The Sharing Group Discussion on Homosexuality

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Brother Mingda Sun posted this on The Sharing Group, on the 01st May, 2015.  He said, “I cannot believe that ‘Ali (k.w.) believed sodomy needed to be punished by setting the guilty on fire and throwing them off heights - who else has heard this?  I have heard that there is no hudud punishment for lesbianism; is that true?  Intellectually and philosophically speaking, why might that be the case?  Is there, in Islam, something somewhat better or less wrong about two women engaged in homosexuality than two men?”

Brother Fahim Ferdous Promi: Because homosexuality is not punishable; sodomy is and lesbianism does not always involve sodomy.  The act of sodomy is considered a sexual deviance and thus it is to be punished.  Therefore, gays who engage in the act are apparently punishable whereas lesbians are not.

Brother Mingda Sun: Okay, so assuming this is the case, does this indicate to us that before Allah (s.w.t.), sodomy is more severe a sin?

Brother Fahim Ferdous Promi: Allahu ‘Alim.

Brother Mingda Sun: Why might this be the case, that gay male sex is more reprehensible?  The hadits about the Throne of Allah (s.w.t.) Shaking with Anger when one man commits sodomy with another man comes to mind.  Assuming that this is all legit and this is not some ancient homophobic conspiracy afoot that we have fallen victim to, why?  I have some theories but I want to hear others first.

Brother Fahim Ferdous Promi: I have none.  Sorry 

Brother Mingda Sun: Even Islamqa agrees there is no hudud punishment.  I thought the Salafis would for sure want to lash women for lesbianism.  I was proven wrong.

Sister Jennifer Giove: What about male on female sodomy?  What if it is a husband and wife act?  Does it still count as a reprehensible act or is it part of what is allowed between spouses?

Brother Mingda Sun: Yeah, good question because it seems to me it is clearly male on male sodomy that is considered the worst; the hadits of ‘Ali ibn Thalib (k.w.) saying we need to light the guy on fire before we throw the guilty off a mountain comes to mind, but it is unclear as to the magnitude of other sexual sins.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: It is not homosexuality per se that is haram in Islam.  It is sodomy.  And sodomy is haram whether it is done within or without marriage, by heterosexuals or homosexuals.  Also proscribed are acts of sexual intimacy between non-married couples.  But there is no hadd for that.  It is a sin.  And there is no penalty in Islam that involves execution by fire.  Punishment by fire is haram.  Also, the hadits on the ‘Arsh shaking refers to the frivolous use of the thalaq.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: No, Brother Mingda Sun, Salafis would not go for that.  Keep in mind, many of them want multiple wives too.  Goodness knows what goes on in their warped minds!

The other point to consider regarding punishing people for anal sex, according to the traditional approach, is that it would require witnesses to have witnessed the act itself.  Now unless this occurred in public, any judge worth his position would reasonably ask what was going on, that these witnesses were in the bedroom.  In effect, actual sentencing should virtually never take place.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, where do these ahadits and traditions come from?  I always took them with a grain of salt.  Were they made up or they portray ignorant acts that actually took place?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: This not about ahadits.  This is fiqh.

Brother Mingda Sun: Yes but did the incident occur, Ali (k.w.) recommending death by fire and falling?  This is a “yes” or “no” or “I don't know” question.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: That one, I do not know, and I doubt it.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Terence, that is true, but I know what Brother Mingda is referring to.  After all, fiqh makes reference to ahadits.  I doubt that account too.  It strikes me as completely out of character for ‘Ali (k.w.).

Brother Mingda Sun: It concerns me that a popularly accepted, possibly fake hadits focused on killing gays in the most unIslamic of ways is circulating out there.  This hadits is very widely referenced, hence the concern and question.  I hear it often quoted.  And I have seen it referenced even on the Islam and homosexuality Wikipedia page.  Every time I try to research the issue this pops up.

Whatever the truth is, the impression that ‘Ali (k.w.), Abu Bakr (r.a.) and other swahabah explicitly endorsed painful execution of those guilty of sodomy is out there.  I am asking for someone who knows the truth to clarify.

Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger: The Qur’an Mentions homosexuality only in connection with the people of Luth (a.s.) and that is clearly defined as male homosexuality, and to my knowledge, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.) referred to homosexuality invariably only as the “acts of the people of Luth”.  I tend to not consider lesbianism an issue in terms of shari’ah at all.  Wa Allahu ‘Alim.

Brother Fahim Ferdous Promi: It has been mentioned that all ahadits speaking of punishments for homosexuality have been weak or fabricated.  Even the Wikipedia page you mention of brings up this point, Brother Mingda.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger, so to clarify, you believe it is a sin but a purely personal issue?  That is, if you are a lesbian woman, it is between you and God?  Or that lesbianism not being mentioned in Qur’an, is not truly something we can label haram?

Brother Fahim Ferdous Promi, yes, I know, but why?  Who would do this?

Brother Fahim Ferdous Promi: Brother, anyone who makes up anything about the Prophet (s.a.w.) that he has not said takes his place in the Fire, it has been said.

Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger: Brother Mingda, I do not think to be or not be anything is a sin.  However, whether to act in a certain way, or to do something that has not been defined by the Word of Allah or His Prophet (s.a.w.), is a sin or not, only your conscience can and will tell you.

But say not ― for any false thing that your tongues may put forth ― “This is lawful, and this is forbidden,” so as to ascribe false things to Allah.  For those who ascribe false things to Allah will never prosper. (Surah an-Nahl:116)

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger, I hope with all my heart Allah (s.w.t.) has left it unmentioned so it is not a sin, or at least not a major one.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: A lot of ahadits are misused to support extreme and stupid ideas.  But it defeats the purpose to focus on the ahadits when the problem is the people.

Brother William Voller: You might be interested if you have not read my article, Brother Mingda Sun: Islamic Law Revisited: Homosexuality & Islam.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother William Voller, is this the gist of your ruling, “If we need love like water or food to live then, yes, shari’ah should probably permit some form of same sex marriage”?

Brother Colin Turner: If same-sex marriage can exist without any show of sexual intimacy, why not?  See the problem?

Brother William Voller: That is my argument if you throw in, it is a natural disposition of a small minority.  However it would be wrong to say this is a normative fatwa.  But in all honesty, Brother Mingda Sun, I cannot see much in counter arguments other than ‘washing their hands’ or just ignorance.  God Knows best.  But in answer to your question, there is no nass text which gives a punishment that qualifies as evidence in criminal law, that sodomy and illicit sex is defined by penetration.  Therefore, normative lesbian sex would not come under this category.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother William Voller, many gay men do not practice anal at all; only other kinds of sex, as I have heard said on the radio.  So it is interesting to ponder the possibility of same sex Islamic marriage for men and women devoid of any sodomy.

Brother Colin Turner: It would have to be devoid of any kind of sexual intimacy, Brother Mingda.  Which sort of pours cold water on the idea of marriage in the first place.

Brother William Voller: Brother Mingda Sun, I think it all boils down to categories of people.  Under normal, and by that, I mean mathematically, circumstances, it is as Brother Colin said.  The issue is for the exception due to a person being a different category; to treat two people equally who are unequal is unjust.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Colin Turner, some would say the only kind of sexual intimacy pertinent to same sex couples in Islam is sodomy the rest counts as ‘lesser’ zina.  I believe that is essentially what Brother William said.  I am still not sure what to make of all this.

Brother Colin Turner: ‘Lesser zina’?  Surely something is either zina or it is not?  Wa Allahu ‘alam.

Brother Mingda Sun: That is not how zina is treated in fiqh.  There is certainly a difference between sexual intimacy with penetration and without.  Allah (s.w.t.) Knows best why shari’ah allows for these distinctions.  And kissing is, of course, less severe than petting and so on.  It makes sense to not treat all sexual matters as being the same.

Brother William Voller: Brother Mingda Sun, there are of course categories of impermissible things such as sins and crimes.  We may say touching one who is not one’s spouse as a non-mahram with desire is a sin, but it is not a crime; there is no worldly punishment for this.  I mean, imagine the consequences of making touching a crime?  It is quite common for touching to be what is meant by fitnah in mixed gatherings and so we might manage an environment to limit touching.  All that is a crime, that is, has a worldly punishment is zina and that which directly leads to it.  Zina of penetrative sex has a specific punishment and others such as oral sex would be punished at the judges’ discretion or people performing zina but with a lesser burden of proof than the required four witnesses seeing actual penetration, which does not include spying.

