Day of Resurrection a book which he will find wide open. (13) (And it will be said unto him): Read thy Book. Thy soul sufficeth as reckoner against thee this day. (14) Whosoever goeth right, it is only for (the good of) his own soul that he goeth right, and whosoever erreth, erreth only to its hurt. No laden soul can bear another's load, We never punish until we have sent a messenger. (15) And when We would destroy a township We send commandment to its folk who live at ease, and afterward they commit abomination therein, and so the Word (of doom) hath effect for it, and we annihilate it with complete annihilation. (16) How many generations have We destroyed since Noah! And Allah sufficeth as Knower and Beholder of the sins of His slaves. (17) Whoso desireth that (life) which hasteneth away, We hasten for him therein that We will for whom We please. And afterward We have appointed for him hell; he will endure the heat thereof, condemned, rejected. (18) And whoso desireth the Hereafter and striveth for it with the effort necessary, being a believer; for such, their effort findeth favour (with their Lord). (19) Each do We supply, both these and those, from the bounty of thy Lord. And the bounty of thy Lord can never be walled up. (20) See how We prefer one of them above another, and verily the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preferment. (21) Set not up with Allah any other god (O man) lest thou sit down reproved, forsaken. (22).

    January 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Besides we have learnt that who kills him self (taking his own life) go ending up in to Hell !? And those suicidals are taking their own life and not in fighting but in immediately blowing them self up?! Such as those have been mislead to such belief of extremism that is not of the majority of Muslims...

    January 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Maybe

      Muneef,

      Do you ever spend any of your time on extremist Muslim belief blogs... telling them that they are wrong?

      January 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Muneef

      Maybe.

      Are you kidding am not that suicidal...haha .

      January 22, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  6. Muneef

    Here the Quran tell us that they are wrong to think killing innocent people would grant them their wishes from God at after life...!?

    Al-Maeda sura 05:
    For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth. (32) The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom; (33) Save those who repent before ye overpower them. For know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (34) O ye who believe! Be mindful of your duty to Allah, and seek the way of approach unto Him, and strive in His way in order that ye may succeed. (35).

    The way of approach unto God is not by killing innocent people but by striving in his way by following good deeds and what those do can't be taken as good deeds...

    January 21, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • PK

      Muneef:

      Who is competent enough to clarify or define (is it a learned muslim, an illiterate cleric, a politician, or an innocent child to be suicide bomber): corruption on earth (is female education is corruption?), manslaughter (is killing of muslim a manslaughter or killing a Sunni/Shia/Ahmadia is a manslaughter, is killing a non believer (shia/sunni/ahamdia/christian/jew/hindu) also a manslaughter, and when it is manslaughter?), what is war upon Allah (is Allah the God of Nabi, God of Christ, God of David or God of Ram and Krishan, what is definition of war upon Allah, how can Allah be warred upon and defeated or maligned), who will decide to kill/crucified/cut alternate hands and feet (is the mullah or cleric / illiterate wise man is competent enough as Nabi), if Allah is merciful and forgiving, then why killing / bombing /looting and that in name of Allah and Nabi, who is believer (what does a muslim believer says in daily prayer, which a christian does not, or what a hindu prays, which is against Allah). A true muslim believer only follows five promises he makes to Nabi. Violence is none of them. To me Nabi said Allah is one and Nabi is “only” a messenger, not “the only” messenger.

      January 22, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Muneef

      PK
      Muneef:

      Who is competent enough to clarify or define;
      (An Arabic Muslim scholar).
      Corruption on earth is Female education is a corruption?
      (No Female education is not a corruption).
      About Manslaughter?
      (Any one killing of a human being what ever his beliefs are and for no reason what so ever is considered as a crime, it is only who is accused of manslaughter and found guilty by court can be killed in public).
      When it is manslaughter?
      ( It is manslaughter when you kill an innocent human being for wrong he did).
      What is war upon Allah? 
      (Declaring war upon Allah the Creator the One and Only who sent us all known and unknown prophets and messengers to show us the way to God Almighty). 
      What is definition of war upon Allah?
      Forbidding people from building God worship houses,forbidding them from worshipping, treating believers in an ill way, declaring war against believers and their beliefs,or confiscating their wealths and freedoms) beside that (this law applies on those who do Piracy acts at on shore or off shore killing people and robbing them from their life's, wealths and belongings). 

