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Last Updated: 2018/05/09
Summary of question
There are verses in the Quran about marked stones rained down upon criminals; what does it mean for the stones to be marked?
What is the reality of Surah Hud (chapter 11), verse no. 83”s reality? I believe that this verse is not actually part of that portion of Surah Hud. Please let me know if you have any information on this verse.
Concise answer
God, the Exalted, presents the story of Hud tribe in a part of the Chapter Hud (Chap. 11) mentioning that a few angels went to Prophet Lut as guests but in the guise of human beings.  The Quran discusses the reaction of some corrupt and mischievous  people and their effort to attack these guests. Being worried about his guests, Lut learned, to his surprise, that his guests were angels and that divine punishment was eminent and his tribe was about to get it and be afflicted with it.[1] The Quran goes on providing insights into the divine punishment. Thus, it says: "So when Our decree came to pass, We turned them upside down and rained down upon them stones, of what had been decreed, one after another."[2]  In the following verse which has something to do with the question, the Quran elaborates on the type of stones sent down upon the people of Lut. It says: " Marked (for punishment) with your Lord and it is not far off from the unjust."[3] According to this verse, the stones were not ordinary stones; rather they were marked.  What do the marked stones signify? Different probabilities have been offered in regards to the marked stones:
1. The name of the person was engraved in every stone that was supposed to hit that person.
2. These stones bore marks which showed they had been prepared for punishment of sinners.
3. The stones were not in any way similar to the earthly stones as they were sealed and bore special marks.[4]
As well, the Quran does not reject the possibility of other oppressors and unjust people getting afflicted with this type of punishment. Therefore, according to the Quran, the punishment is not particular to the tribe of Lut. It has to be said that as it is clear from the meaning of the verse 83 of Chapter Hud, there is not discrepancy or divergence between this verse and the preceding verses and it cannot be assumed that this verse has been misplaced or not used in its proper context, especially in view of the fact that elsewhere in the Quran the story of the tribe of Lut has been restated with very little variation in the words. Therein, the Quran again makes reference to the marked stones[5] considering them as a form of punishment sent down upon those who were very prodigal and wasteful and who committed sins and rebelled.[1]

[1] Quran, Hud: 77 - 81
[2] Hud: 82
[3] Hud: 83
[4] Tabarsi, Fazl b. Hasan, Majma”ul Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur”an, vol.5, p.282, Tehran, Nasir Khusru, third edition, 1372 (Persian calendar).
[5]Al-Dhariyat: 34

[1] Alusi, Sayyid Mahmud, Rohul Ma”ani fi Tafsir al-Qur”an al-”Azim,  vol.14, p.15, Beirut Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiyyah, first edition, 1415 A.H.
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