I would argue, as a Hanafi, that sodomy has no specific punishment but a discretionary one and is less of a sin than straight sex.  Unless the mode changed such as rape, then that would be a capital offence for causing corruption in the land.  Other than this, all else is a sin and discretionary but I would think crime requiring punishment would be considered that where the genitals are touched.

My contention is that homosexuals are a healthy alternative to the mathematical normal sexual behaviour, similar to say left handedness versus right handedness.  Therefore, the one involved in sexual activity like that of a marriage in this category does not seem to warrant sin or indeed punishment.  Sodomy is impermissible at all times between all people and this can easily be reasoned due to health and wellness, issues.  We might then accept an unofficial tacit approval of those involved in same gender relations for this category of people, a very small minority, as was done throughout all Islamic history.  However, in our times, an official approval is needed, which we may accept as civil partnerships as a rukhsah, or even nikah.  God Knows best.

Brother Mingda Sun: I see.  I like how you think and reason, Brother William Voller.

I believe the reason that zina, male-female intercourse is criminalised by shari’ah is because it makes sex an exploitative act by which all men can do whatever they wished with whatever women they could find and never have to own up to the consequences of that act, such as when a child is conceived, fatherless, illegitimate, deprived of rights.

That is why it makes sense to me that consensual, monogamous, LGBT intimacy should be accepted.  Monogamy is a beautiful thing, even if relatively speaking.  The only realistic alternative is going from partner to partner.  Full celibacy for life is impossible for most people.  So yes, I could endorse this proposal.

For public interest reasons and invoking the spirit of shari’ah, which allows for moments where haram and halal do not matter because of extreme human need, I could get on board.  Maybe some people do not need love to want to live but many do.  The alarming rate at which LGBT people are abused, hurt, killed, commit suicide from a sense of loneliness, from being tired of being bullied or trying to turn straight which is scientifically proven to be impossible for most gay folks, I cannot stand for this as a human being and Muslim.  If saving one life is like saving all humanity, then surely for the sake of saving lives we can decriminalise or legalise LGBT civil unions?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Right.  And that means ignoring all the dala’il, every madzhab and every scholar because one would feel it is ‘right’, not to mention ignoring the Qur’an where it is inconvenient.  That is not wise.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: It also means overlaying your own personal opinions and what is deemed socially acceptable as the new furqan or discrimination in spirituality.  The entire issue of homosexuality has been way overdone in this group.  In Islam, the practice of homosexual acts is prohibited.  Full stop.  For those who feel they have the knowledge and ability to proclaim a judgement over the Qur’an, well, you have the right of free speech, but ignorance in light of clear knowledge has a price.

Brother William Voller: I would agree with Brother Hajj that this issue has been overdone.  Also it is easy to get carried away.  The article I wrote states all I think and know on the subject, but it is in no way exhaustive and holds no authority other than its strength of argument.  I would think however that it cannot be argued that LGB relationships are fine in Islam, no, only that in ‘extreme’ circumstances ‘extreme’ measures are taken.  We are talking about very rare cases, Brother Mingda, something like 0.1% to 1% of the population and yet it might still be more virtuous to avoid.

Brother Mingda Sun: Many things are sinful but an Islamic society and Muslims can tolerate them.  Pork is forbidden but we let non-Muslims eat it under the caliphate, no?  Shirk is sinful but it is the right of all people to follow their hearts in matters of religion.  Right to worship is protected.

All I am saying is, I am okay if society makes room for LGBT people to be involved romantically, monogamously.  No one is changing Qur’an or Islam or making a fatwa.  I am considering the real pain and suffering that hiding one’s sexual orientation brings.  Would you want someone, a man, who was secretly gay and will continue to be gay, marry your daughter?  I believe the Qur’an suggests all of us were made to be loved and to love.  I do not know if I believe that Allah overlooked anyone, just made some people doomed to never find companionship and intimacy in life.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: The opposite of Islam is kufr.  So, if in a society based on kufr, people want to go against the laws of God, then that is their choice.  They have their accounting and we have ours.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, Muslims have their morals but we are also obligated to seek solutions.  For the killing, persecution, and bullying of LGBT people to stop, for the suicides and substance abuse issues; an encouragement of monogamy amongst these folks and at lest a decriminalisation of the LGBT identity would help.  It is like the war on drugs.  Why is policy centred around punishment and being strong handed when there is a much more humane and efficient way to deal with the drug problem, starting with a more humanitarian mentality?

