Stories of the Pious: Hazrat Lut (as)
"And (We sent) Lut when he said to his people: What! Do you commit an indecency, which any one in the world has not done before you? Most surely you come to males in lust besides females; nay, you are an extravagant people. And the answer of his people was no other than that they said: Turn them out of your town, surely they are a people who seek to purify (themselves). So We delivered him and his followers, except his wife; she was of those who remained behind. And We rained upon them a rain; consider then what was the end of the guilty."
THE FAMILY AND HOMELAND OF HAZRAT LUT (A.S.)
Hazrat Lut (a.s.) was the brother of Janabe Sarah (s.a.), the first wife of Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.). He lived with Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) in Babil till he accompanied him to Egypt. There, the two of them became very rich and prosperous. Later, they migrated to Palestine, the holy land of Baitul Muqaddas, and dwelled there. However, it became difficult for them to accommodate their large cattle in that small place, so with the permission of Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.), Hazrat Lut (a.s.) went to Sadum (Sodom) and settled there.
MORAL DEPRAVITY OF THE PEOPLE OF SODOM
The people of Sodom were stingy, ill-mannered and mischief-mongers. The men satisfied their carnal desires with other men (i.e. they indulged in homosexuality). They would loot a traveller and leave him in the wilderness, alone and helpless. Justice was unknown to them. There did exist a court, but the judge was as corrupt and crooked. An Egyptian historian records the following incident to highlight the corruption and depravation that was prevalent in the society in that period:
‘Janabe Sarah (a.s.) sent her slave to her brother, Hazrat Lut (a.s.), to enquire about his well-being. When the slave reached the city, a person hurled a stone at him. The stone wounded him and he began bleeding profusely. To add to the slave’s misery, the offender approached the slave and demanded compensation for removing blood from his body, as that blood was harmful for him. The slave protested and refused to pay, thus aggravating the situation. They were consequently led to the court. After listening to both sides, the judge ruled in favour of the offender. Seeing the grave injustice of the judge, the slave immediately hurled a stone at the judge, making him bleed. And then he told the judge, ‘Whatever are my dues, you may pay this person’.
Indeed, their evil deeds are difficult to enumerate. However, the most degrading of them all was homosexuality. It was so common among them that the men had totally distanced themselves from their women and gratified their desires with other men. The punishment prescribed for this act is death, and one who indulges in this detestable act is forbidden (as per the Islamic Shariah) to marry the sister of his partner.
In addition to their vices of looting, drinking wine and gambling, they also molested travellers. It is disturbing to see that a somewhat similar situation has taken shape even in this age. Elders are no longer respected, and drinking and gambling are considered virtues.
Anyhow, for the guidance of that nation, Allah appointed a great Prophet like Hazrat Lut (a.s) who invited the people towards goodness, but to no avail. In his three-year preaching, he managed to convert, but a handful of people. The majority persisted in their disbelief and corruption, and in fact decided to extern Hazrat Lut (a.s.) and his followers.
When Hazrat Lut (a.s.) sensed their intentions, he admonished them, exhorted them to mend their ways, and when all this failed, he finally warned them of Divine wrath. But they mocked at him saying, ‘Bring down upon us the punishment with which you threaten us’. They were like that diseased part of the body, which if not extracted, would make the entire body toxic. Then the only solution left is to get rid of the diseased organ.
Hazrat Lut (as) raised his hands in prayers and beseeched: ‘O Lord make these people face their fate and inflict them with (your) punishment.’ The prayer was answered. Allah sent angels to the house of Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) in the form of men. Taking them to be his guests, Hazrat Ibrahim (as) prepared roasted meat for them. But the angels refused to eat. Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) was frightened and wondered if they were his enemies. (Since in those days, anyone relaying the message of the enemy would not share the meal of his rival). But the angels soon disclosed their identity, and revealed Allah’s intention to destroy the nation of Hazrat Lut (a.s.), except the family of Hazrat Lut (a.s.). His wife, who was amongst the disbelievers, was also to be destroyed.
The angels bade farewell to Hazrat Ibrahim (as) after giving glad tidings of the birth of Hazrat Ishaq (a.s.). The angels then travelled to Sodom, and stayed in the house of Hazrat Lut (a.s.). Hazrat Lut (a.s.) was in a dilemma – the angels were his guests and and to honour them was his religious duty, while his people wished to molest them. Within no time, Lut’s (a.s.) wife informed her people about the guests. They surrounded the house and ordered Lut (a.s.) to release the guests, so they could loot them and gratify their lust.
Hazrat Lut (a.s.) pleaded with them to spare him the disgrace before his guests. But they attacked his house nevertheless. Hazrat Lut (a.s.) felt helpless and wished that he had the strength to counter their obstinacy and teach them a lesson for their shamelessness.
The angels, on seeing Hazrat Lut (a.s.) in discomfiture, comforted him by saying: "O Lut! We are angels sent by God. We have come to your help and will inflict upon them a severe punishment. You leave this land along with your children, as this nation will be destroyed.’
Then as per the prophecy, the earth began to quake violently and the houses were destroyed. Soon, stones were showered from the skies, and in a few moments the entire nation was destroyed.
Indeed, who can withstand Divine punishment? No doubt, the haughty and the corrupt can distress the believers for some time, but when Divine chastisement is inflicted upon them, they are disgraced, while believers are triumphant. Certainly, when the believers cannot overcome their enemies they are required to adopt patience and forbearance, as the Holy Quran commands:
"Therefore bear up patiently as did the Apostles endowed with constancy bear up with patience and do not seek to hasten for them (their doom). On the day that they shall see what they are promised they shall be as if they had not tarried save an hour of the day. A sufficient exposition! Shall then any be destroyed save the transgressing people"?
This world will not remain an eternal place of corruption and mischief. One day it will be transformed into an abode of peace and security. This shall happen when the last representative of Allah, Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will reappear (Inshallah) to fill it with justice and equity. Therefore let us pray for his earliest reappearance.