Al-Lat

Posted on 05/19/2012 by marina

AL-LAT الات
The name of an Idol worshipped by the ancient Arabians, probably the Alilat of Herodotus. The idol Lat is mentioned in the Qur’an in conjunction with the two other idols, al-’ Uzza and Manat. See Surah liii. 19: “What think ye, then, of al-Lat and al-’Uzza, and Manat, the third idol besides?”
In connection with this verse there is an interesting discussion. (See Muir, new ed. p. 86.) Al-Wiqidi and at-Tabari both relate that, on a certain day, the chief men of Makkah assembled in a group beside the Ka’bah, discussed,, as was their wont, the affairs of the city, when the Prophet appeared, and seating himself by them in a friendly manner, began to recite the 53rd chapter of the Qur’an; and when be had reached the verse “What think ye then of al-Lat, and al-’Uzza, and Manat, the third idol besides?” the Devil suggested words of reconciliation and compromise with idolatry, namely, “These are exalted females, and verily their intercession is to be hoped for.” These words, however, which were received by the idolaters with greet delight, were afterwards disavowed by the Prophet, for Gabriel revealed to him the true reading, namely, ” What think ye then of al-Lat, and al-’Uzza, and Manat the third idol besides? Shall ye have male progeny and God female? This, then, were an unjust partition! Verily, these are mere names which ye and your tethers have given them.”
The narrative thus related by al-Waqidi end at-Tabari is given as an explanation of Surah lxii. 51 “Nor have we sent any apostle or prophet before thee into whose readings Satan hath not injected some wrong desire.”

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam