The Reality of Supplication
The discussion about Allah-SWT's Power and extreme Graciousness unto His-SWT creation continues. His-SWT Mercy reaches out to those who seek it. If a person remains deprived it is not because there is a scarcity from the source, but because his heart has lost the ability to absorb the Barakah. According to Hadith , people travel long distances and call upon Allaah-SWT with dishevelled hair, dusty countenance and tattered clothes but their prayers are not answered. This is because the food they take is unlawful and the clothes they wear are made out of illegitimate earnings. Some are so unfortunate that they are deprived of the opportunity to supplicate altogether, whereas others practise it outwardly, unaware of its reality. Both these situations refer to a state of deprivation.
After the destruction of Ad, their property was taken over by their paternal cousins Thamud, who are also referred to as 'Ad-e-Thani. The latter surpassed the former in architecture. Thamud constructed their palaces on the ruins of their ancestors. They also mastered the art of sculpture and used to cut perpendicular rocks out of mountains and shape them into houses. Even today the porticos, doorways and pillars of those houses reveal the tales of their dexterity as well as of their destruction.
However, when Thamud began to flourish, a group of religious exploiters also emerged. They attached religious sanctity to the fulfillment of their fancies and promoted their own rituals instead of Divine Commandments. Although the fate of 'Ad was a recent history, yet when the hearts are blinded the symbols of admonition become invisible. Thus Thamud, too indulged in evil and polytheism. When their hearts were on the verge of desolation Allah-SWT's Mercy once again conferred Prophethood on His-SWT chosen person from amongst them. Prophet SalihAS was assigned the task, and once again the eternal call of La lllaha III Allah' (There is no god save Allah-SWT ) echoed on the face of earth. He invited his country men to worship Allaah-SWT Alone, with patience and confidence. Unfortunately when the inward decadence reaches a certain level the response to such an invitation is only negative. But the Prophet-AS did not give up and continued with his mission until the rolling years turned his hair grey. The people became weary of listening to him so they conspired to get rid of him. After much deliberations they came up with a strange and apparently impossible demand. Since their economy was based on cattle, they wanted Prophet SalihAS to make the mountain split and from it should emerge a ten-month gravid dromedary. They told him that since he was inviting them to an Omnipotent God so this demand should be passed on to Him-SWT and if fulfilled, they would all submit to Him-SWT ’.
Prophet Salih-AS raised his hands in prayer and the impossible happened. The rock split and out came a colossal she-camel. A few fortunate ones instantly embraced faith while the majority was misled by the affluent leaders living under the facade of religion, who took to all sorts of pretensions.
The Influence of Link
Prophet Salih-AS told his people that there was no room left for any pretext now. And it must be remembered that the dromedary was directly linked to Allah-SWT, in the same way K’abah is called Bait Allah (Allah's House) and Prophet IsaAS, Ruh Allaah-SWT (Allah-SWT's Spirit).
He instructed them to take care of the dromedary as it was a manifestation of Allah-SWT's Omnipotence. As long as it remained amongst them its presence would ensure their safety against punishment even if they failed to accept guidance. Moreover, it would not cost them anything, as there were vast pastures and meadows for grazing. But if they killed it they would certainly be punished.
Fine Abodes are Allah-SWT's Blessing
Addressing his people, Prophet Salih-AS said that they should not forget the excruciating doom of Ad, and how the Almighty had been Gracious to allow their rehabilitation on the ruins of their ancestors. They were blessed with palaces constructed at the same place and also with the power to sculpt rocks into houses. It was imperative that they should be grateful to Allaah-SWT . It clearly indicates that it is not prohibited to own a good house: rather it is a Divine Favour for which one must show his gratitude. However, it is impudent to become regretful of Allaah-SWT out of greed for houses. The disgust expressed in a Hadith in this context in fact implies that the pursuit for comfortable abodes is likely to make people negligent towards Allaah-SWT ’s Zikr. For the same reason it is stressed: "So remember the bounties of Allaah-SWT and do no evil, by making mischief on earth." This is because evil and wrongdoings create discord and conflicts.
But the arrogant who had assumed leadership by exploiting the ignorance of the common man felt threatened, for if they accepted the truth, they would lose their superiority over the masses. So they began to argue with the believers, whom they considered much inferior to them. They asked them how could they be so sure of Prophet Salih-AS ' being Allah-SWT's Messenger-AS? The believers told them that it was not a question of his being Allaah-SWT ’s Prophet"-AS because it was as clear as the daylight. The question was as to who would accept the Message he had brought. This honour, of course, was enjoyed by the believers. The arrogant declared that they would never accept his Message and instead began to conspire how to get rid of the dromedary, which they took as the very cause of their dilemma. Commentators assert that the people had become weary of the amount of food and water it consumed. They had to take water for their cattle on alternate days and leave the rest to the dromedary. But after she delivered its little one the amount of milk she produced was far more than the water consumed and it was sufficient for everyone.