      (how can Allah be warred upon and defeated or maligned?) 
      This was not understood by me?.

      Who will decide to kill/crucified/cut alternate hands and feet?
      (This would be the Sharia court who make and execute the condemnation).

      If Allah is merciful and forgiving, then why killing / bombing /looting and that in name of Allah and Nabi?
      ( What has that to do with God it is an act of misled stray men )?

      Who is believer?
      ( A believer is who ever believe in God and judgment day).

      What does a muslim believer says in daily prayer, which a christian does not, or what a hindu prays, which is against Allah)?
      ( Do not understand what that has to do with this subject since there is nothing against those other than few disputes of misunderstanding)(Muslim in prayers and worships only reads what ever memorized by him of passages of the Holy Quran only).

      A true muslim believer only follows five promises he makes to Nabi. Violence is none of them. To me Nabi said Allah is one and Nabi is “only” a messenger, not “the only” messenger.
      ( This is as well not clear but a true Muslim is said to be the one who people are not harmed by him)... (As to the last and final Prophet and Messenger of God was not recognized by earlier faiths and God insists he is to be realized since he has brought the clear final of the Holy Book that is not addressed to one or few but to the worlds and that is the world of Mankind and the world of Jinn).  

      January 22, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Muneef

      PK.
      For you to know who is Allah that we all worship;

      http://knowingallah.com/V2/index.aspx?lang=en

      January 22, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Muneef

      PK.
      For you to know who is Rasoul Allah the last and final messenger of God The Creator;

      http://www.rasoulallah.net/v2/index.aspx?lang=en

      January 22, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Muneef

      PK.
      For you to know more about Abraham SAW;

      http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/Prophet/ibrahim.htm

      January 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Muneef

      For more about Moses PBUH;
      http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/Prophet/musa.htm

      January 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Muneef

      More about Jesus PBUH;

      http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/Prophet/isa.htm

      January 22, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  7. Jay

    Jihadists are stupid..... I mean REALLY stupid... There really is no explanation ANYWHERE in ANY DOCTRINE that says you should kill yourself.... I mean.. If these recruiters really BELIEVED their own CRAP Theyd say, SCREW Earth, and blow themselves up to get to paradise....

    January 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  8. Bob

    Paradise, Heaven: The members of paradise have been outraged over the current trade union talks betweek the United Brotherhood of Bombers (UBoB), Local 172 and Allah. The union is asking for more vir-gins, better working conditions and clearer directions from Allah on who and what should be bombed.

    A member of the UBoB, named Durka-Durka Islamajihad had this to say:

    "I don't understand why this is such a huge issue. Our job is one of the dangerous, no, the most dangerous in the world. It's outrageous that we're working in these conditions and not being paid a fair rate for our work. I don't even understand the problem. It's Allah. He can conjure money, he can make everything nice. It costs him nothing!"

    Allah could not be reached for comment.

    Experts say that the strike could last quite a while, while many of the union's management consult the Quran for some sort of loophole in the contract. When asked about the status, the UBoB released this statement.

    "It is a sad day for the UBoB as many of our men are out of work and unable to leave their families desti-tute and without an income. Let me assure you though that the UBoB is committed to working through these issues and getting back to work, producing our quality products. Namely singed body parts, and pointless fear and terror."

    This has been Bob the Commenter reporting. Good night.

    January 21, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Bob

      LOL...! Very Good.

      Peace...

