In response to the post Gay Muslims – we’re not there yet by Jamilah, I got an unexpected email. It was from a friend, but she asked that I withhold her name, so I will simply let her share.
I am a homosexual Muslim.
More specifically, I am a Muslim lesbian. Nobody knows it, and I didn’t even realize it until the last few years. However, no one will ever know it so long as I am a practicing Muslim. I will remain in the closet, and here’s why:
To be a Muslim is to submit to Allah’s will and testify to his Qur’an and his Prophet’s advice. This is imperative and important to understand. Homosexual acts are haram, but being a homosexual is not. There is a distinction and one cannot be linked with the other.
Everyone has the potential to “be homosexual” and desire love or even intimacy with someone of the same sex – some, more than others. Homosexuality is a kind of spectrum with 100 percent heterosexuality on one end and 100 percent homosexuality on the other. Many of us fall somewhere in the middle with ranges of thoughts, fantasies, a single homosexual act or a fully homosexual lifestyle.
I have fallen in love with a woman (but never expressed it to her or anyone else). It’s kind of like the movie “Jeff, who Lives at Home,” when Susan Sarandon was busy lamenting her life as a single, working mom with two adult sons. She had a secret admirer at work who made her feel special. Turns out her admirer was her best friend. She seemed shocked and appalled but her friend explained it to her something like this: who cares if I’m a woman? Don’t you just want someone who gets you, who understands what you like, what you need and who can offer those things to you? They both kissed and it was the most non-sexual type of love ever portrayed in any of the movies I’ve seen.
So the woman I fell in love with “got” me, and I her.
So what stopped me from just explaining myself to her? Well, like I said, I consider myself a practicing Muslim, so I cannot disobey what God has said. I submit myself to his commands – all of them, not just some.
“We also sent Lut : He said to his people : “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” Qur’an 7:80-81
“What! Of all creatures do ye come unto the males, and leave the wives your Lord created for you? Nay, but ye are forward folk.” Qur’an 26:165
“Sihaq (lesbian sexual activity) of women is zin a (adultery) among them” – hadith
“When a man mounts another man, the throne of God shakes.” – hadith
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi of ISNA said: “Homosexuality is a moral disorder. It is a moral disease, a sin and corruption. No person is born homosexual, just like no one is born a thief, a liar or murderer. People acquire these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education.”
I disagree. Humans are born with these capabilities. In my opinion (based on what limited knowledge I have on anthropology and sociology), people will lie, cheat, steal, kill and engage in homosexual activity without being explicitly taught. It IS natural, but also something which must be overcome like any other natural desire of the Id if we are to live in the society which God has built for us and which we have built for ourselves.
So while I sympathize with the many Muslims, Christians, Jews… anyone who identifies with a religion and also identifies as homosexual, I cannot in good conscience condone active homosexuality alongside active participation in a religion. If I understand and acknowledge homosexual acts are a sin in Islam, how could I continue to perpetuate the sin, turn my head, and pretend anything else I do is valid? The premise of salvation in Islam includes seeking repentance for sins and attempting not to commit the offense again. Consistently practicing homosexuality while also attempting to adhere to a belief system which rejects it is paradoxical and really quite pointless.
So until the day I renounce Islam, I will not practice homosexuality. I cannot be a “cafeteria Muslim” and choose which parts I want to follow. Allah is very clear in the Qur’an, and Muhammad is very clear in his hadith, with no room for doubt or misinterpretation, that my having a relationship with a woman is not permissible. I don’t appreciate the reasons given by leaders of our community, but I don’t need their reasons – I have Allah’s word to which I willingly submit – which is bigger than my sexual desires. For the same reason I would not have an extramarital affair with another man, I will also not have one with another woman.
I think I would urge Muslims who are homosexual to 1) admit it, if even to yourself. You can’t deny whatever it is you feel and having feelings is not a sin in itself. 2) Think about what is more important to you. If it would drive you to depression and disturb your life processes to not live exclusively heterosexually, reconsider a lot of things. If it doesn’t bother you to submit to the commands of Allah, then accept your homosexuality and move on. For myself, I have no problem living in a heterosexual relationship because I’m probably more pansexual than homosexual. I would not and could not betray my husband, my family and my Lord for my selfish sexual urges.