Moreover, the important fact highlighted here is that the dromedary was a clear proof of Allaah-SWT ’'s Greatness, which they had themselves demanded, yet they decided to get rid of it once for all. A rogue from amongst them hamstrung the dromedary and killed it. Now they had the audacity to enquire from the Prophet'-AS as to where the calamity promised to befall them was.
So Allaah-SWT informed Prophet Salih-AS to tell his people that the following day their faces would become pale. The very next day they would turn red and the day after black; and that they would not live any longer. This warning produced a negative effect and they got after his assassination, but he was protected by Allaah-SWT .
The next day their faces did turn pale but their hearts failed to turn to Allaah-SWT . Instead of repenting they intensified their anger against the Prophet-AS blaming him for their distress. Eventually, after three days, the earthquake and thunder rocked their settlements and destroyed them completely. Prophet Salih"-AS still felt sorry for his people; how they had turned a deaf ear to his Message and how the blindness of their hearts precluded the recognition of a well wisher. Their ruins even todate tell the tales of their misfortune. While passing by these ruins, on way to Tabuk, the Holy Prophet-SW is said to have forbidden the Companions-RAU from passing through the accursed zone or using the water from a well in that area. This proves beyond any doubt that the conduct of the dweller leaves permanent impact on the dwellings. Whereas it is an honour to live in a noble company, a sojourn with evil people is also dangerous.
As time rolled on and human settlements grew, once again mankind lost its bearings and gave in to idolatry. Estrangement with Allaah-SWT made it a slave of its fancies. The first phase of idol worship begins with the formation of idols of vain desires within, which, though invisible, are worshipped under various pretexts. At long last, a lifeless statue is crafted as a deity with no power or will of its own but which serves as an outlet for the endless fancies of its sculptor. Praise be to Allah-SWT, Whose Mercy never abandons His-SWT creation! Now Prophet Lut"-AS was deputed to the people settled between Jordan and Palestine. Their settlements comprised five major cities with Sodom as the capital.
Punishment of Sodomy
Prophet Lut-AS was Prophet Ibrahim-AS‘s nephew who had migrated alongwith his uncle and was deputed as a Prophet-AS to the aforesaid settlements. He stationed himself at Sodom. This nation indulged in acts not known before in the history of mankind. That is why Prophet Lut-AS reproached them in extremely harsh words. He said that although polytheism and disbelief were grave sins and earlier nations had been destroyed as a result but they had opted for a path of immorality no other nation had ever imagined about. It was a loathsome act which even the animals abhorred. This is why the jurists are of the opinion that sodomy is far worse than adultery. According to Imam Abu HanifahRUA ' a sodomist must be pushed down from a mountaintop and stoned like the People of Prophet Lut-AS, who were stoned from the sky.
So Prophet Lut-AS openly admonished his people, as to how could they be so blind and obscene to prefer men over women in lust without feelings of disgust? The survival of human race is based on its reproduction, but debauchery and obscenity never yields human beings of high morality. This is why Allah-SWT has spelled out laws for sexual relationship in order to ensure noble progeny and a clean society. When the limits of Allah-SWT are trespassed for lust, such a person is guilty of adultery, which is termed as Fahishah (obscenity) by the Quran. This is because it causes many sorts of immorality and evil.
Therefore, the punishment for it is very severe. But the act of homosexuality is being termed here as AI (the Fahishah (the obscenity), which means a combination of all forms of obscenity. The people of Prophet Lut-AS had trespassed all limits in resorting to this obnoxious act.
Un natural Way of Copulation (see also)
Whereas it has been declared as a blatant evil by the Quran, the Shi’ite clerics permit sex with a woman in the anus. By doing so they have, like the People of Prophet Lut-AS not only layed the foundation of an evil, but have also given it the status of worship.
Punishment a by-Product of Actions
The People of Prophet Lut-AS had no justification for their immorality so they resorted to arrogance. They accused him and his followers of being conceited over piety and thus merit expulsion from their cities. Now see the Divine Mercy that inspite of their indulgence in a heinous crime He-SWT did not deprive them of His-SWT ’ Attention. He raised a Prophet-AS amongst them but unfortunately their hearts had degenerated to the level whereby not only did they fail to respond to goodness but became more malicious. Now they were seized by Divine Punishment, except the ProphetAS’s and his followers. For their act of immorality contrary to nature they were punished in a paranormal manner. After the stones downpour from the sky, the portion of land inhabited by them was uprooted from its core and turned upside down. The sanctity of the relationship of the heart must be taken a note of here. The worldly relationships apart, the wife of Prophet Lut-AS had her heart throbbing with the wicked people and not with the Prophet-AS . So her physical proximity with him could not save her and she met the same ill fate.
Connection of the Heart
A few people who remained unharmed were those who were connected to the Prophet-AS by heart. And if connection of the heart is also complemented with physical relationship it is indeed a great reward. But it must be remembered that physical relationship alone is of no consequence whatever. The ill fate suffered by the evil doers and the wicked can be witnessed even today. The piece of land once inhabited by them is nothing more than a massive pool of stagnant stinking water wherein no life is possible. That is why it is called the Dead Sea.