Lut (لوط – Arabic), also called Lot, was one of the Prophets specifically mentioned by name in the Quran. He is also among those Prophets frequently referred to in the Quran. Mostly, his reference comes in a sequence with Prophets Nuh, Hud, Saleh, and Shoaib in the Quran, whereas in some other verses, he is grouped alongside Prophets Ismael, Elyas and Yunus, عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَام.
The Prophets Nuh, Hud, Saleh, Shoaib and Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَام all belong to the earliest group of Prophets. Their struggles are almost the same. They were sent to a specific community to invite them to the righteous path, but their people did not respond positively. Instead, they were mostly ridiculed by their people. Resultantly, these communities were set to face the consequences, and Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى punished them, and their towns and cities were destroyed.
The story of Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is almost the same as that of the Prophets mentioned earlier.
Quranic References of Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ
Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is referred to in the Quran in some 81 verses of 10 different surahs:
- Surah Al-A’raf (80-84)
- Surah Hud (74-83)
- Surah Al-Hijr (58-77)
- Surah Al-Anbiya’ (74-75)
- Surah As-Shu’ara’ (160-175)
- Surah An-Naml (54-58)
- Surah Al-Ankabut (28-35)
- Surah As-Saffat (133-138)
- Surah Al-Qamar (33-40)
- Surah Al-Tahrim (10)
That makes him among the most referred Prophets in the Quran in various contexts.
Family Background of Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ
Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَام belongs to a family of Prophets. He was the nephew of the Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. His father’s name was Haran, a native of the city of Ur. Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ had two sons, Ismael and Ishaq, who were also Prophets of their time.
Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ belonged to Egypt. Later on, he along with his nephew Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ left Egypt and went to Canaan. Here, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى granted Prophet Hood to Lut with the command to go to the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were situated in the current day’s Palestine.
People of Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَام
The twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were the famous cities of that time. Sodom was the most visited place of that time by traders and merchants. It was alongside the Dead Sea on the main road from Syria to Palestine. But the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were quite notorious. They did not believe in the oneness of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and mostly were polytheists.
They were also corrupt and often robbed the visiting merchants and traders. On many occasions, they even killed them for goods and money. But the worst part of their lives was the malpractice of homosexuality. They were deeply engaged in this bad habit. Historically, homosexuality did not exist before that; it is said to be initiated by the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Response of the People of Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ
Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ entered the city of Sodom with a mission to preach to the inhabitants of the city to refrain from such bad practices and follow the right path of monotheism. He started preaching to them to quit their bad habit of homosexuality. But the response of his people was disheartening, rather threating for him, as mentioned in verses 80 to 82 of Surah Al-A’raf:
And ˹remember˺ when Lot scolded ˹the men of˺ his people, ˹saying,˺ “Do you commit a shameful deed that no man has ever done before?
You lust after men instead of women! You are certainly transgressors
But his people’s only response was to say, “Expel them from your land! They are a people who wish to remain chaste!
The entire community of the city of Sodom was openly involved in all these wrongdoings, including homosexuality amongst the men. Despite consistent preaching by the Prophet, the people of Sodom did not come to the right path. Even the wife of the Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ was amongst the disbelievers, as narrated in 83rd verse of Surah Al-A’raf:
So We saved him and his family except his wife, who was one of the doomed
Angels’ Visit to Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ
Years after years passed and Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ kept on preaching to the people of Sodom but to no success. He was deeply grieved by the cold but threatening behavior of his people. He consistently prayed for their betterment.
When the limits of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى were crossed by the non-responsive attitude of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, it was the time for them to face their destiny, characterized by the punishment of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. Eventually, on one evening, four of the Angels came to the city of Sodom in the shape of handsome young men. They approached the Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and requested to allow them to stay in his home for the night.
Despite the fear of the people of Sodom, the Prophet allowed them to stay with him for the night but tried to hide them from the people. The wife of the Prophet somehow saw these handsome young men and quietly left home to tell the people about these Prophet’s guests.
