Perished Nations

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CHAPTERS OF THE BOOK

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5 / total: 12

The people of Prophet Lut (as)
and The City which was Turned Upside Down

The people of Lut rejected (his) warning. We sent against them a violent Tornado with showers of stones, (which destroyed them), except Lut's household: them We delivered by early Dawn,- As a Grace from Us: thus do We reward those who give thanks. And (Lut) did warn them of Our Punishment, but they disputed about the Warning. (Surat al-Qamar: 33-36)

Both Lut (as)and Ibrahim (as) lived at the same time. Lut (as) was sent as a messenger to one of Ibrahim's (as) neighbouring communities. These people, as the Qur’an tells us, practiced a perversion unknown to the world up till then, namely sodomy. When Lut (as) told them to give up this perversion and brought them Allah's warning, they denied him, refused his prophethood, and carried on with their perversion. In the end, these people were destroyed by a dreadful disaster.

The city where Lut (as) resided is referred to as Sodom in the Old Testament. Being situated to the north of the Red Sea, this community is understood to have been destroyed just as it is written in the Qur’an. Archaeological studies reveal that the city is located in the area of the Dead Sea which stretches along the Palestine-Jordan border.

Before examining the remains of this disaster, we shall examine why the people of Lut (as) were punished in this fashion. The Qur’an tells how Lut (as) warned his people and what they said in reply;

The people of Lut rejected the messengers. Behold, their brother Lut said to them: Will ye not fear (Allah)? I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust. So fear Allah and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the lord of the Worlds. Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)! They said: If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out! He said: I do detest your doings. (Surat ash-Shu’ara: 160-168)

The people of Lut (as) threatened him in response to his inviting them to the right way. His people detested him because of his showing them the right way, and wanted to banish both him and the other believers beside him. In other verses, the event is told as follows:

We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practise your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.
And his people gave no answer but this: they said, Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure! (Surat al-A‘raf: 80-82)

Lut (as)called his people to an obvious truth and warned them explicitly, but his people did not heed any warnings whatsoever and continued to reject him and to deny the penalty of which he told them.

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. (Surat al-Ankaboot: 28-29)

Receiving the above answer from his people, Lut asked for the help of Allah,

He said: O my Lord! help Thou me against people who do mischief! (Surat al-Ankaboot: 30)

O my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do! (Surat ash-Shu’ara: 169)

Upon Lut’s (as) prayer, Allah sent two angels in the form of men. These angels visited Ibrahim (as)before coming to Lut (as). Giving Ibrahim (as) the good news that his wife would give birth to an infant, the messengers explained the reason for their being sent: the insolent people of Lut (as) were to be destroyed.

(Ibrahim) said: And what, O ye Messengers, is your errand (now)? They said, We have been sent to a people (deep) in sin; To bring on, on them, (a shower of) stones of clay (brimstone), Marked as from thy Lord for those who trespass beyond bounds. (Surat adh-Dhariyat: 31-34)

Excepting the adherents of Lut: them we are certainly (charged) to save (from harm) - All - Except his wife, who, We have ascertained, will be among those who will lag behind.(Surat al-Hijr: 59-60)

After leaving Ibrahim’s (as) company, the angels, who were sent as messengers, came to Lut (as). Not having recognised the messengers, Lut (as) first became anxious, but then understood that they were sent by Allah:

When Our messengers came to Lut, he was grieved on their account and felt himself powerless (to protect) them. He said: This is a distressful day. (Surah Hud: 77)

He said: Ye appear to be uncommon folk. They said: Yea, we have come to thee to accomplish that of which they doubt. We have brought to thee that which is inevitably due, and assuredly we tell the truth. Then travel by night with thy household, when a portion of the night (yet remains), and do thou bring up the rear: let no one amongst you look back, but pass on whither ye are ordered. And We made known this decree to him, that the last remnants of those (sinners) should be cut off by the morning. (Surat al-Hijr: 62-66)

Meanwhile, his people had learned that Lut (as) had visitors. They did not hesitate to approach these visitors perversely as they had approached others before. They encircled the house. Being afraid for his visitors, Lut (as) addressed his people as follows:

Lut said: These are my guests: disgrace me not: But fear Allah, and shame me not. (Surat al-Hijr: 68-69)

The people of Lut retorted:

They said: Did we not forbid thee (to speak) for all and sundry? (Surat al-Hijr: 70)

Thinking that he and his visitors subjected to evil treatment, Lut said:

Would that I had power to suppress you or that I could betake myself to some powerful support. (Surah Hud: 80)

His visitors reminded him that they were the messengers of Allah and said:

(The Messengers) said: O Lut! We are Messengers from thy Lord! By no means shall they reach thee! now travel with thy family while yet a part of the night remains, and let not any of you look back: but thy wife (will remain behind): To her will happen what happens to the people. Morning is their time appointed: Is not the morning nigh? (Surah Hud: 81)

When the perversity of the city people reached its fullest extent, Allah saved Lut (as) by means of the angels. In the morning, his people were destroyed by the disaster of which Lut (as) had informed them in advance.

