Lot originally left Babylon as one of the only followers of Ibrahim along with Sarah. After Ibrahim’s people rejected his message and tried to kill him, the trio decided to leave.
Ibn Katheer wrote that Lot was Prophet Ibrahim’s nephew and was just a boy when they left Babylon.
Ibrahim, Sarah, and Lot traveled through the area known as the Levant for several years. It seems Lot was called by Allah to advise the people of Sodom and Gomorrah while Ibrahim continued on to Egypt.
Prophet Lot had a difficult task in front of him. He was sent to a people who were involved in practices unknown to man before this. They were involved in a culture of homosexuality
Allah mentions how it is normal for men to be attracted to women, but the people of Lot deviated. Instead many of the men were attracted to other men and left the women alone.
In addition to their sexual deviance, the Quran seems to indicate the people of Sodom took part in other despicable acts. They would commit other evil deeds in their gatherings; some say intercourse, others say organizing cockfights.
Lot preached to the people of Sodom for many years. When he urged them to leave their immoral practices, they mocked him and said “get rid of the pure people”. They even went so far as to threaten him with eviction from the city.
It is important to note that Lot confirmed he hated their actions. He didn’t necessarily say he hated the people, but he did clearly express his disgust for the things they did. As Muslims we should take a similar approach.
Clearly state that we disagree with the actions without allowing our dislike of the acts to make us harsh and brutal against the perpetrators. But at the same time not going so far as to condone their deeds.
Meanwhile, Prophet Ibrahim and Sarah were visited by two angels. These angels came had been sent on two different missions.
First, they wanted to inform Prophet Ibrahim of the good news about a baby child being born despite his old age.
Initially, Ibrahim didn’t know they were angels, so he invited them to eat with him. This was the custom of people of the past and you can still see it today in many traditional societies.
However, the angels did not eat. This worried Prophet Ibrahim as he figured if they weren’t going to eat with him, they must have some sinister motive.
Eventually, the angels let him know they were angels, and they let him know about the upcoming birth of a child.
Then they told him they were also coming to destroy Lot’s people.
The Quran states that Sarah laughed but there has been disagreement about why she laughed. Some say it was because she was happy about the birth of her child.
Others say she was happy the angels were coming to destroy Lot’s people.
When she learned about the news of the birth of her son Isaac, and then Jacob her grandson (11:71-72), she was very surprised. But the angels confirmed that Allah will do that (11:73)
And his Wife was standing, and she smiled. Then We gave her good tidings of Isaac and after Isaac, Jacob.
Chapter 11, Verses 71-72
When Ibrahim learned of their mission to destroy Sodom, he tried to convince them otherwise. Ibrahim was a prophet and had a much stronger aversion to human suffering than most people. So he tried to buy the people more time by reminding the angels that Lot was there
When the angels came to Lot, he was worried for them. He did not know they were angels and they came to him as good looking men.
It seems that his wife may have told the people about the angels’ arrival. Soon the people came rushing to Lot’s home. He suggested they leave their evil ways behind and be satisfied with their wives (synonym for his daughters).
Of course, they rejected his advice and (according to the Bible) tried to break down his door to get to the angels. The Quran doesn’t state if this all happened at his home or somewhere else.
Lot prayed to Allah for strength or a place of refuge. It is hard to imagine his desperation at the idea that his guests might be gang raped by the people of his town.
Finally, the angels told Lot who they really were and that they couldn’t be harmed by the people. They told him Allah was going to destroy the city and warned him to leave with his family.
They ordered him to leave without looking back and that his wife would not be spared. They urged him to leave as soon as possible since the punishment was coming in the morning.
Allah confirms that He rescued Lot and his family except his wife.
The reason was because she betrayed him by not following his teachings.
She may not have took part in their evil practices, but she supported, condoned, and even promoted them. As we saw in the story of the angels above, she used to also leak info the people when he’d entertain male guests.
Her corruption is made even worse since as the wife of a Prophet, she should have known better. So her evil was multiplied several times over.
Allah describes the punishment of the people and town of Sodom in graphic detail.
- They were punished with a rain of stones (70:84)
- Allah made the high parts low and destroyed them with a rainshower of baked clay. (11:82)
- Some say the pebbles were marked with the names of their targets. (11:83)
- Their destruction was left a sign for later people i.e. the Dead Sea (29:35)
- The Dead Sea is on a well-traveled route that people see often (37:134-137)
The Dead Sea is called Bahrul Mayyit in Arabic, and is 1407 ft below sea level. It is more than 35% salt which makes it 9 times saltier than ocean water. Animals and plants cannot live there, but some bacteria and fungi do.