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Sam Solomon is an expert in Shari’ah Law – that’s Islamic jurisprudence. He spent 15 years studying Shari’ah Law to become an Islamic jurist. Upon his conviction he was given 48 hours to leave the country and since then he has been in London where he is a consultant with parliament, as he has also been with our United States Congress, but more than that, he is a witness to Christ in the Muslim world.
In the second part of Horton’s interview, Solomon answers Horton’s questions concerning Islam’s version of heaven (paradise):
Mike: Sam, in Islam, how does a person make it to heaven and avoid hell?
Sam: Well, first of all, Mike, heaven and hell are Christian concepts in Christian/Judeo-Christian understandings. That’s just biblical vocabulary. It does not carry in Islam. Islamic understanding…To them, heaven is a very foreign concept. It is a paradise, not “heaven,” where they will have pleasure. In paradise, according to the Koran, there are rivers of alcohol, rivers of wine, rivers of milk –
Mike: — making up for not having it on earth?
Sam: Yes, because on earth you need to be sober. You need to pray five times a day. But in the drink in paradise, may be not intoxicating…there will be rivers of alcohol, rivers of pure water, rivers of milk, rivers of honey, and they will be flowing. Every kind of meat that a man can desire, freshly cooked, everything – fruit of every kind, and of course they will have virgins – absolutely beautiful virgins, and they will always remain virgins; they will always remain pure; and they are there to appease the faithful ones. And these are called hol, and these virgins are specially created for the faithful ones. Added to that, the Koran says, perpetually fresh, young boys – not exceeding the age of about 14 at maximum, who are there for the enjoyment of the faithful ones. Allah apparently understands an alternative lifestyle. So that is as far as how to “make it,” of course this is all Koranic. In fact, some people, even Muslims, would find it difficult to bear that. But a very famous author and famous preacher in Egypt – he was a graduate of Al-Azhar, the very best and ancient Islamic seminary in the world – he wrote a book on the issue of homosexuality in particularly the boys in paradise. That book was banned by the Egyptian government. He went to the supreme Islamic court, and at the court all the scholars gathered together to examine this book, and they said everything described in that book, in terms of paradise, and how, and what way they will have their sexual relationships, it is all valid as far as they were concerned. This is the highest Islamic authority; it is indisputable, and that is the final word from them.
Here are the verses from the Koran that mention the boys provided for the faithful ones in paradise:
Koran 52:24 – Youths as fair as hidden pearls will be set apart to wait upon them; they will be running to and fro to serve them.
Koran 56:17 – immortal youths shall go about them.
Koran 76:19 – There boys of everlasting youth shall go about attending them: when you see them, you would think that they are scattered pearls.
I was unable to find a current Muslim scholar who agreed with Solomon’s interpretation of these Koranic verses. Since I only understand English, my resources are very limited. Solomon did reference Sheik Abdel Hamid Kishk and his work presented in Thoughts of a Muslim and the Subject of Sex. I was unable to find this book translated into English; however, I found a quote regarding Kishk’s teachings in a book written by Judith Miller.
Speaking of the assassination of her friend Farag Foda, Judith Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, wrote,
About two weeks before his murder, he mocked what passed for intellectual discourse among Islamists by citing a recent sermon by Egypt’s most popular preacher, Abdel Hamid Kishk, a blind sheikh who constantly attacked both the government and its official religious establishment. Kishk had been telling his audience that Muslims who entered paradise would enjoy eternal erections and the company of young boys draped in earrings and necklaces. Some of the ulema, the religious scholars at al-Azhar University, the government’s seat of Islamic learning, had disagreed. Yes, they said, men in paradise would have erections, but merely protracted, not perpetual. Other experts disputed the possibility of pederasty in paradise. “Is this what concerns Muslims at the end of the 20th century?” Foda asked in a column in October magazine. “The world around us is busy with the conquest of space, genetic engineering and the wonders of the computer,” while Muslim scholars, he wrote in “sadness and pain,” were worried about sex in paradise. In a column published just before he was killed, Foda reported that the Tunisian government had videotaped militant Islamic leaders on their prayer rugs, unwilling to await paradise, making love to beautiful women here on earth. Meanwhile, Egyptian militants in Assyut were ordering believers not to eat eggplants and squash because of their resemblance to sexual organs. “The Groups of Darkness are obsessed with sex,” he wrote.
While Western and Arab analysts stressed the differences between militant Islamic groups in Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, which ostensibly opposed violence, Farag Foda’s murder showed that such distinctions were often of little practical consequence in Egypt. The Gama’a Islamiya, inspired by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, had claimed credit for Foda’s murder. But the allegedly moderate Muslim Brotherhood and even al-Azhar, the government-supported center of Islamic learning, did not condemn the killing. In fact, Al-Azhar’s Nadwat al Ulema (Circle of Ulema), an informal group of sheikhs and Muslim scholars, had asked the government shortly before Foda was killed to prevent him from establishing his political group and had complained loudly about his writings. They stopped short of declaring his essays and him blasphemous (Judith Miller, God has Ninety-Nine Names, (New York, NY: A Touchstone Book, 1997), 25-26).
I imagine that Islam, similar to Christianity, has various interpretations of various texts. Nevertheless, it must be noted that some Muslim scholars, sanctioned by the government at al-Azhar University, approved of Kishk’s interpretation of the purpose of young boys provided by Allah in paradise. One must admit that it’s interesting Foda was labeled as the “almost blasphemous” liberal Muslim in Egypt, not Sheik Abdel Hamid Kishk, who taught that homosexuality and pedophilia, although forbidden on earth (see Koran 7:80-84 and 26:165-166), are permitted in paradise according to the Koran.
I’ve provided the portion of the interview below where Solomon details Islamic paradise. I’ve also provided links to the interview in its entirety. The full interview is worthy of your time and attention if you’re hoping to understand Islam. I’ve yet to find another interview or book that is more beneficial in comparing and contrasting Islam with Christianity than this one:
What are your thoughts about Solomon’s statements? Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?