the Qur’an, al-Hijr, 15:76

The Details of the Question
In the 76th verse of the surah Al-Hijr from the Qur’an, after the destruction of Lot tribe, Allah says “They (the traces of those destroyed towns) stand by a road that still exists.” ( the Qur’an, al-Hijr, 15:76). Do these traces still exist today? In the 76th verse of the surah Al-Hijr from the Qur’an, after the destruction of Lot tribe, Allah says “They (the traces of those destroyed towns) stand by a road that still exists.” ( the Qur’an, al-Hijr, 15:76). Do these traces still exist today?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The villages (or cities) of the Lot tribe were built by a road. This road is the one which is between Madinah and Damascus. Passengers who use this road, pass by the ruins of the villages of the Lot tribe and can still see them. They can observe the impact and the consequence of God’s rage and punishment because they did not become earth and their traces are still present.

According to an annotation by Ibn Abbas, the word “la bi sabilin” from the verse in the original text of the Qur’an was used in the meaning of “ still on the ruins (of a destroyed city)”.

While Mujahid states that “ it is on a marked road and it is not hidden from anyone”, Qatada says “ it is on an apparent road.”

In the destruction and punishment sent down on those cities or those places, there are proofs and warnings for believers because believers in God and His Prophet (pbuh) take lessons out of the traces they see and they know that this is a punishment from God for those ignorant people who refused to accept the truths. Unbelievers, however, deem such events as coincidental occurrings in the universe. ( Ali Arslan, Buyuk Kur’an Tefsiri, Arslan Publishing : 9:257,269)

Lot tribe vanishing from the scene of history is considered to be worth taking lessons from in many aspects and the ruin of their destruction in the city of Sodom is reported to still remain on that particular road as a sign of warning, and Quraysh people that Muhammad ( peace be upon him) was sent to address to are reminded to take as a lesson and warning from that ruins. ( Zamakhshari, II: 318; Ibn Atiyya, 370)


In this case,  people from Makkah who were working on trade, used to see the remainders of the city of Sodom in Paletsine, where Lot tribe had been living, during their commercial trip to Syrian territory. ( Zamakhshari, II:524)

According to Muhammad Asad’s note : The existence of this road in Northern Hejaz which follows the shore of the Dead Sea, where cities of Sodom and Gomorra lie in the north-east, and streches up to the north until Syria has been proved with amazing photographs in bird-eye view published by The American School of Oriental Research (New Haven, Connecticut).  These particular photographs clearly show this road as a bold line which leads a bit parallel to the eastern coast of the Dead Sea and curls up to the north. ( Interpretation of Qur’an by Religious Affairs, Kur’an Yolu : III : 324,325).

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