Tuesday, July 24, 2012
The Story of Creation (18 - D): Prophets Ibrahim and Lot, The Dead Sea, Destruction of Sodom …
In previous parts we estimated the time when our father Adam had descended to Earth, then the time when Prophets Noah, Hud and Saleh (PBUT) were sent to their people to warn them not to follow Satan and guide them to the right path.
Coming to the second group of prophets: Ibrahim, Lot, Mosses, Jesus (PBUT).
Ibrahim and Lot (PBUT):
Ibrahim and Lot were at the same time, they lived in North Iraq then moved to Palestine after they called their people but they refused to respond to them, so Ibrahim moved with his family and settled in "Al-khalil" city (Hebron) and Lot moved to Sodom villages which are located now beneath the Dead Sea between Jordon and Palestine.
The emigration of Ibrahim is mentioned in the following verses:
فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلاَّ أَن قَالُوا اقْتُلُوهُ أَوْ حَرِّقُوهُ فَأَنجَاهُ اللَّهُ مِنَ النَّارِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ 24 وَقَالَ إِنَّمَا اتَّخَذْتُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَوْثَانًا مَّوَدَّةَ بَيْنِكُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ثُمَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَكْفُرُ بَعْضُكُم بِبَعْضٍ وَيَلْعَنُ بَعْضُكُم بَعْضًا وَمَأْوَاكُمُ النَّارُ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن نَّاصِرِينَ 25 فَآمَنَ لَهُ لُوطٌ وَقَالَ إِنِّي مُهَاجِرٌ إِلَى رَبِّي إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ 26
So nothing was the answer of Ibrahîm's (Abraham) people except that they said: "Kill him or burn him." Then Allâh saved him from the fire. Verily, in this are indeed signs for a people who believe (24) And [Ibrâhim (Abraham)] said: "You have taken (for worship) idols instead of Allâh, The love between you is only in the life of this world, but on the Day of Resurrection, you shall disown each other, and curse each other, and your abode will be the Fire, and you shall have no helper." (25) So Lut (Lot) believed in him [Ibrâhim's (Abraham) Message of Islâmic Monotheism]. He [Ibrâhim (Abraham)] said: "I will emigrate for the sake of my Lord. Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise." (29:24-26)
From the following verses, we understand the punishment on Lot people was to destroy their towns by one hit that made their land upside down, or the highest of their houses the lowest, which gives a sign that their land was swallowed into Earth, then a rain of stones hit the people of Sodom killing them all, ALLAH says:
قَالُواْ يَا لُوطُ إِنَّا رُسُلُ رَبِّكَ لَن يَصِلُواْ إِلَيْكَ فَأَسْرِ بِأَهْلِكَ بِقِطْعٍ مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ وَلاَ يَلْتَفِتْ مِنكُمْ أَحَدٌ إِلاَّ امْرَأَتَكَ إِنَّهُ مُصِيبُهَا مَا أَصَابَهُمْ إِنَّ مَوْعِدَهُمُ الصُّبْحُ أَلَيْسَ الصُّبْحُ بِقَرِيبٍ 81 فَلَمَّا جَاءَ أَمْرُنَا جَعَلْنَا عَالِيَهَا سَافِلَهَا وَأَمْطَرْنَا عَلَيْهَا حِجَارَةً مِّن سِجِّيلٍ مَّنضُودٍ 82 مُّسَوَّمَةً عِندَ رَبِّكَ وَمَا هِيَ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ بِبَعِيدٍ 83
They (Messengers) said: "O Lut (Lot)! Verily, we are the Messengers from your Lord! They shall not reach you! So travel with your family in a part of the night, and let not any of you look back, but your wife (will remain behind), verily, the punishment which will afflict them, will afflict her. Indeed, morning is their appointed time. Is not the morning near?" (81) So when Our Commandment came, We turned (the towns of Sodom in Palestine)
[its highest its lowest], and rained on them stones of baked clay, in a
well-arranged manner one after another; (82) Marked from your Lord, and they
are not ever far from the Zâlimûn (polytheists, evil-doers,). (11:81-83)
The time of Lott people Punishment or "Dead Sea Formation"
We know that the Dead sea is located over the villages of Sodom, and historically its name was "Lake of Lot", so if we can determine the time when it was formed then it will be the same time of Prophets Ibrahim and Lot.
Let's review some scientific facts about the dead sea..
Quoted from Wikipedia - The Dead Sea
… also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are 423 metres (1,388 ft) below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea is 377 m (1,237 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 33.7% salinity, it is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, …The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres (42 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.
There are two contending hypotheses about the origin of the low elevation of the Dead Sea. The older hypothesis is that it lies in a true rift zone, an extension of the Red Sea Rift, or even of the Great Rift Valley of eastern Africa. A more recent hypothesis is that the Dead Sea basin is a consequence of a "step-over" discontinuity along the Dead Sea Transform, creating an extension of the crust with consequent subsidence.
