People of Lut (as) And The City which was Turned Upside Down
people of Lut rejected (his) warning. We sent against them a
violent Tornado with showers of stones, (which destroyed them),
except Lut's household: them We delivered by early Dawn,- As a
Grace from Us: thus do We reward those who give thanks. And (Lut)
did warn them of Our Punishment, but they disputed about the
Warning. (Surat al-Qamar: 33-36)
Lut (as)and Ibrahim (as) lived at the same time. Lut (as) was
sent as a messenger to one of Ibrahim's (as) neighbouring
communities. These people, as the Qur’an tells us, practiced a
perversion unknown to the world up till then, namely sodomy.
When Lut (as) told them to give up this perversion and brought
them Allah's warning, they denied him, refused his prophethood,
and carried on with their perversion. In the end, these people
were destroyed by a dreadful disaster.
The city where
Lut (as) resided is referred to as Sodom in the Old Testament.
Being situated to the north of the Red Sea, this community is
understood to have been destroyed just as it is written in the
Qur’an. Archaeological studies reveal that the city is located
in the area of the Dead Sea which stretches along the
examining the remains of this disaster, we shall examine why the
people of Lut (as) were punished in this fashion. The Qur’an
tells how Lut (as) warned his people and what they said in
The people of Lut rejected the
messengers. Behold, their brother Lut said to them: "Will ye
not fear (Allah)? I am to you a messenger worthy of all
trust. So fear Allah and obey me. No reward do I ask of you
for it: my reward is only from the lord of the Worlds. Of
all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, And
leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates?
Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!"
said: "If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be
said: "I do detest your doings." (Surat ash-Shu’ara:
The people of
Lut (as) threatened him in response to his inviting them to the
right way. His people detested him because of his showing them
the right way, and wanted to banish both him and the other
believers beside him. In other verses, the event is told as
We also (sent) Lut: He said to his
people: "Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation
(ever) committed before you? For ye practise your lusts on
men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people
transgressing beyond bounds."
his people gave no answer but this: they said, "Drive them
out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean
and pure!" (Surat al-A‘raf: 80-82)
his people to an obvious truth and warned them explicitly, but
his people did not heed any warnings whatsoever and continued to
reject him and to deny the penalty of which he told them.
(remember) Lut: "Behold" he said to his people: "Ye do
commit lewdness, such as no people in Creation (ever)
committed before you. Do ye indeed approach men, and cut off
the highway? And practise wickedness (even) in your
councils?" But his people gave no answer but this: they
said: "Bring us the Wrath of Allah if thou tellest the
truth." (Surat al-Ankaboot: 28-29)
above answer from his people, Lut asked for the help of Allah,
He said: "O my Lord! help Thou me
against people who do mischief!" (Surat al-Ankaboot: 30)
"O my Lord! deliver me and my family
from such things as they do!" (Surat ash-Shu’ara: 169)
(as) prayer, Allah sent two angels in the form of men. These
angels visited Ibrahim (as)before coming to Lut (as). Giving
Ibrahim (as) the good news that his wife would give birth to an
infant, the messengers explained the reason for their being
sent: the insolent people of Lut (as) were to be destroyed.
(Ibrahim) said: "And what, O ye
Messengers, is your errand (now)?" They said, "We have been
sent to a people (deep) in sin; To bring on, on them, (a
shower of) stones of clay (brimstone), Marked as from thy
Lord for those who trespass beyond bounds." (Surat
Excepting the adherents of Lut: them we are certainly
(charged) to save (from harm) - All - Except his wife, who,
We have ascertained, will be among those who will lag
behind. (Surat al-Hijr: 59-60)
Ibrahim’s (as) company, the angels, who were sent as messengers,
came to Lut (as). Not having recognised the messengers, Lut (as)
first became anxious, but then understood that they were sent by
When Our messengers came to Lut, he
was grieved on their account and felt himself powerless (to
protect) them. He said: "This is a distressful day." (Surah
said: "Ye appear to be uncommon folk." They said: "Yea, we
have come to thee to accomplish that of which they doubt. We
have brought to thee that which is inevitably due, and
assuredly we tell the truth. Then travel by night with thy
household, when a portion of the night (yet remains), and do
thou bring up the rear: let no one amongst you look back,
but pass on whither ye are ordered." And We made known this
decree to him, that the last remnants of those (sinners)
should be cut off by the morning. (Surat al-Hijr: 62-66)
people had learned that Lut (as) had visitors. They did not
hesitate to approach these visitors perversely as they had
approached others before. They encircled the house. Being afraid
for his visitors, Lut (as) addressed his people as follows:
said: "These are my guests: disgrace me not: But fear Allah,
and shame me not." (Surat al-Hijr: 68-69)
The people of
said: "Did we not forbid thee (to speak) for all and
sundry?" (Surat al-Hijr: 70)
he and his visitors subjected to evil treatment, Lut said:
that I had power to suppress you or that I could betake
myself to some powerful support." (Surah Hud: 80)
reminded him that they were the messengers of Allah and said:
Messengers) said: "O Lut! We are Messengers from thy Lord!
