The Messengers' and Believers' Reactions
Certainly, assaults against a Messenger and the believers are serious enough to intimidate those without faith. For example, when some people believed in the Prophet Moses (as) after seeing his miracles worked by Allah's blessing and sided with him, Pharaoh threatened them:
Pharaoh said: "Do you believe in him before I have authorized you? Surely this must be your leader, the one who taught you magic. I will cut off your hands and feet alternately and have you crucified on palm trunks. Then you will know for certain which of us has the harsher and longer lasting punishment." (Surah Ta Ha, 71)
This kind of threat would deter most people with no or only weak faith, but the believers were not influenced by it:
They said: "We will never prefer you to the clear signs that have come to us, nor to Him Who brought us into being. Decide on any judgment you like. Your jurisdiction only covers the life of this world. We have believed in our Lord so that He may forgive us for our mistakes and for the magic that you forced us to perform. Allah is better and longer lasting." (Surah Ta Ha, 72-73)
Allah also reveals in the Qur'an that the believers are brave and secure when confronted with the unbelievers' threats:
"The ruling circle of those who were arrogant said: "We will drive you out of our city, Jethro, you and those who believe along with you, unless you return to our religion." He exclaimed: "What, even though we detest it? We would be inventing lies against Allah if we returned to your religion after Allah has saved us from it. We could never return to it unless Allah our Lord so willed. Our Lord encompasses everything in His knowledge. We have put our trust in Allah. Our Lord, judge between us and our people with truth. You are the best of judges." (Surat al-A'raf, 88-89)
Recite to them the story of Noah, when he said to his people: "My people, if my standing here and reminding you of Allah's signs has become too much for you to bear, know that I have put my trust in Allah. So decide, you and your deities, on what you want to do, and be open about it. Do with me whatever you decide, and do not keep me waiting." (Surah Yunus, 71)"
Indeed, in the Qur'an the Messengers are told to be determined and secure against the unbelievers:
Say to those who do not believe: "Do as you think best. That is what we are doing." (Surah Hud, 121)
There can be no question of a Messenger fearing or hesitating when confronted by the unbelievers, because they are "those who conveyed Allah's message and had fear of Him, fearing no one except Allah" (Surat al-Ahzab, 39).
The reason for a Messenger's and the believers' resolute and courageous nature in such cases comes from their ability to understand each event's inner and secret truth: No thing and no person can escape what Allah has willed for them. Unbelievers are totally unaware of this truth and so think that their plans will succeed. However, they always fail to understand that they cannot do anything without Allah's permission, because it is He Who wills all that happens to each thing and person.
Therefore, the traps that unbelievers set for believers, their attacks and slanders, cannot take place without Allah's knowledge and permission. And for that reason, the believers do not fear the unbelievers' plots, for: "... The misguided cannot harm you as long as you are guided..." (Surat al-Ma'ida, 105); "... Allah will not give the unbelievers any way against the believers" (Surat an-Nisa', 141); and, "... if you are steadfast and guard against evil, their scheming will not harm you in any way. Allah encompasses what they do" (Surah Al 'Imran, 120).
But this does not mean that the believers do not experience any trouble. Allah will test them by means of such assaults to bring them to maturity. Allah reveals in the Qur'an that they will have the strength to endure their testing, for "Allah does not impose on any self more than it can stand" (Surat al-Baqara, 286).
This truth is revealed in the following verse:
We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth, life, and fruits. But give good news to the steadfast. (Surat al-Baqara, 155)
In short, for a Messenger and his followers, all the oppressions, accusations and assaults from unbelievers are a test from Allah. For this reason, they are determined, secure and patient in what they have to endure, they never become stricken with panic or fear. Allah tells in the Qur'an of these qualities evident in believers:
Those to whom people said: "The people have gathered against you, so fear them." But that merely increased their faith, and they replied: "Allah is enough for us and is the Best of Guardians." (Surah Al 'Imran, 173)
But notice that the Messengers' and the believers' patience does not mean that they endure their difficulties passively. On the contrary, the Messengers are always able to foil the traps set for them and to defeat the unbelievers by turning their traps against them in the most intelligent and finest manner. Allah's Messengers are very intelligent, provident, resourceful, knowledgeable, and able to make effective plans of their own to achieve victory. They have always emerged victorious from their struggles against the unbelievers. In the following pages, we will deal with their wise and auspicious plans and courses of action against denial, as revealed in the Qur'an.
