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General Discussions / Lut a.s. claifies homosexuality was NOT the sin.
« on: December 13, 2020, 12:20:58 PM »
Salam alaikum dear QM Forum readers,

In the dialog of Prophet Lut a.s., the Arabic word بل "bal" is used to clarify that homosexuality was not the sin of his people. "Bal" is a retractive particle of digression; traditional scholars have glossed over it when interpreting the three pairs of verses (26:165-166), (27:54-55) and (7:80-81),which are included as solid proof that homosexuality is a sin. The role of this word is extremely crucial and its significance cannot be understated in those three pairs, and throughout the Quran in other verses beyond Prophet Lut (a.s).

Edward Lane defines بل "bal" as a particle of digression in great length. We see it is used in the Quran for pairs of opposing verses, or a verse with two opposing thoughts, to negate or amend the preceding misconception or false idea presented in the first part, and then correcting it in the second part. The Book is replete with numerous examples that follow this basic structure:

1) The first part features a misconception, or an incorrect thought, or idea.
2) It is then followed with a contrasting statement, affirmed by بل "bal", which disavows and amends the preceding erroneous idea.

The dictionaries of Penrise, Omar, Wright, Wehr, Wortabet, Haywood, Steingass, and the Al-Mawrid also describe this word or defines it the same way. Here are some examples in the Quran outside of Lut a.s.:

"they say, "You, [O Muhammad], are but an inventor [of lies]." But (Arabic: بل bal) most of them do not know.  Sahih International 16:101 (part)"

"Or do they say, "In him is madness?" Rather (Arabic: بل  bal), he brought them the truth, but most of them, to the truth, are averse". Sahih International (23:70)

بل "bal" is used here to negate the preceding idea by saying the disbelieving accusers are not aware of the truth, rectifying the false notion of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ being a liar. “But on the contrary” is the English phrase that best encompasses the meaning of the word "bal. Now for Prophet Lut a.s.:

Sahih International: And [mention] Lot, when he said to his people, "Do you commit immorality while you are seeing?

The misconception is paired with ↓↓ clarification.
Sahih International: Do you indeed approach men with desire instead of women? Rather, (Arabic: bal) you are a people behaving ignorantly.

This is done in all verses where Lut a.s. clarifies that "approaching men besides women is not their sin". He has to clarify this due to the optics of the situation. It is only in 29:29 that Lut a.s. clarifies what his people are doing, and this time there is no retractive "bal":

Indeed, you approach men and obstruct the road and commit in your meetings [every] evil." And the answer of his people was not but they said, "Bring us the punishment of Allah , if you should be of the truthful."

The acts being described here are sequential and associated with each other as a larger collective crime, and not totally isolated actions that are separated by time or intent. It becomes clear that his people ambush the traveling males, which would in fact quite literally interrupt the path they travel on, and subjugation would have to be done in large numbers (a gathering of the town) to project superior force required to dominate. These are being carried out in quick succession. This is orchestrated gang rape. To compare this to homosexuality would be extremely crude and reductive (like comparing rape to adultery), which is why Lut a.s. negates the notion with "bal".

The complete PDF (in rough draft form) detailing this argument can be found here:

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