      January 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  9. JohnQuest

    This shows just how ridiculous this all is. Anyone can promise anything to anyone else in the Afterlife.

    I Promise, anyone that sends me 500.00 USD will not go to he ll when they die (no matter what they do in this life.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Reality

      JohnQuest,

      The RCC already does this with its indulgences.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Reality, thanks, I can beat their prices, I'll do it for 19.99.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Normon

      Sorry, the real money is in day passes to hell for those bored of heaven.
      http://time-of-your-eternal-life.hell

      January 21, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Norman I been to Jersey, it wasn't much fun.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Ruby

      Hey, you might be on to something here! Folks, send me some bucks too, I promise you will reap 10X the amount in Heaven... when you die of course.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:09 am |
  10. Normon

    What is the inflation rate in the afterlife? I got my eye on a nice little cloud overlooking the ocean (all of it) and need to do some planning.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      there is no inflation in heaven
      the bankers and economists and money changers are all in hell

      January 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  11. Normon

    Note to Christians:
    The above comments are evidence that people can be just as abusive and disrespectful to other religions as they are to Christianity.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Reality

      Showing great respect for our sister and brother Muslims, we again offer at no charge the Five Steps to Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.
      The First Five of the 77 Branches:
      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Analogous programs are available for the followers of Judaism and Christianity.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • Steve the real one

      I agree. Still nothing to be proud of and that would also apply to Christians who are disrespecting anyone on this blog regardless of belief or non-belief system!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Normon & Steve the real one

      I don't think that anyone is talking about disrespecting normal -peace loving Christians and Muslim's. Quite the contrary. The article above is about 'extremists' who happen to be Muslim's... that 'blow themselves up and kill' innocent humans, and of the recruiting process that is now promising even more in Paradise, if they...'kill' people.

      So, I would adamantly argue that this is very, very different than people just disrespecting religion just for the sake of being disrespectful .

      In fact, I have -0- tolerance, nor 'any' respect for 'extremists' whether they are Muslim, or... Christian... or any other nut job, for that matter religious or not.

      Peace...

      January 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  12. Woody

    I was just wondering. As good as a con artist as he obviously was, what line of work would Mohammad be in, if he were living today? Used car salesman, TV preacher, Sarah Palin's campaign manager, any suggestions?

    January 21, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      spiritual advisor to US military

      January 21, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • NL

      Televangelist!

      The prophet was a business man after all. 🙂

      January 21, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Templar1

      He would be a Woody-Woody.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Ruby

      Pimp

      January 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  13. B(iraq) Hussein Osama

    all terrorists must see this before gambling with their lives.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P2mBp18eqs

    January 21, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  14. NL

    I wonder if the reward is the same for female jihadis?

    And again, after a couple of months, all she would have is 70 or so guys all not picking up their socks around her personal parcel of paradise. What a reward!

    January 21, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      female jihadis get 70 experienced monogamous men

      January 21, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  15. David Johnson

    I have found that virgins are often virgins for a reason.

    Virgin wool comes from ugly sheep.

    It is easier for an ugly girl to remain pure, than a pretty one.

    Just something to contemplate...

    Cheers!

    January 21, 2011 at 7:39 am |
    • Bob

      I'd love to see the bomber's face when he gets to paradise and there are 76 trekkies there waiting to greet him.

      Geek: /pushes up glasses
      Geek: "Hello fellow adventurer. We are in need of a 6th level cleric for our D&D party, but you have to worship Pelor and take the domains of Sun and Strength!"

      January 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      its also a lot easier for an ugly girl not to give you gonorrhea.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • MoodyMoody

      Bob: 76 female trekkies dressed as Klingons...

      January 22, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  16. Peace2All

    This Article is just toooooo much...!!!!!

    A potential discussion between the jihadist recruiter and the possible recruitee:

    Recruiter: O.K... we need you to blow yourself up, along with a full city block and all its inhabitants to smithereens...just because...R U in...?

