قَالَ ہٰۤؤُلَآءِ بَنٰتِیۡۤ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ فٰعِلِیۡنَ ﴿ؕ۷۲﴾
قَالَ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ بَنَاتِيٓ إِن كُنتُمۡ فَٰعِلِينَ
a. 11:79. (close)
1513. See 11:79. (close)
a. 11:79. (close)
The verse states that Lot offered to the infuriated people his daughters as hostages against any possible infringement on his part or that of his guests of the interests of the town. As his daughters were married to townsmen, he, their father, could do nothing against the interests of the town; and if he did anything of that sort, they could easily wreak vengeance on him through his daughters.
Some Muslim commentators, blindly following the story of the Bible (Gen. 19:8), have interpreted this verse as meaning that Lot offered those people his daughters for the gratification of their lust. This interpretation is absurd. No sensible man, much less a Prophet of God, would seek to deflect a man from one sinful act by suggesting to him the commission of another and more heinous sin. It is inconceivable that Prophet Lot should have offered his own daughters to those wicked people that they should satisfy their lust with them instead of with the strangers. Human imagination staggers at such a foolish and wicked idea. Some other commentators are of the opinion that, being an elderly man and a Prophet, Lot referred to the women of the tribe as his daughters, meaning that these people should go in unto their wives rather than gratify their lust unnaturally. This interpretation, though much more sensible than the Biblical story, is also not admissible being in conflict with the context (see also 11:79).
It may also be noted here that the words ان کنتم فاعلین (if you must do something) do not, according to Arabic idiom, mean "if you must commit sodomy." They simply mean, "if you must do something." (close)
لَعَمۡرُکَ اِنَّہُمۡ لَفِیۡ سَکۡرَتِہِمۡ یَعۡمَہُوۡنَ ﴿۷۳﴾
لَعَمۡرُكَ إِنَّهُمۡ لَفِي سَكۡرَتِهِمۡ يَعۡمَهُونَ
1776. Important Words:
لعمرك (by thy life). عمر (‘amrun) is the same as عمر (‘umurun) and means, life or the age to which life extends or the period in which the body is inhabited by life. The Arabs say لعمرك لافعلن کذالك i.e. by thy life I will assuredly do such a thing. The expression لعمرك therefore means, by thy life; or by thy religion, for عمر (‘amrun) also means religion (Lane).
This verse is addressed to the Holy Prophet by God and not to Lot by the angels, as some commentators seem to think.
The expression لعمرك (by thy life) therefore beautifully hints at the purity of the Holy Prophet’s life by citing it as a witness against the wickedness of evildoers.
The case of Lot was in fact similar to that of the Holy Prophet in more than one respect. Just as the people of Lot prohibited him from entertaining outsiders, fearing lest the latter should conspire against them, similarly the Meccans prohibited the Holy Prophet from having any dealings with strangers, for they feared that he might form an alliance with outside people and thus seek to do them harm. And just as Lot had his two daughters married among his enemies, similarly the Holy Prophet had three of his daughters married among disbelievers: Ruqayyah and Ummi Kulthum having been married to ‘Utbah and Shaibah, the two sons of Abu Lahab and Zainab to Abul ‘As bin ar-Rabi‘. The relevancy of the present verse to the previous one is that the Holy Prophet felt grieved by the reference to Lot’s daughters having been married among his opponents, for this reminded him of his own daughters who were married among disbelievers and of their being likely to suffer at the hands of their husbands. God has therefore here consoled the Holy Prophet by saying to him, "Your enemies have indeed proved more wicked than the people of Lot, who at least abstained from persecuting his daughters. But We offer your whole life as a witness that even as Lot’s people were punished by God, your people, who are the greater sinners, will not escape God’s punishment for persecuting you who are by far a greater Prophet."
It may also be briefly mentioned in passing that God’s swearing by His creatures is quite different from man’s swearing by them. When a man swears by a thing other than God, he does so to express his special reverence for it, which is denounced by the Quran. But God swears by a thing in order to offer it as a witness for establishing the truth of a certain claim and He, being the Creator of all things, has the right to offer anything as a witness. But man cannot do so. It is therefore not allowed to him to swear by anything except God. For a full discussion of the subject of "oaths" in the Quran and their significance see under 75:2. (close)
فَاَخَذَتۡہُمُ الصَّیۡحَۃُ مُشۡرِقِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۷۴﴾
فَأَخَذَتۡهُمُ ٱلصَّيۡحَةُ مُشۡرِقِينَ
b. 11:82. (close)
a. 11:82. (close)
1777. Important Words:
الصیحة (the punishment) which is derived from صاح i.e. he cried aloud or shouted. صیحة means, a vehement crying; an evil or mischief that comes on one suddenly; punishment; a hostile incursion by which a tribe is surprised (Lane). See also 11:68.
