Friday, 2 January 2015

The Sharing Group Discussion: The 'Islamic' Gay Marriage

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following question was asked by Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez, on The Sharing Group, on the 27th December 2014: “Does anyone here support the idea of an Islamic gay marriage?  If so, how does it work?  Who pays the mahr? Who needs the wali?  How does thalaq work?  Can a Muslim man marry a non-Muslim man?”

Brother Ahmad Jenkins: No, and not just for my own personal reasons, but also the questions you also raised about the mahr, wali, and other issues of Islamic marriage would have to be changed - not that anyone would do this.

Brother Colin Turner: No, ‘Islamic gay marriage’ has no locus in Islamic law or Muslim culture.

Sister Anjum Anwar: No to all!

Brother Trevor Skinner: The people of Lot were very perverted - in all sorts of ways; sexuality was only part of the mix.  What about homosexuals who led good, and useful lives?  We have a prominent former politician in Australia, who happens to be gay.  He always fought for justice and the environment.  He struggled against his own sexual orientation when young sine he was raised a Christian.  Once, an Australian was held hostage, for ransom, in Somalia.  This man mortgaged his house so he could contribute $100,000 towards the ransom payment.  How many of us would be capable of such generosity?

Sister Laura Burrowes: All these answers seem to be coming from people with Islamic backgrounds, can someone with a western background comment, and also back up what they say with evidence?  Because apparently it is not as clean cut as people think.

Sister Anjum Anwar: I am sure there are many who support gay marriages in the Muslim community, however, Islam does not support same sex marriage.  Because there is no recognition of same sex marriage there is no question about mahr, wali, and thalaq.

Brother Cikgu Dah Bengang: Gay marriage?  That is an oxymoron, just like halal pork.

Brother Colin Turner: Being ‘gay’ and being generous are not mutually exclusive, Brother Trevor Skinner.  I am not sure what the point is here.

Sister Laura Burrowes: He is pointing out gay people are not evil.  You get good and bad, the same as everyone else.

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: I am from a western background.  I have researched the topic.  There is no real evidence or argument that holds up for halal homosexuality.  There is misdirection like saying the Qur’an does not explicitly say its haram and that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is greed and sexual assault, but that is not actually an argument for halal homosexuality, just saying that it was not the only sin or even the worst sin.

Sister Laura Burrowes: Still, I see no reason why someone should be punished for the way they are born.  In cases now, they seem to be punished merely because they are open about it.  Throughout history, and yes that does include the Middle East, it has been understood that it happens, it was just a breach to be completely open about it.  Segregation makes this a little worse also, but there is no point is pointing fingers.  People make their own choices.  If you do not like it, you do not have to do it, and you do not have to stand there and say they are awful people, because that is not right.

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: Gay people are not inherently bad for being sexually attracted to their same gender.  How many straight men are attracted to women they cannot marry?  The problem is the action committed, not a pattern of thoughts and feelings.  Ask any learned, classically trained scholar.  Unfortunately there are some people like those in the Progressive camp who push this new idea of gay friendly Islam.  It is just historical and spiritual revisionism on very shaky grounds.

Sister Jan Ahmed: Yes, Brother Chris, but what if that whole story was not about condemning someone for being gay, but condemning them for sexual assault and luring all newcomers and foreigners who came to their town.  What if, gay marriage was not mentioned in the Holy text because there was no need for such a social contract, not because there was something inherently wrong with it?  I do not know about the other questions.  I am just saying it is possible that gay marriage is accepted in the Holy text.

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: Accusing someone of committing a homosexual act is a very grave thing.  Did you actually see this man penetrate another man or do an explicit act?  Can you bring two just trustworthy men who saw the physical act?  If not, then Islamically speaking, there should not be any punishment.

Brother Cikgu Dah Bengang: If being a homosexual means one is attracted to the same sex, I see no reason why one must bear any blame for wrongdoing for something that cannot be helped.  But if it means the sex act, then it is a different story.

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: Then what about ahadits?  If something was so important, would the ones charged with guiding humanity just leave it out when people would ask about homosexuality?

Sister Laura Burrowes: The same goes for rape.  You are not talking about when it is consenting.  And again, you do not like it fine, but are you really ready to push aside Muslims who are good Muslims and love Allah jut because of what they do in bed?  Why is it anyone’s business what goes on between two consenting adults?  None.

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: The idea that one just cannot help doing something is ridiculous and self-defeating.  I know this as an addict in recovery.  Rape is different from consensual gay sex.  There is no punishment prescribed unless you have two very trustworthy male witnesses.  Would two partners in their house have two people watching them?  Nothing can be done about it unless there's public acts like you see in many gay bars and clubs today or in pornography.

Brother Cikgu Dah Bengang: Being Muslim does not only mean loving God, but it also means obeying His Rules.  Sex is only permitted within marriage.  Gay sex is certainly not the mark of a ‘good’ Muslim; the same goes for non-gay sex - both are outside marriage.  What people do on their beds is no one else’s business – that is true.  But you do not go around publicising the fact, or trying to justify it as being in accordance with Islam, when it is not - that is like trying to insist that pork is halal.

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: It is a shame they go through hell with a lot of the ignorance religious people tend to have.  No one should be shamed for feeling turned on by their own gender.  But that needs to be seen as something that needs to be managed and something that cannot manifest into sex acts.

