Sunday, March 06, 2016

History - The fictional stories of Muhammad - Lot

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. You can also find the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
In the story of Lot, as told in the Jewish scriptures, Lot had separated from his uncle Abraham because the land could not support both their herds. Lot chose to migrate eastward towards the valley of the Jordan. The scriptures says that he "settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom." (Genesis 13:12) Sodom, and its surrounding cities, were exceedingly wicked and the time came for God to judge them of their sins. However, before God brought His judgment, He disclosed His plans to Abraham. "The Lord said, 'Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?'... And the Lord said, 'The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.'" (Genesis 18:17-18, 20-21) Abraham pleaded with God not to destroy the righteous (if they should be found) on account of the wicked. God consented and promised, "Then he said, 'Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?' And He said, 'I will not destroy it on account of the ten.'" (Genesis 18:32-33) It is in this context, and with this mission, that the two angels proceeded into Lot to verify what was spoken of the city. In the end, only four righteous were found and one turned back as they left.

The Koran records the coming of the angels to lot as follows.
"When that Our messengers came to Lot he was troubled on their account and distressed for them [his arm was too weak]; but they said, 'Fear not, neither sorrow [distress not thyself], for surely we shall deliver thee and thy family, except thy wife; she has become of those that tarry." (Koran 29:32)
The Jewish scriptures never indicate that the Angels came with any message for the people, lest of all the sinners. It seems from the Jewish account that their mission was simply to count the number of righteous in the city and, if they could not find at least ten righteous people to advert the judgment of God, then they were to rescue what righteous people they could find. We also do not find Lot distressed by the coming of the angels, only concerned for their safety. "When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. And he said, 'Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant's house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.'" (Genesis 19:1-2) Lot was rightly concerned for their safety, knowing the kind of place Sodom was.

The Koran records that the people of Sodom rejected the message of the angels.
"The people of Lot cried lies to the Envoys [Apostles] when their brother Lot said to them, 'Will you not be godfearing? I am for you a faithful Messenger [Apostle worthy of all credit], so fear you God, and obey you me." (Koran 26:160-163)
However, we have no recorded account of the angels delivering any message at all to the Sodomites or of Lot preaching to them and declaring himself to be a Muslim before them. Furthermore, we have no account of the people "crying lies" to the angels or their message. The only account we see of the people speaking is when they requested that Lot turn over the men so they could sexually abuse them. "Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.'" (Genesis 19:4-5) Lot's only response to them was to offer them his daughters instead. "Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof." (Genesis 19:7-8) Not quite the response you would expect from a godfearer and a Muslim.

The Koran says that God sent judgment upon the people of Sodom.
"The people of Lot cried lies to the warnings. We loosed against them a squall of pebbles [stone-charged wind] except the folk [family] of Lot" (Koran 54:34)
However, the Jewish scriptures record only two forms of judgment upon the city, and neither of them involved pebbles. First, they struck the men who came out to abuse the angels with blindness. "But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway." (Genesis 19:10-11) Then they judged the city with fire from above. "The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground." (Genesis 19:23-25) It would be hard for one to interpret the judgment of burning stones from heaven as a mere squall of pebbles as Muhammad maintains.

Finally, the Koran records the deliverance of Lot and his family.
"So We delivered [rescued] him and his family, except his wife; We decreed she should be of those that tarried [lingered]." (Koran 27:58)
"set forth [depart], thou with thy family, in a watch [in the dead] of the night, and let not any one of you turn round [back], excepting thy wife; surely she shall be smitten by that which smites them." (Koran 11:83
One of the recurring themes in the Koranic story of Lot and his rescue is the condemnation of Lot's wife as one who was not to be rescued. From the very beginning of the story, the angels make it known that they had been sent to save Lot and his family, except for Lot's wife for "we have decreed, she shall surely be of those that tarry." (Koran 15:60) However, no where in the Jewish account of this story do we ever see any predetermination that Lot's wife was not to be saved. She evidently was counted among the righteous as the angels included her in those who were to flee the city. They explicitly urged Lot saying, "Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city." (Genesis 19:15) Lot's wife was included in this urging. In the end, it was not the prejudgment of God that led to Lot's wife's demise, but her own lusts and desires for Sodom. "But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." (Genesis 19:26) She was chosen for deliverance, but she turned back, longing for the pleasantries and pleasures of Sodom. It was in her turning back that she became unfit for deliverance. She alone sealed her fate, and that, only as she fled.

More to come...
David Robison

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