If you thought that only Christians believe in the concept of resurrection, then meet at least one Muslim who also believes.
She is none other than the mother-in-law of Hamas terrorist leader Muhammad Deif. Widad, the wife of Deif and daughter of Zeian Asfura, 61, was killed when an Israeli airstrike last week reduced their home to a pile of rubble.
Asfura said in an interview in London's Sunday Times that she would be "honored" if Deif would agree to marry either (or, being Muslim, possibly both) of two of her other daughters, even if they were to become "martyred" as a consequence. She told The Times: "Should Deif request the hand of any of my other daughters, I will happily consent and even if she, too, is martyred I will consent to the third. "It is an honor to have Deif a husband to any of my daughters and be a father to their children."
Ah! The "being a father" bit could be a tad tricky since the consensus view is that Muhammad Deif is actually dead!
Even though Hamas is claiming that Deif survived the assassination attempt, it has not been able to produce any proof – like, for example, having him appear. Given the amazing real time intelligence that enabled Israel to eliminate other leading military commanders of Hamas, it is extremely unlikely that Israel would have attacked the home without being certain he was there.
It seems the information on the whereabouts of Hamas leaders was passed on to Israel from so called collaborators. Hamas has since killed at least 22 of them as it grapples with the knowledge that Israeli intelligence has proved capable of pinpointing some of its leaders' movements.
Deif's terrorism credentials went back to the 1990's, and he is said to have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis since then. He survived a number of previous attempts on his life, one of which resulted in the loss of his legs. Other reports have claimed that he was actually a quadraplegic ; either way, not exactly the dream husband a normal mother would want for her daughters.
But then Zeian Asfura is no regular mother. She said that when she consented to the marriage in 2011, she realized the possible consequence. "When I agreed the marriage, I in effect consented to a fate of martyrdom for my daughter."
Which brings us back to the tricky question of whether Islamic law permits marriage to someone who is actually dead. There was a time in 2012 when the London Daily Mail and the Huffington Post, both reported that the Egyptian parliament was considering enacting a law to legalize necrophilia in Egypt. For a period of 6 hours after death, both men and women would have been permitted to continue to have intercourse with the body of the dear departed.
While it is possible, just about, to understand the physical possibility for men, it is more difficult to understand the logistical options for women – unless the man died with an erection.
Given the circumstances of his assumed death, that seems an unlikely option for Muhammad Deif.