Homosexuality and Islam – An Islamic Perspective
There has been a lot of discussion lately on the issue of Homosexuality. There is a tendency, ever so slight, among some of us to make this behavior acceptable in the name of fairness and tolerance. On the other hand there are those who would suggest summary execution of those engaging in homosexual behavior. This confusing message can be a danger in that it can erode and dilute some of our basic values. Let me preface my suggestions to develop an effective way to address this very sensitive and critical issue, with some background information.
Homosexuality is, of course, not a new behavior. It has existed in practically all cultures and among all people, but usually in fewer numbers and in secrecy, not with an “in your face” attitude as it does in the west now. Unfortunately this is the reality of the times we live in, especially in the western societies, and we need to deal with it. The Homosexual, or the gay as they call themselves, in an attempt to polish their image, constitute a very active and powerful lobby group. They have strong political and social ties and access to the elites of the society, especially in the US, up to and including President Clinton. Even though majority of the people in the US believe that homosexual behavior is wrong, it is intriguing, but never the less remarkable, that the homosexuals have gained public acceptance for their behavior in a very short period of time. This acceptance by the US public is a reflection of people who are committed to their cause and give due thought, time, money and effort to achieve their purpose, though a wrong one. The homosexual’s agenda is a very simple one to make their behavior acceptable as NORMAL, and in the process recruit more to their ranks. They have a sophisticated and multifaceted campaign to achieve their goals. These include active participation in social and political issues other than their immediate ones, like feeding the hungry and dealing with human right issues. They promote their agenda through legislation, presenting themselves as victims of prejudice and discrimination, helping to enact the gender discrimination act, legalizing and securing full benefits for same gender marriage, funding research similar to the hypothalamus issue (which shows a genetic propensity to homosexuality), teaching at even kindergarten level that the two-male or the two female can make a family unit which is an acceptable alternative that is even comparable to the traditional MOM and POP family, religious and moral blurring on the stand by establishing gay churches and synagogues, etc. etc. The most effective milestone in the homosexual movement, was probably when in 1976 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) declared that homosexuality was no longer to be considered an illness but was to be regarded merely as an orientation or a sexual variant. The rest, as they say, is history. This made a lot of people very suspicious of the scientific community, who went against known scientific data that the homosexual behavior can be changed. Even though the APA has taken an official stand, this debate continues and many prominent members of APA oppose this stand. Again this has happened and continues to happen even in religious circles, amongst Muslims and others, where experts or priests make pronouncements in favor of those from whom they stand to gain favors at the expense of the masses and against clear moral and/or scientific stands supporting the contrary or opposite views.
The strength of the movement was demonstrated by the outbreak of AIDS. Up to that point in history, there was a standard to deal with ALL communicable diseases. The scientifically developed and tested system that is in place to contain communicable diseases was bypassed with political muscle. As a result, the disease spread very rapidly and affected many innocent lives through blood supply and other preventable methods whose implementation was suppressed politically. AIDS, a communicable disease up to that point that mainly affected the homosexuals, was forced to become a political issue and became the exception to the rule. The innocent were put at risk and their lives made a living hell, some were even lost just for a political gain. The lie that is being promoted is that AIDS is equally rampant amongst the heterosexuals as it is amongst the homosexuals. Statistics contradicts this statement.
The homosexual movement has a strong network of support groups who encourage each other to “come out of the closet”, thus advancing and actively promoting this behavior. They thrive on conflict amongst the family and/or community members. They have been known to provide moral, psychological, social, and financial support to any one of their own who is making the transition into their lifestyle or who is “coming out of the closet”, so to speak.
They use proven methodologies in changing social acceptability and behavior towards themselves. Like the shows on television, they will introduce the radical issue which will provoke a hue and cry from all quarters the first time out, the second time there is less and in subsequent times the opposition will die out. They then discuss, or frame the issue as it is known, to convince us of their legitimacy and how wrong, narrow minded and bigots all these moralists are. The trick is to say it enough times, and what was once a taboo to even talk about is becoming normal, acceptable, and even desirable to more and more people.