All of us sin, and sometimes the best thing a society can do is help someone contain the damage or extent of their sin.  No one on Earth can tell me it is better to pretend that love cannot be real or meaningful between two men or two women, or at least more meaningful than a life of hooking up constantly.  It is sinful but maybe for that 1% of people, it is necessary?

Brother Hajj Ahmad, have you read Brother William Voller’s article?  Before you say anything further, I recommend making sure you are not confusing what he and I were discussing.  It has nothing to do with changing the definition of sin.  It has everything to do with the fact that in Islam, being just people and saving their lives and protecting their welfare matters a lot.  I do not think it is right to force people with genuinely enduring exclusive romantic attraction to the same gender to hide underground their whole lives.

I believe the day of the gay person pretending to be heterosexual, trying to marry, have kids, always hiding their true selves, needs to be over.  Sure, the intent was to be godly but forcing these people to go into hiding has had many, many awful consequences for everyone.  People get hurt, lie, live double lives, get abused, feel tormented; it is so unnecessary.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: What makes you think Islam did not have a solution?  This is not a new issue that developed in our time.  This was something considered and addressed from the earliest days.  And you are conflating so many issues.

In Islam, a nikah is between a man and a woman.  That cannot be changed.  It is in the Qur’an.  People are free to get married to whomever they want to outside of this, but they can never claim it to be nikah and expect us to accept it.  Our religion is based on Revelation, not what people think they want.  If that were the case, it would not be submission to God, but submission to nafs.

Islam never condoned any form of oppression.  That is not the religion and we should not make the misbehaviour of the people something the religion has to apologise for.  This is an issue of fiqh based on dala’il, not about making up for some perceived or real persecution.  That there are challenges, no one is doubting.  But to claim that Islam somehow has a responsibility to make up for something that is fundamentally against the religion is absolutely wrong.  If anyone wants to change the religion, there must be some dala’il, not what one feels.  Feelings have no primacy in jurisprudence and theology.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: I fully concur with Brother Terence above.  Brother William has not issued a fatwa.  He is written an opinion piece.

Brother Colin Turner: What Brother Terence said should be set in stone.

Sister Shahbano Aliani: Well said, Brother Terence.  We are all Given challenges and difficulties for our growth, to unlock our potential.  If we started to bend the Diyn to our preferences, how would be engage in the greater struggle?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Our greatest struggle is, and has always been, against our desires.  The shari’ah is a framework to help us in that.

Brother Colin Turner: A stupid question, perhaps, but whatever happened to the prescription of self-restraint for those situations which challenge our sexual weaknesses?  Not so long ago, those who found it difficult to rein in their desires were advised to pray and fast, or to marry as soon as humanly possible.  Today, not only are we horrified at the thought of trying to control our passions, but we are also far more ready than we should be to distort the Words of God in order to accommodate our sexual needs.  Something is very wrong.

Brother Mingda Sun: So it is not a nikah; who cares what we call it?  And I am not speaking as an emir or sultan.  I am speaking as someone living in a diverse democracy where many things are up on the table, proposals to make society more humane and fair, and I am just pondering what my position should be.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, unless you have a dalil yourself you should not rush to dismiss something as unIslamic.  I have not said Islam is insufficient.  Only what Muslims are doing.  Is Brother William’s opinion that a special provision probably should be made for the 1% of people unIslamic?  Why?  Because it is a novel solution?  I am agreeing with his position, mostly.