Allah’s Punishment Comes to the People of Sodom
When the people of Sodom came to know about the guests of the Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, they gathered in front of his home, demanding to hand the guests to them so they may fulfill their ill-desire of homosexuality. He tried his best to save his guests from the notorious people of Sodom, but he felt helpless against them.
Here, the guests revealed their identity to the Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. The angels told him to leave the city with his family and believers before dawn, leaving behind his wife, who was among the disbelievers. Quran narrates this event in Surah Hud, verses 77 to 83:
When Our messenger-angels came to Lot, he was distressed and worried by their arrival.1 He said, “This is a terrible day.
And ˹the men of˺ his people—who were used to shameful deeds—came to him rushing. He pleaded, “O my people! Here are my daughters ˹for marriage˺—they are pure for you. So fear Allah, and do not humiliate me by disrespecting my guests. Is there not ˹even˺ a single right-minded man among you?”
They argued, “You certainly know that we have no need for your daughters. You already know what we desire!”
He responded, “If only I had the strength ˹to resist you˺ or could rely on a strong supporter.”
The angels said, “O Lot! We are the messengers of your Lord. They will never reach you. So travel with your family in the dark of night, and do not let any of you look back, except your wife. She will certainly suffer the fate of the others. Their appointed time is the morning. Is the morning not near?”
When Our command came, We turned the cities upside down and rained down on them clustered stones of baked clay marked by your Lord ˹O Prophet˺. And these stones are not far from the ˹pagan˺ wrongdoers!
So, the entire city of Sodom and everything in it, along with the people, were destroyed by the command of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. The entire land was turned upside down.
This entire event is more elaborately narrated in the surah Al-Hijr from verse number 58 to 77:
They replied, “We have actually been sent to a wicked people.
As for the family of Lot, we will certainly deliver them all,
except his wife. We have determined that she will be one of the doomed.
So when the messenger-angels came to the family of Lot,
he said, “You must be strangers!”
They responded, “We have come to you with that ˹torment˺ which they have doubted.
We come to you with the truth, and we are certainly truthful
So travel with your family in the dark of night, and follow ˹closely˺ behind them. Do not let any of you look back, and go where you are commanded.”
We revealed to him this decree: “Those ˹sinners˺ will be uprooted in the morning.”
And there came the men of the city, rejoicing.
Lot pleaded, “Indeed, these are my guests, so do not embarrass me.
Fear Allah and do not humiliate me.”
They responded, “Have we not forbidden you from protecting anyone?
He said, “O my people! Here are my daughters ˹so marry them˺ if you wish to do so.”
By your life ˹O Prophet˺, they certainly wandered blindly, intoxicated ˹by lust˺
So the ˹mighty˺ blast overtook them at sunrise.
And We turned the cities ˹of Sodom and Gomorrah˺ upside down and rained upon them stones of baked clay.
Surely in this are signs for those who contemplate.
Their ruins still lie along a known route.
Surely in this is a sign for those who believe.
Prophet Lut Returns to His Uncle Prophet Ibrahim
After the sad end of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ along with his family and believers reached back to his Uncle Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and told him the entire story. However, it was already revealed to Prophet Ibrahim by Allah Almighty. He spent the rest of his life preaching to the people to follow monotheism.
Lessons Learnt from the Story of Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ
The story of Prophet Lut عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is characterized by a determined, consistent, and tireless effort to preach to the people to come to the right path of monotheism. The lessons learned from his consistent preaching can be summarized as follows.
- Homosexuality is an evil deed and cannot be allowed in any civilized community.
- Evil deeds are the way of Satan. When a person indulges in such wrongful acts, he crosses every limit.
- Evil deeds start in isolation but eventually spread among the whole community.
- When a community as a whole indulges in consistent wrongdoings and does not listen to the preaching of their Prophet, they are punished by Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, it was done with the people of different Prophets such as Lut and Nuh عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ
- Even the closest relatives of the Prophets are not exempted from the punishment of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, as is evident from the examples of the wives of Prophet Nuh سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and Prophet Lut سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, being on the wrong side.
- In the clash between evil and good, evil is always defeated.