Lot in Islam

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Islamic prophet
Lūṭ
لوط
Lot
Lot BnF Persan 54 fol. 40.jpg
Lut fleeing the city with his daughters; his wife is killed by a rock.[1]
Died Bani Na'im
Children Lot's daughters
Parent(s) Haran
Relatives Ibrahim

Lut ibn Haran (Arabic: لوط‎, translit. Lūṭ), known as Lot in the Old Testament, is a prophet of God in the Quran.[2][3] According to Islamic tradition, Lot was born to Haran and spent his younger years in Ur, later migrating to Canaan with his uncle Abraham.[4] He was sent to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as a prophet,[5] and was commanded to preach to their inhabitants on monotheism and the sinfulness of their lustful and violent acts.[4]

Though Lot was not born among the people he'd been sent to preach to, the people of Sodom are still regarded as his "brethren" in the Quran.[6] Like the Biblical narrative, the Quran states that Lot's messages were ignored by the inhabitants of the cities, and Sodom and Gomorrah were subsequently destroyed. The destruction of the cities is traditionally presented as a warning against rape and homosexual acts.

While the Quran does not elaborate upon Lot's later life, Islam holds that all prophets were examples of moral and spiritual righteousness, so the Biblical narrative of Lot's drunkenness and incest after the destruction of Sodom is rejected as false.[4]

Context in the Quran[edit]

Lot is referenced a relatively large number of times in the Quran.[4] Many of these passages place the narrative of Lot in a line of successive prophets including Noah, Hud, Salih and Shuayb.[7] Islamic scholars have stated that these particular prophets represent the early cycle of prophecy as described in the Quran.[4] These narratives typically follow similar patterns: a prophet is sent to a community; the community pays no heed to his warnings instead threatens him with punishment; God asks the prophet to leave the community and its people are subsequently destroyed in a punishment.[8] Elsewhere in the Quran, Lot is mentioned alongside Ismael, Elisha and Jonah as men whom God favored above the nations.[9]

Quranic narrative[edit]

The Quran states that Lot was a nephew of Abraham who had been sent to the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as a prophet after migrating to Canaan, but he was rejected by the cities' inhabitants. One day, a group of angels visited Abraham as guests[10] in order to inform him of the fact that his wife Sarah was pregnant with Isaac. While there, they also told him that they had been sent by God to the "guilty people"[11] of Lot[12] to destroy them[13] with "a shower of stones of clay".[14] Lot and those who believed in him, were to be spared, but his wife was to die in the destruction, with the angels stating that "she is of those who lag behind".[15][16] The Quran also draws upon Lot's wife as an "example for the unbelievers" as she was married to a righteous man but refused to believe in his message and was thus condemned to Hell.[4][17]

The people of the twin cities transgressed against the bounds of God. According to the Quran, their sins included inhospitality, homosexuality, robbery,[18] and the humiliation of strangers by mistreatment and rape. It was their sin of sexual misconduct which was seen as particularly egregious, with Lot strongly chiding them for approaching men with sexual desire instead of women.[19][20] Lot exhorted them to abandon their sinful ways, but they ridiculed him[21] and threatened to evict him from the cities.[22] Lot prayed to God and begged to be saved from the consequences of their sinful acts.[4][23]

Then two angels, disguised as handsome males, came to Lot. He became distressed due to his powerless to protect the visitors from the people of the cities.[24] The cities' residents demanded that Lot surrender his guests to them.[25] He offered the mob his daughters instead,[26][27] but they were unrelenting and replied "we have no need of your daughters: indeed you know quite well what we want!"[28] The Quran remarks "they moved blindly in the frenzy of approaching death".[4][29]

The angels then revealed their true identities to Lot, and told him that they had been sent by God to "bring down upon the folk of this township a fury from the sky because they are evil-doers".[4] 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.[30] Keeping his faith in God, Lot left the cities during the night with his believing family members and others who believed in him. When morning came, God turned the cities upside down, and rained down on them stones hard as baked clay,[31] putting an end to the lives of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.[4]

Homosexuality[edit]

