Who is the prophet lot? What is the story of prophet lot?
The prophet who called Sodom away from evil and perversion LOT -peace be upon him-
Lot (as) was the son of Abraham’s (as) brother, Harran. The Qur’an mentions his name 27 times.
Lot (as) was the first person to believe in Abraham (as) and had the privilege of emigrating alongside him. He remained on Abraham’s (as) path and law and was known as a pious, generous and patient man with great hospitality. He made a living as a farmer.
The Almighty states:
“And to Lot We gave judgement and knowledge, and We saved him from the city that was committing wicked deeds. Indeed, they were a people of evil, defiantly disobedient. And We admitted him into Our mercy. Indeed, he was of the righteous.” (Al-Anbiya, 21: 74-75)
“And Ismail, Elisha, Jonah and Lot. All of them We preferred over the worlds.” (Al-An’am, 6: 86)
Lot (as) began serving his duty as prophet at Sodom.
The People of Sodom and Gomorrah
The Sodomites were a wicked and depraved people, who engaged in an act no society had ever engaged in before. They took to their vile act like a profession, doing it brazenly, out in the open. They would silence those who tried to stop them, shouting:
“Leave our land if you are so clean!”
Decency and shame had been totally forgotten in this society and a vile practice, which does not exist even among animals, had emerged. They had degraded themselves to a level which the Qur’an describes as, ‘lower than animals’.
This was the kind of people Lot (as) had been given the task to call to sanity. He worked day and night to speak sense into them. The Qur’an recounts his efforts:
“When their brother Lot said to them, ‘Will you not fear Allah. Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger. So fear Allah and obey me. And I do not ask you for it any payment. My payment is only from the Lord of the worlds. Do you approach males among the worlds and leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? You are a people transgressing.” (Al-Shu’ara, 42: 161-166)
The people of Sodom and Gomorrah immediately opposed him and ignored his call. Lot (as) reminded them of the severity of their practice:
“And Lot when he said to his people, ‘Do you commit an immorality that no one in the world has done before you?’” (Al-Araf, 7: 80)
He warned what they were doing would ultimately destroy them. However, they reacted by trying to force Lot (as) out of the land:
“But his people had no answer but to say, ‘Evict them from your city! They are men who keep themselves pure!’” (Al-Araf, 7: 82)
For people so depraved, being clean was a crime. Because they received their spiritual nourishment from filth, they were uncomfortable with people of virtue, and dished out threats:
“They said, ‘If you do not desist, Lot, you will surely be of those evicted!’” (Al-Shu’ara, 42: 167)
Lot (as) reminded them of divine wrath:
“And he had already warned them of Our assault, but they disputed the warning.” (Al-Qamar, 54: 36)
However, they could not grasp the dread of the disaster that would come their way. So, they not only ignored the warnings, they audaciously challenged Lot (as) to:
“Bring us the punishment of Allah, if you are of the truthful!” (Al-Ankabut, 29: 29)
They did not think, even for a moment, they would be better off quitting their perversions.
A Dreadful Noise and Hard Rain
Lot (as) struggled under extremely difficult conditions –according to one report- for 40 years. The tyranny and depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah had become unbearable. Not only were they unconcerned about divine punishment, they had deserved it, for challenging their prophet to bring it on. A dejected Lot (as) sought refuge in His Lord and called for His help:
“My Lord, save me and my family from what they do!” (Al-Shu’ara, 42: 169)
“He said, ‘My Lord, support me against the corrupting people!’” (Al-Ankabut, 29: 30)
Lot (as) had spent decades working for the guidance of his people. However, at the end, he only had a handful of followers, including his two daughters. Even his wife had taken the side of the Sodomites. So, this prayer was the last resort.
The Almighty answered the prayer and sent angels to destroy them. The angels arrived in the form of handsome young men and it was enough to provoke the people’s homosexual desires. They tried making a move on them. The Qur’an recounts:
“And when Our messengers, came to Lot, he was anguished for them and felt for them great discomfort and said, ‘This is a trying day!’” (Hud, 11: 77)
Seeing them in the form of young boys, Lot (as) thought his guests were human and feared the people might rape them, as they frequently did to strangers.