How the Messengers Struggle against the Unbelievers
Allah assists the Messengers and their followers by giving them strength and support. A Messenger especially receives support from Allah; in the Qur'an it is revealed that He gives them knowledge, wisdom, clarity of expression, maturity, and the ability to make right decisions. Besides this, Allah gives them great possessions (e.g., material wealth, power, and magnificence).
For example, Hazrat Saul (as), the chosen leader of the Israelites, was given knowledge, physical strength, and kingship:
Their Prophet said to them: "Allah has appointed Saul to be your king." They replied: "How can he have kingship over us when we have much more right to kingship than he does? He does not even have much wealth." He said: "Allah has chosen him over you, and has favored him greatly in knowledge and physical strength. Allah gives kingship to anyone He wills. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing." (Surat al-Baqara, 247)
In the Qur'an it is also revealed that Allah supported the Prophet Abraham (as) and his offspring with wisdom and an immense kingdom:
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)
We are told that the Prophet Joseph (as) received the same support:
And then when he [Joseph] became a full-grown man, We gave him knowledge and right judgment too. That is how We reward all doers of good. (Surah Yusuf, 22)
And later, while saying his prayers, the Prophet Joseph (as) said:
The Prophet David (as) also was given "kingship and wisdom" (Surat al-Baqara, 251)
We made his [David's] kingdom strong and gave him wisdom and decisive speech. (Surah Sâd, 20)
With such support, a Messenger engages in an intellectual struggle against the leading unbelievers. Allah directs this struggle. With his wisdom and insight, a Messenger always shows his superiority in such an intellectual struggle, for the unbelievers can never answer his sound ideas and so are always defeated. Messengers always have the truth on their side and are always victorious over disbelief.
A messenger humiliates the unbelievers
The struggle between a Messenger and the unbelievers is actually a taste of the pain of this world that Allah gives to the latter. For those who are devoted to ostentation and seeking others' approval, humiliation is a very severe punishment. This is described as "disgrace in the life of this world" in the Qur'an:
"Those before them also denied the truth, and the punishment came upon them from where they did not expect. So Allah made them taste disgrace in the life of this world. The punishment of the hereafter is far worse, if they only knew. (Surat az-Zumar, 25-26)
Allah manifests this attribute through the believers, and especially by way of His Messengers. This is revealed as follows in Surat at-Tawba:
Fight them! Allah will punish them at your hands and disgrace them, and [will] help you against them and heal the hearts of the believers. He will remove the rage from their hearts. Allah turns to anyone He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (Surat at-Tawba, 14-15)
The Prophet Solomon (as), who was sent as a Messenger to the Israelites, who denied His existence, also humiliated and belittled these unbelievers:
... "We will come to them with troops that they cannot face, and We will expel them from it abased and humiliated." (Surat an-Naml, 37)
Therefore, humiliating the unbelievers is an important part of this struggle. So how is that to be done? Most often, such humiliation is enough to get the unbelievers to show their real faces, because most of the elite have reached the apex of denial and corruption. They are degenerate. Throughout history, perversion, dishonesty, and other such corruptions have been among the defining characteristics of the great majority. But the people in question have hidden their degenerate lives from the general public. Revealing it is one of ways to make others aware of such people's disgrace and humiliation.
Unbelievers fear believers, and are shaken by the Messengers' and the believers' strength, intelligence, and determination:
You are a greater cause of terror in their breasts than Allah! This is because they are people who do not understand. (Surat al-Hashr, 13)
In another verse, Allah reveals that they will be filled with fear:
We will cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers because they have associated others with Allah, [a practice] for which He has sent down no authority. Their shelter will be the Fire. How evil is the abode of the wrongdoers! (Surah Al 'Imran, 151)
All of the Messengers mentioned in the Qur'an always defeated the unbelievers. Every people that did not listen to their message and heed their warnings finally perished, and every wicked plan they devised was foiled.
