Islam and Homosexuality


Building the foundations of who you are and who will become as an individual before your teens years is precious. It’s precious because it’s your own. It’s carefree. Naive and innocent, the world and the society you live in do not judge you, and if they do you don’t notice, because your 7 years old. It’s that simple. Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but that’s the impression I got from Anjum Mouj when she continued her account of growing up.

“. . . But then I turned 14, a British, Asian, Muslim, a Woman and a Lesbian. There’s a problem”

It’s very tempting to delve into how the simple-mindedness of a child can be much more constructive than adults’ with complex opinions lost within a confused judgemental society but I’ll keep to the topic Islam and Homosexuality.

That was the name of the talk hosted by City University’s LGBT Society tonight. There were two homosexual Muslim speakers, Azeem Ahmad and Anjum Mouj, followed by a round of questions/comments.

It was attended by many, but it soon became clear that some attended only with the intention to express their own opinion. It was a room of division. On one side were those who believed it is wrong to combine Islam and Homosexuality. The other side were adamant that being Muslim and homosexual can be a way of life.

Then there were people like me, a straight non-Muslim. I was observer. I could understand both sides of the argument, but I couldn’t help but feel that being an outsider, knowing nothing about being homosexual or Muslim, helped my mindset. Both sides were extremely passionate: the speakers spoke of their experiences, whilst others spoke of their beliefs, but argument is weakened with emotion. This certainly came across on both sides tonight.

One member of the audience questioned the first speaker by saying “Allah doesn’t make biological mistakes” inferring that Azeem was a mistake. “I’m not a mistake”. Azeem replies.

Another person later commented: “You’re saying that being gay is right because that’s how you feel, but what one day I wake up and feel like killing someone. Is that right?” Anjum expresses how disrespectful she found that comment: “to be put in the same category as murderers”. I can understand where she is coming from, the comment was made in a tit-for-tat manner and there was undoubtedly disrespectful comments made throughout the night. I will however say, if the person sees homosexuality as a sin, a defiance of what is expected of them then surely it is not completely unjustifiable to ask that question. A sin is a sin. I find it particularly difficult to comprehend why some sins are more accepted than other sins, for example drinking alcohol or eating non-halal meat. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are different extremities of sin. But ultimately… a sin is a sin.

Repeated was the argument “God has created both men and women as part of the circle of life”. The implication being that homosexuality is unnatural and civilisation would end therefore it must be wrong.

If that’s the case, then why did the God that created us, enable us to produce technology that can take a sperm from a man, an egg from a woman and create new life? Some may argue that IVF is man-made but surely any child that created man-made (sex). The second point I’d like to make is why are people so fearful? It’s not as though everyone in the world is going to turn homosexual and we’ll have to populate the world using IVF.

A member of City’s Islamic Society said “In Islam you will not be held accountable for having lusts, it is only when you act upon these lusts that it becomes sin”. He then compares the lust for homosexuality to a straight man resisting to delve into pornography/promiscuous lifestyles. This is a valid point, and from what I know, some Muslims see homosexuality as a test of Jihad, an inner struggle that must be resisted. Azeem himself said that he thought his sexuality was his Jihad, but the more he tried to combat and resist, the more it became a lie. It was as though he was disrespecting his life by making it a lie. Another point, straight Muslim men have the option to release their sexual desires if they marry. But what becomes of homosexuals? A man in the audience who works for the NHS provided an answer. He told of the many Muslims admitted to hospital after suicide attempts. Suicide is a sin yes in Islam. So why end your life, a guarantee to not enter heaven by committing the sin of suicide? Why not ‘sin’ and live as a homosexual?

The answer is obvious. It’s not about sin. It’s about the hostility people face within the society. It’s about not being free to be yourself. I accept that some people have their views on homosexuality, and I accept that some people think it is wrong, but pressurizing and imposing these views on others is not right. Azeem added that if he was to suppress who he was for longer than he did, he too would be one of those who commit suicide.

Another comment made directed at Azeem: “It’s not right fair that you are stealing our scriptures and our religion to justify being gay”. The fact remains that interpretations of scriptures and religion as a whole is personal. It should not matter whether the majority of those who share your religion are straight/homosexual. It should not matter how the world around you interprets that religion. In the same way, being homosexual does not mean your religion should be stolen from you. It cannot be stolen, it is your identity.

Religion is an individual choice. Tonight there were many comments made on scriptures (on both sides): accusations of them being taken out of context, interpreted wrong etc. But like I said, it is an individual choice to follow a religion. How you chose to interpret the religion is your choice. Anjum said “I am thankful to Allah for who I am”. Yes that includes her sexuality. I don’t understand why offence was caused when she said that. If what she said is wrong, Allah will decide. The belief is that you will be judged on your Day of Judgement. Allah will decide whether you will enter heaven. Where is the need to judge others? No-one has the right to judge you.