All major schools of Islamic jurisprudence state that male homosexual sex is a sin, based in part on the story of Lot.[32] Because the Quran states that Lot berated his people for sexually pursuing men, in addition to attempting to assault strangers, the story is traditionally seen as demonstrating Islam's disapproval of both rape and homosexuality.[33] Lot's struggle with the people of the twin cities is seen as either concerning homosexuality in general or specifically homosexual anal penetration.[34] These interpretations have sometimes widened to condemn homosexuality beyond the physical act, including psychological and social dispositions.[32] However, some modern scholars dispute these interpretations,[35] and state that the Quranic narrative is ambiguous as to whether the major sin that ultimately doomed the cities was faithlessness, greed, homosexuality, or some combination of all three.[36]

Monument[edit]

Many Muslims believe that 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. The lintel of the mosque's northern gate is built from stones dating to the Byzantine era when a church had possibly stood at the site. Bani Na'im's association with Lot predates Islam, as the works of the Catholic scholar Jerome[37] in the 4th century CE state that the tomb is located in a town named Capharbaricha, which is likely the former name of Bani Na'im.[38]

Tradition holds that the tomb of his daughters is located on a nearby hill.[39] 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 that the imprints of his feet are still visible in a rock there.[40] Similar alleged footprints of prophets and other holy men are found at Islamic shrines throughout the Middle East.[41]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ According to the BnF: "Lūṭ (Loth) s'enfuit suivi de ses filles ; sa femme reçoit une pierre sur la tête ; ruines des cités détruites", Gallica link
  2. ^ Quran 26:161
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 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.
  5. ^ Hasan, Masudul. History of Islam.
  6. ^ Quran 050:013
  7. ^ 11:89
  8. ^ Al-Qadi, Wadad (1988). "The Term "Khalifa" in Early Exegetical Literature". Die Welt Des Islams. 28 (1): 400. doi:10.2307/1571186.
  9. ^ Quran 6:86–87
  10. ^ Quran 15:51
  11. ^ Quran 15:58: "They said: "We have been sent to a people (deep) in sin"
  12. ^ 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.'"
  13. ^ 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.'"
  14. ^ Quran 51:33: "To bring on, on them, (a shower of) stones of clay"
  15. ^ 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!'"
  16. ^ Quran 15:59
  17. ^ Quran 66:10
  18. ^ Quran 29:29
  19. ^ Quran 07:80
  20. ^ Quran 26:165
  21. ^ Quran 29:29
  22. ^ Quran 7:82
  23. ^ Quran 26:1169
  24. ^ Quran 11:77
  25. ^ Quran 54:37
  26. ^ Quran 11:78
  27. ^ Quran 15:71
  28. ^ Quran 11:79
  29. ^ Quran 15:72
  30. ^ Leaman, Oliver (2006-05-02). The Qur'an: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 380. ISBN 9781134339747.
  31. ^ Quran 11:82
  32. ^ a b El-Rouayheb, Khaled (2005). "Sodomites". Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800. University of Chicago Press.
  33. ^ Habib, Samar (2009). Islam and Homosexuality. p. 206. ISBN 9780313379000.
  34. ^ Kugle 2010, p. 50.
  35. ^ Kugle 2010, pp. 68–69.
  36. ^ Kugle 2010, p. 72.
  37. ^ Sharon, Moshe (1999). Bani Na'im. Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum Palaestinae (CIAP) Volume Two: B-C. BRILL. p. 12. ISBN 9004110836. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  38. ^ Stone, Michael E. (2006). Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha and Armenian Studies. Collected Papers: Volume I. Peeters. p. 693.
  39. ^ Finn, 1877, p. 291
  40. ^ Sharon, 1999, 15
  41. ^ Renard, John (2015). The Handy Islam Answer Book. Visible Ink Press. p. 173.

References[edit]

  • 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.
  • El-Rouayheb, Khaled (2005). "Sodomites". Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800. University of Chicago Press.
  • Kugle, Scott Shiraj al-Haqq (2010). Homosexuality in Islam: Critical Reflection on Gay. Lesbian. and Transgender Muslims. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 978-1-85168-701-5.