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Gay Muslims. They do exist. I recently interviewed 3 of them expecting them to enlighten me with some new twist on the age-old debate, but their answers echoed those of their Christian and secular counterparts.

Homosexuality is a not-so-well kept secret throughout the Islamic world. Afghanistan has an ancient practice, bacha bazi, which causes countless boys to be kidnapped or sold into sexual slavery and homosexual men in Pakistan are forced into prostitution because discrimination bars them from gainful employment. Then there are the stories of Arab men and women taking young boys or girls respectively, as lovers-a natural consequence in cultures where gender separation is the norm. Humans foolishly believe that nature can be overcome by rules. It can be argued that these men and women were victims of circumstance gratifying a basic need by the only means available to them. Today the Gay Islamic community, with few exceptions, has the freedom to express their sexuality, but they have no place in the Islamic community.

The majority of Muslims will not understand this for the tragedy it is, but a practicing homosexual Muslim is missing out on the full experience of being a Muslim. Besides the discrimination and possible physical harm that comes with being an openly gay Muslim, there’s the very real issue of marriage. Islamically, if we are honest, it is impossible for gay Muslims to marry. Muslims are sticklers for rules and we resist changes to our religion. Marriage cannot be redefined because we don’t do redefinition. Since marriage is always between a man and a woman, the issue is dead in the water for most Imams (unless you’re in France). Sadly, this leaves our gay brothers and sisters in a perpetual state of sin or denial. They are forced to marry a member of the opposite sex, commit Zina or remain celibate-easier said than done.
Contrary to the hatemongers and the uninformed, gay Muslims are not seeking to change the religion or to spread their lifestyle through the Ummah, they just want to the right to worship Allah like the rest of us. In the past gay Muslims have gone outside the Islamic community to find support in LGBT groups, but this poses another problem. While they find acceptance of their sexuality in these groups, they struggle to maintain their Muslim identity- which they see as equally important. Neither community is fully representative of their identity which leaves them unfulfilled. This has necessitated the founding of gay Islamic communities.

If we look at homosexuality from a purely Quranic point of view, it’s Haram (forbidden), a fact not denied by the gay Muslims I interviewed. Not one of them suggested there was nothing wrong with homosexuality. Unlike the biblical allusion to sodomy, the Qur’an is very clear on the topic (-Surat Al-‘A`raf [7:81]). There are several more verses that retell the story of the Prophet Lut (A.S.) aka Lot (Surat Hud 11.78-79, Surat Al-Hijr 15. 61-75, Surat Ash-Shu’ara 26.160-175, Surat Al-Naml 27.54-58, Surat Al-‘Ankabut 29.28-30). That being said, I find the Haram/Halal (permissible) debate dead. All other Muslims are permitted to sin without having our standing in Islam questioned.

The commission of other sins is rarely met with the same fervor as homosexuality. The Major Sins by Muhammad Bin ‘Uthman Adh-Dhahabi lists over 50 major sins. Number 1 is the worst sin and they are decreasingly serious as the numbers ascend. The worst sin is Shirk-associating any partners with Allah. This is why Muslims balk at the idea of worshipping a Triune God. Homosexuality placed 11th on the list. Interestingly enough Zina (fornication and adultery which are not differentiated) placed 10th, making it a greater sin than homosexuality.

What’s worse than homosexuality according to Imam Adh-Dhahabi? Murder, practicing magic, not praying, not paying Zakat (obligatory tax on all accumulated wealth), not completing prescribed fasts, not performing Hajj, disrespecting parents and abandoning relatives. According to that list we are a community full of offenders (Nobody understands Zakat. Nobody). Why the discrepancy then in how we treat our homosexual brothers and sisters? The only conclusion I can draw is that homosexuals are discriminated against for the sin of being a minority. If more Muslims struggled with homosexuality, more allowances would surely be made.

It is apparent to me the American Islamic community is unprepared to have this conversation which makes now the appropriate time to have it. Openly discussing homosexuality in Islam has some Muslims ready to send others into hellfire wearing gasoline clothes, but so be it. I am not in any way advocating for the practice of homosexuality, suggesting that we give it the green light or change our religious practice or beliefs. What I’m suggesting is that since gay Muslims do exist that we stop creating unnecessary divisions. If we shun (we are forbidden to shun a Muslim for longer than 3 days) anyone who is not 100% correct in practice and belief, we will all be practicing the religion of one.

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14 thoughts on “Gay Muslims- We’re not there yet.

  1. This is astounding. What a great post – especially being that you are a practicing Muslim now. Do you find that the East Coast Muslims are more open to this change than Texas Muslims? Or is it just you? 🙂 Also – – how does your husband feel about your liberal views?

    • The East Coast Muslims tend to be far more progressive than Texans, but I’m not sure how they would take this. We are currently working to put women in leadership in the community so who knows what’s next. Hubby thinks I’m crazy no matter what. This is just giving him more material. He pretty much leaves me alone to be who I am. He’s truly a great man.

  2. Pingback: I am a Lesbian Muslim by Anonymous |

  3. Great post! Do you believe it is possible then to be Muslim and homosexual as well? I am currently struggling with my own identity, seeing as how I am homosexual, female, and Muslim with an extremist Muslim mother.

    • Honestly I cannot answer. I just thought since it is a problem for some in our community, it needs to be discussed. Bottom line we all choose for ourselves how we conduct ourselves and I see no benefit in mistreating brothers and sisters in the name of helping them.

  4. Oh sister, I’am afraid I can’t agree with the tone of your blog. It seems to be too acquiescing to a practice that is clearly considered an abomination in our tradition.

    -Peace Be Upon You

  5. Al salamu 3alaikum.. It really piss me off when my friends get shoked when they know im a muslim homosexual. Its like because im a lesbian, im not allowd to worship Alla!! im not the one who choose to be a homo but being a muslim is no ones choise but me! God will judge me not u people, as long as i dont do the forbidden act ill be safe and even get more blessings from god, its a test that i must take and inshalla nor i neither my homosexual muslim brothers and sister will fail it. I dont like the cold attitude when someone knows im a homosexual .. as if im a “kafira”!! hello im a muslim i worship the almighty thats what is important so why dont i get a help as any other muslim committing sins??? Im not even doing the sin!

    And what piss me more is when an atheist says to leave the religioun =_= srsly! Why would i if i do
    believe in every tiny thing ? Why Let it go for my desirs and to live on like animals? Just eat sex and sleep? And the depression because im far from Him and they suicide like most people =_= Isnt that just ><

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