When many Muslims are confronted with this question or topic, they tend to get uncomfortable and change the subject. I had a discussion in my living room with a cousin who told me how it is out of the question and this and that. And I asked, “Well, what do you think about the 8th grader who was shot in California by another student after he asked him to be his Valentine?” Then of course she replied with “I didn’t hear about that so I don’t know.”
I think sometimes people take the God out of Religion and just leave the teachings, rulings and scholars. But the way I view Islam is all about God. Allah is everything and Islam should be revolved around him and nothing or nobody else.
About a year ago I was at an Islamic lecture that was led by Hasnian Rajabali. He speaks beautifully and he let people ask questions. So of course I ask a question about atheists and quoted Primo Levi’s “Because there was Auschwitz, so there cannot be God.” And we got into that but somebody from the crowd asked about Homosexuality. And of course, everybody at the gathering turned and looked at him.
Rajabali brought up a side of it that most people don’t see. Being a scholar, he deals with questions from people all around the world. So he talked about how he receives emails from very concerned Muslims who are gay and don’t know what to do. They say “I love Allah but I can’t help that I am gay.” And they are sincere. And they are good people and they pray and some wear hijab and some go to the Masjid, they read the Quran. They do nothing different from other Muslims but they prefer to be with people of the same gender. So he said that homosexuality is not a black and white issue. We can’t just look at it and say “It’s wrong.” And move on. Of course when he talked so mercifully and kindly about the issue many people were very upset. After that question the subject did not change from homosexuality. And many elders were very upset.
As some of you may know in many countries around the World, homosexuality is a crime and people are punished. Sometimes even by death. In Muslim countries they use this verse to justify their actions against those who are gay.
“If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both.”
-Surah (Chapter) Four, Ayah (verse) Sixteen of the Quran.
So it says if they commit acts of lewdness, punish them. First off…lewdness does not mean love, it means lust. But we’ll get into that later. From this verse it may seem that yes, you are suppose to punish them. But what does the rest of the verse say?
“If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful.”
Interesting. You never really hear about that part.
So let’s go back to The Quran. This is the verse that people use against homosexuality.
“We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you?”
And for the record, every translation of the Quran is slightly different from the next. Arabic is very, very different from English and you cannot look at only one single translation and assume that you know exactly what the Quran means.
Here is a discussion between a gay Muslim and a Sheikh:
GayMuslim: I myself am a homosexual. I know what I have been through. I got married because I thought that was going to change me. I fasted eighty days every year besides the month of Ramadan asking Allah to help me just get rid of these things. They haven’t moved. I have started with this thing at the age of twelve. At the age of five I recognized I was different from other boys. We feel that it’s not a choice that we make, that somehow the Quran should be speaking about us as well. That we also have rights as human beings.
Sheikh: What do you say? Is homosexuality permissible in Islam? Is that what you’re promoting? We will consider you a murtad, an apostate and out of the fold of Islam. You will not be buried in a Muslim graveyard. No Muslim person would ever read your Salat-ul-Janaza (funeral prayer).
GM: We have looked at all these verses of the Quran and obviously we have a different interpretation of what has happened then.
Sheikh: No person can make interpretation to suit his desires, or her desires when you have clear-cut verses: And then Lot, peace be upon him, when he addressed his people and told them: “Do you commit and bring that obscene and lewd action when a male fulfills his desire with a male?”
GM: We cannot just take the verses of the Quran and use it as a blanket condemnation for homosexuality. When foreigners and guests came into the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, these men were rushing to molest them. As the Quran says, it was an abomination that they’ve been doing for a long time. So it was male to male rape. So Allah doesn’t refer to the homosexual relationship here but he’s referring to molestation.
So the discussion goes on and of course, neither switches views but there are many things I have to say about this. First off, as you can see this sheikh isn’t even trying to hear the other side. He has automatically dismissed any other interpretation of the verses. Second, the Muslim male fasts more than most people do because he is trying so hard to please Allah. He feels that he has to and that just by being who he is, he is more sinful than others. Therefore as he said, he tried to seek God’s help in changing him. Another thing is that the sheikh said, “No Muslim person would ever read your Salat-ul-Janaza (funeral prayer). ” But honestly, I would and I know many others who would as well.
And the subject I haven’t even begun to touch on is the subject of Allah. The all knowing and all merciful and kind. We take this book that is from the divine and glorious and we try to comprehend it as best we can. We are humans on this earth and the universe is vast. When we say things like “Islam is black and white on this subject and this subject” we are basically telling people that we know exactly what God has said. But do we really? Through hadiths and things scholars tell us we assume that we’ve got all the answers and we push aside human emotions and kindness and mercy, the actions which God has stressed the most, and we make decisions on who is going to hell and who is not. We decide who gets the death penalty and who deserves to live but who are we to make those judgements? Who are we to take someones life away? Allah gives life, why take it away? And over something like this? That is questionable.
I get this question sometimes by people who think I should not support all people’s equality, “What if your son was gay? What would you do?”
My reply is, I would do the same thing I would do if he were straight. Love him unconditionally. I never know what people expect to hear when they ask me that. Am I suppose to kick him out the house? Am I suppose to stop loving him? Am I suppose to pretend that he wasn’t in my stomach for nine months? Or that he wasn’t apart of me before he was in this world? Am I suppose to ignore the fact that he is part of me and I am part of him? Allah doesn’t create anything that is imperfect. My son was born on Laylatul Qadr. The night the Quran came to earth, and the night were angels come down to the earth, he came down with them. He really is a bit of heaven on earth, I see no flaws in him.
I read about the Prophet’s childhood and how perfect he was from the beginning and how even when he saw ants, he would leave them alone. So if our prophet didn’t hurt an ant, shouldn’t we learn by his example and at least not hurt other humans?
ALL MUSLIMS & NON-MUSLIMS MUST READ.
From left: Bleu Copas, an Arabic linguist; Joseph Rocha, an IED expert; Hebrew linguist Jason Knight; and helicopter pilot Lissa Young. All were all kicked out of the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but hope to re-enlist when the law is abolished. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/Getty Images for Newsweek.)