We gave right judgment and knowledge to Lot, and rescued him from the city that committed disgusting acts, They were evil people who were deviators. We admitted him into Our mercy. He was one of the believers. (Surat al-Anbiya', 74-75)
Book 2: The Prophet Lot (pbuh)
The Prophet Abraham (pbuh) and the Prophet Lot (pbuh) lived in the same region. Although they lived among different people, they still supported one another. Our Lord reveals that:
He [Abraham] said: "You have adopted idols apart from Allah as tokens of mutual affection in this world. But then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will reject one another and curse one another. The Fire will be your shelter. You will have no helpers." And Lot had believed in him. He said: "I will emigrate to [the service of] my Lord. He is the Almighty, the All Wise."( Surat al-Ankabut, 25-26)
Immigration (hijra) means to submit to Allah willingly, knowing that He is your only friend and guardian, and taking refuge in His protection. The Prophet Lot (pbuh) migrated to our Lord by moving away from his unbelieving tribe. Like all of the prophets, he was a chosen individual who left an example for all people of sincerity and submission to Allah. The Prophet Lot (pbuh) and the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) were sent to different tribes. Allah reveals in the Qur'an that the society to which the Prophet Lot (pbuh) relayed the Divine message was steeped in homosexuality, a practice cursed by Allah.
In the Qur'an, Allah states "So set your face firmly toward the Religion, as a pure natural believer, Allah's natural pattern on which He made humanity" (Surat ar-Rum, 30) and that He has created human beings with a specific disposition. Satan, on the other hand, asserts "… I will command them, and they will change Allah's Creation…" (Surat an-Nisa', 119). He seeks to turn people away from that disposition and to lead them into various prohibited practices.
"Picos de Europa" (1860) Carlos de Haes Museo del Prado
One of the prohibited practices to which satan incites human beings is homosexuality. Indeed, Allah describes the situation of those who follow satan's urgings and live an immoral lifestyle: "If they see every Sign, they will not believe in it. If they see the way of right guidance, they will not take it as a way. But if they see the way of error, they will take that as a way" (Surat al-A'raf, 146). As Allah states "Allah desires to turn toward you, but those who pursue their lower appetites desire to make you deviate completely" (Surat an-Nisa', 27), these people wish to draw everyone away from the true path. Allah states in the Qur'an the reward that such people will receive:
An evil generation succeeded those who neglected the prayer and followed their appetites. They will plunge into the Valley of Evil. (Surah Maryam, 59)
This prohibited practice has appeared in many societies throughout history. In the Qur'an, Allah specifically tells the Prophet Lot's (pbuh) tribe, who was well known for this custom. The Prophet Lot (pbuh), an esteemed prophet who believed fully in our Lord and possessed the proper moral values and resignation to Allah, called on his tribe to fear (and respect) Allah, abandon their homosexuality, and live a life that would please Him. But they responded to his words with hostility. Due to their monstrous temerity and immorality, they fully merited our Lord's chastisement. As Allah tells us, they met the following fate:
And Lot, when he said to his tribe: "Do you commit an obscenity not perpetrated before you by anyone in all the worlds? You come with lust to men instead of women. You are indeed a depraved tribe." The only answer of his tribe was to say: "Expel them from your city! They are people who keep themselves pure!" So We rescued him and his family—except for his wife. She was one of those who stayed behind. We rained down a rain upon them. See the final fate of the evildoers! (Surat al-A'raf, 80-84)
These people, who refused to abandon their sin despite being warned, threatened the Prophet Lot (pbuh) and the believers with exile. Saying "They are people who keep themselves pure!" (Surat al-A'raf, 82), they imagined that they were mocking the believers. Despite their sinful lifestyle and excesses, however, the Prophet Lot (pbuh) continued to relay His message in order to earn Allah's good pleasure.
Prophet Lot (pbuh), who was a patient, determined, and courageous servant, manifested his joyous faith in and respect for Allah. His tribe's mockery and attacks only reinforced his enthusiasm and determination. Like all of the other prophets, he continued to command what is good and forbid what is evil, thus scrupulously fulfilling the duty Allah has entrusted him with. In the Qur'an, Allah reveals the following:
O Prophet. We have sent you as a witness, a bringer of good news and a warner, a caller to Allah by His permission and a light-giving lamp. Give good news to the believers that they will receive immense favor from Allah. Do not obey the unbelievers and hypocrites, and disregard their abuse of you. Put your trust in Allah. Allah suffices as a Protector. (Surat al-Ahzab, 45-48)
Then We sent Our messengers, one after another, at intervals. Each time its messenger came to a community, they called him a liar. So, We made them follow one another too and turned them into myths and legends. Away with the people who do not believe! (Surat al-Hajj, 44)
Believers must take the Prophet Lot's (pbuh) superior moral values as models for themselves, always behave patiently when presenting His message, and explain religion's moral values to people in the most appropriate and effective way.
