(part 1 of 2): The life and times of Sodom
God sent all the prophets to their peoples with the one message that they should worship God alone and should not put anything or anyone aside. But God sent Prophet Muhammad to all of humanity. Although his message was the same, he came up with a new law that applies to all peoples, in all places, at all times, even in the distant future until the day of judgment. The revelation of various sections of the Quran was often a response to special events or experiences of the Prophet and his followers. The stories of the Quran give lessons, provide the historical background of humanity and demonstrate the nature of God. The story of the Prophet Lot is one that is particularly relevant in the 21st century.
In many cities around the world, walking the streets is unsafe even during the day. Murder is rampant, identities are stolen, and drugs abound. Nowadays, most children in high school have already met drug addicts and drug sellers. Alcohol is available at every kiosk, despite being responsible for family breakdown, domestic violence and the breakdown of society. Pedophilia is rampant, as is child pornography and human trafficking. Degenerative lifestyles are accepted and even considered normal. This description paints a picture of a frightening, out of control world, but is it really so different from the time of the Prophet Lot?
The people of Lot lived in a society very similar to ours. It was corrupt, people were not ashamed, criminals and crimes were pervasive, and those who passed the city of Sodom risked being robbed and physically abused. The whole atmosphere in the city was not that of a coherent society. The Lot people had no morals, no standards, and no sense of shame. The abundance of homosexuality did not exist in secret, but was part of a lifestyle that was not only allowed, but encouraged vice and corruption. God sent the Prophet Lot to this city; his message was to worship God alone. But the desire and willingness are embedded in the service, Obey God’s commands? The Lot people were content with their corrupt ways, and they had no desire to restrain themselves. Lot became a nuisance and his words were ignored.
The Prophet Lot urged people to give up their criminal activities and indecent behavior, but they refused to listen. Lot opposed his people and exhorted them. He showed them their corruption, their criminal activities and their unnatural sexual behavior.
“Don’t you want to be godly? In truth, I am a trusted envoy to you. So fear God and obey me. And I don’t ask you for any wages; my wages are only with the Lord of the Worlds. ” (Quran 26: 161-164)
In the past 20 or 30 years it has become normal to talk about homosexuality as a natural way of life, but according to God’s law and in all three revelation religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) this is not acceptable. The new idea that homosexuality is somehow genetically determined is also rejected in Islam. The Quran clearly states that the people of Sodom were the first to practice this sexual aberration.
“Do you go astray among men and leave your women (aside) whom your Lord has created for you? No, you are a people who go beyond the limits. „(Quran 26: 165-166)
The people of Sodom had reached a level of degradation that they no longer felt shame. They pursued their unnatural desires in public and in their privacy. Satan was with them and, as is his way, made their deeds seem good and right to them. When Lot insisted that they change their terrible ways, they wanted to banish him from the city, as if he was committing a great sin by asking them to be clean. The people of Sodom said to Lot: „If you do not let go of it, Lot, you will certainly be one of the exiles.“ (Q, uran 26: 167) Lot gave free rein to his anger and rage over the unnatural deeds and pleaded with God to save him and his family from the evil of the people of Sodom.
In another part of the world, the Prophet Abraham, Lot’s uncle, received three visitors. Known for his generosity, the Prophet Abraham grilled a calf, but to his displeasure the men refused to eat. This was very unusual, travelers are usually hungry and the fact that these visitors did not accept his hospitality worried Abraham. Visitors noticed Abraham’s alarm and tried to calm his fears. They said, „Don’t be afraid!“ (Quran 15:53) After his fears had subsided, the Prophet Abraham asked his visitors what matter brought them to his city, and they replied, „We have been sent to a guilty people.“ (Quran 15:58)
The people of Sodom had become corrupt, they thought their bad ways were acceptable. Unfortunately, we got so used to the bad and ignorance in the 21st century that we are no longer able to act in the right way. We seek excuses and try to justify bad behavior; The fact is, if people continually and openly disregard God and disobey Him, then God will be upset. The angels left the Prophet Abraham and made their way to the city of Sodom to see the Prophet Lot and his family.
