Lot in Islam

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Gustave Doré's engraving of Lot's flight from his people

Lut ( Arabic: لوطtranslit.: Lūṭ ), known as Lot in the Old Testament, is a prophet of God in the Quran.[1][2] He also appears in the Bible, but the biblical stories of Lot are not entirely accepted within Islam. According to Islamic tradition, Lot lived in Ur and was the son of Haran and nephew of Abraham.[3] He migrated with Abraham to Canaan. He was commissioned as a prophet to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.[4] His story is used to demonstrate Islam's disapproval of rape and homosexuality.[5] He was commanded by God to go to the land of Sodom and Gomorrah to preach to his people on monotheism and to stop them from their lustful and violent acts.[3] According to both the Quran and the Hebrew Bible, Lot's messages were ignored by the inhabitants and Sodom and Gomorrah were subsequently destroyed. They cannot be exactly located, but it may be supposed that they were somewhere in the plain east of the Dead Sea.

23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. 24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

26 ¶ But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

—Genesis 19:23–26.

Lot's people are the people to whom he is sent on a mission. He was not one of their own brethren, as was Salih or Shu'aib. But he looked upon his people as his "brethren".[6] The Quran says that Lot is a prophet, and holds that all prophets were examples of moral and spiritual rectitude, so the report of Lot's drunkenness and incest is considered to be false.[3]

Context in the Quran[edit]

The narrative of Lot occupies a relatively large space in the Quran.[3] Most of these passages place the narrative of Lot in a line of successive prophets including Noah, Hud, Saleh and Shoaib. In the past, scholars have stated that these particular prophets represent the early cycle of prophecy as described in the Quran.[3] The prophet would be sent to his community; the community would pay no attention to his warning and would instead threaten him with punishment; after years of preaching, God would ask the prophet to leave his community and his people would be subsequently destroyed in a punishment. Scholars interpret the listing of the five prophets to be chronological, with Noah being the only prophet in the list who preached before the Great Flood. Lot is also mentioned alongside Ishmael, Elisha and Jonah as men whom God favored above the nations.[7]

Narrative in Islam[edit]

According to the Quran, Lot was a prophet and a nephew of Abraham. A group of angels visited Abraham as guests[8] and gave him glad tidings of a son "endowed with wisdom";[9] they told him that they had been sent by God to the "guilty people"[10] of Lot[11] to destroy them[12] with "a shower of stones of clay"[13] and deliver Lot and those who believed in him, except his wife saying "she is of those who lag behind".[14][15] The Quran also draws upon Lot's wife as an "example for the unbelievers" as she was married to a righteous man but cheated him by not believing in his message and was thus condemned to Hell.[16][17]

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah, the twin cities which Lot was sent to with God's message, transgressed consciously against the bounds of God. Their avarice led to inhospitality and robbery, which in turn led to the humiliation of strangers by mistreatment and rape. It was their abominable sin of homosexuality which was seen as symptomatic of their attitudes,[18][19] and upon Lot's exhorting them to abandon their transgression against God, they ridiculed him,[20] threatening with dire consequences;[21] Lot only prayed to God to be saved from doing as they did.[17][22]

Then two angels in the disguise of handsome young boys came to Lot, who became distressed knowing the character of the people, and feeling himself powerless to protect the visitors; he said, "This is a distressful day."[23] When the people – overjoyed at the news of new young boys in the village – came to snatch them away from Lot,[24] he tried to convince them to refrain from practising their lusts on the visitors, and offered his own daughters to them (to marry, according to the translation of Abdullah Yusuf Ali) in return for the boys' free release,[25][26] but they were unrelenting and replied "we have no need of your daughters: indeed you know quite well what we want!"[27] The Quran remarks "they moved blindly in the frenzy of approaching death".[17][28]

Lot was powerless to protect the boys, but they revealed to him that they were indeed angels sent by God to punish the people for their transgressions. They advised Lot to leave the place during the night and not look back, informing him that his wife would be left behind on account of her sinful nature and that they "were about to bring down upon the folk of this township a fury from the sky because they are evil-doers".[3] Keeping his faith in God, Lot left his home and the cities during the night with his family and others who believed in him, and only his wife stayed behind. When morning came, God turned the cities upside down, and rained down on them stones hard as baked clay,[29] putting an end to the lives of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah once and for all.[17]

Monument[edit]

Bani Na'im in Palestine houses the tomb of Lot in the center of the town. The tomb is located within a rectangular mosque with an inner court and minaret. Lot's tomb is first mentioned by catholic scholar Jerome in the 4th century CE.[30] The tomb of his daughters are on an opposite hill nearby. To the southeast of Bani Na'im is a shrine dedicated to Lot, known as Maqam an-Nabi Yatin ("Shrine of the Truthful Prophet"). Local legend claims Lot prayed at the site and imprints of his feet in a rock there are visible.

References in the Quran[edit]

Note: There are many references to Lot in the Quran. The following are some of them.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quran 26:161
  2. ^ Wheeler, Brannon M. (2002). Prophets in the Quran: an introduction to the Quran and Muslim exegesis. Comparative Islamic studies. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-8264-4957-3. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Noegel, Scott B.; Wheeler, Brannon M. (2010). "Lot". The A to Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Incorporated). pp. 118–126. ISBN 0810876035. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Hasan, Masudul. History of Islam.
  5. ^ Islam and Homosexuality - Page 206, Samar Habib - 2009
  6. ^ Quran 050:013
  7. ^ Quran 6:86–87
  8. ^ Quran 15:51: "Tell them about the guests of Abraham."
  9. ^ Quran 15:53: "They said: 'Fear not! We give thee glad tidings of a son endowed with wisdom.'"
  10. ^ Quran 15:58: "They said: "We have been sent to a people (deep) in sin"
  11. ^ Quran 11:70: "But when he saw their hands went not towards the (meal), he felt some mistrust of them, and conceived a fear of them. They said: 'Fear not: We have been sent against the people of Lot.'"
  12. ^ Quran 29:31: "When Our Messengers came to Abraham with the good news, they said: 'We are indeed going to destroy the people of this township: for truly they are (addicted to) crime.'"
  13. ^ Quran 51:33: "To bring on, on them, (a shower of) stones of clay"
  14. ^ Quran 29:32: "He said: 'But there is Lot there.' They said: 'We know well who is there: we will certainly save him and his following – except his wife: she is of those who lag behind!'"
  15. ^ Quran 15:59
  16. ^ Quran 66:10
  17. ^ a b c d Noegel, Scott B.; Wheeler, Brannon M. (2010). "Lot". The A to Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Incorporated). pp. 118–126. ISBN 0810876035. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Quran 07:81
  19. ^ Quran 26:165
  20. ^ Quran 29:29
  21. ^ Quran 7:80
  22. ^ Quran 26:168
  23. ^ Quran 11:77
  24. ^ Quran 54:37
  25. ^ Quran 11:78
  26. ^ Quran 15:71
  27. ^ Quran 11:79
  28. ^ Quran 15:72
  29. ^ Quran 11:82
  30. ^ Sharon, Moshe (1999). "Bani Na'im". Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum Palaestinae (CIAP) Volume Two: B-C (BRILL). p. 12. ISBN 9004110836. Retrieved 26 June 2013.