“And his people came hastening to him, and before this they had been doing evil deeds. He said, ‘My people, these are my daughters; they are purer for you. So fear Allah and do not disgrace me concerning my guests. Is there not among you a man of reason?’” (Hud, 11: 78)
According to some scholars of the Qur’an, Lot (as) was not referring to his own two daughters but to the girls of Sodom and Gomorrah. A prophet is considered the elder and spiritual father of his people; so it can be common for him to figuratively refer to the girls of the land as his own daughters. However, the Sodomites were seeing red:
“They said, ‘You already well know we have no interest in your daughters, and you well know what we want. He said, ‘If only I had against you some power or could take refuge in a strong support!’” (Hud, 11: 79-80)
Our Prophet (saw) once repeated those words uttered by Lot (as) before adding:
“May Allah have mercy on Lot. He surely took refuge in the Indestructible. It is because of his prayer that Allah has given every prophet to come after him supportive relatives.” (Ibn Hibban, XIV, 86)
“The angels said, ‘O Lot, indeed we are messengers of your Lord, they will never reach you. So set out with your family during a portion of the night and let not any among you look back. Except your wife; she will be struck by that which strikes them. Indeed, their appointment is for the morning. Is not the morning near?” (Hud, 11: 81)
Although the perverted crowd tried one last time to break into Lot’s (as) home, they suddenly became blinded. The Qur’an describes the incident:
“And they had demanded from him his guests, but We obliterated their eyes. Taste My punishment and warning!” (Al-Qamar, 54: 37)
According to Qadi Baydawi and Fakhruddin Razi, one of the angels was Jibril (as). When the mob broke the door down, he blinded them all with a single stroke. They panicked and could not even find the exit. It was Lot (as) who had to hold them by their arms and escort them out.
“So when Our command came, We made the highest part of the city its lowest and rained upon them stones of layered hard clay, marked from your Lord. And Allah ‘s punishment from the wrongdoers is not far.” (Hud, 11: 82-83)
The divine punishment that annihilated Sodom and Gomorrah is also explained chapter al-Hijr in different wording.
The Qur’an refers to what became of their land as ‘al mutafikah’, which literally means the place that was turned upside down.
As the Sodomites had engaged in a sin as vile as homosexuality, the Almighty first made them hear a terrifying sound, then turned their land upside down and finally rained stones on them. One cannot think of a more severe way for a nation to be completely erased off the stage of history.
The Almighty declares He has turned them into a lesson for those to come:
“Indeed in that are signs for those who discern. And indeed, those cities are situated on an established road. In that is a sign for the believers.” (Al-Hijr, 15: 75-77)
Elsewhere in the Qur’an, the Almighty tell us He has left behind some remnants of them for people to take note:
“And We have certainly left of it a sign as clear evidence for a people who use reason.” (Al-Ankabut, 29: 35)
This ‘sign’ has been interpreted as the stories of their destruction, the relics of their city, the rocks that rained down from the skies or the black texture of the lake that flooded their land.
After reminding that the verses about Sodom and Gomorrah were revealed to Meccan pagans, Fakhruddin Razi goes on to say regarding the verse, “…those cities are on an established road”, that “…the Meccans would mostly travel to Damascus to do trade. The road to Damascus ran south of the Dead Sea. It is therefore best to search for the relics of Sodom and Gomorrah around there”.
Lot’s (as) Wives and Children
When Lot (as) became a prophet, he was married to woman by the name of Fevat. She was a believer. However, around twenty years later, she passed away. Lot (as) then married Wahila, a native of Sodom. She was a hypocrite. She not only condoned her people’s transgressions, she also supported them behind her husband’s back.
That night when the angels arrived at their home in the guise of handsome young boys, it was Wahila who ran out and informed the people. She had betrayed Lot (as); so, she met the same end as the others.
Lot (as) had two pious daughters. They were among the few believers who accompanied him out of Sodom and Gomorrah just before the destruction arrived.
With their father, they later went next to Abraham (as), who married them off to two righteous local men. Allah blessed Lot’s (as) grandchildren in number. The Madyan were their descendants.
The Reasons Behind the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
They were pagans.
They were homosexuals.
Ibn Abbas (ra) narrates the following from the Prophet (as):
“If you see people engaging in the same ugly activity as the tribe of Lot, kill both the giver and the receiver”. (Al-Tirmidhi, Hudud, 24/1456; Abu Dawud, Hudud, 28/4462)
In another hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas (as), the Prophet (saw) says:
“A person doing the deed of tribe of Lot has been damned.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Hudud, 24/1456)
Malik ibn Dinar says:
“Homosexuality was never practiced before the Sodomites. It was the devil who taught them. Once they started engaging in that unnatural activity to the point of no return, they perished under divine wrath. Allah has given lust to human beings for procreation. It is out of transgression and ignorance to use it outside of its purpose. It is degrading to the honour of being a human and drags one to a level lower than animals.”
