Lut's Inability, His Desire for Strength and the Angels' Informing Him of the Reality

Allah, the Exalted says that Lut was threatening them with his statement,

﴿ لَوۡ أَنَّ لِى بِكُمۡ قُوَّةً

(Would that I had strength (men) to overpower you,) meaning, `I would surely have made an example of you and done (harm) to you from myself and my family.' In this regard, there is a Hadith which is reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,

« رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَى لُوطٍ لَقَدْ كَانَ يَأْوِي إِلَى رُكْنٍ شَدِيد »
يَعْنِي اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
« فَمَا بَعَثَ اللهُ بَعْدَهُ مِنْ نَبِيَ إِلَّا فِي ثَرْوَةٍ مِنْ قَوْمِه »

(May Allah's mercy be upon Lut, for verily, he betook himself to a powerful support --)meaning Allah, the Mighty and Sublime.( Allah did not send any Prophet after him, except amidst )an influential family( among his people.) With this, the angels informed him that they were the messengers of Allah sent to them. They also told him that his people would not be able to reach him (with any harm).

﴿ قَالُواْ يَـٰلُوطُ إِنَّا رُسُلُ رَبِّكَ لَن يَصِلُوٓاْ إِلَيۡكَ‌ۖ

(They (messengers said): "O Lut! Verily, we are the messengers from your Lord! They shall not reach you!) They commanded him to travel with his family during the last part of night and that he should follow them from behind. In this way it would be as though he were driving his family (as a cattle herder).

﴿ وَلَا يَلۡتَفِتۡ مِنكُمۡ أَحَدٌ۬

(and let not any of you look back;) This means, "If you hear the sound of what (torment) befalls them (the people of the village), do not rush towards that disturbing noise. Rather, continue leaving.''

﴿ إِلَّا ٱمۡرَأَتَكَ‌ۖ

(but your wife,) Most of the scholars said that this means that she would not travel at night and she did not go with Lut. Rather, she stayed in her house and was destroyed. Others said that it means that she looked back (during the travel). This later group says that she left with them and when she heard the inevitable destruction, she turned and looked back. When she looked she said, "O my people!'' Thus, a stone came down from the sky and killed her. Then they (the angels) brought close to him the destruction of his people as good news for him, because he said to them, "Destroy them in this very hour.'' They replied,

﴿ إِنَّ مَوۡعِدَهُمُ ٱلصُّبۡحُ‌ۚ أَلَيۡسَ ٱلصُّبۡحُ بِقَرِيبٍ۬

(Indeed, morning is their appointed time. Is not the morning near) They were saying this while Luts people were standing at his door. They tried to rush his door from all sides and Lut was standing at the door repelling them, deterring them and trying to prevent them from what they were doing. Yet, they would not listen to him. Instead, they threatened him and sought to intimidate him. At this point, Jibril came out to them and struck them in their faces with his wing. This blow blinded their eyes and they retreated, unable to see their way. This is as Allah said,

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ رَٲوَدُوهُ عَن ضَيۡفِهِۦ فَطَمَسۡنَآ أَعۡيُنَہُمۡ فَذُوقُواْ عَذَابِى وَنُذُرِ

(And they indeed sought to shame his guest (asking to commit sodomy with them). So We blinded their eyes (saying), "Then taste you My torment and My warnings.'') (54:37)

﴿ فَلَمَّا جَآءَ أَمۡرُنَا جَعَلۡنَا عَـٰلِيَهَا سَافِلَهَا وَأَمۡطَرۡنَا عَلَيۡهَا حِجَارَةً۬ مِّن سِجِّيلٍ۬ مَّنضُودٍ۬
﴿ مُّسَوَّمَةً عِندَ رَبِّكَ‌ۖ وَمَا هِىَ مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ بِبَعِيدٍ۬

(82. So when Our commandment came, We turned them upside down, and rained on them stones of clay, in an array.) (83. Marked from your Lord; and they are not ever far from the wrongdoers.)

The Town of Lut's People is overturned and Their Destruction

Allah, the Exalted, says,

﴿ فَلَمَّا جَآءَ أَمۡرُنَا

(So when Our commandment came,) This happened at sunrise.