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17 thoughts on “Islam and Homosexuality

  1. It’s quite simple really, you CANNOT be gay and muslim.
    Same as you cannot be jewish and eat certain types of meat or a hindu and eat beef.
    The whole point of a religion is to follow a set of beliefs. You CANNOT be selective over what aspects of the religion you follow, that defeats the whole point.

    Thank you and goodnight,

    SHALEEM

    1. . . .The post isn’t about whether or not you can be gay and Muslim. It was a reaction to the comments made at this specific talk. Have I said at all made the claim that in Islam you can be homosexual and Muslim. . . ?

  2. Shaleem clearly doesn’t understand Islamic theology and is nothing but a troll.
    Not only is that a week example, but completely inaccurate even if you did believe homosexuality is a sin in Islam – and it isn’t that clear it is, but what is for certain it wouldn’t be one of the serious ones.

    At least have the integrity to say whether you’re talking about people with the identity or certain sexual acts and for which genders, either way you have broken a cardinal rule in Islam with your blanket statement. We can certainly reduce the definition of a Muslim to anyone who identifies and believes that there are no other Gods but God, and Muhammed (SAW) is the messenger of God.

    There are a number of histories following the events of when the prophet received the Quran, each one corresponds to numerous interpretations, hearsay in the case of the collection of the hadiths and then over centuries even more complex judicial rulings that brings us with the dozens of schools of thought and combinations of schools of thought that exist today. Among these there are over 1 billion believers with different degrees of piety, devotion, love and anger. Each believer has a personal relationship with their creator. Some muslims believe in evolution others are staunch creationists, others are in between.
    Not even that debate causes as much hatred and anger as the gay muslim debate, which given the major successes in gaining acceptance and social freedom by LGBT people in other religious groups and countries which usually have a good level of economic mobility and a fairer spread of wealth, could we subsequently conclude there may be other factors at play that have encouraged such an increase in homophobia in some Muslim communities over the last century?

    I think it is rather telling that there were no major women scholars despite the fact that in Islam women are supposed to be academically and spiritually equal to men. Lest we forget that it was after the prophet’s death that gender segregation in prayer rooms became common place. Is there perhaps a case that different people might read the scriptures very differently? That men who lived 100s of years after the prophet should not be the ones giving the final verdict when it has only recently become the case that LGBT people could express themselves openly?

    Even if you disagree with everything I have just said, to tell someone they are not a Muslim because of their sexuality is intellectually weak as far as rudimentary understanding of Islam is concerned, and furthermore shows questionable morals if you do consider yourself a Muslim.

    May Allah have mercy on you and help you learn about your religion.

  3. La Ilaha il Allah, Muhamadur-rasool Allah. I am Muslim.
    Allah swt created me gay. That makes me a Gay Muslim.

    Just making it clear that the eternal Allah swt doesn’t need any help in judging humans. On the day of judgement humans will have no place in judging others.

    In my opinion it’s blasphemous to say that Allah swt CANNOT create a gay muslim.

    Thank You and Goodnight
    Peace
    Azeem

    1. “In my opinion it’s blasphemous to say that Allah swt CANNOT create a gay muslim.”

      We have a choice. Can a murderer claim that Allah created him as a murderer? We have a choice. I AM NOT COMPARING ANYONE TO A MURDERER, THIS IS JUST A METAPHOR. We have a choice.

      ALSO i have to emphasise i am NOT trying to judge anybody as it is not my place nor anyone elses. Im just tryin to bring forward the truth of the Quran.

      Thank you and goodnight.

  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_view_of_Lot

    Islamic story of the people of Lut, its in the Qur’an ! Its also in several versions of the bible and a story well common with Jews. The monotheist religions all state homosexuality is a sin. In Islam lets take the ruling of the Shari’ah the Sunnah and the four schools of thought. In most cases committing a homosexual act and having four witnesses or the two people openly stating they have had homosexual acts is punishable depending on the marital status of the people involved.

    2nd of all define Nafs to yourselves, this is something which is ambiguous, but personally I would say its personal human desires for those who do not/have not heard of this word. All men and women have these desires and Allah swt puts us through hardship that we are programmed to handle. The Qur’an and the Sunnah are examples we follow and state guidlines on how to act. To fall guilty to Nafs and following intentions of pleasure for yourself, for the Satan and not for Allah’s sake is far from a good deed and I would say borders on haram, but don’t quote me I’m not a scholar.