Sister Laura Burrowes: That is just it though.  As long as you keep it secret then it is okay, can you imagine the burden that puts on someone?  Would it not be better for them to not have to live a lie all the time?  I do not think any of them can say the laws of any religion are okay with it, but they were Made that way and Allah is Merciful and Compassionate.

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: Back to the point.  Islam has gender roles and the fiqh depends on there being a masculine and feminine, so gay marriage is alien to the larger cosmological view of everything being created in pairs.

Brother Cikgu Dah Bengang: To say Allah (s.w.t.) Makes them that way is a weak excuse.  People can change and do change - there are a lot of converts in this group.  Even if they find it hard to change, they can manage their nafs; that's why we are encouraged to perform swawm.

Brother Colin Turner: We have to put our personal feelings aside.  If people are born a certain way, and cannot help their orientation, that is their test, just as someone who is born blind has blindness as their test.  God does not give someone more than they can possibly bear.  However, the regulations on same-gender sexual relations are quite clear, and no amount of hermeneutical sleight-of-hand can magic them away.

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: Transgender people can get surgery to fix their body to match their minds.  Some Shi’ah scholars see it as halal.  The Iranian government will even pay for the surgery, I have heard.  As far as same sex attraction, even Christian groups are now realising that it cannot be ‘fixed’ or ‘cured’.

Brother Abdullah Shalchi: I have not decided if that is a good solution, Brother Chris.  If someone is in a gay relationship and they love each other, for one or both of them to change their gender would end that relationship surely?

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem; Sex change is for people born in the wrong gender, not to ‘fix’ gay relationships by swapping one of the sexes.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: That depends how a person understands Islam.  For a Qur’an- and Prophet-centric Muslim, gay marriage within Islam is possible, irrespective anyone’s personal feelings about homosexuality and religious or cultural conditioning.  For a mullah-centric Muslim, or tradition centric Muslim, gay marriage is an anathema.  As I see nothing in the Qur’an opposing gay marriage, I am inclined to support the human rights of LGBT Muslims and their inalienable right to form partnerships among themselves.  The verses about the people of Luth (a.s.) are about something rather different to consensual homosexual relationships, and it casts Luth’s (a.s.) angelic visitors in a strange light to suggest otherwise.

Sister Laura Burrowes: Brother Chris, I am confused by your stance.  You condemn gay people but you full accept that some people are born with the wrong gender?  And they do not need ‘fixing’.

Brother Abdullah Shalchi: Yes, but if you have any empathy, if you are married or you are in a loving relationship, how can someone force you to go through a huge sex-change operation to please others and give up your partner?  It would take a lot of convincing.  I am not sure any interpretation of the story of prophet Luth (a.s.) would be of much consolation for me.

Brother Colin Turner: You said, “For a Qur’an and Prophet-centric Muslim, gay marriage within Islam is possible” - this presupposes that those who are opposed to gay marriage are neither Qur’an nor Prophet-centric, Brother Paul, and I find that objectionable.  Clearly the bone of contention here is interpretation.

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: I do not condemn gay people.  I condemn the act of homosexuality, whether acted out by gay or straight people.  Human sexuality is very complicated.

Brother Colin Turner: As for ‘human rights’, it is clear that since we live in secular liberal democracies, we have to uphold equal rights for all.  But we should not fool ourselves.  The Qur’an, and the sunnah, hold heterosexual marriage as the ideal, while same-gender sex is prohibited clearly and overtly.  If gay Muslims want to hold a marriage ceremony to celebrate their union, let them do so; as you say, there is nothing in the Qur’an to explicitly prohibit this.  However, if they are to be true to the Qur’an, they must face a life together in which no sexual relations take place.  And no amount of exegetical wizardry can change that.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: What is the difference between “Quran and Prophet-centric Muslim” and “mullah-centric or tradition centric Muslim”?  What are the implications of that terminology?  How do you get better access to the Qur’an and Prophet (s.a.w.) by going around the tradition?  Is this not what the Salafis say?

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: It might help to say that I am not a stranger to this subject.  One of my former friends was disowned at 14 for feeling attracted to his gender and long story short ended up on the street selling himself.  Isolating people and labelling them by their attraction and pilling on shame does not help.  My sister has had long loving relationships with some great women.  I cannot say I approve of the sexual aspect, but I still loved them as family.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Paul, this has nothing to do with bigotry and everything to do with the clear, unambiguous prohibition of same-gender sex in the Qur’an and in the sunnah.  If you wish to create a god in your own image, then that is your prerogative, but it is not the God of the Qur’an that you invoke here.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Colin Turner, where is the clear, unambiguous prohibition of same sex marriage in the Qur’an or ahadits?

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: You be a good and loving friend and if they ever ask about your beliefs, then you share it.  You only have a duty to forbid the wrong if your word would actually make a difference.

Brother Cikgu Dah Bengang: Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, needing two people of different sexes for marriage is not merely practice.  It is the requirement of the shari’ah.  Being Muslim is not merely loving God, and following taswawwuf.

Brother Colin Turner: I said same-gender sex, Brother Paul; I have already conceded that the Qur’an is silent on the question of same-gender marriage.

Brother Chris Abdur Raheem: There is clear disapproval of gay sex in ahadits, even prescribed punishments.  And what do you think marriage is for?

