Surah al-`Ankabut (The Spider ) 29 : 28

وَلُوطًا إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمِهِۦٓ إِنَّكُمْ لَتَأْتُونَ ٱلْفَٰحِشَةَ مَا سَبَقَكُم بِهَا مِنْ أَحَدٍ مِّنَ ٱلْعَٰلَمِينَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And [mention] Lot, when he said to his people, "Indeed, you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from among the worlds.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

Lot’s story is mentioned next, after he had emigrated with Abraham and settled in the Jordan Valley. Lot then lived on his own with a tribe close to the Dead Sea, which was later called Lake Lot. The township where the tribe lived was known as Sodom. Lot married one of their women and lived among them. A certain type of perversion had spread among those people, and the Qur’ān mentions that this was the first time ever in human history that such homosexuality had occurred.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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"Verses 56 to 60 clearly show that this Surah was sent down a little before the migration to Abyssinia, during the period of extreme persecution of the Muslims at Makkah. This is supported by the subject matter as well. The disbelievers were opposing Islam and the new Muslims were being subjected to severe torture and oppression. Such were the conditions when God sent down this Surah to strengthen and encourage the Muslims, as well as to admonish the hypocrites. The disbelievers of Makkah were also threatened not to invite a similar fate to the past nations that denied the truth." [Ref: Mawdudi]

8. Reasons for Revelation

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9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone

 

Overview (Verses 28 - 35)

Sexual Perversion in Public
 
Lot’s story is mentioned next, after he had emigrated with Abraham and settled in the Jordan Valley. Lot then lived on his own with a tribe close to the Dead Sea, which was later called Lake Lot. The township where the tribe lived was known as Sodom. Lot married one of their women and lived among them.
 
A certain type of perversion had spread among those people, and the Qur’ān mentions that this was the first time ever in human history that such homosexuality had occurred. In the natural state of things a man is attracted to a woman so that the two form a natural productive unit which ensures the continuity of life through procreation, which is common to all living species. It is God who has created them all in pairs made of males and females. Thus, Lot’s people were the first ever to yield to such perversion:
 
And Lot said to his people: ‘You certainly commit abominations such as none in all the worlds has ever committed before you. Will you approach men [with lust], assault people on the highway, and commit shameful acts in your meeting places?’ But his people’s only response was to say: ‘Bring down upon us God’s punishment, if you truly are one who speaks the truth.’ He said: My Lord! Support You me against these people who spread corruption.’ (Verses 28-30)
 

Although it is clear from Lot’s address to his people that other types of corruption had spread among them, their main abomination was that they engaged in sex with other men. When a man goes beyond natural limits with a woman, his action is a gross crime but it remains within the overall framework of natural desire. Homosexual perversion reaches beyond the natural instinct common to all living species, and indicates a psychological and physical malfunction. God has made the pleasure of sexual interaction between married couples move in harmony with the great line of life and its continuity through offspring. Both man and woman are able to enjoy through it psychological and physical pleasure. Homosexual practices, on the other hand, have no such objective and, as such, cannot give natural pleasure. When anyone finds pleasure in such a perverted practice, it means he has totally broken away from all that is natural and progressive in life.
 
Lot’s people assaulted travellers on the highways, looting their property. They also raped men, which is an even worse act than their other perversion. Furthermore, they spread corruption in the land, and committed shameful acts in their meeting places. When a community find it acceptable to boast of what is indecent, its moral degeneration has become grave indeed. Thus, there was no hope that they would reform themselves.
 
The story is given here in a concise manner. It appears that Lot first counselled them gently, telling them to stop their immoral practices, but they were persistent. He then warned them of God’s punishment and spoke clearly about the abomination of what they did.
 
“But his people’s only response was to say: Bring down upon us God’s punishment, if you truly are one who speaks the truth.” (Verse 29) Their replies to his warnings were boastful and challenging. With such blunt denial of the truth, there was no hope of their mending their ways. Thus, the messenger sent to them gave them all that he could of advice for their welfare, but in the end he could only seek God’s support: “He said: My Lord! Support You me against these people who spread corruption.” (Verse 30)
 
At this point the curtains fall. When they rise again, the scene depicts God’s response. The angels charged with carrying out God’s order visited Abraham, giving him the happy news of a child to be born to him by his wife who up to that point had been barren:
 
When Our [angel] messengers came to Abraham with happy news, they [also] said: ‘We are about to destroy the people of this town, for its people are truly wrongdoers. ‘He said: ‘But Lot lives there!’ They answered: ‘We know fully well who is there. We shall certainly deliver him and his household, except his wife. She will indeed be among those who stay behind.’ (Verses 31-32)
 

This exchange between Abraham and the angels is given in summary form in this instance, because it is not the main point here. It has already been mentioned in Abraham’s own story that God gave him Isaac and Jacob, and since the birth of Isaac is the subject of the happy news given to him, it is not given in detail here. Instead, the point is to continue with Lot’s story. Therefore, it is only briefly stated that the angels dropped in on Abraham to give him the happy news, and then told him about their main mission: “They said: We are about to destroy the people of this town, for its people are truly wrongdoers.” (Verse 31)
 
Abraham was compassionate and kind hearted. He reminded the angels that Lot lived there, that he was a good man, and not a wrongdoer. The angels reassured him that Lot would not be harmed. They explained that they knew their task well: “They answered: We know fully well who is there. We shall certainly deliver him and his household, except his wife. She will indeed be among those who stay behind.” (Verse 32) Lot’s wife was inclined towards her people, approving of their crimes and perversions, hence she would not be spared.
 
The sūrah moves to a third scene in which we see Lot as he received the angels who took the guise of handsome young men. Aware of his people’s perversion, he feared for his guests knowing that he could not be of much help to them. He was distressed at their presence at such a difficult time: “Then when Our messengers arrived at Lot’s, he was terribly grieved on their account and felt powerless to protect them.” (Verse 33) As told in this sūrah, the story does not mention how Lot’s people tried to abuse his guests, his remonstrations with them and their paying no heed. It moves straight on to the final outcome with the angels telling him in his overwhelming distress who they were and what their mission was:
 
But they said: Have no fear, and do not grieve. We shall certainly deliver you and your household, except your wife. She will indeed be among those who stay behind. We shall certainly bring down upon the people of this town a horror from heaven in requital of all their wicked deeds. (Verses 33-34)
 

This last verse draws an image of the total destruction which was visited on the town and its population, with the exception of Lot and the believers in his household. This destruction was visited upon by means of rain and stones covered with mud. Most probably this was a volcanic eruption that turned the town upside down, sinking it into the ground. It followed this with a rain that accompanies volcanic eruptions.
 
The remains of this destruction were left for all to see, telling of God’s signs and serving as a reminder to anyone who has reason to think and reflect: “We made of it a clear sign for people who use their reason.” (Verse 35) This was the natural fate of this evil shoot that had rotted and moulded so badly that it could no longer yield any fruit. The only thing to do with it was fell it.
 


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