Bismillah rahmaani rahiim~
This is a topic that gets brought up a lot in discussions of Muslim beliefs, I am sure, and perhaps rightly so. As I see it, it has the power to bring out the best and the worst in our hearts as well as our minds (human nature being what it is), and in that way is perhaps a test of rational and compassionate faith for Muslim believers.
The picture brought to my mind in reading the following verse from the Qur'an is that for those unmarried persons, both men and women, who attain Paradise, and for those whose spouses do not make it, wonderful companions will be provided for them to marry. But those with spouses that do attain Paradise will be united with them there:
"They will recline (with ease) On Thrones (of dignity) Arranged in ranks; And We shall join them To Companions, with beautiful Big and lustrous eyes. And those who believe And whose families follow Them in Faith -- to them Shall We join their families: Nor shall We deprive them (Of the fruit) of aught Of their works: (Yet) is each individual In pledge for his deeds. (The Noble Quran, 52:20-21)"
Let us look at Noble Verse 44:54 "Moreover, We shall Join them to Companions With beautiful, big, And lustrous eyes." The same word for "...join them to Companions..." is used in Noble Verse 52:20.
As for those whom the believers would marry, "...With beautiful, big, And lustrous eyes...", it is written in Arabic as "bi hoori-aayn". This same word was used for Jesus' (peace be upon him) disciples (al-hawariyyun as plural......hur or huri or houri as singular), which both (al-hawariyyun) and (hoori-aayn) are both derived from the Arabic word "hoor" or "howr", or "hur".
The following comment regarding Noble Verses 52:20 and 44:54 was taken from the foot notes of the Noble Quran that was translated by Minister (Sheikh) Abdullah Yusuf Ali; may Allah Almighty rest his soul and make Paradise his ultimate destiny: "Hur implies the following ideas: (1) purity; possibly the word Hawariyun, as applied to the first Disciples of Jesus, is connected with this root; (2) beauty, especially of eyes, where the intense white of the eyeballs stands out against the intense black of the pupil, thus giving the appearance of lustre, and intense feeling: as opposed to dullness or want of expression; and (3) truth and good will."
The word "hur" which Jesus' male disciples and the companions of believers in Paradise were given names that were derived from it quite clearly is referring to both males and females. This means that the winners of Paradise will have their suitable gender of "hoori-aayn" depending on their gender.
So when Allah Almighty promised companions to the believers in Paradise, He quite clearly and obviously promised female companions for the males and male companions for the females.
As regards your question, we’d like to inform you that in Paradise believing men and women will be showered with blessings; there is no room for discrimination based on sex in Paradise. The life of women in jannah will be as pleasant and happy as the life of men. Allah is not partial to any sex. He created both of them and He will take care of both of them according to their needs and desires. Let us all work to achieve the jannah and then, in sha’ Allah, we will find there what will satisfy all of us fully.
In his response to your question, Dr. Sano Koutoub Moustapha, professor of Fiqh and its Principles, International Islamic University, Malaysia, states the following:
Thank you so much for your very interesting comments and understanding of the issue of polygamy and the blessings given to men in Heaven.
I congratulate you for your logical ability and critical way of looking at things. However, I shall also confirm to you the issue of polygamy, be it in this life or the hereafter, it should not be classified as a privilege but rather a solution as you correctly mentioned in your arguments.
In other words, Islam does not open the door of polygamy for all men as it does not open it to women at all. As you may know well that each ruling or law has an exception and the exception is not the principle, therefore, we can not judge a law through its exceptions.
In this regard, I shall remind you that rewarding a mujahid with many wives doesn’t mean betraying the female mujahid.
It simply means there is a such reward for those mujahids who are looking for it. In other words, there is no compulsion upon all mujahids to accept or reject this reward. It is exactly the same thing as the polygamy in this life.
It is meant for those who want it, not for every single mujahid. Yet every Muslim man and woman who is allowed to enter Heaven is given the opportunity to get whatever he or she wants as clearly stated in the Qur’an and many Hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). This means that those women who don’t want their husbands to have more could be granted this wish and desire. At the same time if the husbands of those women want to have more than them Allah is great and can satisfy each of them in the way He, the Almighty, wants.
Therefore, a woman should not be frustrated for a privilege of polygamy offered to men. This is not, for sure, at the expense of woman. Heaven is meant for both men and women, both of them are equally entitled to get what they wish for.
Certainly, there would be no clashes in their wishes, if any, the Almighty knows how to please each of them. Having said that, I shall inform you that the existing setup of humans in terms of desire, would be changed on the Day of Judgment.
In other words, both men and women would not be allowed to enter Heaven in their existing physical makeup. They will be in a better and greater form as stated by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Both of them would enjoy living together and having whatever they wish and like.
Finally, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) describes Heaven as a place where there are many things which no eyes have ever seen, no ears have ever heard before and no heart has ever felt. Let us pray the Almighty to grant us this great and wonderful place. Let us work harder and harder to be in this place. It is only through our full submission to the will and the orders of Allah that we will one day be granted this place.
I do not know about the other things that are mentioned on that and other anti-Islamic sites I have come across. But I think they are good questions to raise and find answers to, if one is sincerely interested in understanding Islam and Muslims.