I am taking a class about Sunnah, where our class is reading from the book ‘Hadith’, by Jonathan A.C. Brown. Brown makes a point that for Muslims to follow the Sunnah (lexical meaning – the path) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Prophet needs to be without moral failing. This definition gets extended to other Prophets in Islam, as well.
A few months ago, I was conducting a class with my Daughters of Abraham group where we were going over the Kindle edition of Yahiya Emerick’s translation of the Holy Quran – Journey Through the Holy Quran. A discussion came up regarding Lut - in Islam, or Lot - in Judaism and Christianity. According to my Christian students, the Judeo-Christian Lot doesn’t hold that high an esteem as he does in Islam.
It turns out that there is more to than just the difference in the name of the Prophet, that came to the nation of Sodom and Gomorrah to deliver the message of one God and piety. Besides the interchange of the letters "O" and "U", there is something much more significant. The Judeo-Christian Lot is a sinner. He is incestuous. He gets drunk and has sex with his daughters. If you Google ‘Lot’, images will turn up where he lies naked in bed with his adult daughters and drinks wine. The Muslim version doesn't commit any such immorality.
The question that arises is: Why such a huge difference in character? Allah chose men of great piety and moral characters to teach His message. How could He send an incestuous man to teach the message of morality to the nation of Sodom and Gommorah that were already committing the grave sin of homosexuality?
This is what Quran says about the nature of men of Lut's nation (Quran 7:81):
“Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people."
I have heard a statement before, where apologetics for Lut/Lot’s nation have ascribed the wrath of God – their city being being turned upside down and clay stones rained on them - exclusively to their other sins such as highway robbery [Quran 29:28-29]. However, 7:81 specifically reprimands them for transgression because of them approaching men with desire.
This warning or reprimand is repeated in Quran 26:165-166:
"Do you approach males among the worlds?
And leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing."
And yet again in Quran 27:55:
"Do you indeed approach men with desire instead of women? Rather, you are a people behaving ignorantly."
God reprimands Lut’s nation again and again for approaching men with desire. In fact, right before the day boulders of clay stone rain on them, the Prophet Lut admonishes his people to leave alone the beautiful men visiting him.
Going back to the Lot in the Judeo-Christian traditions -when many of the other Prophets such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses share so many pious characteristics in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions, why did Lot turn out to be such a bad apple verses the Lut in Islam? Islamic traditions consider Bible and Torah to be corrupted over time by man. If that thought holds valid, what better way to nullify the message of a Prophet than to make him into a sexual deviant?