(part 2 of 2): The destruction of Sodom
The Prophet Lot continued to suffer from the bad nature and unnatural behavior of those around him, but he continued to deliver his message. He called on people to give up these bad things and to obey the One God, to serve Him alone. However, the townspeople continued to make fun of and disparage Lot, and even ridiculed him by asking him to bring God’s punishment upon them.
„Bring God’s punishment on us if you speak the truth.“ (Quran 29:29)
Lot was overwhelmed with hopelessness and pleaded with God for victory over this people who committed great crimes and behaved unnaturally.
At the time of Lot’s supplication, the messengers (angels) were with the Prophet Abraham to inform him of their mission to Lot and his people. They said:.
„And when our messengers [ie the angels] brought the good news to Abraham, they said:“ We are coming to destroy the inhabitants of this city [ie Lots] because their inhabitants are wrongdoers. “ (Quran 29:31)
Abraham was afraid that his nephew Lot was in the city of Sodom and she was on the verge of being destroyed and said to the angels, „But Lot is there!“ They replied:
„We know very well who is there. Certainly, we will save him (Lot) and his family, except for his wife, who is one of those who should be left behind (ie she will be destroyed).“ (Quran 29:32)
The well-known Islamic scholar Imam Ibn Kathir reports that when the emissaries approached the city of Sodom, they met Lot’s daughter on the nearby river. She was surprised by their beauty and feared for them. She advised them to wait for the Prophet Lot on the river rather than enter the city without protection. When Lot found out about the strangers, he was troubled and wondered how he could convince them to bypass the cities of Sodom and continue their travels. He tried to make them understand what the people of the city were like, but all he could do was get the emissaries to wait until nightfall before entering the city.
The Prophet Lot managed to get the messengers to the safety of his home; but Lot’s wife slipped out the back door and quickly told people that two handsome men were visiting Lot’s house. The news spread like wildfire and soon people gathered outside Lot’s house and asked to see the guests. Lot became even more sad when he realized that his wife was responsible for the crowd outside his door and he negotiated with the mob to dissolve them and fear God’s punishment. He repeatedly urged her to seek sexual fulfillment in an allowed manner.
“O my people! These are my daughters; they are purer for you (than my guests). So fear God and bring no shame on my guests about me. Isn’t there an honest man among you? ” (Quran 11:78)
The story of Lot is mentioned with remarkable similarities in both the Bible and the Quran. However, Islam completely rejects the prophet Lot offering his own daughters to the people of the city. The scholars of Islam explain that when Lot used the word „daughters“ he meant the women of Sodom. He asked that the men of Sodom seek sexual fulfillment in permitted marriages.
In his book Stories of the Prophets, Ibn Kathier says that the men of the city broke the door and entered Lot’s house, where they surrounded the messengers. Lot was powerless against them, so he went on to beg them and remind them of the evil of their actions. The people of the city mocked and ridiculed him by saying, „You know very well that we have no intention of your daughters, and you know what we want!“ (Quran 11:79). The messengers calmed Lot by saying, „We are messengers from your Lord.“ (Quran 11:81) When she heard these words from the people of the city, they became afraid and began to disperse, leaving Lot and his family alone with the messengers (angels).
The messengers dispersed the prophet Lot’s fears and directed him to gather his family and leave the city of Sodom at night. Lot went behind his to make sure no one was looking back at the cities of Sodom. Lot’s wife was left behind and was punished with the evildoers and cursed residents of the cities. The Quran describes the punishment as an appalling cry that turned it over and caused stones of burned clay to rain on it. (Quran 15: 73-74)
The punishment came at sunrise and God says:
“So we saved him and his family, except for an old woman who was among those who stayed behind. Then We destroyed the others. And we left rain for the warned. This is truly a sign, but most of them don’t believe it. ” (Quran 26: 170-174)
So the sides of Lot’s people closed. Their names were erased from historical memory. The punishment that God had promised and that the prophet Lot had warned for was because God truly kept His promises. He promises severe punishment and paradise for the righteous to those who do evil. Lot and his family went at sunrise and the Quran did not mention them.