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Cikgu Dah Bengang, sorry to bust your bubble, but shari’ah is neither set in stone nor divine; the vast majority of it was written by Islamic scholars, that is, man-made.  As such, it can be revised; just like has been done throughout the past 14 centuries.

Brother Colin Turner, we are discussing same sex marriage.  Besides, the Qur’an clearly does not discuss consensual same-gender sex.

Brother Abdullah Shalchi: I think we make a bigger deal out of this than we need to.  If it was such a big deal, if gay people were supposed to be ostracised - remember Ahmadinejad saying there are no gays left in the Islamic Republic of Iran? - It would have been made outright haram in the Quran.  I am not saying it is haram or halal, but I think we make too big a deal of it and this subject makes a lot of people emotional and attracts big heated debate when I do not think it's necessary.  Most people are heterosexual, some are not.  Get over it.  They are not going to jump at you!

Brother Cikgu Dah Bengang: Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, yes, the shari’ah is not set in stone, but the principles are based upon inter alia the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) example and ijma’.  No doubt, western liberal societies have moved to a certain direction, but it does not necessarily mean the shari’ah must follow suit.

Brother Abdullah Shalchi: Brother Cikgu I do not like this idea that the problem is western values creeping in.  Almost all of the old ‘Muslim’ world has dried up and gone stale in terms of progress.  Maybe a little bit of progressive western values would do the East some good and inject some life back into Islamic thought and philosophy the same way that Islam’s embracement of other outside philosophies helped it to advance.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Cikgu Dah Bengang, so the issue is with western culture dominance?  Us Muslims must oppose the West?  If you only realised just how much contemporary western civilisation is borrowed from Islamic inspirations, you would eat your words.

Brother Jak Kilby: An absolute, definite, without any doubt whatsoever, no!

Brother Cikgu Dah Bengang: Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, I do not oppose western civilisation per se.  I have never in any of my posts said I do that.  Just be more intelligent, not to be carried away by the prevalent trends in the west and elsewhere.

Brother Abdullah Shalchi: It has to be said that while the Qur’an does not outlaw same-sex marriage, it does give a detailed list of people we may marry.  And other men are not listed.  That may be an implication that same-sex marriages are not on the cards for Muslims, no?

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Indeed, sex has long been celebrated by Muslims, as anyone familiar with the writings of Muslims throughout history would realise.  Yes, ideally within marriage, but celebrated nevertheless.  So much so, that until the 20th century, Muslims were viewed by many in the then largely Christian West as being lewd.

Brother Cikgu Dah Bengang: I organised a seminar on same sex marriage, once: Seminar on Same Sex Marriage.  I have also given a public lecture on polygamy: Polygamy & the Women’s Charter.

Brother Kyle: Marriage in Islam is clearly stated as a contract between a man and a woman.  Marriage is a heterosexual institution designed to legitimise the sexual union of a man and a woman and provide a framework with which to build a family.  Marriage has a definition; gay marriage is an oxymoron so the answer to the question is a resounding no.  What people think is irrelevant; the Qur’an and sunnah is very clear about this.

Sister Shahla Khan Salter: If you believe that being gay is not prohibited in Islam, there is likewise, no explicit prohibition against same sex marriage.  There are inclusive Muslim organisations, including ours up here in Canada, who will arrange for officiators for a same sex nikah and they have taken place.  It does not say anywhere that men cannot marry men, only that they can marry People of the Book and have up to four wives but must treat them equally.  It also does not say what religion or gender women must marry - in fact no prohibition exists for women at all.  Concerning respecting sexual diversity: Sexuality Diversity in Islam, yes, there are scholars who believe that sexual diversity is permissible in Islam.  Yes, they do speak and read Arabic.  And yes, Allah will Judge where we differ.

Sister Sabine Es: Gender roles are created by humans and it is time to do away with different rules for people based on gender, race, skin colour, or sexual orientation.  I believe the reason so many conservative Muslims are opposed to homosexuality has to do with the fact that accepting it would mean re-examining worn out gender stereotypes.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Are there not at least some gender roles endorsed by the Qur’an and ahadits?  Or conversely, does Islam endorse a perfectly unisex society where there are no differences, and men and women are basically interchangeable with identical expectations in every respect?

Sister Sabine Es: Brother Abdul-Halim, these questions have just been discussed a few days ago in a very long thread: A Muslim Convert Once More: The Sharing Group Discussion: Women's Rights in Shari’ah & Secular Law.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: I skimmed through the comments and it seemed like the emphasis was in a very different place from the question I am asking here.  You seemed to bring up specific claims regarding specific gender differences and attempted to shoot them down.  I am asking from the other direction.

Brother Dan Oo: Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez, it is just a sign of the times that this is even a point of contention on this thread.  In earlier times, this entire topic would be dead in a group of Muslims and would be universally condemned as it should be.  There is no androgyny in Islam.  Muslims might have homosexual sex in the privacy of their own homes and frankly I would be easier on them than a couple that could be married but legitimising it is a joke and will always be endorsed by a very small group of people.  This ummah will never agree to it.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: How would you support that position based on the Qur’an and the sunnah?  Mahr seems like a specific counter-example.  So does the following:

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has Given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means ... (Surah an-Nisa’:34)

I am all in favour of finding ways to read that which are more liberating to women and not crudely sexist.  But it certainly does not seem to endorse a unisex vision of society.

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: Actually, many apes, including bonobos and chimpanzees, practice homosexuality.  However, it is usually more of a dominance issue than a sexual one.  Dolphins are the only ones I know that have gay sex for ‘fun’.

