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Islamic view of Lot

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Lut or Lot (circa 1900 BC? [1]), (Arabic: لوط‎) is a prophet mentioned in the Qur'an. He also appears in the Bible, but the Biblical stories of Lot are not entirely accepted within Islam. According to Islamic tradition, Lut lived in Ur and was a nephew of Ibrahim (Abraham).He migrated with Abraham to Canaan in Palestine. He was commissioned as a prophet to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.[2] His story is used as a reference by Muslims to demonstrate Islam's strong disapproval of homosexuality. Muslim scholars also cite the story of Lut to show that anal sex is forbidden. 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. According to both the Qur'an and the Bible, Lut's messages were ignored by the inhabitants. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed and his wife also was left behind to be destroyed.

The Story of Prophet Lut (Lot)

Angels appear to Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham)

According to the supreme Islamic religious text, the Qur'an, Lot was a Prophet of Islam, and a nephew of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). A group of Angels visited Ibrahim as guests[3] and gave him glad tidings of a son "endowed with wisdom",[4][5] they told him that they had been sent by Allah to the "guilty people"[6] of Lot[7] to destroy them[8][9] with "a shower of stones of clay (brimstone)"[10] and deliver Lot and those who believed in him except his wife saying "she is of those who lag behind".[11][12] The Qur'an 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 words and was thus condemned to hellfire.[13]

The People of Sodom and Gomorrah

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah, the twin cities which Lot was sent to with Allah'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,[14][15] and upon Lot's exhorting them to abandon their transgression against Allah, they ridiculed him[16], threatening with dire consequences;[15][17][18] Lot only prayed to Allah to be saved from doing as they did.[19]

Angels then appear to Lut

Then three 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."[20] When the people - overjoyed at the news of new young boys in the village - came to snatch them away from Lot[21], he tried to convince them to refrain from practising their lusts on the visitors, and offered his own daughters in marriage to them in return for the boys' free release[22][23], but they were unrelenting and replied "we have no need of your daughters: indeed you know quite well what we want!"[24] The Qur'an remarks "... they moved blindly in the frenzy of approaching death".[25]

Prophet Lut advised to leave the place

Lot was powerless to protect the young boys, but they revealed to him that they were indeed Angels sent by Allah 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[26] and that they "...were about to bring down upon the folk of this township a fury from the sky because they are evil-doers". Keeping his faith in Allah, Lot left his home and the cities during the night with his family and others who believed in him[27], and only his wife stayed behind.[28]

Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

When morning came[29][30], Allah 'turned the cities upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer'[31][32][33] putting an end to the lives of the people and describing it as "So taste ye My Wrath and My Warning!" in the Qur'an.[34] The Qur'an refers to the sites of Sodom and Gomorrah as 'signs for those who understand by example', those who 'care to understand' and those who 'fear a grievous penalty or a painful doom'.[35][36][37] The Qur'an also uses the story as an example stating "And most surely you pass by them (the cities) by the day, and at night; do you not then understand?"[38]

Some Specific Verses from the Qur'an

And Lot, who said to his nation: 'Do you commit such indecency (sodomy) in a way that no one has preceded you in the worlds? You approach men lustfully instead of women. Truly, you are a nation who exceed (in sin).' The only answer of his nation was: 'Expel them from your village. They are people who keep themselves purified.' We saved him and all his family, except his wife, who was made to remain, and We rained down upon them a rain. So look how was the end of the evildoers.
Qur'an 7:80-84
Messengers came to Abraham with glad tidings. They said: 'Peace!' He replied 'Peace!' and in a while brought them a roasted calf.