The people of Lot denied the messengers, when their brother Lot said to them: "Will you not guard against evil? I am a faithful Messenger to you. So fear [and respect] Allah and obey me." (Surat ash-Shu'ara, 160-163)
The Prophet Lot (pbuh) wished that his tribe would abandon their indecent acts and join him in worshipping Allah. Immediately after relaying the Divine message, he made it clear that he expected nothing from them but their willingness to gain Allah's good pleasure:
"I do not ask you for any wage for it. My wage is the responsibility of no one but the Lord of all the worlds." (Surat ash-Shu'ra, 164)
He then described his tribe's gross immorality:
"Of all beings, do you lie with males, leaving the wives Allah has created for you? You are a people who have overstepped the limits." They said: "Lot, if you do not desist, you will be expelled." He said: "I am someone who detests the deed you perpetrate." (Surat ash-Shu'ra, 165-168)
Just like some people today, his tribe sought to portray the sin of homosexuality as acceptable and justified. In fact, such an attitude is one of the causes for the present moral degeneration all over the world. Muslims, however, live according to Allah's decrees and thus must adopt the Prophet Lot's (pbuh) attitude toward this sin.
Allah reveals in the Qur'an that these unbelieving and immoral people, who responded to the Prophet Lot's (pbuh) warnings with threats and attacks, felt secure due to their large numbers. People who live far removed from religion often have this erroneous perspective. However, our Lord reveals that believers have always formed a small minority of people. As for the number of believers among the Prophet Lot's (pbuh) tribe, Allah says: "But [We] found in it only one house of Muslims" (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 36). However, Allah's support and help are always with believers, for our Lord promises that those who believe with a sincere heart, seek only His good pleasure, strive for the Hereafter, and spread religion's moral values will always be victorious. As Allah states:
llah has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land, just as He made those before them successors; will firmly establish for them their religion with which He is pleased; and give them, in place of their fear, security. "They worship Me, not associating anything with Me." Any who do not believe after that, such people are deviators. (Surat an-Nur, 55)
Our Lord has always implemented this Divine law, and small numbers of believers have always achieved enormous success against their far more numerous peoples. Allah gives the faithful the following glad tidings:
... How many a small force has triumphed over a much greater one, by Allah's permission! Allah is with the steadfast. (Surat al-Baqara, 249)
The angels who came to the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) gave him the glad news of a righteous child and told him something about the Prophet Lot's (pbuh) people:
When Our angels came with the good news to Abraham, they said: "We are going to destroy the people of this city. Truly its inhabitants are wrongdoers." (Surat al-Ankabut, 31)
Allah describes this visit in the following terms:
When Our angles came to Lot, he was distressed for them, very concerned for them, and said: "This is a dreadful day." (Surah Hud, 77)
When his people learned that messengers had come to the Prophet Lot (pbuh), they came running towards him and, as revealed in the Qur'an:
They even wanted to seduce his guests!... (Surat al-Qamar, 37)
The Prophet Lot (pbuh) warned his tribe in these terms:
His tribe came running to him excitedly—they were long used to committing evil acts. He said: "My people, here are my daughters. They are purer for you. So fear Allah and do not shame me with my guests. Is there not one rightly-guided man among you?" They said: "You know we have no claim on your daughters. You know very well what we want." (Surah Hud, 78-79)
The Prophet Lot's (pbuh) reference to his daughters informed in the verse may mean his own daughters or else the tribe's young women. (Allah knows the truth.) In other words, he was saying that his tribe to marry those women, as this is the type of relationship of which Allah approves. The expression "is there not one rightly-guided man among you?" shows that his entire tribe was caught up in this sinful behavior and excess. As an honorable and moral man chosen by Allah, the Prophet Lot (pbuh) wished to depart from his immoral people:
He said: "If only I had the strength to combat you or could take refuge in some powerful support!" (Surah Hud, 80)
However, our Lord used these angels to reveal to the Prophet Lot (pbuh) that his tribe would be punished severely for their excesses:
He said: "You are people we do not know." They said: "We have come to you with what they had doubts about. We have brought you the truth, and we are certainly truthful men. Travel with your family in the dead of night, following behind with them in front of you. None of you must look back. Go to where you are ordered." We revealed to him the command We had decreed: that on the following morning the last remnant of those people would be cut off. (Surat al-Hijr, 62-66)
They said: "Lot, we are messengers from your Lord. They will not be able to get at you. Set out with your family—except for your wife—in the middle of the night, and none of you should look back. What strikes them will strike her as well. Their promised appointment is the morning. Is the morning not close at hand?" (Surah Hud, 81)
Allah reveals that the Prophet Lot's (pbuh) wife would be destroyed, despite her position as a prophet's wife. Although Allah had honored and elevated her husband with prophethood, this blessing and honor gained her nothing because of her insincerity and denial.