From 70,000 to 12,000 years ago, the lake level was 100 m (330 ft) to 250 m (820 ft) higher than its current level. This lake, called "Lake Lisan", fluctuated dramatically, rising to its highest level around 26,000 years ago, indicating a very wet climate in the Near East. Around 10,000 years ago, the lake level dropped dramatically, probably to levels even lower than today. During the last several thousand years, the lake has fluctuated approximately 400 m (1,300 ft), with some significant drops and rises. Current theories as to the cause of this dramatic drop in levels rule out volcanic activity; therefore, it may have been a seismic event. 
Quoted from - The Age of Dead Sea
In the above calculation, it was estimated that the Jordan carries six million tons of water daily to the Dead Sea and that it deposits 181 million tons of magnesium annually. However, on an average day more than double that amount evaporates from the Dead Sea, and its surface does not fall, other sources must be making up the difference.
A computation that takes, as its basis, the amount of sodium in the Jordan points to a recent date for the origin of the Dead Sea. The proportion of sodium to magnesium in the water of the Jordan is about 4:1; in the Dead Sea it is 1:2. If the Jordan were the only source of the sodium for the Dead Sea the age of the Dead Sea would be only about 6,000 years. But the thermal sources on the western, eastern, and southern shores contain sodium too; so may the submarine sources, which cannot be evaluated. It is likely, therefore, that the sea has existed for only about four thousand years. When again the fact is taken into account that the thermal sources are usually more concentrated when they first break out and when they are at a higher temperature, it may well be asked why the age of this sea should not be reduced still more. It is probable that deeper levels of water have a greater salt concentration.
Fifty thousand years as the age of the Dead Sea was an unexpectedly low estimate: the rift in which the Dead Sea is situated is considered to be the result of a catastrophe at the beginning of the first glacial period. Now a simple reckoning shows that the saline sea with the Jordan has not existed longer than five thousand years. 
From above, it's clear the age of Dead sea is recent within thousands of years, some estimate it around 10,000 and some within 5,000 years, which can be close to the time of Ibrahim, and if scientists can determine or calculate exactly the age of the Dead Sea, then we can know the time of Ibrahim and Lott (PBUT).
Let's discuss the raining of stones, what it could be exactly?
Quoted from: Researchers: Asteroid Destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah
….Clay tablet that has baffled scientists for 150 years has been identified as a witness’s account of the asteroid suspected of being behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Researchers who cracked the cuneiform symbols on the Planisphere tablet believe that it recorded an asteroid thought to have been more than half a mile across.
The tablet, found by Henry Layard in the remains of the library in the royal palace at Nineveh in the mid-19th century, is thought to be a 700 B.C. copy of notes made by a Sumerian astronomer watching the night sky.
He referred to the asteroid as a “white stone bowl approaching” and recorded it as it “vigorously swept along.”
Using computers to recreate the night sky thousands of years ago, scientists have pinpointed his sighting to shortly before dawn on June 29 in the year 3123 B.C.
About half the symbols on the tablet have survived and half of those refer to the asteroid. The other symbols record the positions of clouds and constellations. In the past 150 years scientists have made five unsuccessful attempts to translate the tablet.
Mark Hempsell, one of the researchers from Bristol University who cracked the tablet’s code, said: “It’s a wonderful piece of observation, an absolutely perfect piece of science.”
He said the size and route of the asteroid meant that it was likely to have crashed into the Austrian Alps at KÃfels. As it traveled close to the ground it would have left a trail of destruction from supersonic shock waves and then slammed into the Earth with a cataclysmic impact.
Debris consisting of up to two-thirds of the asteroid would have been hurled back along its route and a flash reaching temperatures of 400 Centigrade (752 Fahrenheit) would have been created, killing anyone in its path.
About one million sq kilometers (386,000 sq miles) would have been devastated and the impact would have been equivalent to more than 1,000 tons of TNT exploding. 
Quoted from Wikipedia - Meteor Shower
A meteor shower is a celestial event in which a number of meteors are observed to radiate from one point in the night sky. These meteors are caused by streams of cosmic debris called meteoroids entering Earth's atmosphere at extremely high speeds on parallel trajectories. Most meteors are smaller than a grain of sand, so almost all of them disintegrate and never hit the Earth's surface. Intense or unusual meteor showers are known as meteor outbursts and meteor storms, which may produce greater than 1,000 meteors an hour.
Quoted from Wikipedia - Meteorite
A meteorite is a natural object originating in outer space that survives impact with the Earth's surface. A meteorite's size can range from small to extremely large. Most meteorites derive from small astronomical objects called meteoroids, but they are also sometimes produced by impacts of asteroids.
Meteorites have traditionally been divided into three broad categories: stony meteorites are rocks, mainly composed of silicate minerals; iron meteorites are largely composed of metallic iron-nickel; and, stony-iron meteorites contain large amounts of both metallic and rocky material. Modern classification schemes divide meteorites into groups according to their structure, chemical and isotopic composition and mineralogy. 