But when he saw that their hands did not reach towards it, he was wary and became fearful of them, but they said: 'Do not be afraid. We are sent to the nation of Lot.' His wife (Sarah), who was standing nearby, laughed. Thereupon, We gave her the good news of Isaac, and after Isaac of Jacob. She replied: 'Alas for me! Shall I bear (a child) when I am old woman and my husband is advanced in years? This is indeed a strange thing.' They said: 'What, do you marvel at the command of God? The Mercy of God and His Blessings be upon you, O people of the House. Indeed, He is Praised, Exalted.' And when the wonderment departed from Abraham and the glad tidings reached him, he pleaded with Us for the nation of Lot; indeed, Abraham was forbearing, tenderhearted and penitent. (It was said:) 'Abraham, turn away from this; your Lord's command has indeed come, and there is coming upon them a punishment that will not be turned back.' And when Our messengers came to Lot, he was troubled and distressed for them, and said: 'This is a harsh day.' His nation came running towards him; whilst they were doing evil deeds. 'My nation,' he said: 'here are my daughters (take them in marriage), they are cleaner for you. Fear God and do not humiliate me by my guests. Is there not one man amongst you of right mind?' They replied: 'You know we have no right for your daughters. You know very well what we desire.' He said: 'Would that I were powerful over you, or might take refuge in a strong pillar!' They (the angels) said: 'Lot, we are the Messengers of your Lord, they shall not touch you. Depart with your family in the watch of the night and let none of you turn round, except your wife. She shall be struck by that which strikes them. Their appointed time is the morning. Is it not that the morning is near?' And when Our command came, We turned it upside down, and rained on it, stone after stone of baked clay, marked with your Lord, and never far from the evildoers.

Qur'an 11:69-83
Your Lord, He is the Almighty, the Most Merciful.

Lot's nation, belied their Messengers. When their brother Lot said to them: 'Will you not be cautious? I am for you an honest Messenger. So fear God, and obey me. ask of you no wage for this; my wage is only with the Lord of the Worlds. What, do you come to the males of the world, and leave your wives whom your Lord has created for you? No, but you are a transgressing nation.' 'Lot,' they replied, 'if you do not desist, you shall be thrown out.' He said: 'Truly, I am a detester of what you do.' 'My Lord, save me and my people from that they are doing.' So We saved him and all his people, except an old woman who stayed behind, then We destroyed the others. We rained upon them a rain, and evil is the rain (of stones) on those that are warned. Surely, in that there is a sign. Yet most of them do not believe. Your Lord, He is the Almighty, the Most Merciful.

Qur'an 26:159-175
(We also sent) Lut (as a messenger): behold, He said to his people, "Do ye do what is shameful though ye see (its iniquity)? Would ye really approach men in your lusts rather than women? Nay, ye are a people (grossly) ignorant! But his people gave no other answer but this: they said, "Drive out the followers of Lut from your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!" But We saved him and his family, except his wife; her We destined to be of those who lagged behind. And We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)!
Qur'an 27:54-58
And (remember) Lut: behold, he said to his people: "Ye do commit lewdness, such as no people in Creation (ever) committed before you. "Do ye indeed approach men, and cut off the highway?- and practise wickedness (even) in your councils?" But his people gave no answer but this: they said: "Bring us the Wrath of Allah if thou tellest the truth." He said: "O my Lord! help Thou me against people who do mischief!" 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." He said: "But there is Lut there." They said: "Well do we know who is there : we will certainly save him and his following,- except his wife: she is of those who lag behind!" And when Our Messengers came to Lut, he was grieved on their account, and felt himself powerless (to protect) them: but they said: "Fear thou not, nor grieve: we are (here) to save thee and thy following, except thy wife: she is of those who lag behind. "For we are going to bring down on the people of this township a Punishment from heaven, because they have been wickedly rebellious."
Qur'an 29:28-34

Differences in stories of the Qur'an and the Bible

The major difference between the story of Lut in the Qur'an and the story of Lot in the Bible is that the Biblical version includes a story of Lot's being induced to incestuous relations with his own daughters. The Qur'an says that Lut is a prophet, and holds that all Prophets were examples of moral and spiritual rectitude. Though it is not altogether clear in the Bible story that Lot consented to his action, in Islam these stories of incest are thus considered to be false.

Sodom and Gomorrah are not mentioned by name in the Qur'an. The Islamic use of the term Sodomite was borrowed therefrom by the Ulama(Scholars) of Islamic law which teach that capital punishment/or flogging is the penalty for this action to be meted out on both the sodomite (the penetrator) and the catamite (the receptive member). These punishments were adopted by the blooming Islamic Empires approximately two centuries after the death of the Prophet Muhammad according to oral traditions.

The Tomb of Lot is located in the Palestinian town of Bani Na'im near Hebron, in the West Bank.

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