Necessity makes many things complicated; for example many scholars say capitalism is based on riba and gambling but I still live my life using this currency with dead American presidents on it, every single day.  Even if it I believe in Allah, I can tolerate kufr, Brother Hajj Ahmad.  This is not about submitting to another besides God; this is about finding some space within a grey area to find a humanitarian solution, a way to contain the evils of zina.  I have also written my own opinion.  No fatwa issued.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: This is not a grey area.  This is a clear Command in the Qur’an, and is as-sawad al-a’azham.  I do not need to provide a dalil in this case because it is a mutawatir position known to any person knowledgeable in the sciences of this religion.  Rather, to claim something contrary, there has to be a strong dalil.  Feelings are not considered dala’il.  To appease the nafs and go against the Qur’an is not making the religion humane.  It is selling the Hereafter for dunya.  We should look for solutions.  But appeasement is never a solution.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Colin Turner, the fact that you're equating what I have been discussing with an attempt to do away with all restraints on sexual behaviour is part of the problem I am trying to be part of a solution to.  These kneejerk reactions, suspicions are beneath us.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, is it not the case that scholars who consider capitalism to be a corrupt form of sophisticated gambling and usury still tell us we should work with it, out of necessity?  Is not that appeasing or accommodating or being practical?  You are always telling Muslims rightfully to vote and participate.  Did the Qur’an mention this explicitly, how to live in a diverse democracy as a minority, or have Muslims using common sense reached their own views on the matter?

So why is it okay for a Muslim to accommodate evil, work on Wall Street, take out a loan with interest, for a house or car, or whatever, for the sake of feeding or sheltering or transporting his family; but for someone who is absolutely born a certain way, who cannot live without love, we tell them to abstain no matter how hard life gets?  So a man with a wife and kids, he is someone whose welfare matters, so we can give his permission to do what is haram.  But that gay guy or girl is just a deviant who needs to fast and pray more?

I do not see the spirit of Islam at work here, Brother Colin Turner.  Islam has laws but it is more than that.  It is hypocritical to accept that shari’ah allows for certain things out of necessity to those virtuous hardworking heterosexual people who have kids to feed and put through college and a million excuses to participate in usury for a pay check.  And then, we treat gays like freaks of nature whose needs do not figure into the equation.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: You are mixing up a lot of things and basing your reasoning on hearsay and emotion.  The logic is flawed because there is no ijma’ on any of the things raised, but there is an ijma’ on the conditions of nikah.  Sex is not considered an absolute necessity in Islam either.  Food and shelter may fall under the conditions of dharurah.  No one ever died from lack of sex.  And sex is not the only expression of love; in fact, it is the least.  To even think that is a sign of an inadequate understanding of what love is.

There is nothing in the Qur’an that states capitalism is haram.  If you can find me a verse to that effect, I would be quite interested.  Riba is economic oppression.  It does not necessarily mean interest either.  Please show me this mythical scholar who has stated that capitalism is unequivocally haram.  There is no basis to this comparison whatsoever since participating in the economy is not haram.

No one is born a ‘certain’ way.  And that pertains also to sexual orientation.  Some people believe so.  I am not one of them, and neither are the vast majority of Muslim scholars.  So that contention is also false.

Sister Colleen M Dunn: I am not so sure that the Wall Street example is a good comparison, nor am I entirely convinced that we are asked to blindly comply with a usurious system.

First, the analogy might hold if homosexual marriages were the only way to get married, and heterosexual marriage and civil unions were only possible if couples deviated from the norm.  

Secondly, the advice that I have seen from companies that are based on Islamic principles, such as Schuitema, is that we should be striving to find a higher purpose from employment than simply a pay check.  When we try to follow God’s Laws, He Opens up a way for us.  al-Hamdulillah, that is His Mercy in action.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Mingda Sun, you are conflating love with sex.  No one should have to live without love, but it is possible - and for some, inevitable - to live without sex.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Everyone one of us has his or her challenges and no one is challenged beyond his or her capacity, so a Muslim who has homosexual urges must look for an alternative to consummate according to those urges.  There is no leniency here.  This is Qur’an.  This is fact if you accept the Qur’an.  And a homosexual who wishes to become Muslim must leave his or her homosexual practices and find an alternative.  There are several.

And Sister Colleen, Allah’s Mercy is not separate from His Laws.  Following His Laws Brings Down His Mercy and following our own whims brings us trouble.

