Key Lessons from the Story of Prophet Lut |

Key Lessons from the Story of Prophet Lut

The pervasive influence of modern identity politics is placing Muslim families in a complex crisis, as widespread acceptance and evolving beliefs surrounding LGBTQ+ and gender fluidity thrust themselves into the forefront. While parents keenly recognize this fitnah or trial for what it is, our children remain incessantly exposed and socially conditioned to embrace these societal narratives that directly challenge their religious and moral values. More so, under the guise of tolerance.

This clash between societal trends and Islamic teachings weighs heavily on parents, particularly in the West, as they strive to raise their children with an unwavering commitment to their faith. And this is where they find themselves grappling with mounting confusion and stress, seeking guidance on how to strike a balance between acknowledging the diversity of ideas and upholding the integrity of Islamic principles. And the stakes couldn’t be higher, as failure to do so could potentially lead our children astray.

The Story of Prophet Lut and the People of Sodom

Prophet Lut was the nephew of Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon them, and he was sent as a messenger to the people of Sodom. This city was situated on the Western shore of the Dead Sea and its inhabitants were known for their widespread corruption, immorality, and homosexual practices. The corruption was to the extent that they looted caravans, the immorality to the degree that they raped travelers to fulfill their lustful desires, and the heinous act of homosexuality was practiced and promoted to the extent that the men engaged in it both publicly and privately, through mutual consent and in forceful ways.

Amidst all this fahash or evil, Prophet Lut, peace be upon him, repeatedly reminded his people to abandon their immoral and sinful ways. He preached to them about rightful dealings and lawful ways of fulfilling their sexual desires, time and again. However, the people of Sodom only mocked him and in return threatened to drive him out of their city. And, when Lut warned them against the serious repercussions of their actions, they refused to heed to these warnings and boldly said that they were ready to face the punishment. 

In response to their persistent disbelief, the Prophet turned to Allah and sought His Divine help. Allah then sent Angels in the form of handsome young men to Lut, peace be upon him, as guests. The Prophet found himself yet again in a state of dilemma, where he was concerned for the safety of his guests while also wanting to protect their honor, so he safely took them to his house and provided them shelter for the night.

Unbeknownst to Lut, his wife had become an ally to the corrupt people of Sodom and discreetly informed them about the presence of the guests. Consequently, a group of people approached Lut's house, demanding to fulfill their evil desires with the guests. Lut was deeply distressed by their behavior and pleaded with his people to abandon their wicked intentions.

At that moment, the Angels revealed their true identities to Lut, informing him that they were messengers of Allah. They reassured him that his people would not be able to harm him and instructed him to leave with his family during the night, with the exception of his wife who would face the same fate as the people of Sodom. They warned that the promised punishment would befall them in the morning.

The above account is based on the following verses from Surah Hud:

At this point, the Angels introduced themselves and informed Lut about their hidden identities. They [the angels] said:

"O Lot, indeed we are messengers of your Lord; [therefore], they will never reach you. So set out with your family during a portion of the night and let not any among you look back - except your wife; indeed, she will be struck by that which strikes them. Indeed, their appointment is [for] the morning. Is not the morning near?

So when Our command came, We made the highest part [of the city] its lowest and rained upon them stones of layered hard clay, [which were] Marked from your Lord. And it [i.e., Allah's punishment] is not from the wrongdoers [very] far." 

(Surah Hud, 11:81-83)

It is important to emphasize here that the people of Sodom were the first known community in Islamic history to engage openly in the abominable act of homosexuality. Thus, as a consequence of this detestable sin, Allah completely eradicated these people from the face of the earth by miraculously lifting up the city and overturning it, causing its inhabitants to be crushed and buried underneath it. This punishment serves as a powerful example for the gravity of such actions.

Contemporary Challenges

As Muslims, we are indeed fortunate to have the Quran and Sunnah as a guiding platform to help us navigate the evolving challenges of modern-day life. In an era where we are faced with a new phenomenon of gender identity crisis, we can gain insights on the issue through the story of Prophet Lut, peace be upon him, and his people. Through the profound example of this community which was deeply immersed in the immoral act of homosexuality, the story serves as a timeless reminder for humanity, emphasizing the importance of adhering to the moral guidelines set by Allah. It also serves as a cautionary tale, demonstrating the grave consequences that can befall individuals and societies when they choose to persist in acts that contradict the natural and Divine order.

Here are some invaluable lessons that resonate from the extraordinary life and narrative of Prophet Lut, peace be upon him.

1. Be grounded by faith.

Prophet Lut, peace be upon him, was chosen by Allah to be amidst a morally corrupt society that out rightly rejected the teachings he brought forth. This indeed was a tough test of faith for him, as he had to witness the demise of his own people due to their heedlessness and foul play. However, it reminds us that as believers our faith may be tested, but by staying resolute in our devotion to Allah, we can overcome trials and emerge stronger. Allah even mentions in the Quran:

"And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, "Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided."