And they even sought to snatch away his guests from him, but We blinded their eyes. (They heard:) Now taste ye My Wrath and My Warning. Early on the morrow an abiding Punishment seized them.(Surat al-Qamar: 37-38)

The verses describe the destruction of this people as follows:

But the (mighty) Blast overtook them before morning, And We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay. Behold! in this are Signs for those who by tokens do understand. And the (cities were) right on the high-road. (Surat al-Hijr: 73-76)

When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer,-Marked as from thy Lord: Nor are they ever far from those who do wrong! (Surah Hud: 82-83)

But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)! : Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful.(Surat ash-Shu’ara: 172-175)

When the people were destroyed, only Lut (as) and the believers, who were only as many as one household, were saved. Lut’s (as) wife did not believe either and she was also destroyed.

We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you?

For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.

And his people gave no answer but this: they said, Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!

But we saved him and his family, except his wife: she was of those who legged behind.
And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): Then see what was the end of those who indulged in sin and crime! (Surat al-A‘raf: 80-84)

Thus, Prophet Lut (as) was saved along with the believers and his family with the exception of his wife. As described in the Old Testament, he emigrated with Ibrahim (as). As for the perverted people, they were destroyed and their dwellings were razed to the ground.

The Obvious Signs in the Lake of Lut

One of the verses of Surah Hud clearly states the kind of disaster that befell the people of Lut (as). When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer. (Surah Hud: 82)

The statement of turning (the cities) upside down implies that the region was totally destroyed by a violent earthquake. Accordingly, The Lake of Lut, where the destruction took place, bears obvious evidence of such a disaster.

Dead Sea

1. The Mediterranean
2. Tell Aviiv

3. Jerusalem
4. People of Lut (as)

5. Dead Sea

A satellite photograph of the region where the people of Lut (as) lived.

We quote German archaeologist Werner Keller:

Together with the base of this mighty fissure, which runs precisely through this area, the Vale of Siddim, including Sodom and Gomorrah, plunged one day into the abyss. Their destruction came about through a great earthquake which was probably accompanied by explosions, lightning, issue of natural gas and general conflagration.13
Dead Sea

Photographs of the Lake of Lut taken from satellite.

As a matter of fact, the Lake of Lut, or the Dead Sea as it is otherwise known, is located right on the top of an active seismic region, that is, an earthquake zone:

The base of the dead sea is located with a tectonic rooted downfall. This valley is located in a tension stretching between the Taberiye Lake in the north, and mid of Arabah Valley in the south.14 

The event was expressed as we rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer in the last part of the verse. This is in all probability meant to be the volcanic explosion that took place on the banks of the Lake of Lut, and because of which the rocks and stones that erupted were in a baked form. (The same event is related in the verse 173 of Surat ash-Shu’ara as We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)!)

In relation to this subject, Werner Keller writes:

The subsidence released volcanic forces that had been lying dormant deep down along the whole length of the fracture. In the upper valley of the Jordan near Bashan there are still towering craters of extinct volcanoes; great stretches of lava and deep layers of basalt have been deposited on the limestone surface.15

These lava and basalt layers constitute the greatest evidence that a volcanic explosion and earthquake had once taken place here. The catastrophe depicted in the following expression as we rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer in the Qur’an most probably points to this volcanic explosion, and Allah knows best. The expression When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down which occurs in the same verse, must be referring to the earthquake which caused volcanoes to erupt over the surface of the earth with devastating impact, and to the fissures and debris brought by it, and only Allah knows the truth of it.

Dead Sea

The Lake of Lut, or Dead Sea as otherwise called.

The obvious signs conveyed by the Lake of Lut are indeed very interesting. In general, the events which are related in the Qur’an take place in the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt. Right in the middle of these lands, is the Lake of Lut. The Lake of Lut, as well as the incidents that have taken place around it, deserves attention geologically. The Lake is approximately 400 metres below the surface of the Mediterranean. Since the deepest point in the Lake is 400 metres, the bottom of the Lake is 800 metres below the surface of the Mediterranean. This is the lowest point on the earth. In other areas which are lower than sea level, the depth is at most 100 metres. Another property of the Lake of Lut is that the salt content of its water is very high, the density being nearly 30%. Because of this, no living organism, such as fish or moss, can survive in this lake. This is why the Lake of Lut is called the Dead Sea in Western literature.