Sister Colleen M Dunn: Brother Hajj Ahmad, of course.  I hope you did not think I was implying that they are separate, nor was I wanting to engage in debate with anyone, despite what appears to be an emotional topic for some.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, remember when you told me Allah (s.w.t.) Predetermined everything, we are only accountable for intentions?  Now you are saying no one is born a ‘certain’ way.

On the issue of evolution, you will go with the scientific consensus but not on sexuality?  Can you explain why sometimes you go with scientific establishment sometimes you go with the religious establishment?  Most scholars also question the theory of evolution on matters of sexuality or science.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: There is no consensus in the scientific community about this.  It is an unproven hypotheses with conflicting reports, and there is much debate.  Please do not make up things.

Brother Mingda Sun: There is no consensus on exactly how sexuality develops but there is consensus that you cannot reverse someone’s orientation through therapy, prayer, sheer willpower.  There is no scientific evidence at all despite there being millions of religious gay people seeking ‘cures’ for ages.  I cannot be accused of making things up simply because you are not aware of or attentive to what I am talking about.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: We are not discussing reversing anything.  There is no nikah, and Islam does not condone it.  That was the point.  People are not born homosexual or heterosexual.  Sexual preferences are shaped by many factors.  It is not genetic, and has not been proven to be so.  As such, we do not address it as such.  You have not given a single dalil for your position.  Until you can do so, it is an opinion, and an uninformed one at that. I have stated the religious position explicitly and that is sufficient.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, there is a wealth of literature and evidence on how capitalism as practiced is oppressive.  It pollutes the environment and perpetuates inequalities.  Some win, most lose. It is obviously complicated and there is no consensus, but far be it from any of us to think capitalism is a benign system.  And it might not be riba technically to take a loan out on interest but in some cases interest is used as an oppressive instrument under a capitalistic framework.

The point is, all of us make compromises out of necessity.  The nation state system is here, capitalism is here, and to revolt is not tenable even if Islam proscribes nationalism and extravagance, two things that characterise a modern developed state.

But our shuyukh still tell us to pay taxes, go to school, get jobs.  It is simply necessity.  There is no caliphate.  Why not go further and accept gay civil unions?  We live in a sinful world, the best we can do is focus on people’s welfare rather than their disobedience to God, no?  I think there is merit to the humanitarian argument for endorsing same sex civil unions.

Sister Colleen M Dunn: Brother Mingda Sun, I am wondering if, considering I am not convinced that your position on this topic has changed much, if at all, if you were truly asking a question to seek answers, or merely wanting to start a conflict?  Usually you can know the intention by the result.  As an administrator and someone interested in keeping the peace, I think that if we are going nowhere, that silence might be better at this point.  Please let us be mindful of our intentions next time!

Brother Mingda Sun: I am trying to understand the rationale behind all reasonable positions on the issue.  Cognitive dissonance is what I am trying to avoid.  I believe there has to be a way for Muslims to stay true to their values while allowing others to live meaningful lives.

Brother Colin Turner, I am very well aware that love and sex are not the same thing.  What I would propose as a lawmaker in a secular legislative body would be to make civil unions legal.  Two people are in love and want to commit?  Okay, make it easy for them to set up inheritance, joint bank accounts; things straight couples do.  Since I am not allowed to speculate as a Muslim if a couple are sexually active, I would not see this as endorsing gay sex.  Some people marry and never have sex; it is not my business to assume.  I acknowledging the love that LGBT people have for each other, I am also making it possible for these people to step out from the shadows and stop living double lives; the rest is between them and God.  Brother William Voller, does this seem reasonable?

Sister Colleen M Dunn: I think that has been explained as well as can be explained.  We are beating a dead horse.  Perhaps sometimes it is a good idea to sit back and think for a bit.  Maybe the answer will come to you amongst the replies you have already received.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Mingda, where would you draw the line?  At brothers and sisters wanting to marry?  At bestiality and marriage between humans and animals?  These are not extreme examples, brother.  And what about those poor individuals who are attracted to young children, but who acknowledge that they can never act out their fantasies.  Are you happy to let them live a sexless life, helped along possibly by prayer and fasting?  If so, why do you find prescriptions of asceticism for homosexuals so demeaning?