By no means shall they reach thee! now travel with thy
family while yet a part of the night remains, and let not
any of you look back: but thy wife (will remain behind): To
her will happen what happens to the people. Morning is their
time appointed: Is not the morning nigh?" (Surah Hud: 81)
perversity of the city people reached its fullest extent, Allah
saved Lut (as) by means of the angels. In the morning, his
people were destroyed by the disaster of which Lut (as) had
informed them in advance.
they even sought to snatch away his guests from him, but We
blinded their eyes. (They heard:) "Now taste ye My Wrath and
My Warning." Early on the morrow an abiding Punishment
seized them. (Surat al-Qamar: 37-38)
describe the destruction of this people as follows:
But the (mighty) Blast overtook them
before morning, And We turned (the cities) upside down, and
rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay. Behold!
in this are Signs for those who by tokens do understand. And
the (cities were) right on the high-road. (Surat al-Hijr:
Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down, and
rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread,
layer on layer,-Marked as from thy Lord: Nor are they ever
far from those who do wrong! (Surah Hud: 82-83)
the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a
shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who
were admonished (but heeded not)! : Verily in this is a
Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord
is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful. (Surat
people were destroyed, only Lut (as) and the believers, who were
only as many as one "household", were saved. Lut’s (as) wife did
not believe either and she was also destroyed.
also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: "Do ye commit
lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed
For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye
are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds."
And his people gave no answer but this: they said, "Drive
them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be
clean and pure!"
But we saved him and his family, except his wife: she was of
those who legged behind.
And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): Then see
what was the end of those who indulged in sin and crime!
(Surat al-A‘raf: 80-84)
Lut (as) was saved along with the believers and his family with
the exception of his wife. As described in the Old Testament, he
emigrated with Ibrahim (as). As for the perverted people, they
were destroyed and their dwellings were razed to the ground.
Obvious Signs” in the Lake of Lut
One of the verses of Surah
Hud clearly states the kind of disaster that befell the people
of Lut (as). "When Our Decree issued, We
turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them
brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer".
(Surah Hud: 82)
A satellite photograph of the region where the people of
Lut (as) lived.
The statement of "turning
(the cities) upside down" implies that the region was totally
destroyed by a violent earthquake. Accordingly, The Lake of Lut,
where the destruction took place, bears "obvious" evidence of
such a disaster.
We quote German
archaeologist Werner Keller:
with the base of this mighty fissure, which runs precisely
through this area, the Vale of Siddim, including Sodom and
Gomorrah, plunged one day into the abyss. Their destruction
came about through a great earthquake which was probably
accompanied by explosions, lightning, issue of natural gas
and general conflagration.13
As a matter of
fact, the Lake of Lut, or the Dead Sea as it is otherwise known,
is located right on the top of an active seismic region, that
is, an earthquake zone:
of the dead sea is located with a tectonic rooted downfall.
This valley is located in a tension stretching between the
Taberiye Lake in the north, and mid of Arabah Valley in the
The Lake of Lut, or Dead Sea as otherwise called.
The event was expressed as
"we rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread,
layer on layer" in the last part of the verse. This is in all
probability meant to be the volcanic explosion that took place
on the banks of the Lake of Lut, and because of which the rocks
and stones that erupted were in a "baked form". (The same event
is related in the verse 173 of Surat ash-Shu’ara as "We rained
down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on
those who were admonished (but heeded not)!")
In relation to this
subject, Werner Keller writes:
released volcanic forces that had been lying dormant deep
down along the whole length of the fracture. In the upper
valley of the Jordan near Bashan there are still towering
craters of extinct volcanoes; great stretches of lava and
deep layers of basalt have been deposited on the limestone
showing the volcanic eruption and the collapse
that followed it, which caused the whole people
These lava and basalt
layers constitute the greatest evidence that a volcanic
explosion and earthquake had once taken place here. The
catastrophe depicted in the following expression as "we
rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread,
layer on layer" in the Qur’an most probably points to this
volcanic explosion, and Allah knows best. The expression
"When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down"
which occurs in the same verse, must be referring to the
earthquake which caused volcanoes to erupt over the surface
of the earth with devastating impact, and to the fissures
and debris brought by it, and only Allah knows the truth of
The "obvious signs"
conveyed by the Lake of Lut are indeed very interesting. In
general, the events which are related in the Qur’an take
place in the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt.