How the messengers foil the unbelievers' traps
The Qur'an informs us of these traps. But most importantly, it tells us that Allah devises traps (or plots) in return for those who reject His existence. As revealed in the Qur'an: "They plotted and Allah plotted. But Allah is the best plotter" (Surah Al 'Imran, 54). We are also told that Allah sets traps for those who try to entrap a Messenger:
When those who do not believe were plotting to imprison you, kill you, or expel you: they were plotting and Allah was plotting, but Allah is the best plotter. (Surat al-Anfal, 30)
One of Allah's titles is al-Makir, or The Plotter. In other verses this title is revealed as follows:
They concocted their plots, but their plots were with Allah, even if they were such as to make the mountains vanish. (Surah Ibrahim, 46)
They hatched a plot, and We hatched a plot while they were not aware. (Surat an-Naml, 50)
Note that the title The Plotter, just like the title The Humiliator, is manifested in the believers and especially in the Messengers. Allah often uses a Messenger to set a trap for the unbelievers. The Prophet Joseph (as) is an example of this. His irreligious brothers threw him in a well when he was a young child. But the Prophet Joseph (as) was rescued by Allah's choosing and set a trap for them in turn when he assumed control over the Egyptian Treasury:
Then when he [Joseph] had supplied them with their needs, he put the goblet in his brother's bag. A herald called out: "Caravan! You are thieves!" They turned to them and asked: "What are you missing?" They said: "We're missing the king's goblet. The man who brings it will get a camel's load [reward]. Regarding that, I stand as guarantor." They exclaimed: "By Allah, you know we did not come to corrupt the land and that we are not thieves." They asked: "What is the reparation for it if, in fact, it transpires that you are liars?" They answered: "Its reparation shall be the owner of the saddlebags in which it is discovered. Among us, this is how wrongdoers are repaid." He started with their bags before his brother's, and then produced it from his brother's bag. In that way, We devised a cunning scheme for Joseph. He could not have held his brother according to the statutes of the king – only because Allah had willed it so. We raise the rank of anyone We will. Over everyone with knowledge is a Knower. (Surah Yusuf, 70-76)
Another example of a trap is when the Prophet Abraham (as) broke his people's idols. Verses describing this read:
We gave Abraham his right guidance early on, and We had complete knowledge of him. When he asked his father and his people: "What are these statues you are clinging to?" They replied: "We found our fathers worshipping them." He said: "You and your fathers are clearly misguided." They asked: "Have you brought us the truth, or are you playing games?" He said: "Far from it! Your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and earth, He Who brought them into being. I am one of those who bear witness to that. By Allah, I will devise some scheme against your idols when your backs are turned." He broke them into pieces, except for the largest one, so that they would have it to consult. They exclaimed: "Who has done this to our deities? He is definitely one of the wrongdoers!" Some people said: "We heard a young man mentioning them. They call him Abraham." They said: "Bring him before the people's eyes so they can be witnesses." They asked: "Did you do this to our deities, Abraham?" He replied: "No, this one, the largest of them, did it. Ask them, if they are able to speak!" They consulted among themselves and said: "You are wrongdoers." But then they relapsed back into their disbelief: "You know full well that these deities cannot talk." He said: "Do you worship, instead of Allah, that which cannot help or harm you in any way? Shame on you and what you worship besides Allah! Will you not use your intellect?" (Surat al-Anbiya', 51-67)
The Struggle between a Messenger and Representatives of the Religion of the Ancestors
So far we have dealt with the struggle between a Messenger and the unbelievers' leaders. But there are other groups who, for various reasons, also oppose a Messenger. In addition, it would be wrong to imagine all the "elite" as one; there are different groups among this section of society. In the pages that follow we shall be looking at these groups as described in the Qur'an.
Among the most important of these groups are those people who practice the superstitious religion of their ancestors and oppose the true religion as proclaimed by a Messenger.
Earlier, when we spoke of a society that does not know Allah, we said that this group had separated themselves from the essence of religious moral values and disregarded Allah's manifest existence. But in nearly every ignorant society revealed in the Qur'an there is some religious belief. In some aspects it may resemble Allah's religion, but its essence is quite different. True religion is based on knowing and serving Allah alone, being devoted to Him and to nothing else, and following His Messengers. But these misguided people's concept of religion is based on their devotion to their ancestors and the determination to continue their superstitious traditions. This religion may often invoke Allah's name, but this is deceptive, for there is no real faith, respect, or fear of Allah in it:
Ask: "To whom does earth belong, and everyone in it, if you have any knowledge?" They will say: "To Allah." Ask: "So will you not pay heed?" Ask: "Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the Mighty Throne?" They will say: "Allah." Ask: "So will you not fear Allah?" Ask: "In Whose hand is the dominion over everything, He Who gives protection and from Whom no protection can be given, if you have any knowledge?" They will say: "Allah's." Ask: "So how have you been bewitched?" The fact is that We have given them the truth and they are liars. (Surat al-Muminun, 84-90)
These people's situation is an exceptional deterrent: They answer every question correctly (for example, they affirm that Allah has created everything), but their behavior is not consistent with their affirmation. When they are asked to think carefully about these things and warned to save themselves from the deception in which they live, they clearly do not understand the meaning of their answers.