The incident of Lut’s (as)people, which is recounted in the Qur’an, occurred around 1800 BC according to estimates. Based on his archaeological and geological researches, the German researcher Werner Keller noted that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were in fact located in the Siddim Valley which was the region at the furthest and lowest end of the Lake of Lut, and that there were once big and widely inhabited sites in those regions.

lut

An overhead view of the mountains around the Lake of Lut.

The most interesting structural characteristic of the Lake of Lut is evidence showing how the disaster incidence recounted in the Qur’an took place:

On the eastern shore of the Dead Sea the peninsula of El-Lisan protrudes like a tongue far into the water. El-Lisan means the tongue in Arabic. Unseen from the land the ground falls away here under the surface of the water at a prodigious angle, dividing the sea into two parts. To the right of the peninsula the ground slopes sharply down to a depth of 1200 feet. On the left of the peninsula the water remains remarkably shallow. Soundings taken in the last few years established depths of only fifty to sixty feet. That extraordinary shallow part of the Dead Sea, from the peninsula El-Lisan to the southernmost tip, was the Vale of Siddim.16 

Werner Keller noted this shallow part, which was discovered to have formed subsequently, was the outcome of the aforementioned earthquake and the massive collapse this earthquake had caused. This was the place where Sodom and Gomorrah were situated, that is, where Lut’s (as)people lived.

volcanic eruption

On the left: an illustration showing the volcanic eruption and the collapse that followed it, which caused the whole people to disappear.

Page across: a distant view of the Lake of Lut

Once, it was possible to cross this region by walking. However, now, the Vale of Siddim, where Sodom and Gomorrah were once situated, is covered by the flat surface of the lower part of the Dead Sea. The collapse of the base as a result of the dreadful catastrophe that came to pass in the beginning of the second millennium BC, caused salt water from the north to flow into this recently formed cavity and filled the basin with salty water

The traces of Lut’s (as) people are visible… When one takes a rowing boat across the Lake of Lut to the southernmost point, if the sun is shining in the right direction, one sees something quite fantastic. Some distance from the shore and clearly visible under the surface of the water, there are the outlines of the forests which the extraordinarily high salt content of the Dead Sea preserved. The trunks and roots in the shimmering green water are very ancient. The Siddim valley, where these trees were once in blossom green foliage covered their twigs and branches, was one of the most beautiful locations in the region.

The mechanical aspect of the disaster that befell the people of Lut (as) is revealed by the researches of the geologists. These reveal that the earthquake which destroyed the people of Lut (as) came about as a consequence of a fault line in the earth, along the 190-kilometre distance making up the bed of the River Sheri’at. River Sheri’at makes a fall of 180 metres in total. Both this and the fact that the Lake of Lut is 400 metres below sea level are two important pieces of evidence showing that an enormous geological event once took place here.

The interesting structure of the River of Sheri’at and the Lake of Lut make up only a small part of the crack or split passing from this region of the earth. The condition and length of this crack have only recently been discovered.

The fault starts from the outskirts of Mount Taurus, stretches to the southern shores of the Lake of Lut and proceeds over the Arabian desert to the Gulf of Aqaba and continues across the Red Sea, ending up in Africa. Along the length of it, strong volcanic activities are observed. Black basalt and lava exist in the Galilee Mountains in Israel, high plain regions of Jordan, the Gulf of Aqaba and other areas nearby.

landspace
 
Together with the base of this mighty fissure, which runs precisely through this area, the Vale of Siddim, including Sodom and Gomorrah, plunged one day into the abyss. Their destruction came about through a great earthquake which was probably accompanied by explosions, lightning, issue of natural gas and general conflagration. The subsidence released volcanic forces that had been lying dormant deep down along the whole length of the fracture. In the upper valley of the Jordan near Bashan there are still towering craters of extinct volcanoes; great stretches of lava and deep layers of basalt have been deposited on the limestone surface.17 
Dead Sea by a floating city

Some of the remains of the city, which had slipped into the lake, were found on the banks of the lake. These remains showed that the people of Lut had quite a high standard of life.

National Geographic makes the following comment:

The mount of Sodom, a barren wasteland, rises sharply above the dead sea. No one has ever found the destroyed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but scholars believe that they stood in the Vale of Siddim across from these cliffs. Possibly flood waters of the Dead Sea engulfed them following an earthquake.18 
the people of Lut

The destruction of the people of Lut (as) has inspired many painters. An example is given above.

