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Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The Koran speaks on one occasion, of the presence in paradise of ghilman (pl. of ghulam meaning a boy), and on two occasions of wildan (pl. of walad meaning a son or a child): "And round them shall go boys (ghulman) of theirs as if they were hidden pearls" (52:24); "And round about them shall go children (wildan) never altering in age" (56:17, 76:19). In the first case, there is a double indication showing that these boys, called the ghilman, are the offspring of the faithful; they are called ghilam-un la-hum or their boys, and it is clearly stated that God "will united with them (i.e., the righteous) their offspring" (52:21). To the same effect it is elsewhere said that the "offspring" of the faithful will be made to enter paradise with them (40:8). Hence the ghilman and the wildan are the young children who have died in childhood. There is, however, a possibility that these boys are only a blessing of paradise, as boyhood is, like womanhood, an emblem of purity and beauty.


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