Qur'an Contradiction:

What happened to Lot's family?

He [Lot] said [to the evil people around him]: "I do detest your doings."
"Oh my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!" So we delivered him and his family, - all
exept an old woman who lingered behind.
-- Sura 26:168-171

But we saved him and his family,
exept his wife: she was of those who lagged behind.
-- Sura 7:83

Either this is a contradiction, since at one time it is "an old woman" and in the other "his wife", or, according to the Muslim commentators, his wife is the same as the old woman. This "solves" the identity problem but it is not conveying much respect for the wife of this prophet. "An old woman" which is not even worth to be properly "identified." Is this contempt for women in general or for old women? Isn't the most important person in a man's life his wife? How much respect does the wife of a prophet deserve? Why did Allah not hear Lot's prayer for his family which seemed to include his wife?

They said: O Lut! we are the messengers of your Lord;
they shall by no means reach you;
so remove your family in a part of the night --
and let none of you look back -- except your wife,
for surely whatsoever befalls them shall befall her;
surely their appointed time is the morning;
is not the morning nigh?
-- Sura 11:81

Now, obviously, God can command whatever he wants to. But here it becomes clear that it is not stubborn disobedience of Lot's wife to look back despite God's command, but it is Allah himself who has no interest to save Lot's wife and Lot is told by the angels to not even bother about his wife since God will distroy her anyway. If that is not cruel as a response to a prayer to God to save him and his family, ...

My problem is not so much with contemtuous expression of "an old woman", but it is with the character of God as it is displayed here in the Qur'an. The description of his wife as "an old woman" is in keeping with Allah's disinterest in the fate of Lot's wife. See also Sura 27:57 which reads "her we destined to be of those who lagged behind".

Muslim Responses by Randy Desmond
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997

I am sorry that the author(of the contradiction)'s response is an expression of his personal dissatisfaction with the Qur'an more than it is a logical argument.

Certainly that author, himself, could see (and in fact did point out) a resolution to the proposed contradiction. Ironically, he then decides to criticize God's character because he did not approve of a man's wife being called "an old women." As if being an old women and not being mentioned by name or family relationship is demeaning somehow. Haven't you ever heard a story where the characters are referenced in many ways? In fact, when you consider that she was among those left behind, God is even then the most Kind. God doesn't speak ill words about her, but only states the facts of her situation.

So how do you reckon the fate of Lot's wife within the Biblical story? Let's look in Genesis 19...

[15] When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city."
[24] Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomor'rah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
[25] and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
[26] But Lot's wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Sounds pretty similar to the Qur'an. Do you then question God's character in the Bible?

Yes, the punishment for Lot's wife is in the end the same in Bible and Qur'an. The important difference is that God does not predetermine her punishment in the Bible. All of Lot's family is called to be saved. The wife then disobeys the orders of the angels and is turned to a pillar of salt. In the Qur'an on the other hand, God predecides that he will punish Lot's wife and tells him to not even bother with her. The contempt and judgment is decreed beforehand. There is no door open to salvation and obedience. God has decided to punish and lead astray. No discussion about it. Just as Allah silences Noah in 11:45-47 when he asks about the son of his who got lost in the flood.

But we saved him and his family,
exept his wife: her We destined to be of those who lagged behind.
-- Sura 27:57

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