The reason for this situation is very clear: These individuals do not believe in the true religion, but rather in a false religion characterized by its not being founded on sincere faith in, respect for, and a genuine fear of Allah, and not putting Allah's approval above all else. This absence of a sound foundation is an attempt to preserve a few superstitious traditional beliefs and values passed down from a people's ancestors. The individuals described in the verses above have a belief in Allah, derived from their ancestral religion, but cannot grasp the truth of His existence or conceive of His attributes.
Also, this ancestral religion contains several misguided elements. Whereas true religion is based totally on Allah's revelation, this false religion is severed from true religion and based on a few myths. For this reason, it has an incorrect understanding of such matters as faith in Allah and morality. Therefore, a Messenger and his followers oppose the superstitious religion of the forebears and call upon their society to practice the true religion "with which He is pleased" (Surat an-Nur, 55).
Very often, people refuse to abandon their superstitious ancestral religion. Allah reveals in the Qur'an that this is an immutable law:
When they are told: "Come to what Allah has sent down and to the messenger," they say: "What we found our fathers doing is enough for us." What! Even if their fathers did not know anything and were not guided! (Surat al-Ma'ida, 104)
Similarly, We never sent any warner before you to any city without the affluent among them saying: "We found our fathers following a religion, and we are simply following in their footsteps." Ask: "What if I have come with a better guidance than that which you found your fathers following?" They say: "We reject what you have been sent with." (Surat az-Zukhruf, 23-24)
So why is it that the elite and others are so devoted to the false religion of their ancestors?
The reason for this attachment is clear: This false religion is an important part of the traditional social order. By practicing it, they ensure the social order's legitimacy, and by following its rules they can easily make themselves appear religious and gain the public's confidence.
Some individuals remain faithful to their ancestral religion out of conservatism. They are against every kind of change and believe that everything old is good; they are submerged in the conservatism that is a tendency of the human self. Others make material profit from their ancestors' superstitious religion and know that if they abandon it, the existing clerical system will collapse. Allah reveals in the Qur'an: "O you who believe! Many of the rabbis and monks devour people's property under false pretences and bar people from access to Allah's way. As for those who hoard gold and silver and do not spend it in His way, give them the news of a painful punishment" (Surat at-Tawba, 34).
For this reason, a significant segment of society begins to defend the ancestral religion against the true religion proclaimed by a Messenger. We can see this when the 'Ad people said to the Prophet Hud (as): "Have you come to us to make us worship Allah alone and abandon what our fathers used to worship? Then bring us what you have promised us, if you are telling the truth" (Surat al-A'raf, 70); when the Thamud people said to the Prophet Saleh (as): "Saleh, we had great hopes in you before this happened. Do you forbid us to worship what our fathers worshipped? We have grave doubts about what you are calling us to" (Surah Hud, 62); and the court of Pharaoh who spoke against the Prophet Moses (as): "This is nothing but trumped-up magic. We never heard anything like this among our forefathers" (Surat al-Qasas, 36).
Another major characteristic of these people is that they pretend to be religious when they assault a Messenger and his followers. They invoke the name of Allah and of religion in an attempt to legitimize their assaults and oppression. This is nothing but pretense, because they have no interest in Allah or His religion. Allah reveals in the Qur'an that these people, even if they commit the greatest crime of martyring a Messenger, claim to be acting in Allah's name. The following is revealed in the Qur'an about such people:
To the Thamud people We sent their brother Saleh, telling them to worship Allah... (Surat an-Naml, 45)
They said: "We see you, and those with you, as an evil omen." He [Saleh] replied: "No, your evil omen is with Allah; you are merely a people undergoing a trial." A group of nine men in the city was causing corruption in the land and not putting things right. They said: "Let us swear an oath with each other that by Allah we will fall on him and his family in the night and then say to his protector: 'We did not witness the destruction of his family, and we are telling the truth.'" They hatched a plot, and We hatched a plot while they were not aware. So look at the end result of all their plotting; We utterly destroyed them and their whole people! (Surat an-Naml, 47-51)
There is another group that uses the name of Allah in their hostility against a Messenger. Almost every Messenger has encountered these people who are called "hypocrites" in the Qur'an.