They now have an annually “Gay Pride Parade” in many US cities with full fledged TV coverage. A “Gay Pride Month” has been established in some school districts to remove bigotry and prejudice. Additionally, colleges and universities have a profound impact on the intellectual development of our young people. It is the time in their lives where new and independent thoughts are introduced, incubate, and develop. However, most of these institution are a bedrock of secular extremism and promote all other values except the divine ones. In these circles, it is politically and socially acceptable to talk about, promote and experiment with all behaviors, homosexuality included, but to discuss and further divine values is considered being close minded and narrow. The argument from some of the elites of these institutions is that we need to adhere to the separation of church and state, which has historical merit. In fact, it is obvious to most observers that what is meant is to take God out of the equation and confine Him to the walls of homes, mosques, churches, and synagogues only. We, the yuths and the parents, all need to be aware of these trends so as to enable us to develop an effective way to deal with these issues and inoculate ourselves against harmful behaviors. This is a summary of our study of the homosexual movement that we undertook to try and understand various movements, religious and those based on other various causes, that have succeeded to transform themselves from being the abhorred or persecuted groups to becoming key players in the American society. Homosexual movement is one of them, the others are the Irish Catholics, the Quakers, etc. The reason for providing the background information here is to first to come to grips with the sophisticated nature of the problem, and know who we and our youths are dealing with. The second is to enable us to formulate an effective response to it.
discussion here of homosexuality is a reflection of the success of their movement to force us to address this as an issue, even though we would rather not. We do not know how many can claim, with any degree of certainty, the pervasiveness of this behavior amongst our community members. We are for sure affected by the society in which we live, however I think on this score, we as a community, have not yet been too adversely affected. In our studies of the youths of Toronto, which was subsequently published in a book entitled “Muslim Youths at the Crossroads, Advancing into the 21st Century”, we did not see this as a major problem. This does not mean that it has not developed into a problem now, or that we do not need to address this as an issue now. I believe that any discussion needs to take into consideration the following:
We as Muslims need to state unequivocally and unambiguously that homosexuality is a deviant behavior and that there is not even an iota of doubt that Islam condemns the behavior.
* The most important thing for us as Muslims is that Islam is not our ethnicity, it is our religion which regulates our lives and from which we derive our values.
* Even though our religion allows us latitude, more than most, to ponder and reconsider some issues, homosexuality is clearly and explicitly condemned by the Quran (7:80-83, 11:77-79), the Prophet, and his progeny.
* When we have a conflict with the Quran, which is the word of God verbatim, we do not ask where the Quran went wrong but rather why are we, limited beings, in conflict with the wisdom of the absolute, God Almighty.
* As Muslims we do not make up our religion, but we receive it and we obey it.
* Thus stated, we need to clarify, that it does not mean that we hate the homosexual person but rather that we find the behavior abhorable. We want to help with sensitivity and care whoever has these tendencies, or practices such behavior. We can further point out the following:
God has created everything in pairs each endowed with physical and psychological characteristics to complement and complete one another. The Quran (4:1) indicates that human beings have been created from one living entity (nafs), which represents the origin of both the male and the female. The human species though has included male and female since its existence. The “mating” or “spousing” of male and female sexes is original in human nature and out of this instinctive relationship the human race develops, continues and spreads.
Between the two sexes a gravitating combination of love, tenderness, and care is engendered, so that each finds in the other completeness, tranquility, and support (Quran 30:21). Having children and loving them represents another fulfillment of the human nature (Quran 42:49-50). It is through this spousal complementation and completion, according to the Quran (7:189), that each spouse achieves comfort, and enjoys peace of mind, satisfaction, and fulfillment. These relationships extend beyond the physical sexual contact and to psychological, spiritual relations.
The blessings of this completeness are not ended by their accomplishment, but they continue and develop through bringing forth children, raising them, and providing the whole family with material, emotional, and moral needs.