Right in the middle of these lands, is the Lake of Lut. The
Lake of Lut, as well as the incidents that have taken place
around it, deserves attention geologically. The Lake is
approximately 400 metres below the surface of the
Mediterranean. Since the deepest point in the Lake is 400
metres, the bottom of the Lake is 800 metres below the
surface of the Mediterranean. This is the lowest point on
the earth. In other areas which are lower than sea level,
the depth is at most 100 metres. Another property of the
Lake of Lut is that the salt content of its water is very
high, the density being nearly 30%. Because of this, no
living organism, such as fish or moss, can survive in this
lake. This is why the Lake of Lut is called the "Dead Sea"
in Western literature.
A distant view of the
Lake of Lut
The incident of Lut’s
(as)people, which is recounted in the Qur’an, occurred
around 1800 BC according to estimates. Based on his
archaeological and geological researches, the German
researcher Werner Keller noted that the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrah were in fact located in the Siddim Valley which was
the region at the furthest and lowest end of the Lake of
Lut, and that there were once big and widely inhabited sites
in those regions.
The most interesting
structural characteristic of the Lake of Lut is evidence showing
how the disaster incidence recounted in the Qur’an took place:
the eastern shore of the Dead Sea the peninsula of El-Lisan
protrudes like a tongue far into the water. El-Lisan means "the
tongue" in Arabic. Unseen from the land the ground falls away
here under the surface of the water at a prodigious angle,
dividing the sea into two parts. To the right of the peninsula
the ground slopes sharply down to a depth of 1200 feet. On the
left of the peninsula the water remains remarkably shallow.
Soundings taken in the last few years established depths of only
fifty to sixty feet. That extraordinary shallow part of the Dead
Sea, from the peninsula El-Lisan to the southernmost tip, was
the Vale of Siddim.
Werner Keller noted
that this shallow part, which was discovered to have formed
subsequently, was the outcome of the aforementioned
earthquake and the massive collapse this earthquake had
caused. This was the place where Sodom and Gomorrah were
situated, that is, where Lut’s (as) people lived.
An overhead view of the
mountains around the Lake of Lut.
Once, it was
possible to cross this region by walking. However, now, the Vale
of Siddim, where Sodom and Gomorrah were once situated, is
covered by the flat surface of the lower part of the Dead Sea.
The collapse of the base as a result of the dreadful catastrophe
that came to pass in the beginning of the second millennium BC,
caused salt water from the north to flow into this recently
formed cavity and filled the basin with salty water.
The traces of
Lut’s (as) people are visible… When one takes a rowing boat
across the Lake of Lut to the southernmost point, if the sun is
shining in the right direction, one sees something quite
fantastic. Some distance from the shore and clearly visible
under the surface of the water, there are the outlines of the
forests which the extraordinarily high salt content of the Dead
Sea preserved. The trunks and roots in the shimmering green
water are very ancient. The Siddim valley, where these trees
were once in blossom green foliage covered their twigs and
branches, was one of the most beautiful locations in the region.
Some of the remains of the
city, which had slipped into the lake, were found on the
banks of the lake. These remains showed that the people
of Lut had quite a high standard of life.
aspect of the disaster that befell the people of Lut (as) is
revealed by the researches of the geologists. These reveal that
the earthquake which destroyed the people of Lut (as) came about
as a consequence of a fault line in the earth, along the
190-kilometre distance making up the bed of the River Sheri’at.
River Sheri’at makes a fall of 180 metres in total. Both this
and the fact that the Lake of Lut is 400 metres below sea level
are two important pieces of evidence showing that an enormous
geological event once took place here.
interesting structure of the River of Sheri’at and the Lake of
Lut make up only a small part of the crack or split passing from
this region of the earth. The condition and length of this crack
have only recently been discovered.