Her death shows that such connections as being related to or descended from the prophets of Allah will be of no benefit in the Hereafter. Only one's deep faith, submission and obedience, and strong fear and respect of Allah will be of any benefit. If one's heart contains no sincere faith, one will find no salvation, regardless of his or her physical or familial closeness to Allah's prophets. Indeed, such proximity may well increase one's responsibility in Allah's Sight, for Allah reveals:
O wives of the Prophet. If any of you commits an obvious act of indecency, she will receive double the punishment. That is an easy matter for Allah. But those of you who are obedient to Allah and His Messenger and act rightly will be given their reward twice over; and We have prepared a generous provision for them. O wives of the Prophet. You are not like other women, provided you guard against evil. Do not be too soft-spoken in your speech, lest someone with sickness in his heart becomes desirous. Speak correct and courteous words. Remain in your houses and do not display your beauty, as it was previously displayed in the Time of Ignorance. Perform [the prescribed] prayers and give alms, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah desires to remove all impurity from you, O People of the House, and to purify you completely. (Surat al-Ahzab, 30-33)
Our Lord cites the wives of the Prophet Lot (pbuh) and the Prophet Noah (pbuh) to serve as a deterrent in this matter. Allah also refers to Pharaoh's wife, who is a fine model of sincerity, fear and respect of Allah, and heartfelt prayer:
Allah has made an example for those who do not believe: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were married to two of Our servants who were righteous, but they betrayed them and were not helped at all against Allah. They were told: "Enter the Fire along with all who enter it." Allah has made an example for those who believe: the wife of Pharaoh when she said: "My Lord, build a house in the Garden for me in Your Presence, rescue me from Pharaoh and his deeds, and rescue me from this wrongdoing people." (Surat at-Tahrim, 10-11)
Prophet Lot (pbuh) first informed the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) of the news he had received from the angels:
German researcher Werner Keller, who bases his arguments on archeological and geological studies, said that Sodom and Gomorrah were located in Siddim Valley. He states that these cities were at the lowest edge of the Dead Sea (Lake Lut), where, over the years, large settlements gradually developed. As a result of the catastrophe in the region, some of these cities' remains, which slipped toward the lake, now stand at its edge. These remains show that the people enjoyed a rather high standard of living.
He [Abraham] inquired: "What, then, is your business, messengers?" They said: "We have been sent to a people of evildoers to unleash upon them lumps of clay earmarked by your Lord for the profligate." We brought out all the believers who were there, but found in it only one house of Muslims. (Surat adh-Dhariyat,31-36)
After they had fulfilled their mission to the Prophet Abraham (pbuh), the angels visited the Prophet Lot (pbuh) and told him that his tribe would be destroyed. A Muslim society, however, will be protected from such destruction. According to the Qur'an:
They even wanted to seduce his guests! So We put out their eyes: "Taste My punishment and warnings!" (Surat al-Qamar, 37)
When Our command came, We turned their cities upside down and rained down on them stones of hard baked clay, piled on top of one another in layers, each one earmarked by your Lord. And they are never far from the wrongdoers. (Surah Hud, 82-83)
Perhaps turning upside down signifies the region's destruction by a powerful earthquake. The expression rained down on them stones of hard baked clay may indicate a volcanic eruption and the hard baked lava and stones thrown up by it. The same event is described elsewhere: "and made a rain come pouring down upon them. How evil is the rain of those who are warned!" (Surat ash-Shu'ara, 173). In other words, the tribe may have been destroyed by an earthquake followed by a volcanic eruption. (Allah knows the truth.)
Historians opine that the site of this great disaster is the shore of the Dead Sea, also known as Lake Lut. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, located alongside the Dead Sea, between the West Bank and Jordan, are regarded as the cities of the Prophet Lot's (pbuh) mainly homosexual people. Archaeological research shows that these cities collapsed after a powerful earthquake. According to researchers, one area, shallower than the rest of the Dead Sea, houses the remains of these people, who entered the deep parts of the sea. (For further details, see Harun Yahya, The Perished Nations [Istanbul: 2002]).
The expression turning upside down may be describing how the region was destroyed in a violent earthquake. Indeed, the Dead Sea (Lake Lut) is located in an active seismic region.
In the same verse, Allah reveals that He rained down on them stones of hard baked clay. Keller explains: "The subsidence released valconic forces that had been lying dormant deep down along the whole lenght of the fracture. In the upper valley of the Jordan near Bashan there are still towering craters of extinct volcanoes; great stretches of lava and deep layers of basalt have been deposited of the limestone surface." (Werner Keller, Und die Bibel hat doch recht [The Bible as History; a Conformation of the Book of Books], William Morrow, [New York: 1956, 76.])