Brother Mingda Sun: I think feeling loved makes the need for sex go away.  I think I could marry a woman if she had some disease that sealed up her sex organs.  And I am a 25-year-old in my sexual prime who loves women.  Or I could marry as an old man who no longer had sexual desires.  Purely for the love, yes.  Sex is just a symptom of our need for love after all.

When two people love each other, respect each other, it cannot be compared to abusive acts like molesting a child or raping an animal.  We do not need dramatic, inappropriate similes to be confident in our belief that such and such behaviour is sinful. Where do we draw the line then?  Is littering the same as murder?  Is going on a date the same as rape?

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Mingda, it is not a drastic, inappropriate simile.  It is a serious one, and is deserving of serious thought.  Imagine a paedophile who has never acted out his fantasies and never would.  His claim is that he is genetically predisposed towards sex with young children.  How do we treat him, given that it is impossible to allow him to lead what for him would be a ‘normal’ life?

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Colin Turner, the problem is that paedophilia is a mental illness and inherently oppressive, if acted on.  It is a predatory behaviour, like theft, extortion.  Scientific consensus is that homosexuality is not a mental illness, and this cannot be denied by anyone who claims to take science seriously.

Brother Colin Turner: There are some who claim that paedophilia is a valid sexual orientation, Brother Mingda, just as there were some before 1973 who claimed that homosexuality was a mental illness.  It is not really relevant.  The fact is that we are happy to see one group go without sexual intimacy for life, but unhappy to countenance that for the other group.  That strikes me as unfair, particularly since the paedophile has no idea why we find his orientation distasteful!

Brother Mingda Sun: Yes, some paedophiles claim that paedophilia was beautiful and natural and their right.  No group of scientists or reputable organisations ever agreed, compared to the gay issue, where all agree it is not an illness, merely an orientation occurring naturally.

Many paedophiles seek help.  Virtually all of them feel shame.  I know of one who prefers to stay imprisoned rather than go out in the world and hurt kids.  Every day he gets beaten up, raped in prison, but he prefers that to hurting kids.

Gay people, rightfully, do not feel this way about themselves, nor should they.  I think it is extremely ignorant to look at a sexually active gay person and see them as being similar to a paedophile.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother Mingda, what are you trying to establish with such intensity that you cannot end this?  I will after this comment.  What I see is an argument you make for civil unions despite gender.  Fine.  So be it if a society wishes to legislate for that.  In an Islamic society, that is not done according to the Qur’an and scholarship.  If you are advocating for same gender marriage as long as there is no homosexual behaviour in an Islamic society that is not possible either.  Nikah is between a man and woman.  What else are you trying to say?  Please give a final summary and leave this alone.

Brother Colin Turner: That is your opinion, Brother Mingda.  It finds no support in Muslim law or legal theory.  You are merely trying to legislate for fisq and fasad.  It cannot come to any good.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Colin Turner, nothing in Islamic legal theory justifies your attempt to imply that homosexuals are like paedophiles and animal-rapists.  That is based on outdated, outlandish views of homosexuality being a form of mental illness.  That is your own biased rationale.  And it is not needed.  If you believe something is sinful, it is because God Revealed that to us.  Our personal feelings of disgust or of anything like Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis says, has no bearing on fiqh.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother William Voller did not say what you think he did.  I know this article of his and we have discussed it extensively before.  And please do not misquote me.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Mingda, I am not likening homosexuality to paedophilia.  Not at all.  I was making a valid point regarding our expectations of those whom we ‘otherise’, that is all.

Brother Mingda, others have tried that line, and at first glance it is quite appealing.  Maybe from one perspective, it would be better to sanction marriage between homosexuals who cannot live celibate lives rather than have them ‘live in sin’, or ‘double sin’, one may argue, if they are having sex outside marriage.  However, how does one justify this Islamically?  Do you see the problem?  And ijtihad cannot deal with it, given that marriage is between man and woman, not between man and man or woman and woman.

Brother Mingda Sun: It is sinful, but the question is do we want to keep these people invisible?  In the shadows or in our midst, pretending to be straight, going through the motions but inside they are tormented, they go home to someone they have no love for, have sex, have children, but reluctantly, only to please people.