The pleasures of completion and procreation may well be extended and multiplied, when one is granted grand children, who not only represent genealogical continuation, but are also a dynamic revitalization of the human race.
Such physical-psychological-spiritual development through spousing and mating, followed by procreation, that may continue for more than one generation, ought to lead every sensible human being to be grateful to God for His successive and multiplying favors with his own family throughout his lifetime. Such persons and their happy veritable families would be models for the whole society (Quran 25:72).
* One of the criteria or litmus test of a behavior that is beneficial to humanity at large is, “what if the action that you are promoting is exercised by a majority of the people of the world? Will it advance humanity or will it retard it?” In this case human beings will cease to exist.
* If there is any truth to the claim that the male homosexual behavior could be genetic, how about the bisexuals and the lesbians. They for sure are making a choice and by our standards a wrong one too.
* The debate and the argument advanced by the homosexuals is “Be what you are,” and “do not be ashamed of it”. Many unsuspecting youths then start to experiment, to “discover” what they really are. They are in fact being unwittingly, and in their most suggestible period of growth, led astray with the power of suggestion and a convoluted logic. Whoever we are, whatever one might be, it is ennobling to always try to do what is right.
* Even if there is a genetic propensity towards homosexuality, it is the nobility of the human spirit that can overcome it. There are suggestions that alcoholics are genetically pre-disposed to their behavior. Furthermore, some people are inherently prone to take risks, which is an essential element for human progress and development. This pre-disposition to risk taking behavior can easily lead to the destructive behavior of gambling. We do not encourage the people with a propensity to alcoholism or gambling to keep on indulging in these vices, but rather encourage them to resist and overcome them We should do the same with homosexual feelings and tendencies. Whether one has the orientation or harbors “homosexual genes,” one’s feelings and desires cannot dictate behavior. One may have a strong urge to have a homosexual contact, a heterosexual contact with one other than one’s own spouse, or to steal or kill. The nobility of the human spirit is to resist, and this is what elevates the human being to the status above that of the angels.
* There is a period during our growth process where we are most comfortable with and try to bond with persons of the same gender. Some carry this behavior to an extreme and experiment with homosexuality. Some Psychiatrists still believe that those who continue with the homosexual behavior are really arrested in their development process. They avoid or are afraid to continue with the normal psychological growth. This condition is treatable by psychotherapy.
The reality of the society requires that we argue our positions, and deal with issues, as they prevail using some of the existing societal rationale. Though the thinking may fall short of our ideal, it can be an effective start in changing and moving the debate closer to our view point and values. The following two points are made with this thought in mind.
* As Muslims, we identify and instinctly come to the defense of any individuals or groups who are discriminated against. This reaction is due to our foundational value and commitment to justice, and also from our own contemporary experiences, as individuals and as members of a group, who have suffered from discrimination and vilification.
While we abhor acts of discrimination against individuals or groups, we also place a high value on discretion. The individual’s right of choice is a fundamental value and necessary condition for each individual to be accountable to God for his/her own actions. God’s guidance secures the balance between the individual’s and societal rights. No one has a right to spy into the private lives and affairs of individuals. Even when these private affairs should incidentally be known, the admonition is to keep them private and protect those involved.
However, when one openly declares one’s sexual orientation, a private matter, and then demands special consideration because of it, we find this an affront to the society’s well being. There are already safeguards and protections under the law against discrimination that includes heterosexuals and homosexuals. To demand further special rights and consideration based on how or who we have sex with, and claim it to be a civil rights issue, is ludicrous. To compare with and demand special protection as those who have been persecuted for their national origin, race, color, or creed and religious beliefs is baseless and has no historical or social justification or parallels. We will then have to accede similar special demands for protection and single out groups varying from those who want to have heterosexual relations to those who are left handed, when they are all currently protected under existing laws. We are committed to uphold the family unit and its values, and protection of it as a durable, proven, most important and socially viable nucleus of any society. There is a continual struggle and effort to maintain the balance between an individual’s right and society’s well being. We place a higher value on the society’s well being than an individual’s right to actively promote counter values that will ultimately damage the society at large. We therefore have a right to resist and ensure the protection of our values against such an onslaught. This resistance should never be an aggression against any individual or groups, but a firm and principled stand against the counter values being promoted, while promoting our values in a kinder and gentler fashion with conviction. We have, indeed, a duty to promote divine wisdom and values that will advance humanity and that have withstood the test of time.