The destruction of the people
of Lut (as) has inspired many painters. An example is
starts from the outskirts of Mount Taurus, stretches to the
southern shores of the Lake of Lut and proceeds over the Arabian
desert to the Gulf of Aqaba and continues across the Red Sea,
ending up in Africa. Along the length of it, strong volcanic
activities are observed. Black basalt and lava exist in the
Galilee Mountains in Israel, high plain regions of Jordan, the
Gulf of Aqaba and other areas nearby.
remains and geographical evidences show that a catastrophic
geological event took place in the Lake of Lut. Werner Keller
with the base of this mighty fissure, which runs precisely
through this area, the Vale of Siddim, including Sodom and
Gomorrah, plunged one day into the abyss. Their destruction came
about through a great earthquake which was probably accompanied
by explosions, lightning, issue of natural gas and general
conflagration. The subsidence released volcanic forces that had
been lying dormant deep down along the whole length of the
fracture. In the upper valley of the Jordan near Bashan there
are still towering craters of extinct volcanoes; great stretches
of lava and deep layers of basalt have been deposited on the
limestone surface. 17
Geographic makes the following comment:
The mount of Sodom, a
barren wasteland, rises sharply above the dead sea. No one has
ever found the destroyed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, but
scholars believe that they stood in the Vale of Siddim across
from these cliffs. Possibly flood waters of the Dead Sea
engulfed them following an earthquake.18
Above is a picture representing the luxury and
prosperity of the city of Pompeii before the disaster.
Pompeii Had a Similar End
tells us in the following verses that there is no change in
swore their strongest oaths by Allah that if a warner came to
them, they would follow his guidance better than any (other) of
the Peoples: But when a warner came to them, it has only
increased their flight (from righteousness) - On account of
their arrogance in the land and their plotting of Evil, but the
plotting of Evil will hem in only the authors thereof. Now are
they but looking for the way the ancients were dealt with? But
no change wilt thou find in Allah's way (of dealing): no turning
off wilt thou find in Allah's way (of dealing). (Surat al-Fatir:
change will be found in Allah’s way (rules)". Everybody, who
stands against His laws and rebels against Him, is subject to
the same divine law. Pompeii, the symbol of the degeneration of
the Roman Empire, was also involved in sexual perversity. Its
end was similar to that of the people of Lut (as).
destruction of Pompeii came by means of the eruption of the
Vesuvius is the symbol of Italy, primarily the city of Naples.
Remaining silent for the last two millennia, Vesuvius is named
the "Mountain of Warning". It is noteworthy that Vesuvius is
known as such. The disaster that befell Sodom and Gomorrah is
very similar to the disaster that destroyed Pompeii.
The pictures above are petrified
corpses unearthed in excavations made in Pompeii.
the right of Vesuvius lies Naples and to the east lies Pompeii.
The lava and ash of a huge volcanic eruption, that happened
thousands of years ago, caught the inhabitants of that city. The
disaster happened so suddenly that everything in the town was
caught in the middle of its everyday life and remains today
exactly as it was two millennia ago. It is as if the time had
The removal of
Pompeii from the face of the earth by such a disaster was not
purposeless. The historical record shows that the city was
exactly the centre of dissipation and perversity. The city was
marked by a rise in prostitution to such an extent that even the
number of brothels was not known.
But the lava
of Vesuvius wiped the whole city off the map in a single moment.
The most interesting aspect of the event is that nobody escaped
despite the terrible violence of the eruption of Vesuvius. It is
almost like they did not even notice the catastrophe, as if they
were charmed. A family eating their meal were petrified right at
that moment. Numerous petrified couples were found in the act of
intercourse. The most interesting thing is that there were
couples of the same sex and couples of young boys and girls. The
faces of some of the petrified human corpses unearthed from
Pompeii were unharmed. The general expression on those faces was
Other examples of petrified human
corpses uncovered among the remains of Pompeii
Here lies the
most incomprehensible aspect of the calamity. How did thousands
of people wait to be caught by death without seeing and hearing
This aspect of
the event shows that the disappearance of Pompeii was similar to
the destructive events mentioned in the Qur’an, because the
Qur’an particularly points to "sudden annihilation" while
relating these events. For example, the "inhabitants of the
city" described in Surah Ya-Sin died all at once in a single
moment. The situation is told as follows:
It was no
more than a single mighty Blast, and behold! they were (like
ashes) quenched and silent. (Surah Ya-Sin: 29)
Some other examples of
petrified human corpses uncovered at Pompeii. The
picture on the left is a very good example of how
instantaneous the disaster was.
In Surat al-Qamar,
again the "instantaneous annihilation" is emphasised when the
destruction of Thamud is recounted:
sent against them a single Mighty Blast, and they became like
the dry stubble used by one who pens cattle. (Surat al-Qamar:
The death of
the people of Pompeii took place instantaneously as just as the
events recounted in the above verses.
Despite all of
this, things have not changed much where Pompeii once stood. The
districts of Naples where debauchery prevails do not fall short
of those licentious districts of Pompeii. The Island of Capri is
a base where homosexuals and nudists reside and is represented
as a "Homosexual paradise" in tourist commercials. Not only on
Capri and in Italy, but in nearly all the world, a similar moral
degeneration is at work and people insist on not learning from
the awful experiences of past peoples.