What Is Riya (Ostentation)?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalam alaykum

“Hour al-ayn”, the wives given to men in heaven are white-skinned, with dark hair, and each man will have two of them. If someone prefers blonde or dark skinned women will he have what he prefers?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam.

Jazakum Allah khayran for your question.

The inhabitants of Paradise will have whatever they desire

Every person in Paradise, male or female, will have whatever they desire and not be wanting in the slightest. There will be no injustice, resentment, or disappointment whatsoever, only the pure and innocent happiness and bliss of every individual inhabitant.

This is affirmed by the words of Allah Most High, “If any do deeds of righteousness—be they male or female—and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them.” [4:124].

The number of Hour al-‘ayn in Paradise

To answer your specific question about the number of Hours a male believer is stated to have in Paradise. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, has said, “Each man will have two wives from among the Hour al-‘ayn, the marrow of whose calves can be seen from beneath the bone and flesh.” (al-Bukhari).

The descriptions of the women of Paradise often mention “fairness” or “lightness”. This could be referring to the actual tone of skin color, but also could be referring to the radiating brightness, clearness, and glowing light (noor) of the skin, which is not confined to white skin, even in this life.

However, the main point is, that regardless of the meaning of these descriptions, one will have whatever one delights in and desires, and will not feel in want of anything. “Therein is whatever the souls desire and [what] delights the eyes, and you will abide therein eternally.” (43: 71)

We should also note that our preference in this life will not necessarily be the same in the next life. Paradise is unimaginable. Therefore, our imagining of it is always going to be based on our own limited and subjective preconceptions and values of this world. In reality, nothing of this life can be compared to Paradise, including our likes and dislikes.

What will women get in Paradise?

We should not forget that the pleasures of Paradise are not restricted to or created for men alone. The believing women have their equal share of the pleasures of the Garden, no less than the men.

The female Companions were not shy to ask about such matters. An example is of Umm Umarah al-Ansariyyah, who went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, asking about the rewards mentioned in the Qur’an, saying:

“I see that everything is for the men, and I do not see anything being mentioned for the women.” So the Quranic verse (33:35) was revealed “For Muslim men and women—for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, – for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.”  (al-Tirmidhi)

Not only did Allah Most High address the equality of men and women in this life and the next in the verse, but He Most High, honored Umm Umarah by revealing a verse specifically in relation to her concern and question.

The import of this is tremendous. The Qur’an is the most comprehensive revelation and the final direct communication from God to man, so whatever is contained in it is the most valuable information that God has determined that humans need to succeed. The fact that Allah Most High responded to Umm Umarah’s concern in a verse from the Qur’an (as opposed to other means, such as through a hadith or scholarly inference) shows the weighty significance the matter of gender equality stands with Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

May Allah grant us all Paradise and eternal felicity.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)