    Pride as we all know is from the family of deadly sins. Pride is haram. Commiting a sin is wrong but Allah has said in the Qur’an do not openly talk and ‘brag’ about your sins. We all understand people go through hardship and need to discuss their views and thoughts BUT talk in quiet confidence as not to bring your family, your community and religion into disrepute !

    You cannot be a gay muslim. Surely a man who is willing to commit a grave sin, related back to the story of Lut and the ruling on fornication/adultery.

    Anal sex is haram and so is sex during a females menstrual cycle (just to let people know the whole ruling).

    Allah has made humans, the Satan tempts humans to disobey Allah so DO NOT EVER SAY ALLAH MADE ME SINFUL ! That is blasphemy and I pray that Allah swt forgives you and enlightens you.

    Innovations in Islam are gravely dangerous. Keep away from them ! Last time I checked no Prophet (May Allah Swt Bless Them All and Give All The GREATEST BLESSINGS To Prophet Muahmmed SAW) was homosexual, Prophet Lut was sent to warn people of homosexuality, a Quranic and Biblical story and very well known in Judaism.

    Allah Knows Best

    Salaam

    1. Thankyou for your comment. As a non-Muslim I appreciate you putting the subject of homosexuality and Islam in some context for me.
      I would like to point out that in this blog, the debate IS NOT about whether homosexuality in Islam is allowed or not, but a personal response as to what was said at this particular talk. Again, this is why I have not chosen to quote any of the Quaranic verses or any scholars. It is not my place make such an argument and I doubt I will ever do so, especially when I have not researched for myself (example: the story of Lut of which you have provided me a link for).

      Kind Regards.

  5. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Homosexuality is something that occurs naturally in the animal kingdom, yet very few people seek to study this phenomenon and even fewer are willing to make the link between homosexuality in animals and the impact it has on religious perspective.

    What I mean by this is that a couple of people have commented that Allah doesn’t make mistakes and being homosexual is a choice humans have. So why, if everything is perfect, is it that some people are born hermaphrodites? Also, why is homosexuality observed in ALL animals that can reproduce?

    I realise we have been given a mind that is analytical and judgmental, which sets us apart from animals. But we are all God’s (or Allah’s) creations. As we do not question His judgement in creating homosexual animals, we should not say homosexuals were not created by Him. Maybe it is part of a bigger plan we do not understand. Maybe it’s a natural way of controlling the population. The population of Earth has been growing at a ridiculous pace lately, so it’s not inconceivable.

    Going back to Allah not making mistakes – I agree with that statement. But where my opinion defers to others, is that I believe we were all created imperfect. Some have imperfect minds, others have imperfect bodies, but we all have something that someone else will consider to be imperfect. Some people view homosexuality as an imperfection; I choose not to see it that way.

    To summarise, while religion should play a part in people’s lives, we should not be so close-minded as to not question what we are being told. Keep in mind that all the Holy Books were not actually written by God himself; yes, they are the word of God, but the various iterations were written by fallible humans who could possibly have their own agenda.

    As for my interpretation of being a good Christian – I believe in being the best person I can be in order to better serve my fellow humans, regardless of their “imperfection”

  6. Ah, I’ve been pre-empted. I also attended this talk, and besides writing down all that was said, I’ve been steadily collecting additional material for what I hope will be some sort of article beyond the blog post I’d write which would certainly just get ‘tl; dr’ from anyone who looked at it.

    The story of Lot – whether parable or historically accurate – should probably be understood within the context of the time. As Azeem said in his talk, hospitality was an important cultural value. Furthermore, for a man to be penetrated by another man was an enormous shame, and in honour-based tribal societies shame has material effects. To be shamed may very well be to starve. Rape was then as it is today a weapon of domination. If you want to deter travelers from coming and sharing your wealth, it serve your goals pretty well.

    Which brings us to the question of how religion is interpreted. I wrote this on the subject a few weeks ago: http://saidsimon.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/how-important-are-sacred-texts-really/ My hope was that I’d be able to show how ‘that which is written’ is almost never ‘that which is believed and practiced’.

    For you, Slice, you might find http://saidsimon.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/the-impatient-secularists-guide-to-islam/ helpful, because I did my very best to summarise the epistemology of Islam. Lev went into this subject a little, also.

  7. ” If what she said is wrong, Allah will decide. The belief is that you will be judged on your Day of Judgement. Allah will decide whether you will enter heaven. Where is the need to judge others? No-one has the right to judge you.” The final comment made by Anjum says it all but I also agree with that the religious scirptures should not be debated or interpretated. Apart from that hello to all Hetro, bi and homosexual peeps.

  8. Islam is the best religion it gives me right to be gay even when i am married
    Zulfiqar Ali , proud gay contractor of Al-Minhaaal Academy South Plain field New Jersey
    Fe Amaan Allah

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