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:155-157)

Prophet Lut's story also demonstrates the significance of patience and perseverance in the face of adversity. Despite facing ridicule, rejection, and hostility from his people, he remained steadfast in his mission and did not waver in his commitment to guiding them toward righteousness. His example teaches us the value of resilience and the need to remain patient when striving for positive change.

2. Uphold moral values.

The story of Prophet Lut, peace be upon him, emphasizes the significance of adhering to moral values and principles by highlighting the severe consequences that can result from indulging in immoral and sinful behavior. The people of Sodom, who engaged in acts of homosexuality, rape, and other immoral practices, were ultimately destroyed as a Divine punishment. This warns against deviating from the path of righteousness and underlines the importance of ethical conduct.

The increased presence of LGBTQ+ issues and gender fluidity is complex in nature and signifies deep-rooted psychological and social factors at play. Neglecting to address these factors would be unjust to both individuals and society, as the majority must contend with the presence of sin in their midst. But as Muslims, we've been taught through the teachings of the Quran that evil remains evil, and good remains good regardless of societal support or influence. As Allah mentions in the Quran,

"Say, ‘Not equal are the evil and the good, although the abundance of evil might impress you.’ So fear Allāh, O you of understanding, that you may be successful."

(Surah Al-Maida, 5:100)

3. Extend hospitality and kindness.

The people of Sodom displayed extreme inhospitality and cruelty towards travelers and guests. They would stop caravans; rob travelers of their belongings and force them to engage in acts of homosexuality. On the contrary, Prophet Lut, peace be upon him, was so compassionate toward his people that he even offered his daughters in marriage as a means of suggesting that those who were committing immoral acts could be exonerated by returning to rightful ways.

For us, it serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of treating others with honor, respect, generosity, and kindness, as these qualities form the basis of harmonious and prosperous societies. As,  Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him said,

"He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either utter good words or better keep silence, and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should treat his neighbor with kindness and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest."

(Sahih Muslim) 

4. Engage in the practice of dawah (invitation to faith).

Prophet Lut's efforts, peace be upon him, to guide his people away from their immoral behavior also highlights the importance of da'wah or invitation to faith. Despite facing rejection and hostility, he persistently reminded his people of the lawful alternatives as decreed by Allah. This teaches us the significance of condemning wrongdoings and guiding others toward the right path by standing up for the truth, even in challenging circumstances. Here, it is also important to understand that the institutionalization of evil occurs when the wrong-doings are deliberately publicized with the intent to have them be considered as a norm. So much so that the truth becomes questionable as people's minds are craftily distracted.   

But this is why Islam essentially urges us to enjoin good and forbid evil, as it is a prerequisite for a justly-ordered society and the guardian of true faith. And, we are obligated to acknowledge good and reject sin in our hearts, at the very least. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

"Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith."

(Sahih Muslim)

5. Trust in Allah's mercy.

Despite the challenges faced by Prophet Lut, peace be upon him, he remained perseverant and trusted in Allah's mercy and protection. Even when he was instructed to leave his home and witness the destruction of his people, he maintained his trust in Allah's plan. This teaches us the importance of relying on Him alone in times of difficulty and trust that His wisdom and mercy will prevail, over and above all evil.

The Quran mentions several accounts from Prophet Lut's story, peace be upon him, wherein he called upon Allah for his mercy and support. For instance, before the visit of the angels for his refuge, he prayed: 

“My Lord, help me against the mischievous people” 

(Surah Al-Ankabut, 29: 30)

And therefore, it comes as no surprise that when the angels arrived in the form of guests and introduced themselves, they consoled and assured him that his people will never reach, nor harm, him (Surah Hud, 11:81). They also brought him glad tidings, saying: 

“Fear not, nor grieve. Indeed, we will save you and your family, except your wife; she is to be of those who remain behind. Indeed, we will bring down on the people of this city punishment from the sky because they have been defiantly disobedient.” 

(Surah Al-Ankabut, 29: 33-34)

This suggests that it is only when we stand firm to support the truth and condemn falsehood, that Allah showers us with His infinite mercy.

In this ever-changing era, where we encounter a myriad of challenges, it is paramount that we maintain unwavering hope in the boundless mercy of Allah and develop the habit of continuously supplicating to Him, seeking His guidance and assistance, to overcome the hurdles that lie in our path.

Furthermore, there is also a growing necessity to delve into the reservoirs of wisdom found in Islamic history, the Quran, and the Sunnah as these profound sources can provide us with invaluable insights, teachings, and real-life examples of how those who came before us confronted adversity and emerged triumphant. Leaving us with a broader perspective and strategies to navigate the challenges of our times. 

Umm Ahmed is an early childhood educator and mother of three boys. Always on the quest to learn, she is passionate about seeking knowledge and passing it on to others. A writer in the making, she draws inspiration through deep conversations, laws of nature, and her own children. She and her family are currently living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

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