In v. 67 the time for the punishment which was to overtake Lot’s people is indicated by the expression مصبحین (by the morning) but in the present verse it is expressed by مشرقین (at sunrise). This may appear to be a discrepancy in the words used by the Quran. But there is no real discrepancy, because the expression مصبحین (by the morning) signifies those entering on the period from dawn till sunrise, and مشرقینmeans, at sunrise. It is thus clear that there is no real conflict in the meanings of the two words. The calamity actually occurred at sunrise. This is supported by the Bible (Gen. 19:23, 24). For the nature of the calamity see the following verse. (close)
فَجَعَلۡنَا عَالِیَہَا سَافِلَہَا وَ اَمۡطَرۡنَا عَلَیۡہِمۡ حِجَارَۃً مِّنۡ سِجِّیۡلٍ ﴿ؕ۷۵﴾
فَجَعَلۡنَا عَٰلِيَهَا سَافِلَهَا وَأَمۡطَرۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ حِجَارَةٗ مِّن سِجِّيلٍ
c. 11:83. (close)
b. 11:83. (close)
1778. Important Words:
سجیل (clay). See 11:83.
The houses of Lot’s people were turned upside down. This punishment corresponded to their unnatural offence. The punishment apparently took the form of a severe earthquake which raised portions of the stony soil and buried them under; or the houses had walls of stones and rubble laid in clay and these were violently shattered and the debris thrown all around. (close)
اِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکَ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّلۡمُتَوَسِّمِیۡنَ ﴿۷۶﴾
إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَٰتٖ لِّلۡمُتَوَسِّمِينَ
d. 29:36; 51:38. (close)
1514. Mutawassimin is plural of Mutawassim which is derived from Tawassama and means, one who deliberates over a thing and examines it or does so repeatedly to obtain a clear knowledge of it (Aqrab). (close)
a. 29:36; 51:38. (close)
1779. Important Words:
المتوسمین (those who can read signs) is derived from توسم (twassama) which again is derived from وسم which means, he stamped or marked or branded a thing. توسم الشیء means, he deliberated over the thing and considered it or examined it or did so repeatedly to know it or obtain a clear knowledge of it; he recognized the thing by an external sign. توسمت فیه الخیر means, I perceived goodness in him or I read signs of goodness in him (Aqrab).
The use of the word متوسمین here is significant. It was intended to draw the attention of the Meccans to the fact that there was living among them one who was like Lot and to whom they had meted out the same treatment as was meted out to Lot by his people, and therefore, they could easily imagine what kind of treatment they should expect from God. The verse purports to say that if the people of the Holy Prophet did not repent, God would punish them as He had punished the persecutors of Lot. The verse invites them to ponder over the fate of the people of Lot and read the signs of the time and take a lesson from them.
As a matter of fact, the fate of the disbelieving Meccans was somewhat similar to that of the people of Lot. In the Battle of Badr a strong gale which miraculously arose drove into the faces of the Meccans stone particles which blinded them and proved the immediate cause of their ignominious defeat. Again, in a metaphorical sense, the struggle of the Meccans against the Holy Prophet led to the complete overthrow of their social order. Disbelievers who held a high position in Meccan society in pre-Islamic days went down in the social scale and those poor Muslims who enjoyed no great position in public esteem and who accepted the Holy Prophet in the early years of his mission came to occupy positions of trust and eminence in the new social order. This was indeed a great earthquake which turned things upside down, as the preceding verse puts it. (close)
وَ اِنَّہَا لَبِسَبِیۡلٍ مُّقِیۡمٍ ﴿۷۷﴾
وَإِنَّهَا لَبِسَبِيلٖ مُّقِيمٍ
1515. A way is said to be Muqim when it continues to be used by wayfarers. The way referred to here, i.e. the one connecting Arabia with Syria, is still in use, thus fulfilling the prophecy implied in the adjective used for it in this verse. The way passes along the Dead Sea which is locally known as the Sea of Lot. (close)
b. 37:138. (close)
1780. Important Words:
مقیم (that still exists) is derived from اقام which again is derived from قام which means, he stood up or he stood still in his place. اقام means, he remained, continued, stayed, tarried or resided in a place; he remained stationary. They say افام علی حالi.e. he continued in a state or condition. مقیم means, that which lasts; lasting; continuing; unceasing (Lane & Aqrab). See also 2:4; 4:6 & 5:98.