Brother Dan Oo: For the sake of argument, I will take what you all are saying about chimpanzees, dolphins, and bonobos at face value without investigating it myself.  We are not animals, folks.  Homosexual sex is still sex and since sex is only allowed in marriage and homosexuals are not allowed to marry, that is it.

Brother Jak Kilby: But that is not the case at all if it is known what they are doing and that this is haram in the opinion of the vast majority of scholars and laymen through history.  Since to allow it knowingly would be to allow them to set an example which would lead others to follow.

Brother Colin Turner: Those who step away from the Path are always eager to deny that the Path exists, or that the Path is like this, or like that, and thus not relevant to them.  Similarly, those who step away from the Path will go to great lengths to deny the destination that the Path leads to.  ‘Liberal’ Islam is about framing the Path in terms that are not detrimental to the agenda of the self, rather than the agenda of the Owner of the path, and if that means interpreting the Guidebook to the Path in accordance with their own desires, that is what adherents of ‘liberal’ Islam will do.  And of course, their liberality is confined to their own whims and fancies; as soon as anyone challenges them, their illiberality soon shines through.  As for the arguments based on observation of animals in the wild, this is a huge red herring.  Just because animals do this, that or the other does not mean that we can too, clearly.  Some animals kill their young because of lack of resources.  Should we follow their example?

Brother Abdullah Shalchi: I'm not sure that the people here defending same-sex marriage are all gay or lesbian.  So to say they are simply interpreting the Guidebook to the Path in accordance with their own desires might not be true.

Sister Anjum Anwar: The original question is not simply asking Muslims about gay marriages.  The question is posed to all, however we all respond according to our faith or non-faith.  There is categorically no room for single sex marriage in Islam but there are some practitioners of Islam, misguided, who may advocate it.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Please, can we try to avoid allowing insecurities over personal faith and observance of Islam to colour the discussion?  People who have been studying Islam for decades are generally more open minded and less dogmatic.  People who are newer to Islam, have not studied, or merely the product of madaris classes without further research, generally cling more to dogma, but this is not based on additional knowledge, but merely finding security in clinging to what they know rather than exploring issues further.

Brother William Voller: I think with marriage, are we saying anything is gender specific?  Wali is not a rukn and for the purpose of protecting young girls from the unscrupulous so as my teacher said a university graduate would be more than ample evidence of waving the need for a wali.  It is obsolete really.  Also, what is the mahr for?  A gift?  Or part of a contract or given for something in return?  Thalaq as just verbal declaration has so many problems.  Are they married or unmarried based on unobjective testimony?  A lot of countries have instituted official forms of the thalaq.  There is khul for the dissolution of marriage for the waiving of the mahr.  Anyway, are these necessarily gender specific?  I am just not sure at the bare bones what we can say Islamic marriage is, but most likely offer and acceptance?  So is that gender specific?  I do not see why?  Islamic marriage contracts strike me as very much of the mu’amalat and not in any way ‘ibadat and so you can do whatever you like.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Sister Anjum Anwar, as absurd as it sounds, you could equally say there is categorically no room for cars in Islam, or space exploration as some mullahs actually have, or computers.  Indeed, any of the things not discussed directly in the Qur’an and sunnah, or by pre-20th century Islamic scholars.  That is a massive flaw in the argument that there is categorically ‘no’ anything in Islam that many Muslims are unfamiliar with.

Brother Colin Turner: I believe that the deal breaker in this whole discourse is the Qur’anic prohibition on same-gender sex.  Let us suppose that everything else is mubah, which in this case, is a conclusion we reach after noting the absence of any prohibition of things such as gay feelings, gay marriage and so on.  Gay feelings and gay marriage may not be prohibited explicitly and overtly, but the expression of ‘love’ through sexual intimacy certainly is.  If two people wish to enter into a marriage contract, I see nothing to stop them.  However, if they wish to remain faithful to the tenets of Islam, they need to realise that even though they are married, they are debarred from sexual contact.  This would seem to render the marriage contract redundant.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Colin Turner, if they are married, sexual intimacy, in private of course, is halal for them.

Sister Anjum Anwar: Cars replaced camels and God did not forbid the transformation.  However God has Forbidden sex between a man and a man and woman and a woman.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, marriage between gay people will not make sexual intimacy halal for them.  You cannot make halal what God has Decreed haram.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Sister Anjum Anwar, cars are not camels.  They may have taken over a particular role, but cars are machines, not living creatures, and certainly not the same.  You do not eat a car if you are short of food, or at least I certainly hope not.

Sister Anjum Anwar: Sorry, Brother Paul, but this discussion cannot go anywhere from where I am standing.  I have no intention making anything halal which has been made haram.  We are not going to agree.  So let us agree to disagree; to you your faith and to me mine.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Sister Anjum Anwar, the question is who declared homosexual intimacy haram, even within homosexual marriages?  If Allah (s.w.t.), then yes, I entirely agree with you.  But if human scholars of previous generations, then no, I do not because they were a product of the patriarchal cultures of their time and place.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Brother William Voller, do you have any well-grounded reasons for your claims about marriage above?  For example, there is a hadits which says, “There is no marriage without a wali” and in three out of the four Sunni schools of fiqh, it is literally impossible to elope.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Do you accept ahadits as authoritative?  And where in the Qur’an does it say that the main problem was consent?

