As-salaam wa-alaikum, brothers and sisters.
Today’s selection is from Surah 11, Hüd, verses 69-83. These verses tell of the good news sent to Prophet Abraham of the coming births of a son, Isaac, and later, his grandson Jacob. Next the story of Prophet Lot and his mission and challenges with the peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Tafseer for this selection concerns Lot’s daughters in verse 78 and a further explanation of the fates of Sodom and Gomorrah told in verse 83.
Bis-millahi ar-rahman, ar-raheem.
In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful.
Our Messengers came to Abraham (Ibrãhïm) with good news. They said “Peace be upon you.” He answered “Peace be upon you too,” and hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf. But when he saw their hands were not extended towards it, he felt uneasy with them and started to be afraid of them. They said: “Do not fear. We have been sent to the people of Lot.” His wife, who was standing there, laughed when We gave her good news of Allah’s giving her a son Ishãq (Isaac) and after him a grandson Ya’qoob (Jacob). She said: “O wonder! (An expression to indicate surprise) Shall I bear a child now when I have become an old woman and my husband has become well advanced in age? This is indeed a strange thing!”  They said: “Do you wonder at Allah’s decree? May Allah’s mercy and His blessings be upon you, O residents of the household; for He is indeed worthy of all praise, full of all glory.” When the fear of Abraham was gone as the good news (of his son and grand son) came to him, he began to plead with Us for the people of Lot. Indeed Abraham was forbearing, tenderhearted and devout. The angels said: “O Abraham! Leave this topic. The decree of your Lord has already been issued, now there must come to them a punishment that cannot be averted!” 11:[69-76]
When Our messengers came to Lot (Lüt), he became upset about them, for he felt helpless to offer them protection. He said: “This is a critical day.” No sooner did the guests come to him than his people, long addicted to evil practices, came rushing towards him. He said: “O my people! Here are my daughters – they are purer for you. Now, fear Allah and do not humiliate me by insulting my guests. Is there not even one good man among you?” They said: “Well you know, we have no right to your daughters. You know fully well what we want.” He said: “I wish I had power to suppress you or could find some powerful support.” The messengers said: “O Lot! We are the messengers of your Lord. They will not be able to harm you. Now, take your family and get out of this town while yet a part of the night remains – and let none of you turn back – except your wife, who should be left behind. She will face the same fate as they. Their scheduled time of doom is the morning. Is not the morning very close?” When Our Judgment came to pass, We turned the cities upside down and rained down on them brimstones of baked clay, layer upon layer, specially marked by your Lord. Such scourge is not far off from the wrongdoers! 11:[77-83]
Concerning Lot’s daughters in verse 78:
The Biblical narrative suggests that the daughters wer emarried and their husbands were close by (Gen. xix. 14) and that these same daughters afterwards committed incest with their father and had children by him (Gen. xix. 31). The Holy Qur’an nowhere suggests such abominations. Some commentators suggest that “my daughters” in the mouht of a venerable man like Lot, the father of his people, may mean any young girls of those Towns. “My son” (waladi) is still a common mode of address in Arabic-speaking countries when an elderly man addresses a young man.
Concerning the brimstones of baked clay which rained down upon Sodom & Gomorrah in verse 83:
Sijjil, a Persian word Arabicised, from Sang-o-gil, or Sang-i-gil, stone and clay, or hard as baked clay according to Qamus. Sodom and Gomorrah were in a tract of hard, cakey, sulfurous soil, to which this description well applies.
If we take the words literally , they would mean that the showers of brimstones were marked with the destiny of the wicked as decreed by Allah. But would it not be better to take them figuratively, to mean that the shower of brimstones were especially appointed in Allah’s Decree or Plan to mark the punishment for the crimes of Sodom and Gomorrah?
This concludes today’s episode of the 17 Verses Podcast. I hope that this selection has helped increase your understanding of the holy Qur’an just a little bit.
Thank you and be well.