Quoted from Wikipedia - Chondrite
Chondrites are stony meteorites that have not been modified due to melting or differentiation of the parent body. They formed when various types of dust and small grains that were present in the early solar system accreted to form primitive asteroids.
Origin and history
The parent bodies of chondrites are (or were) small to medium sized asteroids that were never part of any body large enough to undergo melting and planetary differentiation. These bodies accreted shortly after the beginning of the Solar System's history, with 206Pb/204Pb age of 4566.6 ± 1.0 Ma years ago and matching ages for other chronometers. Although chondritic asteroids never became hot enough to melt based upon internal textures, many of them reached high enough temperatures that they experienced significant thermal metamorphism in their interiors. The source of the heat was most likely energy coming from the decay of short-lived radioisotopes (half-lives less than a few million years) that were present in the newly formed solar system, especially 26Al and 60Fe, although heating may have been caused by impacts onto the asteroids as well.
Many chondritic asteroids also contained significant amounts of water, possibly due to the accretion of ice along with rocky material. As a result, many chondrites contain hydrous minerals, such as clays, that formed when the water interacted with the rock on the asteroid in a process known as aqueous alteration. In addition, all chondritic asteroids were affected by impact and shock processes due to collisions with other asteroids. These events caused a variety of effects, ranging from simple compaction to brecciation, veining, localized melting, and formation of high-pressure minerals. The net result of these secondary thermal, aqueous, and shock processes is that only a few known chondrites preserve in pristine form the original dust, chondrules, and inclusions from which they formed. 
A meteor moving through the vacuum of space typically travels at speeds reaching tens of thousands of miles per hour. When the meteor hits the atmosphere, the air in front of it compresses incredibly quickly. When a gas is compressed, its temperature rises. This causes the meteor to heat up so much that it glows. The air burns the meteor until there is nothing left. Re-entry temperatures can reach as high as 3,000 degrees F (1,650 degrees C)! 
The explanation of "Stoning from sky" could be an asteroid that was dismantled into smaller pieces, heated in the atmosphere and then hit the people of Sodom.
The above facts explain the raining as Meteor showering and it can be heated till 1,650 degrees C, and there is a kind of Meteor called Chondrite that contains Clay and can be dismantled easily into smaller pieces due to the shock of collision with atmosphere.
Let's read again the verses in Quran that described these stoning:
1- Described as "Rain" which is close in meaning to Meteor showering:
وامطرنا عليهم مطرا فانظر كيف كان عاقبة المجرمين
And We rained down on them a rain (of stones). Then see what was the end of the Mujrimûn (criminals, polytheists and sinners). (7:84)
2- Described as being gathered all together and heated:
فَلَمَّا جَاءَ أَمْرُنَا جَعَلْنَا عَالِيَهَا سَافِلَهَا وَأَمْطَرْنَا عَلَيْهَا حِجَارَةً مِّن سِجِّيلٍ مَّنضُودٍ 82
So when Our Commandment came, We turned (the towns of Sodom in Palestine) upside down, and rained on them stones baked (Segil), in a well-arranged manner one after another; (Mandoud) (11:82)
The word "Mandoud" is the same word used for the trees that have fruits over each other (banana or dates), and this describe that the stones were collected in one piece then fragmented into smaller pieces:
And the trees of talh , (banana, or a fragrant tree) "Mandoud" having layers one upon the other, (56:29)
ونَضَّدْتُه: جَعَلْتُ بعضَه على بعض؛ وفي التهذيب: ضَمَمْتُ بَعْضَه إِلى بعض. والتَّنْضِيدُ: مثله شُدِّد للمبالغة في وضعه مُتراصِفاً.
And being "Segil" some scholars explained that it was cooked in hell fire, but we understand now that temperature was gained when the asteroid hits the atmosphere, therefore it becomes so hot.
3- Being Chondrite, made of clay.
The following miraculous verse states clearly that these heated defragmented stones were made of clay or had clay, which means it was of Chondrite type as explained above.
قَالُوا إِنَّا أُرْسِلْنَا إِلَى قَوْمٍ مُّجْرِمِينَ 33 لِنُرْسِلَ عَلَيْهِمْ حِجَارَةً مِّن طِينٍ 34
To send down upon them stones of baked clay. (33) Marked by your Lord for the Musrifûn (polytheists, criminals, sinners — those who trespass Allâh's set limits in evil-doings by committing great sins). (51: 33-34)
Thanks to Allah, Lord of the Worlds
 Wikipedia, Dead Sea, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea
 The age of dead sea, http://www.varchive.org/itb/deadsea.htm
 SliceofScifi.com, Researchers: Asteroid destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, http://www.sliceofscifi.com/2008/03/31/researchers-asteroid-destroyed-sodom-and-gomorrah/
 Wikipedia, Meteor Shower, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_shower
 Wikipedia, Meteorite, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteorite
 Wikipedia, Chondrite, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chondrite
 Howstuffworks.Com, http://science.howstuffworks.com/question308.htm