“For ye practise your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” (Surah al-A’araf:81)

And again:

“Would ye really approach men in your lusts rather than women?  Nay, ye are a people (grossly) ignorant!” (Surah an-Naml:55)

How does that become “intimate relations between men are acceptable; the problem is consent”?

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Sister Anjum, you continue to speak as if there is a monolith called Islam, when in truth there are many interpretations of Islam and what we have today is just the distillation of many other schools of thought that existed more than a thousand years ago.  Allah did not forbid same sex relationships:

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments.  And O ye Believers!  Turn ye all together towards Allah that ye may attain Bliss. (Surah an-Nur:31)


Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage ― there is no blame on them if they lay aside their (outer) garments, provided they make not a wanton display of their beauty: but it is best for them to be modest: and Allah is One Who Sees and Knows all things. (Surah an-Nur:60)

They give you all you need to know about same sex relationships and their range.

Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among your slaves, male or female: if they are in poverty, Allah will Give them means out of His Grace: for Allah Encompasseth all, and He Knoweth all things. (Surah an-Nur:32)

This verse explains who we should marry; “those among you who are single” without attribution to gender.  As you stated, Sister Anjum, you have choices and you take the consequences of being mistaken in your assessment.

Brother Dan Oo, just because something is a legal impossibility, with emphasis on the 'legal' does not mean the thing or action itself is impossible to accomplish.  Same sex Muslim couples marry within shari’ah and outside of shari’ah practices.  Some are done traditionally and some secularly, but marriage in and of itself is performed.  Now if you are the arbitrator of all Allah Knows and shall ever be, then state your claim to knowing it for all of human time.  Otherwise, admit you are pontificating to make yourself feel more ‘comfortable’ about the fact that some Muslims are not assembly line duplications for general consumption, and are uniquely diverse in how Allah Created them.

Brother Colin Turner: The Quranic prohibition of fahshah and zina between two males, together with the admonitions we see in the sunnah, as well as centuries of jurisprudential corroboration, is enough to tell us that sodomy is prohibited, be it between gays or heterosexuals.  Moreover, no one in the history of jurisprudence or exegesis has ever forwarded the idea that sexual intimacy between two people of the same gender might ever be considered halal.  It seems to me somewhat incredible that exponents of ‘liberal’ Islam could, without any background in jurisprudence or exegesis, arrive at conclusions so out of sync with generation after generation of scholars.

Brother Daayiee Abdullah, your ability to manipulate the verses of the Qur’an is nothing new.  As the old saying goes, a jaundiced man sees everything as yellow.

Brother Moinul Abu Hamza Hussain: Marriage is a way to direct the sexual inclination between men and women in a way that carries responsibility and obedience to God.  Gay marriage is an oxymoron in itself and a direct opposite of what I have stated.  There is no such thing as gay, there are varying degrees of inclination to the opposite sex in each person, one is prescribed with marriage and the other is prescribed with celibacy.  Both include brotherhood and friendship as no human being likes to be lonely.  A presence of any inclination is not a God given right to act upon it.  As for desires for men women animal vegetable or mineral; they must be restrained.  When I hear of people leaving Islam because they cannot accept not having relations with the same sex or sex outside marriage, it only shows how susceptible they are to their appetitive selves.  Which is unbecoming of a being blessed with an ‘aql to restrain the desires?

Sexual satisfaction is not a necessity, that is, one will not die; also it becomes prominent in one’s mind based on triggers, pictures, licentious words, seeing things and so forth.  It is generated from external reminder, when the instinct is given specific determination to act on it.  Otherwise when people are sitting with family eating dinner, they are not aroused because it is not preponderant in the mind.  This particular desire left unsatisfied will not cause one to die, but causes sever suffering to those who are far from the angelic selves and lowly in their dunyawi selves.

Whereas not eating causes death and physical pain, yet Allah (s.w.t.) Prescribes a whole month of it, while praying at night and advising against leaving out daily activities like work, chores and so forth.  The only reason we are discussing is that society constantly reminds one of sex, to advertise chewing gum and the sexualisation of our children starts at a young age.  When we abandoned the desire to live in the Islamic stage, our weaker brethren desired everything in a non-Islamic state leading them to salivate for fatwa instead of vaccinating one selves with da’wah.  So the question carries a faulty premise which is, “Can I have a have a law to satisfy my desires because it will please me,” whereas in Islam, the object is to please Allah (s.w.t.), at the expense of the lowly appetitive self.

Brother William Voller: Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez, being a student of Hanafi school, then yes, the madzhab is my proof.  For example, the hadits you give is clearly conditional since this is not true for the non-virgin, or older woman, by agreement.  I am pretty sure all ‘ulama say a wali not necessary for previously married: ‘The deflowered woman has greater right over herself than her guardian’ the underlying cause is experience not the having of sex which frees women of the need of a wali.  In the case of Hanafi school, she has equal status in marriage contract since she can devolve it without recourse to a wali.  The wali has a right to interject in terms of a mismatch for a ‘virgin’ but not as a condition for the contract.  The wording is therefore not absolute.  That is fiqh.

