"The Obvious Signs" in the Lake of Lut
Extra Solar Planets
Geological features of the Dead Sea today point
to a disaster as described in the Quran
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!”
But we saved him and his family, except his wife: she was of those who lagged 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-Araf: 80-84)
Lut lived at the same time as Ibrahim. Lut was sent as a messenger to one of Ibrahim’s neighbouring communities. These people, as the Quran tells us, practised a perversion unknown to the world up to then, namely sodomy. When Lut 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 resided is referred to as Sodom in the Old Testament. Being situated at the north of the Red Sea, this community is understood to have been destroyed just as it is written in the Quran. Archaeological studies reveal that the city is located in the area of the Dead Sea which stretches along the Israel-Jordan border.
The 82nd verse of Surah Hud clearly stated the kind of disaster that befell the people of lut. “When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer”
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.
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.
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 173rd verse of Surat ash-Shuara as “We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)!”)
The “obvious signs” conveyed by the Lake of Lut are indeed very interesting. In general, the events which are related in the Quran 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, deserve attention geologically. The Lake is approximately 400 metres below the surface of the Mediterranean. Since the deepest place 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 people, which is recounted in the Quran, 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.
Werner Keller noted that 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 people lived.
The mechanical aspect of the disaster that befell people of Lut is revealed by the researches of the geologists. These reveal that the earthquake which destroyed the people of Lut came about in consequence of quite a long crack in the earth (a fault line), along the 190 kilometers 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 has taken place here.
All these remains and geographical evidences show that a catastrophic geological event took place in the Lake of Lut. Werner Keller writes,
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.
The National Geographic makes the following comment on December 1957; 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.
Extra Solar Planets
The Quran hints at the existence of planets like the Earth
Prof. Shah Manzoor Alam*
THE news item regarding the discovery of extra solar planets orbiting around stars outside the solar system has been read with wide interest. It has also been reported that there may be planets outside the solar system capable of supporting human life. In the Science and Technology Supplement of The Hindu August 10, 2000 a more detailed report of this striking discovery has appeared. This report, which sums-up the proceedings of the Meeting of the General Assembly of the International of Astronomical Union held recently in Manchester, England highlights a fascinating fact that “increase in the number of detected planets coupled with the fact that many now seem to have companion objects orbiting near them, bolster astronomers hopes about the possibility of finding earth-like planets orbiting other stars.” The report further says that some of these earth-like planets “might eventually be capable of supporting human colonies” (The Hindu August 8, 2000).
The existence of earth-like planets was distinctly indicated in the Holy Quran nearly 1400 years ago in the last verse of Surah No.65, Talaq (The Divorce). The Quran reveals as follows “It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof (i.e. seven). His command descends between them (heavens and earths), that you may know that Allah has power over all things” (65:12).
In the Arabic language the word ‘seven’ also implies several and not specifically number 7. According to the exegetists of the Quran the ‘heavens’ also connote the cosmic system. Thus the Holy Quran refers to the multiplicity of cosmic system and of earth-like planets. It is stated in one of the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad (e) that while explaining the above cited verse to his companions (sahabis) he pointed out that the distance between the two earth-like planets or two cosmic systems each was 500 years. It may be noted that he did not use the linear unit of measurement then prevalent among the Arabs such as farsakh (about 18,000ft) but expressed it in terms of time dimension i.e. 500 years in order to stress the enormity of the distance, almost astronomical, between two earth-like planets. In view of the facts cited above it would not be wrong to suggest that scientific research is moving fast in the direction revealed in the Quran centuries ago.
* The writer is former Vice-Chancellor of University of Kashmir.