    Recruitee: Ugh... I don't know. But, if i did, i have some conditions.

    Recruiter: And what are they...?

    Recruitee: Well, for starters... 70 virgins...just ain't enough. I will need you to add another 6 for a total of 76 ! Don't know why... but 76 sounds like a good number.

    Recruiter: O.K... I think I can make that work. What else...?

    Recruitee: Secondly, I don't want me nor anyone else to have to pray 5 times a day, nor have to take the trip to Mecca with 3 billion other believers....ever. Oh...And... I want some pork ribs now and then. Are we cool with that...?

    Recruiter: Wow, you are asking for alot, but i think I can make it work. And what else.

    Recruitee: And lastly, when I do get to Paradise, I want a picture taken with Muhammed himself.(P.B.U.H.)..and me in the picture of course, and... I want him to 'autograph' it, with something like TO: My favorite Jihadist... I hope that you had a 'blast.' Love ya' Muhammed.

    Recruiter: Now you're asking for the impossible.

    Recruitee: Why is that...?

    Recruiter: Well, because... No one even knows what the heck Muhammed looks like...! He's kinda' of a recluse, if you haven't figured that out by now. Or, not a real good lookin' fellow. Either way, it ain't gonna' happen.

    Recruitee: Ummmm. O.K... Just get me the 76 virgins then, and were good to go.

    Peace...

    January 21, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • Scott

      NO NO NO!!! It's not 76 virgins for 1 man. It's 1 76 year old virgin

      January 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Smite Me

      See, this is where the Arabic translation gets goofy: It is 7 6 year-old virgins (just right for ol' Mo, eh?)

      January 22, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • Ykcyc

      Hi there, friend! Hello, all you participants in the natural selection process.
      What a mind job! However, most men loose their mind and miss the point:
      What the f.... are they going to do with them? Can't enjoy te pleasures of th flesh, if yours is rotting in the ground.
      If they are a formless sprit, what difference does that make? If the virgins spirits too, what does virginity consists of?
      Are these women slaves or do they have a free will to serve their "master" for all eternity? Are there "boy" and "girl" spirits and if they are formless, what is the difference between them? What do women suicide bombers get? Female virgins?
      The whole thing is so rediculous that these people have to be some of the dumbest speciments that have ever existed.
      This is how "their" God makes sure their genes are not passed on.

      January 22, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Ykcyc

      Hi back at ya' friend...

      Yeah, don't know what to say. I posted this hypothetical skit, as this whole thing is sooooooo absurd and... destructive, that it is hard for me to even get my mind around.

      I've heard all the arguments as to why they do it, but... still just a friggin' tragedy.

      Anyways... good talkin' with ya' -Ykcyc...

      Peace...

      January 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  17. Let Us Prey

    Want a laugh? Watch "Four Lions." Classic. Larry, Curly, Omar & Ahmed.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/may/09/four-lions-film-review

    January 21, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Let Us Prey

      Hey brother.... Thank you for that...! Laugh out fcking loud...!

      THAT is a movie I have to see.

      Thanks again for the chuckles...

      Peace brother...

      January 21, 2011 at 3:06 am |
  18. Reality

    Some history:

    "Was Mohammed merely an Arabian Jesse James? Or was he something far more si-nister? As quotes in the next chapter show, Mohammed distributed women and girls he captured on raids to be s-ex slaves for his male followers. He kept some for himself, of course. Otherwise reticent pagan men were thus enticed to become Muslims.

    Of course some of Mohammed’s male followers would complain that if they were killed while ma-rauding, they would not get to enjoy the promised extra se-x. Unabashed, Mohammed was ready with a shameless retort that is still taken seriously by hundreds of millions of credulous Muslim men, even in today’s world.