Pompeii Had a Similar End

pompei

Above is a picture representing the luxury and prosperity of the city of Pompeii before the disaster.

The Qur’an tells us in the following verses that there is no change in Allah’s laws:

They swore their strongest oaths by Allah that if a warner came to them, they would follow his guidance better than any (other) of the Peoples: But when a warner came to them, it has only increased their flight (from righteousness) - On account of their arrogance in the land and their plotting of Evil, but the plotting of Evil will hem in only the authors thereof. Now are they but looking for the way the ancients were dealt with? But no change wilt thou find in Allah's way (of dealing): no turning off wilt thou find in Allah's way (of dealing). (Surat al-Fatir: 42-43)

Yes, no change will be found in Allah’s way (rules). Everybody, who stands against His laws and rebels against Him, is subject to the same divine law. Pompeii, the symbol of the degeneration of the Roman Empire, was also involved in sexual perversity. Its end was similar to that of the people of Lut (as).

The destruction of Pompeii came by means of the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius.

The volcano Vesuvius is the symbol of Italy, primarily the city of Naples. Remaining silent for the last two millennia, Vesuvius is named the Mountain of Warning. It is noteworthy that Vesuvius is known as such. The disaster that befell Sodom and Gomorrah is very similar to the disaster that destroyed Pompeii.

To the right of Vesuvius lies Naples and to the east lies Pompeii. The lava and ash of a huge volcanic eruption, that happened thousands of years ago, caught the inhabitants of that city. The disaster happened so suddenly that everything in the town was caught in the middle of its everyday life and remains today exactly as it was two millennia ago. It is as if the time had been frozen.

Pompeii

On the next page are petrified corpses unearthed in excavations made in Pompeii.

The removal of Pompeii from the face of the earth by such a disaster was not purposeless. The historical record shows that the city was exactly the centre of dissipation and perversity. The city was marked by a rise in prostitution to such an extent that even the number of brothels was not known.

But the lava of Vesuvius wiped the whole city off the map in a single moment. The most interesting aspect of the event is that nobody escaped despite the terrible violence of the eruption of Vesuvius. It is almost like they did not even notice the catastrophe, as if they were charmed. A family eating their meal were petrified right at that moment. Numerous petrified couples were found in the act of intercourse. The most interesting thing is that there were couples of the same sex and couples of young boys and girls. The faces of some of the petrified human corpses unearthed from Pompeii were unharmed. The general expression on those faces was bewilderment.

Pompeii2

Other examples of petrified human corpses uncovered among the remains of Pompeii.

Here lies the most incomprehensible aspect of the calamity. How did thousands of people wait to be caught by death without seeing and hearing anything?

This aspect of the event shows that the disappearance of Pompeii was similar to the destructive events mentioned in the Qur’an, because the Qur’an particularly points to sudden annihilation while relating these events. For example, the inhabitants of the city described in Surah Ya-Sin died all at once in a single moment. The situation is told as follows:

It was no more than a single mighty Blast, and behold! they were (like ashes) quenched and silent. (Surah Ya-Sin: 29)

In Surat al-Qamar, again the instantaneous annihilation is emphasised when the destruction of Thamud is recounted:

For We sent against them a single Mighty Blast, and they became like the dry stubble used by one who pens cattle. (Surat al-Qamar: 31)

The death of the people of Pompeii took place instantaneously as just as the events recounted in the above verses.

Despite all of this, things have not changed much where Pompeii once stood. The districts of Naples where debauchery prevails do not fall short of those licentious districts of Pompeii. The Island of Capri is a base where homosexuals and nudists reside and is represented as a Homosexual paradise in tourist commercials. Not only on Capri and in Italy, but in nearly all the world, a similar moral degeneration is at work and people insist on not learning from the awful experiences of past peoples.

pompei

Some other examples of petrified human corpses uncovered at Pompeii. The picture on the left is a very good example of how instantaneous thedisaster was.

 

Footnotes

13. Werner Keller Und die Bibel hat doch recht (The Bible as History; a Confirmation of the Book of Books), New York: William Morrow, 1964 p. 75- 76

14. Le Monde de la Bible, Archeologie et Histoire, July-August 1993.

15. Werner Keller Und die Bibel hat doch recht (The Bible as History; a Confirmation of the Book of Books), New York: William Morrow, 1964, p. 76

16. Ibid, pp. 73-74

17. Ibid, pp. 75-76

18. G. Ernest Wright, Bringing Old Testament Times to Life, National Geographic, Vol. 112, December 1957, p. 833

 

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