We gave right judgement and knowledge to Lut and rescued him from the city which 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’, 74-75)
The people of the Prophet Lut (as) are among the most depraved people mentioned in the Qur’an. As related in the following verses, these people were sexually deviant and used to waylay and attack people
Lut said to his people, “You are committing an obscenity not perpetrated before you by any other nation. You lie with men and waylay them on the road and commit depravities within your gatherings”. His people’s only reply was: “Bring down upon us Allah’s punishment, if you are telling the truth.” (Surat al-’Ankabut, 28-29) And Lut, when he said to his people, “Will you persist in committing an obscenity not perpetrated before you by any other nation? You come with lust to men instead of women. You are indeed a depraved people.” (Surat al- A’raf, 80-81)
[Lut said to his people,] “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.” (Surat ash-Shu’ara’, 165-166)
Lut said to his people: “Do you approach depravity with open eyes? Do you come with lust to men instead of women? You are a people who are deeply ignorant.” (Surat an-Naml, 54-55)
The Prophet Lut (as) called his people, who were deviant in all senses, to live for the cause of Allah and be people of moral excellence. However, they obstinately insisted on disobedience and did not agree to desist from the wicked deeds they were wont to commit. Despite the obstinate disbelief of his people, however, the Prophet Lut (as), like all messengers of Allah, tried hard to guide them and summoned them to the path of Allah without ever becoming disheartened by the attacks and aspersions of these corrupt people.
As Allah relates in the above quoted verses, the Prophet Lut (as) described to his people the evil deeds they did and called upon them to adopt a virtuous life style which would please Allah. However, as many disbelievers have done throughout history, Lut’s people did not obey their prophet and tried to deflect him from the true path by casting aspersions on him.
These insolent people threatened him with expulsion from their land and dared to mock at the physical and spiritual purity of the prophet and the believers who obeyed him. The Prophet Lut (as) expressed his reaction to these people who insisted on disbelief and disobedience although he repeatedly called upon them to tread the true path:
He [Lut] said, “I am someone who detests the deed you perpetrate.” (Surat ash-Shu’ara’, 168)
As this verse maintains, despite the persistence and excessiveness of his people, the Prophet Lut (as) acted according to the commands of Allah and called upon people to do the same resolutely. He said that he would not be pleased with any act displeasing to Allah, and that he would do anything to prevent such acts.
The Prophet Lut (as) Summoned His People To Fear Allah
The Prophet Lut (as) first informed his people that he was a faithful messenger whom Allah entrusted with communicating His message and that he did not want any wage in return for doing so. He also admonished them to fear Allah:
… “I am a faithful Messenger to you. So fear 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.” (Surat ash-Shu’ara’, 161-164)
One needs to fear Allah in the true sense in order to be able to fully comply with the kind of morality with which Allah is pleased. One who fears Allah does not knowingly persist in anything which would displease Allah. If such a person makes a mistake unintentionally, he corrects his wrong action as soon as he sees the truth. He spends his life in a way that would please Allah and can, therefore, hope for a good life both in this world and in the Hereafter. Therefore, all messengers, including the Prophet Lut (as), warned their people to fear Allah.
The Prophet Lut (as) Warned His People To Act Rightly And To Be Ashamed Of Their Behaviour
When his people persisted in their disbelief, Allah sent angels to the Prophet Lut (as) to give him the news of the punishment that He would inflict on them. His people, who took the angels for men, ran to the Prophet Lut (as), and he had a dialogue with his people as follows:
When Our messengers came to Lut, he was distressed for them, for he was powerless to offer them protection. He said,
“This is indeed a dreadful day.” His people 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 by insulting my guests. Is there not one rightly-guided man among you?” They replied, “You know we have no claim on your daughters. You know very well what it is we want.” (Surah Hud, 77-79)
As seen in the above quoted dialogue, the people of Lut, who did not fear Allah, had lost their sense of shame to such an extent that they could openly express their depraved desires. This is certainly a natural outcome of irreligion. This distorted pattern of behaviour is prevalent also in today’s societies which have distanced themselves from religion, and it is not regarded as odd. That is because it is religion that instructs man in what constitutes good morals, and what is regarded as right or evil. The conscience of people who have no fear for Allah and are out of touch with religion, becomes deadened. Such people are partly or entirely deprived of such attributes of moral excellence as shame. Aware that this ignoble suggestion of his people was a consequence of irreligion, the Prophet Lut (as) advised them to fear Allah and told them not to dishonour him before his guests.
The verses below convey the conversation between the Prophet Lut (as) and his people, when the messengers came to the family of Lut:
The people of the city came, exulting at the news. He said, “These are my guests, so do not put me to shame. Fear Allah and do not dishonour me.” They said, “Did we not forbid you to play host to strangers?” He said, “Here are my daughters: Take them if you are bent on evil.” By your life! They were wandering blindly in their drunkenness! So the Great Blast overtook them at the break of day. We laid their turn in ruin and rained down on them stones of hard-baked clay. There are certainly Signs in that for the discerning. They were beside a road which still exists. There is certainly a Sign in that for true believers. (Surat al-Hijr, 67-77)
As we have seen, those who did not answer the calls of the Prophet Lut (as) and persisted in their perverted morality were afflicted by a terrible scourge in this world. This is only the punishment they received in this world; the requital they will face in the Hereafter will be even more severe.