    In the Koran, he repeatedly redefines Judeo-Christianity’s heaven as an enormous God-owned bor-dello in the sky. In that heavenly bro-thel, loyal Muslim men—especially those paying the door price of martyrdom—would find a host of vir-gins, called h-ouris, who would forever satisfy all their s-exual cravings (see Koran 38:51; 44:54; 55:55-74; 56:22, 34-36). In fact, se-x with beautiful h-ouris in heaven was guaranteed to be far more enjoyable than any s-ex Muslim men might miss by being killed while serving God or by trying to have promiscuous s-ex here on Earth.

    If a follower complained sard-onically that early martyrs would get to de-flower all the vir-ginal h-ouris, leaving later Muslim martyrs with used goods, Mohammed had an answer for that as well. Rodwell’s translation describes the h-ouris as “a rare creation . . . we have made them ever v-irgins” (Koran 56:34-36). Ahmed Ali translates “God’s” description of the h-ouris in the same passage: “Maidens incomparable. We have formed them in a distinctive fashion, and made them vi-rginal.

    Muslim scholars tend to find a deeper meaning behind these words. One interpretation: heavenly h-ouris are a rare, incomparable and distinctive kind of v-irgin precisely because, once de-flowered, they become physically vi-rginal again for the next se-x act." – .”- Secrets of the Koran by Don Richardson

    January 21, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • JD Jr

      Don't forget the rule of revelation: what is "revealed" later is absolute. Religious leaders are not claiming equality with Mohammed (to my limited knowledge), but do claim superior comprehension to their faithful followers.

      Tangent question: how come an omnipotent being is able to reveal perfect truth ONLY in Arabic (sorry, I had to ask)?

      I welcome all input.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Name*hornedkafir

      Sounds equitable. Where do I sign up.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Mu'min

      @JD Jr The Qur'an, according to Islamic tradition, is the "Word of God _upon the lips of the Prophet Muhammad_ (pbuh). Hence, the Arabic.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • Reality

      "During a major upheaval in Indonesia in the late 1990s, se-x-crazed Muslim men gang-ra-ped dozens of Chinese women in shops, homes and even in the streets, shouting in Arabic, “Allahu Akbar!” (God is great!)*

      *http://www.colorq.org/humanrights/Indonesia/Jakarta.htm

      January 22, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • J Visscher

      I am motivated by none other than the truth. And the truth will dispel some of this nonsense which I gather is used to mislead people. Firstly: "Judeo-Christian" heaven? Judaism has a very shady picture of the afterlife and much different than the Greek and Egyptian-inspired notion of the Christian heaven. In the time of Job it was considered souls simply fade away in Sheol, and eternal life was never promised (unlike the eternal life of the holy nation). Among Jews in Jesus' time there was no consensus among Pharisees and Sadducees on what happened after death, but Isaiah did put in some influential input of course.

      Secondly: Actually read the Qu'ran. I am not Muslim, but neither am I intellectually or spiritually afraid to learn about another religion. Especially when people appear to sow hatred. The Suras listed here are not at all unambiguously about serving virgins as a reward. The 'houri' can refer to males or females and serve more to illustrate allegorically the beauty and grace of meeting G-d. As the Christian G-d is often commonly referred to as a male, 'houri' characteristics are also often taken from a male perspective. I am sure that they are sometimes used to entire people; it would be the same as enticing modern Christians with a heaven where everyone gets a harp and wings and flies through clouds. Most Christians take this allegorically, but during times of conflict, this may be enough to convince the lesser informed.

      Thirdly: I am concerned that this over-reporting on the 72 houris (which is never stated in the Qur'an) reflects the West's obsession with selling ideas by using s-e-x. Read passages of the Qur'an and you will find the underlying message to be about modesty, not an anything-goes broth-el. In fact, Surah 56:25 says there will be no frivolity and that although people may feast they will not get drunk. I agree that the values espoused may go against modern Western values of consumerism and hedonism, but Islam is not alone on this view – Judaism and Christianity also submit that these are not the highest values to be attained. Before painting pictures of your neighbour fuelled by hatred, I encourage anyone to simply look things up yourself without pre-judgement and learn with compassion.