Pompeii was the symbol of Rome's moral degeneration. Just like the Prophet Lot's (pbuh) tribe, the inhabitants of Pompeii, who had also strayed far from religious morality, chose a lifestyle contrary to the morals and life commanded by Allah. And so Allah punished them, just as He punished the Prophet Lot's (pbuh) tribe. Every society that rebels against Allah inevitably is punished, either in this world or the next, for this is one of Allah's laws. As Allah reveals:
... You will not find any changing in the pattern of Allah. You will not find any alteration in the pattern of Allah. (Surah Fatir, 43)
Pompeii was destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE. Mount Vesuvius is the symbol of Italy, particularly the city of Naples. Dormant now for some 2,000 years, it is also known as the Mountain of Misfortune. Naples stands on the mount's western slopes, and Pompeii stands on its eastern slopes. This disaster struck Pompeii so suddenly that everything seems to have been frozen in time.
A few examples of the petrified human bodies unearthed from the ruins of Pompeii.
This fresco depicts a banquet that brought the people of Pompeii together. (Left)
Frescoes from Pompeii. (Right)
There are important lessons to be learned from Pompeii's fate. Historical sources reveal that before its destruction, Pompeii was a hotbed of vice and debauchery and was known for its widespread prostitution. Yet Mount Vesuvius wiped the city from the map in a single moment. Interestingly, despite its terrible eruption, nobody fled. It seems that the people were rooted to the spot, as if unaware of the tragedy. A number of couples have been found, among which are same-sex couples and young boys and girls. Some of the petrified human remains contain perfectly preserved facial features. Their general expression is one of surprise, for Pompeii was destroyed suddenly. Allah gives an example of the people of a city:
It was but one Great Blast, and [then] they were extinct. (Surah Ya Sin, 29)
These ruins contain four mills used to grind flour.
Prophet Abraham (pbuh) and the Prophet Lot (pbuh), along with the believers, migrated at Allah's command and settled in a delightful new land. In the Qur'an, our Lord reveals their blessed destiny:
We delivered both him [Abraham] and Lot to the land that We had blessed for all beings. And in addition to that, We gave him Isaac and Jacob and made both of them righteous. We made them leaders, guiding [them] by Our command, and revealed to them how to do good actions, perform prayer, and give alms. And they worshipped Us. We gave right judgment and knowledge to Lot, and rescued him from the city that committed disgusting acts. They were evil people who were deviators. We admitted him into Our mercy. He was one of the righteous. (Surat al-Anbiya', 71-75)
Hijra is a religious observation that only devout believers can perform. People who live far removed from religion can never agree to suddenly leave behind everything they own and emigrate to an unknown destination. Their homes, goods, and property are most important to them. Yet wherever believers may go, since they know that Allah will meet all of their needs, they have no hesitation about leaving everything behind and emigrating for Allah's good pleasure. The Prophet Abraham (pbuh) and the Prophet Lot (pbuh) demonstrated their submission to Allah in the finest possible manner. They renounced their material possessions and homelands to gain His good pleasure. In return, our Lord settled them in a good land and endowed them with the infinite blessings of Paradise in the Hereafter.
Believers, who trust in Allah and know that He will meet all of their needs at every moment, must follow the Prophets' model of complete submission to Allah. That is because people who are attached to the world and are concerned about the future are far removed from religion's moral values. Our Lord gives believers the glad tidings that as a reward for not indulging in material interests, believers will receive matchless blessings in both worlds.
In addition, Allah informs us of the prophets' vast property as a blessing from Him. The Prophet David (pbuh) had a great deal of property, and the Prophet Solomon (pbuh) possessed so much power and wealth that nobody could match them. Allah reveals that He gave the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) and his line a lot of property:
Or do they, in fact, envy other people for the bounty Allah has granted them? We gave the family of Abraham the Book and wisdom, and We gave them an immense kingdom. (Surat an-Nisa', 54)
Goods, property, and power are always causes of arrogance and self-love among those who do not believe and are heedless. On the other hand, the prophets and the believers who follow them use the goods and property Allah has given them to spread His religion, earn His good pleasure, and achieve their abode in the Hereafter. Furthermore, believers also know that all of their property belongs to Allah. When sincere Muslims are given blessings in this world, they thank our Lord. More importantly, when such blessings diminish they still thank Allah with all of their hearts and display the proper patience, for they know that this life is a test and that Allah will reward them in Paradise:
Those who believe and emigrate and strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and their selves have a higher rank with Allah. They are the ones who are victorious. Their Lord gives them the good news of His mercy and good pleasure, and Gardens where they will enjoy everlasting delight, remaining in them timelessly, forever and ever. Truly, there is an immense reward with Allah. (Surat at-Tawba, 20-22)