* Homosexuality is an issue that concerns most main stream Christians and Jews and we all share a common value. It can provide an opportunity to work together for the common good of the society at large.
We, as Muslims, have benefit and blessings of divine guidance and wisdom. The Quran reminds us that Allah (SWT) will change the condition of the people only if they themselves put forth the effort (13:11). If the homosexuals can promote their wrong values with vigor and succeed, we have a duty and a responsibility to not only make an effort to arrest this trend, but also to invest our time, energy, and resources to promote the divine values with as much zeal.
Our challenge is to explore and find ways to resist and counter this movement amongst our own families, immediate community, the Muslim Ummah, and the whole of humanity. This is our destiny and the challenge of the times we live in. Action more than rhetoric will make us worthy of Allah’s (SWT) help and mercy and will endear us to Him. The question is what are you, and in turn all of us collectively, going to do to promote our values, and counter this threat?
What is Islam’s view of homosexuality?
There is no doubt that in Islam homosexuality is considered ‘sinful’. Homosexuality as far as Islam is concerned is a profound mistake ( as are all sins if they are not intending to do wrong). Humans are not homosexuals by nature. People become homosexuals because of their environments. Particularly critical is the environment during puberty. Suggestions, ideas & strange dreams are symptoms of confused attempts to understand new and blunt sexual desires and are rashly interpreted as defining someone as being one sexuality or another. If these conclusions are accompanied by actual homosexual acts they are even more strongly reinforced.
Human instincts can be subjected to acts of will. Sexuality is a choice of identity which follows choices of action which follow from choices of what to have sexual fantasies about. Human beings are especially able to control their thoughts, entertaining some and dismissing others.
However, if this free will is not recognised it is easy to get into a cycle of thinking which starts from accepting a hypothesis about yourself as true rather than as a possible choice (even if the options are sometimes difficult).For example: “I am lazy ” could be supposed true by someone. When the person who thinks this lies around in bed in the morning he observes this inaction as evidence of the statement “I am lazy.” As he repeatedly chooses to do so the evidence mounts and the idea becomes fixed in his identity. It may even have physical manifestations and change his physiology and psychology. This process can easily occur for any idea good or bad about the self which is based largely on evidence resulting from ones own action. The idea may be “I am ‘gay'” or “I am content” or “I love eating lots of food”. The truth is – you are what you choose to be ; you do what you choose to do ; you think what you choose to think. There may be long time delays between the causing choices and the effects but anyone can change themselves. There are reformed ex-drug addicts, reformed ex-compulsive gamblers and ex-homosexuals. In all these sins prevention is 1000 times better than cure and much easier.
It has been suggested that homosexuality is genetically inherited and that those who have this ‘predisposition’ are victims of it not sinners of any sort. However, there are other things which are probably genetically influenced to give predispositions to for example gambling or alcoholism .It could also be argued (and has been) that it is programmed into men’s genetics for them to be unfaithful to their partner. All these things don’t make it the right thing to do, nor does it prevent these things from being regarded as sinful. Drinking alcohol will still be regarded as sinful in Islam even if you have a predisposition to be an alcoholic. The trick as every post alcoholic will tell you is never touch another drop after you quit – it is a long slippery slope – your life is better without it. Once a certain desire is connected to your identity strongly and you get in some way hooked on it, it will always be easy to return to it – you are unable to forget the satisfaction. The difficult task is remembering the bad side of the desire, such as hangovers, lost money, self loathing or a simply sense of loss because of what you missed out on. But if you are to change for the better, you must remember this and the past desires you bound up with your identity can become disconnected from what you choose to become.