      January 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • J Visscher

      @JD The Qur'an is written in Arabic in the same way that Jews take the language of their bible – the Torah, and all of the Tanakh are written in Hebrew in the definitive Masoretic text. In fact, a reason why the Septuagint in not accepted (and for Protestant bibles) is because some of it is not in Hebrew. So written Hebrew can be thought of as the flames of G-d, reminiscent of the burning bush. Christians don't have a problem with more languages obviously, as the NT is Greek (and Aramaic). But Christians do accept that G-d works through specific cultures, races, and languages, such as those of the Nazarene.

      @Reality – Anyone can list off anecdotal instances where Christians behaved badly to try and paint a picture of the whole religion. Such as how Christian Vlad Tepes (Dracula) brutalised many Muslims. Or at the shameful behaviour of Crusaders compared to the upstanding ethics of Muslim Saladin. I found Indonesians to be extremely polite and gracious, and certainly much less arrogant and provocative then Americans for example. That said, when I was there a fundamentalist's bomb went off in Jakarta. So it does seem that Muslims are blowing themselves up far too often to be unrelated to the religion, and we should all encourage an honest debate on this issue. However, I don't think making fun of the Qur'an is going to be helpful at all.

      January 23, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Reality

      J Visscher,

      Just a small list of koranic-based acts of terror and horror:

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat98,691 – 107,707 Iraqi civilians killed as of 11/9/2010, iraqbodycount.org/ and
      http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15) Followed by the daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings every day in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      January 23, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • James

      just a small list of bible inspired massacres

      – Iraq War
      – US troops killed ~ 5000
      – innocent iraqis killed – ~100,000

      ohhh daag

      January 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Muneef

      J Visscher.

      Thank you sir for the first time I see some one talks sense in to those although as we say tickling a camel or talking to a brick wall .... Just as Dracula feeds on blood they feed on hatred...

      January 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      J Visscher said: "and we should all encourage an honest debate on this issue."
      Muneef responded: "Thank you sir for the first time I see some one talks sense."

      and yet when asked: "Do you ever spend any of your time on extremist Muslim belief blogs... telling them that they are wrong?" Muneef says: "Are you kidding am not that suicidal...haha."

      You know what's wrong with this blog? Not enough Muslims. We need more.

      January 23, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • Eric R.

      @ Muneef

      I think David Johnson might be interested in having his camel tickled.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Reality

      Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 97,172 – 106,047 Iraqi civilians killed as of 8/10/2010 mostly due the Shiite and Sunni suicide bombers.

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – Libya has become almost civil. Recently Libya agreed to pay $1.5 billion to the victims of their terrorist activities. Apparently this new reality from an Islamic country has upset OBL and his “cra-zies” as they have thre-atened Libya. OBL sure is a di-sgrace to the world especially the Moslem world!!! Or is he???

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – Bin La-d-en has been cornered under a rock in Western Pakistan since 9/11.

      – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols will follow soon.

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      – And of course the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      January 24, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  19. NL

    The idea, I suppose, is that the girls don't remain virgins forever, right? So, if heaven is for all eternity wouldn't a guy burn through 70 virgins relatively quick? All he'd be left with after a short while are 70 women who aren't interested anymore, and who are all on PMS or their periods at the same time. That would actually be hell, don't you think, but then again that's what they deserve if they strap on the bomb vest.

    January 20, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @NL

      Hey bud...! You continue to enlighten and make me laugh out loud with some of your posts. And this one was... priceless...! -lol !

      It is a pleasure posting with ya' and being on the same team.

      Peace brother...

      January 21, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • NL

      Peace2All-
      Thanks but, in the spirit of free thought, I wouldn't consider us being on the 'same team' exactly. If you say something silly I might have to call you on it, just as I wouldn't expect anything less from you. It's not about 'winning', it's about exposing the truth, right?