﴿ جَعَلۡنَا عَـٰلِيَهَا

(We )turned it(...) The city of Sadum (Sodom)

﴿ سَافِلَهَا

(upside down,) This is similar to Allah's statement,

﴿ فَغَشَّٮٰهَا مَا غَشَّىٰ

(So there covered them that which did cover (torment with stones).) (53:54) This means, "We rained upon it with stones made of Sijjil.'' Sijjil is a Persian word meaning stones made of clay. This definition has been mentioned by Ibn `Abbas and others. Some of the scholars said that it (Sijjil) derived from the word Sang, which means a stone. Some others said it means Wakil, which is clay. In another verse Allah says,

﴿ حِجَارَةً۬ مِّن طِينٍ۬

(the stones of clay,) This means clay made into strong, hard stone. Some of the scholars said it means baked clay. Al-Bukhari said, "Sijjil means that which is big and strong.'' Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ مَّنضُودٍ۬

(in an array. ) Some of the scholars said that Mandud means the stones were arranged in the heavens and prepared for that (destruction). Others said,

﴿ مَّنضُودٍ۬

(in an array.) This word means that some of them (the stones) followed others in their descent upon the people of Lut. Concerning the statement,

﴿ مُّسَوَّمَةً

(Marked) meaning the stones were marked and sealed, all of them having the names of their victims written on them. Qatadah and `Ikrimah both said, "Musawwamah means each stone was encompassed by a sprinkling of red coloring.'' The commentators have mentioned that it (the shower of stones) descended upon the people of the town and upon the various villages around it. One of them would be speaking with some people when a stone would strike him from the sky and kill him while he was among the people. Thus, the stones followed them, striking the people in the entire land until they destroyed them all. Not a single one of them remained. Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ وَمَا هِىَ مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ بِبَعِيدٍ۬

(and they are not ever far from the wrongdoers.) This means that this vengeance (of Allah) is not far from similar wrongdoers. Verily, it has been reported in a Hadith of the Sunan collections, from Ibn `Abbas, which he attributed to the Prophet ,

« مَنْ وَجَدْتُمُوهُ يَعْمَلُ عَمَلَ قَوْمِ لُوطٍ فَاقْتُلُوا الْفَاعِلَ وَالْمَفْعُولَ بِه »

(Whoever you find doing the deed of Lut's people (homosexuality), then kill the doer and the one who allows it to be done to him (both partners).)

﴿ وَإِلَىٰ مَدۡيَنَ أَخَاهُمۡ شُعَيۡبً۬ا‌ۚ قَالَ يَـٰقَوۡمِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مَا لَڪُم مِّنۡ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيۡرُهُ ۥ‌ۖ وَلَا تَنقُصُواْ ٱلۡمِڪۡيَالَ وَٱلۡمِيزَانَ‌ۚ إِنِّىٓ أَرَٮٰڪُم بِخَيۡرٍ۬ وَإِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ عَذَابَ يَوۡمٍ۬ مُّحِيطٍ۬

(84. And to the Madyan people (We sent) their brother Shu`ayb. He said: "O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other god but Him, and give not short measure or weight. I see you in prosperity and verily, I fear for you the torment of a Day encompassing.'')

The Story of the People of Madyan and the Call of Shu`ayb

Allah, the Exalted, says, `We sent a Messenger to the people of Madyan.' They were a tribe of Arabs who lived between the land of the Al-Hijaz and Ash-Sham, close to the land of Ma`an. Their land was known by the name of their tribe and was thus, called Madyan. Allah sent unto them the Prophet Shu`ayb and he was of the noblest of them in lineage. For this reason, Allah said,

﴿ أَخَاهُمۡ شُعَيۡبً۬ا‌ۚ

(their brother Shu`ayb.) Shu`ayb commanded them to worship Allah alone without associating any partners with him. He also prohibited them from cheating in their weights and measures (for business transactions).

﴿ إِنِّىٓ أَرَٮٰڪُم بِخَيۡرٍ۬

(I see you in prosperity) meaning, `in your livelihood and your provisions. And verily, I fear that you will be deprived of this bounty that you are enjoying by violating Allah's prohibitions.'

﴿ وَإِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ عَذَابَ يَوۡمٍ۬ مُّحِيطٍ۬

(and verily, I fear for you the torment of a Day encompassing.) This means the abode of the Hereafter.

﴿ وَيَـٰقَوۡمِ أَوۡفُواْ ٱلۡمِڪۡيَالَ وَٱلۡمِيزَانَ بِٱلۡقِسۡطِ‌ۖ وَلَا تَبۡخَسُواْ ٱلنَّاسَ أَشۡيَآءَهُمۡ وَلَا تَعۡثَوۡاْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مُفۡسِدِينَ
﴿ بَقِيَّتُ ٱللَّهِ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّكُمۡ إِن ڪُنتُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ‌ۚ وَمَآ أَنَا۟ عَلَيۡكُم بِحَفِيظٍ۬

(85. "And O my people! Give full measure and weight in justice and reduce not the things that are due to the people, and do not commit mischief in the land, causing corruption.'') (86. "That which is left by Allah is better for you, if you are believers. And I am not a guardian over you.'')

First, he (Shu`ayb) prohibited them from cheating in business by decreasing the weights whenever they gave (products) to people.