The Messengers' Struggle against the Hypocrites
Messengers and believers also have to confront the hypocrites who, unlike the groups discussed above, are "secret deniers" who appear to be believers. In the Qur'an such people are described as follows:
Among the people are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day," when they are not believers. They think they deceive Allah and the believers. They deceive no one but themselves, but they are not aware of it. There is a sickness in their hearts, and Allah has increased their sickness. They will have a painful punishment because of their disbelief. (Surat al-Baqara, 8-10)
Hypocrites want to appear to be believers because they hope to receive some benefit from the real believers. They are jealous of the believers' material wealth, influence, and glamour and so pretend to be believers in order to benefit from these things. However, as revealed in the Qur'an, they are only deceiving themselves because it is impossible to "imitate" a believer, for they can only imitate some of the external forms of religion. Thus, all believers can immediately detect such insincerity, as can any Messenger. It is revealed in the Qur'an that Allah gives each Messenger a special understanding that enables him to recognize hypocrites:
Or did those with sickness in their hearts imagine that Allah would not expose their malevolence? If We wished, We would show them to you and you would know them by their mark and ambivalent speech. Allah knows your actions. (Surah Muhammad, 29-30)
Allah's Messengers may not immediately disclose the hypocrites' true nature, but this will become apparent when they are called upon to sacrifice for the religion, for instance. Since they are interested in the believers and religion only for personal gain, their basic insincerity will become evident when they are asked to do something that will not materially benefit them.
This brings us to one of the hypocrite's salient characteristics: When a hypocrite gives up imitating a believer, he does not seek isolation, but rather tries to divert believers from Allah's way. He foolishly tries to destroy their zeal, make them doubt and despair, and weaken their loyalty to the Messenger. He elects to spread corruption. No hypocrite can say that he left the right road out of a sense of personal interest. As we read in the Qur'an, they say: "What Allah and His messenger promised us was mere delusion" (Surat al-Ahzab, 12) or "These people have been deluded by their religion" (Surat al-Anfal, 49). They lie and say that they are aware of truths that believers do not know, as when Samiri explained to the Prophet Moses (as) why he led the people astray to worship the calf: "I saw what they did not see" (Surah Ta Ha, 96).
In the Qur'an, these acts are defined as "fitnah" (meaning sedition, trial, temptation, dispute, mischief), which is one of the greatest sins: "... Fitnah is worse than killing..." (Surat al-Baqara, 217). Samiri is one of the clearest examples of a hypocrite, and the Prophet Moses' (as) behavior toward him shows the Messenger's determination to prevent such strife. How the Prophet Moses (as) responded to the strife that this man had stirred up after he had ascended Mount Tur alone to receive Allah's revelation is related in detail in the Qur'an:
[Allah asked:] "Why have you hurried on ahead of your people, Moses?" Moses said: "They are following in my tracks. I have hurried on ahead to you, my Lord, to gain Your good pleasure." He said: "We tried your people after you left, and Samiri has misguided them." Moses returned to his people in anger and great sorrow. He asked: "My people, did not your Lord make you a handsome promise? Did the fulfillment of the contract seem too long to you, or did you want to unleash your Lord's anger upon yourselves so that you broke your promise to me?" They replied: "We did not break our promise to you of our own volition. But we were weighed down with the heavy loads of the people's jewelry and we threw them in, for that is what Samiri did." Then he [Samiri] produced a calf for them, a physical form that made a lowing sound. So they said: "This is your deity – and Moses' deity as well, but he forgot." Could they not see that it did not reply to them and that it had no power to either harm or benefit them? Aaron had earlier said to them: "My people! It is just a trial for you. Your Lord is the All-Merciful, so follow me and obey my command!" They replied: "We will not stop devoting ourselves to it until Moses returns to us." (Surah Ta Ha, 83-91)
He [Moses] asked: "What did you think you were doing, Samiri?" He answered: "I saw what they did not see. So I gathered up a handful from the messenger's footprints and threw it in. That is what my inner self urged me to do." He [Moses] exclaimed: "Leave! In this world, you will have to say: 'Untouchable!' And you have an appointment that you will not fail to keep. Look at your deity to which you devoted so much time. We will burn it up and then scatter it as dust in the sea. Your deity is Allah alone. There is no deity but Him. He encompasses all things in His knowledge." (Surah Ta Ha, 95-98)