What does Islam say about homosexuality?
Taken from the book titled ‘Common Questions People Ask About Islam’ by Shabir Ally.
Islam teaches that homosexual acts are sinful and punishable by God. This teaching comes not from human beings, but from the Creator of all humans. God tells us in His own words how He punished the people of Lot for their homosexual behaviour.
The story of prophet Lot, on whom be peace, finds mention in several Qur’anic passages, especially Chapter 26:160-175 which reads: “The people of Lut rejected the apostles. Behold, their brother Lut said to them: “Will ye not fear (God)? “I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust. “So fear God 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 God has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!” They said: “If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!” He said: “I do detest your doings.” “O my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!” So We delivered him and his family,- all Except an old woman who lingered behind. But 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.”
From these passages we learn that God saved Lot and the righteous ones of his family, and rained on the rest a shower of brimstone, so they were utterly destroyed. This is mentioned in the Qur’an not only for the sake of information, but mainly to serve as a warning to anyone who dares to repeat such acts.
What is forbidden in Islam- Homosexuality or practicing Homosexuality?
The common concept for Muslim homosexuals is to commit suicide since they can’t be punished for being homosexuals in a non-Islamic state, but two wrongs don’t make one right. While homosexuality is wrong, it doesn’t justify suicide under any conditions or circumstances. Please know that if you ever commit suicide, you would have seriously misunderstood Islam and its spirit. If you were ever involved in sexual homosexual acts in the past, you should truly and sincerely repent to Allah, The Merciful, The Gracious, and pledge to Him never to get involved in any homosexual acts anymore. Please note that there is a difference to actually being involved in a homosexual act -which is a sin – from having sexual feelings that you try to control, that you don’t express in public, which is not sinful if you try to control them. If medical or psychological counseling helps, then get it, but know that Allah is The Curer, and the Qur’an is your best companion. Give charity, pray, make dua’, and Allah will not leave you alone. You have got to believe in the infinite amount of Mercy Allah provides to His servants, and you should also realize that He forgives, if He wishes, all types of sins, except the sin of disbelieving in Him.
What is sinful in homosexuality is the actual sexual act between the couple of a similar sex. if you transform your desires into a struggle and a challenge to overcome it and not physically commit it, then insha’Allah, you will get the reward for it.
Don’t lose hope! Fear Allah (S.W.T), ask Him for help earnestly, never give up, and do something to get rid of even the idea of homosexuality. Try to avoid all of the circumstances that trigger your homosexual feelings: don’t get alone with an attractive man, always be in the company of others, don’t get involved in deep / personal discussions with any person that you may think will trigger your homosexual feeling. Stay away from any other people who have similar feelings. Don’t even think in such an idea of this subject, keep yourself busy in different useful thing, and stay away of anything that remind you of homosexuality. Keep a POSITIVE thinking in your mind and keep saying to yourself that you can do something about it. Don’t ever say I can’t. Remember with every step you are taking toward getting rid of this habit you are getting help and reward from Allah (S.W.T) and you are annoying the shaytan.
Also for many Homosexual Muslims the concept of getting married is unappealing. Having this feeling should not prevent you from considering to get married in the future. You will discover that marriage is more than simply fulfilling your sexual needs… Your wife will insha’Allah bring you peace, tranquility, joy, security, and many other feelings that every human being needs, irrelevant of their “sexual partners”. Also, while Muslims are not allowed to lie, you should keep this feeling to yourself and not share it with her or your parents for many reasons… Be patient and make it a lifelong struggle for yourself… You will see how rewarding it is at the end… Remember, there is in this world many compulsive gamblers, alcoholics, adulterers, thieves, but many of them control it and refrain from doing it… If they aren’t Muslims and have the will to do it, you are a Muslim and you have Allah on your side when you seek His Help. There is no way you will fail insha’Allah…