Brother Jak Kilby: Funnily enough, or perhaps not, when the Church of England was changing their rulings on homosexual marriage, to allow it, this was met with bitter opposition by a large number of African bishops.  Their complaint was that for one, you could not dilute the religion from what was long accepted, and thus, the Will of God, simply to fit the whims of society, like pick and mix, and, secondly, that they in Africa were faced with huge numbers of people accepting Islam, and that concerning homosexuality, it was well known that Islam had no room or acceptance of this, which was thus attracting disgruntled African Christians.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Jak, that is perhaps true in some parts of Africa, but by no means true of Islam in every time and place over the past 14 centuries.

Brother Moinul Abu Hamza Hussain: Man can desire to commit zina, drink alcohol or commit a homosexual act, or act violent due to his predisposition to being more impulsive then others, it's proven some men have more testosterone and are prone to aggression than others, so the shari’ah, in some aspects, is harder for others than but the greater the Reward for that struggle.  It does not mean we build a whole unprecedented perversion of the Diyn to do thawaf around our genitalia.  We do not believe in vegetarian steak house, it defeats the purpose.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Daayiee Abdullah, our wish to do exactly as we please engenders in us the desire to see everyone else as justificatory mirrors of our own selves.  Hence the obsession, amongst gays, with trying to identify others as having the same proclivities.  After all, misery loves company.

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Brother Colin, there are no gymnastics, no hurdles, not contortions, just facts that does not allow you to rest on your laurels that you have the ‘only’ answers. Since I do not utilise ahadits, as I am a Qur’an-only person, it is not about solving the issue.  You look for a conclusion.  I offer alternative points of view, as Qur’an is not monolithic.  One person, I believe above, stated the idea of Islam is a path.  I do not disagree with them, but I ask how wide is the path, how deep is the path, how flexible is the path?  Is the path made of stones alone, or it is one of mud and quagmire, or is it one of enlightenment and supersedes the physical realm?

Brother Jak Kilby: Brother Paul, I have found this to be true in many parts of Africa, in which I have travelled.  For example, one well known and prominent Nigerian said that there were no homosexuals in Africa.  When this was challenged, he continued explaining that if people know of such a thing they kill those involved, so, there are none.  This was not a Muslim, by the way.  And in Africa, in differing countries, I have witnessed thieves being beaten to death, traditional style, and this was in both Muslim and non-Muslim societies, and nothing to do with shari’ah.  But meanwhile, you say that parts of Africa do not reflect the Muslim world and over history.  Sorry mate, I am quite well travelled.  I have never heard of it being accepted or acceptable in any Muslim country.  And in Britain, it was against the law in my youth, the sexual activity of such people, let alone the notion of ‘marriage’.  This has crept in via degeneration of society.  You did not hear of such things in the Muslim community in Britain before a very few number of years ago.  Some of you must read a different Qur’an and books of ahadits.

Brother Moinul Abu Hamza Hussain: It is from ‘Ikrimah (r.a.) from ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) who said, “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, ‘Whoever you find doing the action of the people of Luth, kill the doer and the one to whom it is done.’”  This is narrated by the five except by Imam an-Nasa’i (r.a.).

As for the ijma’ asw-swahabah, the swahabah differed in the style of killing the fornicating homosexual; however, they had a consensus, ijma’ on killing him.  Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) extracted from ‘Ali (k.w.) that he stoned a homosexual, and Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) extracted from Abu Bakr (r.a.) that he gathered the people in the concerning a man who was married just as women are married and he asked the companions of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) about that.  The most severe among them on that day was Ali (k.w.).  He said, “No nation among the nations has disobeyed with this sin except one nation with whom Allah did what you know.  We view that we should burn them with fire.”

And Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad (q.s.) narrated from his father from ‘Ali (k.w.) in other than this incident who said, “He is stoned, then burnt with fire.”

Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) extracted from ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) that he was asked about the hadd of the fornicating homosexual and said, “The highest building in the town is looked for then he is thrown from it upside down, then he is followed by stones.”

And it narrated from ‘Ali (k.w.), “He is killed by the sword then burnt due to the enormity of the sin.”  ‘Umar (r.a.) and ‘Utsman (r.a.) adopted ‘that a wall is thrown upon him.’  All these opinions collectively indicate killing even if they differ on the style of killing.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: The prohibition on gay sex seems overdetermined.  On the one hand, you have Islamic prohibitions on gay sex as a category.  But even putting that aside for a second, Islam prohibits sex outside of marriage, so then another issue has to do with whether same-sex marriage can be Islamic.

Brother Moinul Abu Hamza Hussain: I find these sources authoritative because fundamentally their thinking was not marred by lowly desires.

Brother Jak Kilby: It is also no real surprise to see that ahadits literature is kind of inconvenient for some, so they just throw it out the window.

Brother Moinul Abu Hamza Hussain: There's no confusion here, marriage is the solution for the desire for the opposite sex, abstinence is ordered for those who want to kill or commit zina or homosexual acts.  We slaughter permitted animals and eat halal, gay marriage is applying logic when the legal reasoning is not provided.  I do not hate pigs.  They are Creations of Allah (s.w.t.) but I cannot halal slaughter a pig for consumption no matter how many times I say, “Allahu Akbar.”

Allah Most High Says:

“Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males?  And leave those whom Allah has Created for you to be your mates?  Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)! (Surah ash-Shu’ara’:165-166)

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Brother Daaiyee Abdullah, is it true that you do not accept ahadits?  So you are not actually Sunni?