They raped males to death.
When the leaders of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to kill someone, they would have him gang raped to death.
The Sodomites would commit their acts out in the open and scorn those who preferred to live in honour. They had become so vulgar that they would even pass gas in public to entertain themselves.
Anyone trying to speak sense into them would be threatened with expulsion. They even warned Lot (as) to give up advising them or face being driven out of the land.
They were thugs. The Sodomites would sit on the sides of the road, throw stones at, mock and assault those who passed by.
They were gossipers.
They were miserly.
Hasan Basri narrates that the Prophet (as) once warned believers against the sins that led Sodom and Gomorrah to perish and added:
“And women…keep away from lusting after one another!” (Al-Suyuti, al-Jami’ al-Saghir, II, 51)
The Almighty orders us to take lessons from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and tell us that the relics of all destroyed tribes have been left behind to serve that purpose.
The ‘clear signs’ at the Dead Sea are certainly intriguing. The events that have taken place around the Dead Sea are as remarkable as the geological characteristics of the area. The sea, which technically is a lake, is around 400 metres below the surface of the Mediterranean Sea; and the deepest point of the Dead Sea, again, stands at 400 metres. So, at its lowest point, the Dead Sea is around 800 metres below sea level. Even that suggest how low in character Sodom and Gomorrah were.
The third verse of chapter Rum refers to the area as ‘adna’l-ard’, the lowest point on earth. Although this has also been interpreted as the ‘closest area’ in reference to its proximity to Mecca, the essential and literal meaning of the term is ‘the lowest point on earth’. Modern techniques of land surveying do indeed show that the lowest point on earth is the Dead Sea basin. Since it would have been impossible to measure this at the time the Qur’an was revealed, this also serves as another scientific proof that the Qur’an is the word of Allah.
Another feature of the Dead Sea is that nearly 35% of it is salt. That makes it unliveable for fish or plants; hence the name ‘Dead Sea’. It is also remarkable that even animals do not live in this damned area. The lake is tar-coloured and releases a foul smell. Through its appearance and odour, it is as if the lake tells people about the sins once committed in the area.
It is thought that the events surrounding Sodom and Gomorrah conveyed by the Qur’an took place around 1800 BC. The high level of salt in the area is known to have dried up trees. The impact of the divine punishment sank the relics of the cities underground.
The fate of Sodom and Gomorrah is a lot similar to that of Pompeii.
The Destruction of Pompeii
Pompeii was an Italian city that has become the symbol of the Roman Empire’s degeneration. Like Sodom and Gomorrah, it was sexual perversion that brought its downfall.
Historical records suggest that right before the city was destroyed, Pompeiians were at the end point of deviation and immorality. At around 79 CE, the nearby Mount Vesuvius suddenly erupted, and the lava erased the city off the map. Not a single person could escape. Some died in the act and were plastered by volcanic ash and stone.
This all unfolded in an instant. Allah’s retribution has always caught the wicked in the blink of an eye. Like in the case of Pompeii, some of their remains have been preserved for all to see.
The Qur’an refers to such instant destructions in the following:
“It was not but one shout, and immediately they were extinguished.” (Ya Sin, 36: 29)
That was how the people of Pompeii perished. Their bodies of stone that have survived two millennia to this day remain among the eeriest scenes of history.
The Almighty declares:
“And how many generations have We destroyed before them? Do you see anyone of them or hear from them a sound?” (Maryam, 19: 98)
History is virtually a cemetery of lost nations. Disbelief, perversion and tyranny head the reasons for their destruction. Their final moments in the face of Allah’s revenge offer us images to reflect on. Despite the centuries that have passed, Pompeii continues to show us the corpses of people turned to stone for their wickedness. It is as if they are the silhouettes of men whose souls had become beasts!
However, for simpletons unable to see the truth behind their destruction and who only look at things with the eye of the ego, they are merely statues that arouse a little interest during sightseeing.
And like the wicked land of Sodom and Gomorrah that was sunk deep in the ground and the palaces Aad and Thamud had carved into rocks thinking the world was an eternal throne of pleasure, they are now desolate, expect perhaps for the owls that have now moved in.