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Last Updated: 2009/10/22
Summary of question
Will a husband and wife, after leaving this world, live together in paradise?
Is it possible that after death a mu’min husband and wife will live together? If it’s possible, under what conditions?
Concise answer

The specific conditions and details of how we will live in the next world are not completely known to anyone except the infallibles (masoomeen). With this in mind the relationship between a husband and a wife is something that is related to this world and pious women are not forced to live with their husbands from their previous life in the hereafter. Naturally, if they themselves wish to live with their previous husbands, they can; there is no problem with this. Likewise for women who in this world are without husbands or women with sinful husbands who are hell-bound (such as Asiye who was the wife of the Pharaoh), they are going to enjoy the company of righteous heavenly husbands.

Detailed Answer

In the hadiths and verses of the Holy Quran very little has been related about the life that is to come after death, and besides the infallibles (masoomeen), no one knows the complete or exact details. With this in mind, we do know that the marriage contract between husbands and wives and all of its binding terms are something that relate to this current world only; women who have husbands in this world are not obligated to live with them in the next world; this is because in the next world everyone has to answer for their own deeds. In some hadiths we read that: “In the hereafter, Allah (swt) will make mu’minah (pious) women in the shape of ‘hurul-‘ins’ (beautiful heavenly women) and they will live with their salih (righteous) husbands”.[1] This doesn’t mean that mu’minah women will be forced to live with their previous husbands; but they can do so if they wish. On this note the tafsir of Majma’ul-Bayan says: “It is possible that when it is said that there will be heavenly women waiting for the people when they arrive in paradise, these are the same women from their previous lives that have been given the form and look of ‘hurul-‘in’ who will live with their husbands”.[2]

As for women who didn’t have husbands in this world, or women with hell-bound husbands (such as Asiye the wife of the Pharoah), all pleasures and enjoyment will be available to them in paradise, good righteous husbands being one of those enjoyments. The Holy Quran says, “In heaven whatever hearts desire and whatever the eyes become delighted with will be made available”.[3] This ayah shows that every pleasure and desire will be granted to people in the next world. In another verse about spouses in paradise the Holy Quran says: “For the people of heaven there will be pure companions”.[4] From these verses it becomes very clear that in heaven, as with men, women will have every type of pleasure and every type of desire answered; one of these will be the pleasure of having a pure companion of their choice.

The Holy Quran in some verses introduces ‘hurul-’in’ as a type of heavenly companion by speaking of them in such manner: “We will wed them with the ‘hurul-’in’”.[5] This verse is addressing both males and females, because there is no reason to say that these vows are only for men, especially if one focuses on the meanings of “hur” and “’in” (there is nothing in their meanings that would imply that they are traits of females only so that only males would be interested in those bearing them).

Of course, this doesn’t mean that no one else will ever join the righteous in paradise, rather, as commentators of the Quran say: “Quranic verses mention that in paradise people’s parents, spouses and children who were righteous (salih) will be together and this is a part of the completion of God’s mercy over the people, so that they will never feel that they lack anything. Also, since that world is one in which everything becomes new and complete, people will also be given new and fresh appearances and have a deep and intense love and sincerity for each other; and this love will add much more meaning and value to the blessings there.

In the 23rd verse of Surah Ra’d it specifically mentions parents, children and spouses, but in reality all the relatives are meant, because the presence of children and fathers without the presence of brothers and sisters and the rest of relatives is not possible; this becomes very clear with a little thought, because whenever there is a person who is heaven-bound, his righteous father will be joined with him; likewise when the father is heaven-bound, all of his children will also be present and in this way all of the brothers will also be together. Just like this all of the relatives will be together with one another in paradise.[6]

[1] Suyuti, Al-Durrul-Manthur, vol.7, pg. 633.

[2] Majma’ul-Bayan fi Tafsiril-Quran, vol. 1, pg. 163.

[3] Zukhruf:71 “وَ فیها ما تَشْتَهیهِ الْأَنْفُسُ وَ تَلَذُّ الْأَعْیُنُ وَ أَنْتُمْ فیها خالِدُون

[4] Baqarah:25وَ لَهُمْ فیها أَزْواجٌ مُطَهَّرَةٌ وَ هُمْ فیها خالِدُونَ

[5] Tur:20  وَ زَوَّجْناهُمْ بِحُورٍ عین

[6] Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 10, pg. 195.

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