A way is said to be مقیم (that still exists) when it continues to be used by wayfarers. The way referred to here i.e. the one connecting Arabia with Syria is actually still in use, thus fulfilling the prophecy implied in the name given to it in the Quran. The way passes along the Dead Sea which is locally known as بحرلوط the Sea of the Prophet Lot. (close)
اِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکَ لَاٰیَۃً لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿ؕ۷۸﴾
إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَةٗ لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ
f. 26:9. (close)
a. 29:45. (close)
Compare this verse with v. 76 where the word متوسمین (those who can read signs) is used in place of مومنین (believers). In the former case the story referred to was that of Lot. The bearing it had upon the life and career of the Holy Prophet could be noticed and understood only by men who possessed comparatively greater intelligence and insight. Therefore, the word متوسمین was used in v. 76. But as the ruined city lay on a public highway, any God-fearing person who passed by that way could, by seeing its ruins, ponder over its history and profit by the lesson it taught. This is why the word مومنین (believers) has been used in the present verse. (close)
وَ اِنۡ کَانَ اَصۡحٰبُ الۡاَیۡکَۃِ لَظٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۷۹﴾
وَإِن كَانَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلۡأَيۡكَةِ لَظَٰلِمِينَ
g. 26:177; 38:14; 50:15. (close)
1516. The fact that, according to the Qur’an, the Prophet Shu‘aib was sent both to Ashabul-Aikah, i.e. People of the Wood (26:177, 178) and Ahl-e- Madyan, People of Midian (11:85) shows that both are the names of the same people or, rather of two sections of the same people who had adopted two different means of livelihood, one living on commerce and the other keeping herds of camels and sheep. Evidence of the close relationship of the "People of the Wood" with the "People of Midian" is furnished by the fact that identical faults have been ascribed to both in the Qur’an (7:86 & 26:182-184). Midian seems to be both the name of the tribe and the town in which these people lived at the head of the Gulf of Aqabah, near which was situated the wilderness of Aikah, abounding in dwarf trees of the species of wild plums and affording shelter to camels, sheep and goats ("The Gold Mines of Midian" by Sir Richard Francis Burton). (close)
b. 26:177; 38:14; 50:15. (close)
1782. Important Words:
ان (surely) is a common Arabic word giving a number of meanings, e.g., if; not; verily or surely; because; when. It is sometimes redundant (Lane).
الایکة (the Wood), the plural of which is الایك is derived from the verb ایك (ayika). ایك الشجر means, the trees grew thick and formed a wood. الایکة means, a collection of numerous tangled or dense trees, particularly (though not necessarily) of the kind called سدر and الاك (wild berries); a thicket (Aqrab & Lane).
The word الایکة seems to refer to Midian in the vicinity of which there existed tangled and luxuriant trees after which these people or a section thereof were called اصحاب الایکة. Midian lay in the Sinai Peninsula, a few miles from the sea. It was originally the name of a tribe who were descended from Abraham through Keturah and who had settled in the locality known after their ancestor Midian, son of Keturah. They were good businessmen and carried on trade with India through Bahrain or Aden. When, however, their business flourished, they resorted to illicit methods in trade (26:184).
The fact that, according to the Quran, the Prophet Shu‘aib was sent both to اصحاب الایکة i.e. People of the Wood (26:177, 178) and اصحاب مدین i.e. People of Midian (11:85) shows that both are the names of the same people or, rather, of two sections of the same people who had adopted two different kinds of trade, one living on commerce and the other keeping herds of camels and sheep and selling milk, wool, etc. Two sections of the same people living in the same town are generally seen to be following different trades in such towns as are situated on the borders of jungles and forests. So the people of al-Aikah is another section of the tribe of Shu‘aib (26:177, 178) who has also been spoken of as having been sent to the people of Midian (7:86, 11:85 & 29:37).