He commanded them to give just measure and weight whether they were giving or receiving (in transactions). He also forbade them from causing mischief and corruption in the land. This was due to their practice of highway robbery along the roads. Abu Ja`far bin Jarir said,

﴿ بَقِيَّتُ ٱللَّهِ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّكُمۡ

(That which is left by Allah (after giving the rights of the people) is better for you,) "This means what you gain from your successful business dealings in which you have given just measure, is better for you than wrongfully taking the wealth of the people.'' Ibn Jarir said that this statement has been reported from Ibn `Abbas and I say it is similar to Allah's statement,

﴿ قُل لَّا يَسۡتَوِى ٱلۡخَبِيثُ وَٱلطَّيِّبُ وَلَوۡ أَعۡجَبَكَ كَثۡرَةُ ٱلۡخَبِيثِ‌ۚ

(Say: "Not equal are Khabith (all that is evil) and Tayyib (all that is good), even though the abundance of Khabith may please you.'') (5:100) Allah then says,

﴿ وَمَآ أَنَا۟ عَلَيۡكُم بِحَفِيظٍ۬

(And I am not a guardian over you.) This means a watcher over you people. In other words, "Do this for Allah and not to be seen by the people.''

﴿ قَالُواْ يَـٰشُعَيۡبُ أَصَلَوٰتُكَ تَأۡمُرُكَ أَن نَّتۡرُكَ مَا يَعۡبُدُ ءَابَآؤُنَآ أَوۡ أَن نَّفۡعَلَ فِىٓ أَمۡوَٲلِنَا مَا نَشَـٰٓؤُاْ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ لَأَنتَ ٱلۡحَلِيمُ ٱلرَّشِيدُ

(87. They said: "O Shu`ayb! Does your Salah command you that we give up what our fathers used to worship, or that we give up doing what we like with our property Verily, you are the forbearer, right-minded!'')

The Response of Shu`ayb's People

They said to Shu`ayb, in mockery,

﴿ أَصَلَوٰتُكَ

(Does your Salah) Al-A`mash said, "This means your reading.''

﴿ تَأۡمُرُكَ أَن نَّتۡرُكَ مَا يَعۡبُدُ ءَابَآؤُنَآ

(command you that we give up what our fathers used to worship,) meaning the idols and statues.

﴿ أَوۡ أَن نَّفۡعَلَ فِىٓ أَمۡوَٲلِنَا مَا نَشَـٰٓؤُاْ‌ۖ

(or that we give up doing what we like with our property) This means, "Should we abandon our practice of lightening the scales because of your statement This is our wealth and we will do with it as we please.'' Al-Hasan said concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ أَصَلَوٰتُكَ تَأۡمُرُكَ أَن نَّتۡرُكَ مَا يَعۡبُدُ ءَابَآؤُنَآ

(Does your Salah command you that we give up what our fathers used to worship,) (11:87) "By Allah, this means that his prayer commanded them to abandon what their fathers used to worship.'' At-Thawri said concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ أَوۡ أَن نَّفۡعَلَ فِىٓ أَمۡوَٲلِنَا مَا نَشَـٰٓؤُاْ‌ۖ

(or that we give up doing what we like with our property) "They were speaking in reference to the paying of Zakah (charity). ''

﴿ إِنَّكَ لَأَنتَ ٱلۡحَلِيمُ ٱلرَّشِيدُ

(Verily, you are the forbearer right-minded!) Ibn `Abbas, Maymun bin Mihran, Ibn Jurayj, Ibn Aslam, and Ibn Jarir all said, "These enemies of Allah were only saying this in mockery. May Allah disfigure them and curse them from ever receiving His mercy. And verily, He did so.''

﴿ قَالَ يَـٰقَوۡمِ أَرَءَيۡتُمۡ إِن كُنتُ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ۬ مِّن رَّبِّى وَرَزَقَنِى مِنۡهُ رِزۡقًا حَسَنً۬ا‌ۚ وَمَآ أُرِيدُ أَنۡ أُخَالِفَكُمۡ إِلَىٰ مَآ أَنۡهَٮٰڪُمۡ عَنۡهُ‌ۚ إِنۡ أُرِيدُ إِلَّا ٱلۡإِصۡلَـٰحَ مَا ٱسۡتَطَعۡتُ‌ۚ وَمَا تَوۡفِيقِىٓ إِلَّا بِٱللَّهِ‌ۚ عَلَيۡهِ تَوَكَّلۡتُ وَإِلَيۡهِ أُنِيبُ

(88. He said: "O my people! Tell me if I have a clear evidence from my Lord and He has given me a good sustenance from Himself (shall I corrupt it by mixing it with the unlawfully earned money). I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I put my trust and unto Him I repent.'')