      January 21, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ Peace
      There's a possibility of being 'called-out' by NL? Trust me, Peace – It won't ruin your day. You won't even have to waste an aspirin.

      @ NL
      Cripes, here's someone extending a hand to you and you're still being... yourself. Whatev. Or maybe it's just more fun to be an antagonistic sanctimonious boor.

      Geez... even Peace and I got over ourselves, and we had a horrible history.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Peace2All

      @NL

      Since I made the statement, my friend... let me clarify.

      You Said: "Thanks but, in the spirit of free thought, I wouldn't consider us being on the 'same team' exactly. If you say something silly I might have to call you on it, just as I wouldn't expect anything less from you. It's not about 'winning', it's about exposing the truth, right?"

      Of course ! That was a given assumption on my or, what I thought was on our part, given our thousands of postings for almost a year on this blog. When I said 'same team' it was simply an acknowledgement in that we seem to almost always be on the same page with our views, and also seem to learn from each other, as well, along the way, while exploring the truth.

      As a matter of fact, I don't recall, even in the time we have been blogging, that either of us have called each other on saying something...'silly' or 'incorrect.' Do you...? We have asked some questions from time to time of each other for clarification, but, I don't recall ever being in some kind of disagreement. And, we often compliment each other on our respective postings. That's it..

      So, since I made the statement...'same team,' I felt the responsibility to clarify my statement.

      Anyways pal... I hope that it clears any misunderstanding up from my comment.

      Peace...

      January 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Let Us Prey

      Maybe I'm having a touch of the 'crazy' ... but, I don't recall us having any kind of horrible history...?

      I totally respect your postings, and look forward to reading them, as I often learn from them. Sure, there are times when we may 'differ' in our views, but, at least for me, those are the times when I seem to learn the most, by getting a different perspective on an issue. And, as -NL said, we are exploring and in search of truth. But, I would also add wisdom and flexibility of views and thoughts.

      In my perception, most often as I can tell, we seem to be in basic agreement on things, but there are those times when me or you say something and we question each other. That's when the learning happens...at least for me.

      Anyways, -L.U.P.... If... we have had our 'horrible past'... I'm glad we are over it, as I am glad you are a poster here, because you seem to quite often have an interesting 'take' on things that i may or may not have thought of.

      Peace...

      January 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Samcrock

      NL, actually according to the Quran, women don't get periods in Heaven. However, it does not mention anything about remaining virgin for eternity, will research it and get back to you 🙂

      January 22, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • T

      Don't forget the Koran also promises "Fresh faced, young boys" in addition to "Young maids".

      Delusion is so dangerous. It is not just the uneducated that embrace religion, it is the some of the smartest people. The guys who flew the planes into the buildings on 9/11 all had master degrees and phds. How can you be perfectly rational in 95% of your life and then delusional in the other 5%?

      January 22, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • NL

      Peace2All-
      Sorry if I sounded antagonistic with that but, as the saying goes, "Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie." ~Robert Brault

      I truly appreciate that you value much of what I say, as I value your thinking. I just meant that suggesting there are 'teams' here only supports the believer's contention that atheists are somehow united in dogmatic belief, just as they are. Truly, I meant no offense.

      January 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • NL

      Samcrock-
      I guess the real question is if these 'virgins' are the souls of once live women deserving their own paradise for being good Muslims, virgins created especially for the pleasure of these Muslims, or are they actually the souls of the damned who must endure being repeatedly rap.ed as their eternal punishment? The suggestion is that these virgins have no say in the matter of their being 'enjoyed' by these Muslims, so option #2, that they were never real people to begin with, seems the most benign. What do you think?

      January 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ NL

      " I just meant that suggesting there are 'teams' here only supports the believer's contention that atheists are somehow united in dogmatic belief, just as they are."