Clearly, a Messenger responds to hypocrites with determination. Allah tells our Prophet (saas):
>O Prophet! Strive against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh with them. Their refuge is hell. What an evil destination! (Surat at-Tahrim, 9)
One important element here is that some of the Prophet Moses' (as) people lacked an understanding of the true religion and exhibited an extremely disobedient character. Believers are not influenced by the strife stirred up by hypocrites; their loyalty to the Messenger just continues to grow. In such a situation, the hypocrites separate themselves as a body from the believers but, due to their desire for revenge, they do not go away. Rather, they do everything they can to prolong their opposition to the Messenger and his followers. Even in this situation they do not acknowledge their insincerity, but still try to present themselves as true believers. The clearest example of this in the time of our Prophet (saas) was when the hypocrites built a new mosque after they had separated themselves from him. They did this only to express their hostility:
As for those who have set up a mosque, causing harm and out of disbelief in order to create division among the believers and in readiness for those who previously made war on Allah and His messenger, they will swear: "We only desired the best." But Allah bears witness that they are truly liars. Do not ever stand in it. A mosque founded on performing one's duty from the first day has a greater right upon you to stand [to pray] in it. In it are men who love to purify themselves. Allah loves those who purify themselves. Who is better: someone who founds his building on fear of Allah and His good pleasure, or someone who founds his building on the brink of a crumbling precipice so that it collapses with him into the fire of hell? Allah does not love wrongdoers. The buildings they have built will not cease to be a bone of contention in their hearts, until their hearts are cut to shreds. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (Surat at-Tawba, 107-110)
The purpose behind the hypocrites' mosque is revealed in these verses: to harm believers and to join forces with those at war against believers. No matter how strongly they may claim that they only wanted to do good in establishing the mosque, their real purpose was to intensify their struggle against the Muslim community. The main difference between the two mosques was that the believers' mosque was based on true godliness - the believers' respect and fear of Allah and the desire to win His approval. The hypocrites' mosque, however, was based on their own whim and hostility against the believers; that is, in the words of the Qur'an, "on the brink of a crumbling precipice so that it collapses with him into the fire of hell." In the hereafter, such people will be sent to the lowest regions of hell.
The Messengers' Struggle against Immorality
A Messenger's chief duty is to call his people to Allah's way and explain His religion to them. The groups he struggles with respond to his call with hostility and try to stop him from delivering his message. He also tries to intellectually destroy the influence of those groups that want to lead people astray and prevent them from following His way: "They keep others from it and avoid it themselves..." (Surat al-An'am, 26). For example, those who work to promote immoral conduct and indecency want to draw others into the same perversions in which they indulge:
People who love to see immorality being spread among those who believe will have a painful punishment both in this world and the hereafter. Allah knows and you do not know. (Surat an-Nur, 19)
Those who work to spread immorality will experience the pangs of hell in the hereafter. They may experience different pangs in this world, and Allah may give them different troubles. The example of the Prophet Lot (as) and his people shows how the Messengers struggle against immorality. It records the Prophet Lot's (as) warning to homosexuals and his immoral people's response to him:
And Lot, when he said to his people: "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 people." The only answer of his people was to say: "Expel them from your city! They are people who keep themselves pure!" (Surat al-A'raf, 80-82)
In another verse we are informed of the Prophet Lot's (as) response to his people:
Lot's people denied the messengers, when their brother Lot said to them: "Will you not guard against evil? I am a faithful messenger to you. So have fear of Allah and obey me. 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. 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 replied: "I am someone who detests the deed you perpetrate. My Lord, rescue me and my family from what they are doing." Therefore We rescued him and all his family – except for an old woman who remained behind. Then We utterly destroyed the rest and made a rain come pouring down upon them. How evil is the rain of those who are warned! There is certainly a sign in that, yet most of them are not believers. Truly your Lord is the Almighty, the Most Merciful. (Surat ash-Shu'ara', 160-175)