Quran scholar says martyrs for Islam get raisins — not virgins — in heaven: Arabic word mistranslated

ISIS fighters wave their group's flag and chant slogans as they parade on a street in an occupied territory in the Middle East.Reuters

Canadian author and Quran scholar Irshad Manji has raised serious doubts on an Islamic belief that fuels the militants' quest for martyrdom, saying that what the Quran promises to a martyr is not "72 virgins in heaven but raisins."

Manji spoke during CNN's recent "Why They Hate Us" special, a recent show hosted by Fareed Zakaria that sought to find out what is fuelling the anger of radical Islamists towards the West, including America.

Manji told Zakaria that the word "virgin" in the Quran actually means "raisin," adding that "several scholars studying the original text came to [that] startling realisation," WND reports.

"Nowhere in the Quran does it promise 72 virgins, 70 virgins, 48 virgins. What it promises, as far as heaven goes ... The Arabic word for 'virgin' has been mistranslated. The original [word] that was used in the Quran was the word for raisin, not virgin. In other words, that martyrs would get raisins in heaven, not virgins," Manji said.

Well known American radio host Rush Limbaugh backed up Manji's contention, saying that his own research on the subject showed that the meaning of the Arabic word interpreted by jihadists to mean "virgin" is truly contested, according to WND.

He opened a recent show by saying, "I'd like to be there when they tell them this. 'Uh, sorry. Not virgins. You were misinformed. Here are 73 raisins.' You envision that?"

Limbaugh said what Islamist leaders are promising their would-be martyrs is actually a 180-degree skewing of truth.

"It really is unsettled what it actually means, and there is one interpretation that does mean raisins. Now, what are raisins? The reason they think 'raisins' here is specific. What are raisins? ... It's a dried grape, dried prune, shriveled up ... the opposite of a virgin," Limbaugh said.

"So this does mean that the bin Ladens and the other imams and the Ayman al-Zawahiris and so forth are purposely promising virgins when they know it's raisin."