Color of Houris of Paradise

28-1-2017 | IslamWeb


At-Tabari (d. 310/923; Tafseer, xxiii, 37) reports that Ibn Zayd believes that ostrich eggs are meant here, concluding that their color is a yellowish white. The exegete Mujahid ibn Jabr (d. 104/722; At-Tabari, Tafseer, xxvii, 102; Ibn Katheer, Sifa, 110 f.) explains the allusion to a yellowish hue by asserting that the virgins of paradise are created from saffron. What is the meaning and validity of the above statements regarding the yellowness of the Houris made by these scholars?


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

The majority of the scholars said that the color of the Houris is white. Haadi Al-Arwaah reads:

Allah, The Exalted, says (what means): {As if they were rubies and coral.} [Quran 55:58] Al-Hasan and most exegetes said that what is meant is the clarity of ruby in the whiteness of coral. He resembled their clear pure color to rubies and coral. This is proved by the statement of ‘Abdullah (ibn Mas‘ood) that the women from the wives of the people of Paradise would be wearing seventy silk garments and the whiteness of her leg would still be seen from underneath them; Allah says: {As if they were rubies and coral.} Verily, ruby is a stone which if you were to insert a wire inside it, you would see the wire through the stone.

This report (of Ibn Mas‘ood) was classified as authentic and Marfoo’ (attributed to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) by Ibn Hibbaan. However, At-Tirmithi said that the preponderant view is that it is Mawqoof (stopped at the level of the Companion and not attributed to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )).

As for the reports from some of the righteous predecessors that the whiteness has a yellowish tone, it does not contradict that their color is white and it does not necessarily mean that their color is totally yellow.

Allah, The Exalted, says (what means): {As if they were eggs, well-protected (Maknoon).} [Quran 37:49] At-Tabari interpreted the reference to the eggs in the verse as to mean the whiteness of the inner shell of the egg because it is the protected part, unlike the outer one. He commented on the verse saying:

The most likely correct interpretation in my view is that their whiteness is resembled to  inner membrane (albumen/white) of the egg inside the shell in terms of whiteness and the fact that it is preserved and untouched by anyone. Similarly, neither human beings nor jinn have touched them (Houris) before their husbands. The inner membrane of the egg is not touched by anyone, unlike the outer shell, which is touched by the bird, people's hands, and the nest. Arabs describe any well-preserved and protected object as ‘Maknoon’, be it a pearl, an egg, or any other object...

As for creating the Houris from saffron, there are no authentic Marfoo’ reports in this regard. Rather, there are some reports attributed to the Companions and Taabi’is (generation following the Companions). Ibn Al-Qayyim said:

As for the substance from which the Houris are created, Al-Bayhaqi narrated from Al-Haarith ibn Khaleefah, from Shu‘bah, from Isma‘eel ibn ‘Ulayyah, from Abd Al-‘Azeez ibn Suhayb, from Anas ibn Maalik, that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, ‘The Houris were created from saffron.’ Al-Bayhaqi declared this report Munkar (denounced) with this chain of narration. He underlined that it is inauthentic from Ibn ‘Ulayyah. I (Ibn Al-Qayyim) said: But it is a report that includes Shu‘bah (in its narrators), and At-Tabaraani narrated from Ahmad ibn Rishdeen; from Ibn Al-Hasan ibn Haroon Al-Ansaari; from Al-Layth, the grandson of Al-Layth; from Abu Sulaym; from ‘Aa'ishah bint Yoonus, the wife of Al-Layth ibn Abi Sulaym; from Layth ibn Abi Sulaym; from Mujaahid; from Abu Umaamah that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, ‘The Houris were created from saffron.’ At-Tabarani said, ‘This is the only chain of narration through which this report is narrated; ‘Ali ibn Al-Hasan ibn Haaroon was the only reporter who narrated this hadeeth with this chain of narration.’

I (Ibn Al-Qayyim) said: It was also narrated by Is-haaq ibn Raahawayh from ‘Aa'ishah bint Yoonus; from her husband, Layth ibn Saleem; from Mujaahid, so he (Is-haaq ibn Raahawayh) cited it as a report attributed to Mujaahid. This is the most likely correct view. It was also narrated by ‘Uqbah ibn Mukram from ‘Abdullah ibn Ziyaad, from Layth, from Mujaahid, from Ibn ‘Abbaas. This report cannot be judged as Marfoo’. It is enough that it reaches Ibn ‘Abbaas. Abu Salma reported from Ibn ‘Abd Ar-Rahmaan that the ally of Allah will be given a bride in Paradise who was not given birth by Aadam and Eve; rather, she was created from saffron. This report was narrated on the authority of two Companions, namely Ibn ‘Abbaas and Anas, and two Taabi’ is, namely Abu Salma and Mujaahid. In any case, she will be created in Paradise, not born of fathers and mothers.” [Haadi Al-Arwaah]

If it is authentically proven that the Houris are created from saffron, this does not necessarily mean that their color is the same as the color of Saffron.

Allah knows best.