Brother Moinul Abu Hamza Hussain: There is the tarjamah, then the tahsin, thalab jazim, then the qara’in, indicators, then a study of the full ambit of the evidences.  All of this is dependant one having a deep understanding of Arabic language.  This is the uswuli method.  So please show this full process that refutes over a thousand years traditional Islamic scholarship, otherwise it is a waste of time.  A rejection of sunnah, especially the mutawatir, and rejection of Qur’an are the same thing as they went through the same transmission, compilation and verification process.  Rejections of sunnah is no more a perversion of the law as trying to make lewd sexuality behaviour an act of piety.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Also, Brother Daaiyee Abdullah, is marriage not supposed to be a major public activity which brings families together?  You seem to be talking about them as a private matter?

Brother Jak Kilby: I have never ever come across any Muslim community who accepted homosexuality, let alone ‘same sex marriage’.  It seems that just as Christianity became diluted for ‘modernity’ and convenience, there are some who would have Islam take the same route.  But, I have to say, you are fooling yourself and more dangerously you are fooling others and leading them astray.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Brother Daaiyee Abdullah, it is the Salafis who dispense with the tradition and claim to read the sources afresh

Brother Moinul Abu Hamza Hussain: The scholars say, “al-Lughatu wisal al-‘ilm”, “The language is the vessel for meaning.”  Please bring the qara’in from the text that overturn the imperative form used linked with the qara’in that link to Hellfire.

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Brother Jak, what is the problem is that Muslims do not know their Muslim history, nor how to look at human relationships from their literature.  Modern day Muslim communities are not necessarily free of their culture and outside Wahhabist influences, so to say that you have not come across any Muslim community who accepted homosexuality does not mean this is not, in fact, possible, just that they prefer to ignore the truth before them.  And that is not only about same sex marriages.  It is a public matter, and as with private weddings for heterosexuals, it is a private affair and then made known to the general public.  Not everyone is invited to the affair, are they?  Same sex couples do the same thing, they have a private event and then announce it to their family and friends.  Where is the difference in intention and actions?

Brother Abdul, I am actually inclusive-Sunni, not exclusive-Sunni; trained as a Shafi’i, but through study of other schools, picked up some very valuable variances found in each of them, and very helpful for people to utilise ‘urf when needed.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Holding gay sex to be haram is certainly not limited to the Wahhabis.  It certainly is not a new position which began in the 18th century.  It is something agreed on by all four Sunni schools, the Shi’ah, even the Ahmadiyyah.  How are you defining ‘Sunni’?

Brother Moinul Abu Hamza Hussain: ‘Urf is only used as a sources within the mubahat‘Urf is not used to make drinking alcohol halal because it is the custom in London by the majority.  It is also only after nothing that is thalab jazim is found in the Qur’an, ahadits, ijma’, qiyas, istinbath, istihsan; all of which have been conveniently bypassed do to people being bent on obfuscating a pure religion.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: The definition I have seen is that Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah is defined as the those who follow the Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali or Shafi’i school in terms of fiqh and the Ash’ari or Maturidi school in terms of ‘aqidah.  But all those are obviously based on ahadits and all those hold homosexual acts to be prohibited, no?

Brother Abdullah Shalchi: I do not think either of the 4 schools consider the founding a’immah to be infallible, Brother Abdul-Halim.  And I do not think the four a’immah would be particularly pleased that their works ended any sort of debate, rebuttal or inquiry.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: I do not think of the schools as limited to the words of the namesake founders.  Each of them started a long tradition of thousands of scholars who applied certain methodological principles and revised and refined rulings to form a more complete system.  No one individual is infallible but the system should be given a certain amount of consideration and respect and not thrown out willy-nilly.

Brother James Harris: From another perspective, would not the open sexualisation of relationships between men create a whole new dynamic in the expression of brotherhood?  I find that in Muslim societies men are often more affectionate to each other in general precisely because the idea of their affection being interpreted sexually is ‘out of the equation’ so to speak, and so shows of affection cannot be misinterpreted.  In Muslim societies in which I have lived, it is understood that some are inclined that way and they are not harassed at all.  The issue of this becoming a marriage issue is something else though.  It cannot be seen as an equivalent to heterosexual marriage in a tribal society and I have seen interviews where some men who are homosexual in Arab countries have said as such, that they do not wish to see the traditional idea of family changed.

Brother Colin Turner: As people in this group will attest, I do not see Islam as a monolith - far from it.  But there are limits to the extent to which we can cut and model Islam in accordance with our own understanding, let alone our whims and caprices.  An Islam that throws out, from the outset, all ahadits, is not an Islam that can be engaged with critically, one feels, possibly because, one may argue, if one throws out the ahadits qua ahadits, by what possible rationale does one accept the Qur’an, which, after all, was communicated to us in precisely the same way that ahadits were communicated?  It is pointless to discuss the subtle differences between reds and greens with one who is colour blind, no?  The Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah also includes those who subscribe to the Ja’fari rite of jurisprudence and the Thahawi school of ‘aqidah, Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez.

Brother James Harris: If contact between unmarried men and women is regulated to protect against zina, should similar restrictions be made between men if sexual relations between members of the same sex are normalised?  This is a serious question.  I am interested in the implications of this issue.