      What backpedaling. When the going gets questionable to simply disassociate yourself. Pathetic. You're a modern-day Judas to your own peers. I wonder what Peace and your collective contemporaries are thinking of you...

      January 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • NL

      Let Us Prey-
      Hmm... So, do you automatically agree with every believer who posts here, no matter what they say? That's pretty much what you're criticizing me for not doing, right? Sorry, but you won't find many sheep amongst atheists. We cherish discovering those who share our beliefs, but we usually don't just follow somebody.

      All I share with fellow atheists is a disbelief in gods being real. Usually we tend to agree on many points because we also tend to be rational thinkers. Sometimes, however, we can butt heads on issues like gun control, animal rights and health care. Sometimes I find myself on the same 'side' as believers, but that's OK because if we're debating something non-religious we can usually expect well-reasoned arguments to be brought to the table by everyone. That's why I don't like the idea of being on set teams.

      January 24, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ NL

      "united in dogmatic belief"
      Which I think is what Peace2All was referencing.

      "All I share with fellow atheists is a disbelief in gods being real."
      I guess it's all in how narrow a net you care to cast around the definition of 'dogmatic belief', which is where I was coming from, i.e., limited to atheism (rather than general socio-political issues.) and why I offered the 'backpedaling' compliment.

      Probably unrealistic to presume that any of us would expect to find ourselves in universal agreement with any other individual in here.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Peace2All

      @NL

      You Said: "Sorry if I sounded antagonistic with that. Truly, I meant no offense."

      Hey bud... 'No worries' ! As I stated in my reply, since I was the one who made the statement, and you misinterpreted my statement, then... it was 'my' responsibility to 'clarify' what I 'really' meant. If you re-read my re: post to your comment, I think you'll find I took responsibility for the misunderstanding.

      All I meant was that we almost always see 'eye to eye' on issues. And... I often appreciate your humor.

      Playing team sports since the time I was 4 through college and almost going professional, is an ingrained world-view for me.

      That was all I meant.

      Peace brother...

      January 24, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • NL

      Let Us Prey-
      Perhaps it's best to think of atheism not as what defines many people, but rather as being something commonly accepted amongst freethinkers, of which I consider myself foremost. I generally do not accept 'packages' of beliefs, like 'liberalism', or 'conservatism', for example. I prefer to take issues individually, and build my own personal ideology, as I think a great many people actually do, even Christians. We all bring our own experiences, education, background, past contemplation and other things into play when choosing what to accept or reject, so the idea of choosing a 'one size fits all' ideology just doesn't make much sense unless you are a follower by nature, correct?

      Anyway, I'm glad to see that we are clearing up this whole business. All I had meant by my remark to Peace was that I prefer to be considered an individual with my own set of beliefs.

      Take care.

      January 24, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • NL

      Peace2All-
      Peace to you too, buddy!

      January 24, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  20. Squiggy

    I'll see your 72 virgins and raise you 3 virgins, 14 drunken Girls Gone Wild, 6 WIld Sorority Girls of Planet Playtex, and a partridge in a pear tree.

    January 20, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      according to the rules, u can't mix girls from hell and heaven.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Abigail

      Thanks for the laugh. That was the funniest response I've read yet.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Upperhand

      Nice. lol!

      January 22, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • sure

      The Quran does speak of "houris," dark-eyed or black-eyed virgins. Not to be confused with black-eyed peas.

      January 22, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • guest

      why don't you guys get a room.

      January 22, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • Tom

      Let's start an ad campaign in Arabic that says.. Please show up here and get 8000 virgins.. Really sweet looking in the ads.. And then when they get there it has a trap door and they all fall to their deaths.. The end.

      January 22, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • paganguy

      "Virgins" was a typo. These guys will meet 72 Virginians: Washington, Jefferson, Adams and so on...

      January 22, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • bob coe jr

      Can I have the bird now?Then lets eat

      January 22, 2011 at 10:49 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.