Further evidence of the close relationship of the "People of the Wood" with the "People of Midian" is furnished by the fact that identical faults have been ascribed in the Quran to both. Speaking of the latter, the Quran says: So give full measure and full weight, and diminish not unto people their things, and create not disorder in the earth after it has been set in order (7:86), while Shu‘aib addresses the former in the following words: Give full measure, and be not of those who give less. And weigh with the true balance. And diminish not to men their things, nor act corruptly in the earth, making mischief (26:182-184). This shows that the "People of the Wood" and the "People of Midian" (to whom Prophet Shu‘aib was sent) belonged to the same parent tribe and had adopted different forms of trade. It may also be noted here that Midian was both the name of the tribe and the town they lived in, at the head of the gulf of ‘Aqabah, and near it was situated the wilderness or Aikah abounding in dwarf trees of the species of wild plums and affording shelter to camels, sheep and goats. For a description of the ایکة or wood near Midian, see "The Gold Mines of Midian" by Sir Richard Francis Burton. (close)
فَانۡتَقَمۡنَا مِنۡہُمۡ ۘ وَ اِنَّہُمَا لَبِاِمَامٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ ﴿ؕ٪۸۰﴾
فَٱنتَقَمۡنَا مِنۡهُمۡ وَإِنَّهُمَا لَبِإِمَامٖ مُّبِينٖ
a. 26:190; 38:15; 50:15. (close)
1517. In the case of the city of Lot the highway has been called 'the way that still exists' (v. 77) which implies a prophecy that it will continue to exist in the future. In the case of the habitation of 'the People of the Wood,' the road has been called 'an open highway.' The old road which connected Asia with Egypt, has now ceased to be used by caravans, though as the word "open" hints, the track still remains. (close)
1783. Important Words:
امام (way) is derived from ام (amma). They say امه i.e. he repaired to or directed his course to him or it. امام inter alia, means, a road or way; a manifest road or way (Lane).
مبین (manifest) means, distinct from others; apparent; manifest; plain (Lane). See also 2:169.
Commentators differ as to the reference of the word "both" in this verse. Most of them take it as referring to the habitations of Lot and Shu‘aib, the account of the people of Lot having just preceded that of the people of Shu‘aib. But the more correct view seems to be that the word "both" refers to the habitations of "the People of the Wood" and "the People of Midian," reference to the latter being understood. The habitations of both lay on a much-frequented highway.
It may also be noted that in the case of the city of Lot the highway has been called سبیل مقیم i.e. the way that still exists (v. 77) signifying that it would continue to be used. Consequently that road has remained in constant use up to the present time. In the case of the habitation of اصحاب الایکة i.e. the People of the Wood, the road has been called امام مبین i.e. a manifest way. Consequently, the old road which connected Asia with Egypt has now ceased to be used by caravans, though, as the word مبین (manifest) hints, the track still remains. (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ کَذَّبَ اَصۡحٰبُ الۡحِجۡرِ الۡمُرۡسَلِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۸۱﴾
وَلَقَدۡ كَذَّبَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلۡحِجۡرِ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ
1518. Hijr lay between Tabuk and Medina. Here lived the tribe of Thamud to whom Salih was sent as a Warner. The city appears to have been largely built of stones and was surrounded by a stone wall and ramparts. Hence this name. (close)
1784. Important Words:
اصحاب الحجر (People of the Hijr). حجر is derived from حجر (hajara) which means, he prevented or hindered or interdicted. See also 2:75. حجر (Hijr) means, forbidden, unlawful, inviolable or sacred; garden or walled garden of palm-trees prohibited to the public; a fortress; a wall of stones built round a house; the place round which such a wall is made; relationship that prohibits marriage; understanding or intelligence, because it forbids that which it does not behove one to do; bosom or breast; figuratively also protection. The word also means, the country or land of Thamud (Lane, Aqrab & Mufradat).
Hijr lay between Tabuk and Medina. Here lived the people of Thamud to whom Salih was sent as a Warner. The city of this tribe appears to have been largely built of stones. It was surrounded by a stone wall and ramparts. Hence this name.
It is worthy of note that though only one Prophet, Salih appears to have been sent to these people, in the verse under comment they are condemned as having rejected the Messengers of God. The same expression has been used in 26:106, 124, 142, 161 & 177 where the tribes mentioned are said to have rejected all Prophets, while as a matter of fact each one of these different tribes rejected only a particular Prophet who was sent to them. This shows that in the sight of God the rejection of one Prophet means the rejection of all because, first, the basic teachings of all Divine Messengers are the same and so the rejection of one Prophet implies the rejection of all others, and, secondly, the rejection of a Prophet implies rejection of God, Who is the Sender of all Prophets. This is why Jesus warned the Jews that by rejecting him they were rejecting Moses; for if they had really believed in Moses, they should not have hesitated to accept him (John 5:46). This is true of all Prophets and Messengers of God. He who rejects the Prophet of his own day shows by his act of rejection, that if he had lived in the time of any other Prophet, he would have rejected him also. Hence it is that the rejection of one Prophet, according to the Quran, is tantamount to the rejection of all Prophets and the acceptance of one is tantamount to the acceptance of all of them. See also 2:137, 286; 3:85 & 4:153.
The next few verses of the present Surah and some opening verses of the following Surah embody mighty prophecies and deal with subjects of very great import. (close)