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LOT’S WIFE

The prophet Lut (Lot) is mentioned by name in the Qur

) an twenty-seven times.

Several long passages tell the story of Lot and the people of Sodom to whom he is sent (e.g. 7.80-84; 11.74-83; 15.61-77; 26.160-175; 27.54-58; 29.28-35; 37.133138; 51.31-37; 54.33-40), a number of which (e.g. 11.74-76; 29.31-32; 51.31) relate Lot to Abraham. Muslim exegetes explain that Lot was the son of Abraham’s brother Haran, and that he travelled with Abraham from Babylon and settled in the city of Sodom in the land of Gomorrah. The people of Sodom are, in Muslim

tradition, taken to epitomize sinful people. In 29.28-29, Lot accuses his people of having indecent sex, having sex with men, practising highway robbery and having ‘wicked sex’ in their meeting hall. In 7.80-81, Lot says that his people commit obscenities never before practised, and prefer sex with men over sex with women. Muslim exegetes add that the people of Lot would rape people who passed on the road, and that they were notorious for farting in public places. Several verses in the Qur

) an refer to

the people of Lot who were saved when the city was destroyed (e.g. 7.83; 26.170171; 29.32-33; 37.134-135). Muslim exegesis has different traditions regarding the number of believers who were saved. In one tradition, Abraham bargains with Gabriel, getting him to agree not to destroy the city if there were in it fourteen believers: Abraham thought he had saved the city, but included in the

number of people he counted Lot’s wife who, according to the Qur

) an, was not a

true believer (e.g. 7.83; 27.57; 29.32-33) and lingered behind. 26.171 and 37.135 mention an ‘old woman’ from the family of Lot who was not saved, and Muslim exegetes take this to be a reference to Lot’s wife. Muslim exegetes also narrate in detail

how the angels sent to Abraham went to Sodom in human form to warn Lot and were threatened with rape by the people there. In some of these accounts, it is Lot’s wife who betrays the angels to the people. 53.53 mentions the overturned

(mu ) tafika) cities that were destroyed by

God. Muslim exegetes identify this with the cities of Sodom, Zeboiyim (Sab‘a), Zoar (Sa

( ra), Gomorrah (Amara) and

Adma (Duma). The angels are said to have taken the cities up into the heavens, turned them over, and cast them upside down into the earth. The Qur

) an men-

tions stones (e.g. 11.82; 15.74), a ‘rain’ (e.g. 7.83; 26.173; 27.58) and a ‘thunder’ (e.g. 29.34) sent by God to destroy the people of Sodom. 51.33-34 specifies stones of clay, marked by God, and Muslim exegetes say that the rocks were marked with the name of the people they killed.