Brother Colin Turner: Behind this, of course, there is a serious issue which should be accorded the attention it deserves.  Historically, our scholars have not engaged critically and compassionately with the issue of same-sex desire; it has simply been a case of blanket condemnation, with no attempt to unpack the issue and discuss it in a mature and measured way.  Years ago, people who were ‘mad’ were thrown into asylums and that was it: there was neither discussion nor debate around the issue of psychological well-being.  Unfortunately, our scholars have treated homosexual desire in the same way.  Given the fact that some people are clearly predisposed to their own gender, possibly from birth, there needs to be a mature discussion around the jurisprudential and theological ramifications of such instances.  None has been forthcoming so far and it is long overdue.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Jak, that misses the point that we are discussing realities, not deliberately created modern scenarios.  Never was there a time we know of that same sex attraction did not exist.  Ignoring that reality through burying our collective heads in the sand, or literally burying those who come out of the closet, will not make reality magically disappear or accord to personal preference.

Brother Colin Turner: Never has there been a time when sexual attraction to young children did not exist, either.  And before anyone says that paedophilia is not to be compared with homosexuality, I agree, they are not to be compared.  However, that is of little comfort to the paedophile, who must repress his or her desires and find a different outlet for them.  Can we not see the existence of homosexual desires as a test, the successful outcome of which depends on self-restraint and abstinence?

Brother James Harris: Paul, homosexuality has always existed in Islamic societies, and nobody has argued here that same sex attraction does not exist.  Also, it is disingenuous to imply that others here wish to ‘bury those who come out of the closet’.  The issue under discussion here is the legislation of marriage between members of the same sex.  As there has been a consensus on the issue throughout the history of Islam as a moral issue, it a legitimate topic of discussion.  I personally would like to see the different sides of the argument presented as objectively as possible.

Brother Jak Kilby: Attraction did not mean acting on it with something forbidden, just as what is clearly allowed, male-female relationship via marriage is forbidden before the marriage, and in that before state, or in general society with male female relationships attraction has meant not acting on it for Muslims.  I totally disagree with you, Brother Paul in that I do believe absolutely that there has been a deliberately created modern scenario, condoning and even encouraging homosexuality.  I saw this happening clearly when I worked in the media.  It was a gradual normalisation and then encouragement of this.  I saw this before I came to Islam.  After I became Muslim, I discussed it with a publication as to what they were doing, and after that I was shown the door.  I also be not believe in any way, shape or form that people are homosexual or have that tendency from birth.  It is a lustful corruption.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother James Harris, I am not suggesting anyone here wants to bury LGBT Muslims, but that is sadly what is happening in many parts of the world due to a total misunderstanding of Islam in respect to sexuality.

Brother James Harris: Having said this, I think that it is entirely unhelpful to label those who view gay marriage as unacceptable in Islam to be bigots or people with repressed homosexual tendencies.  As I said above, this view has been the consensus throughout Islamic history, and touches upon core moral issues.  Critiques should be as objective as possible.

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: I would just say that it seems that to justify homosexual acts, it is not just a matter of changing one isolated ruling in Islam.  In order to change one thing, it logically follows having to alter a whole series of other things: gender roles, the nature and purpose of marriage, the role of ahadits and basic fiqh methodology so that at the end of the day, it is more radical change than going from Sunni to Shi’ah or vice versa.  Communicating in certain ways might make people defensive and more entrenched in their position.  It might be better to try to get people to calmly and objectively articulate their arguments.  If one or the other side has trouble doing that then we can realise more decisively which side is more correct.

Brother Trevor Skinner: I ask myself this: imagine a Muslim, who loves his Diyn, who passes through puberty and realises that he is sexually attracted to other men and not to women.  He feels distressed and guilty.  He believes it is wrong.  He goes to his local imam for advice.  The imam counsels prayer and fasting.  He prays and fasts but still feels the same.  He goes to his family doctor who refers him to a psychiatrist or psychologist for a series of ‘treatments’.  These do not work.  What is he to do?  There is no monkery in Islam.  There is no celibate priesthood.  Is it compassionate, is it reasonable, is it realistic for him to pass his life in denial of his sexual desires?  If he was a man who felt he was a woman, he can go to Iran and get a sex change operation.  But if not, what should he do?  What would you do?

Brother Abdul-Halim Vazquez: Brother Trevor Skinner, I do not think the options are easy but I also do not think they are unclear.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: We should always keep in mind that where there is a lack of clarity on any issue, only Allah Knows the Truth.  Each of us only understands what we do, based upon what we have learned.  Let us have a little more respect and less assuming those we disagree with are misguided or outside the fold of Islam.

Imam ash-Shafi’i (r.a.) was always glad to hear the truth from the lips of those whom he was debating, as he saw it as a protection from his own nafs.  Similarly, Imam Malik (r.a.) was extremely fearful of having his fiqh made the Khilafah’s official shari’ah, as he knew he was only human, and would have to answer to Allah (s.w.t.) for any mistakes in his fiqh which others picked up from him.  A little humility and respect goes a long way.

Brother Colin Turner: May God Protect us from those who would make what is haram, halal, and what is halal, haram.  May God Protect us from those who take only those parts of the Message that suit them and their desires.  May God Protect us from those who make the ugly seem beautiful, and the beautiful, ugly.  May God Protect us from those who ‘bury’, ilhad, the Names of God by twisting His Words and subverting His Verses.  May God Protect us from those who don the robes and adopt the title of ‘scholar’, yet use their position to further the cause of unbelief and lead the innocent astray.  Amin, ya Rabb al-‘Aalamin.

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