It seems wrong to me, to ask such a thing of anyone.  If you are going sin, I want you to do it in the least awful way possible.  It is kind of like having a place where heroin users can get clean needles.  We know drug use is wrong but we can do things to protect those engaged in that wrong from worse things, HIV, and so forth.  We know sex is wrong outside of marriage but for people for whom marriage would be torment, there has got to be another way

Brother Colin Turner: I am not really convinced.  I do not think I ever could be.  Are you going to allow prostitution with a similar line of reasoning?

Brother Mingda Sun: Yes, perhaps, and on a case by case basis; if disease control is a serious enough issue in a certain locality.

Brother William Voller: Quite a lot has been said, which I have not kept up with.  Forgive me.  I just thought I would add two things which may help.  Brother Mingda, I have had a number of conversations and debates on this issue where I have been for, against or on the fence mainly as a reaction to how, what I wrote was received.  It is too easy to be misunderstood and too easy to not remain balanced and then embark on a jihad for equality or protecting Islam, especially over the medium of Facebook threads.

As I said in the article, Muslims just are not really equipped to discuss it since we do not have the language, for example on this thread we still have made all sorts of mistakes in using the term homosexual.  I would say the main issue that you may wish to research at the highest levels what the Islamic conception of sexuality is.  Do that and then the discussion can move forward beyond the tiresome and mismatched terms?

In terms of my argument, the discussion is simply can a rukhsah be applied in this context?  If not, why not?  I often find people see my musings as a threat to Islamic values as a modernism wanting social change, but actually I would think being a little more “Ya akhi, it’s haram,” is the modern perversion mixing fundamentalism and Victorian thinking.  There is nothing Islamic there.  But this still does not deny that no one has explicitly allowed touch of desire between people of the same gender.  Classical fiqh, I would think, would at least entertain the idea the category of people termed ‘homosexual’ may be in need of special provision and make objective decisions relating to the concept of rukhsah as with any other case.

Also, I think that we need to be aware that one can do the right thing without being punitive.  In the classroom, I often use tactical ignoring, some say things like I am letting them get away with it, when far from it!  No, I am not letting futility divert the flow of learning, which is what we are a school to do; learn.  Sometimes, it is better to think well of people and ignore as the example of our ‘ulama.  However, due to the rut we find ourselves, we may benefit from thinking more in terms of utility.

I remember a fatwa by a great mufti where he said restaurants could lease out a bar so that they have no direct contact with alcohol and take halal income from letting.  Is this virtue?  Certainly not!  But it is facilitating a way out for people that will do it anyway; fiqh was made for us, not us for fiqh.  God Knows best

Brother Abdullah Shalchi: I would take ahadits like this with a massive bowl of salt.  What sort of religion is this if our spiritual leader sets someone on fire and throws him from a tall building?

Brother Mansoor Rizvi, do you know anything about this ahadits?  I have heard it before but it does not seem to fit with everything else I know about ‘Ali (k.w.) or Islamic punishments.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother William, can you please distil that last post into one or two sentences.  Briefly my brother, very briefly what is your point?  Homosexual practice is haram in Islam.  We are clear about what must be established if people are caught in the act in an Islamic society.  I do not live in such a society.  Do you?  I cannot do anything about homosexuality in my society though I detest and disagree with it.  I find it unnatural, but I am now willing to accept as a result of science that there are genetic or biochemical factors that are out of a person’s control, however, one’s ability to act on these stimuli are within one’s control.

Because of the social norms of the West, homosexuality has been legitimised and will spread.  There is nothing I can do about this, and my activist impulses are far better used in more important contexts, though I do see homosexuality, licentious heterosexual behaviour and pornography as societal fusion nuclear weapons.  We are clearly on the cusp of the age of destruction.  Looking at our global ignorance and actions from every direction, we are clearly headed down a steep and rapidly accelerating slope which will soon have cataclysmic repercussions.

Brother William Voller: Brother Hajj, I am unsure what you mean?  No, I do not think I can be more succinct and the article says my understanding concisely.  What I think is problematic in your thinking is ‘social norms of the West’ and ‘will spread’.  My contention being that this is the modern view, not a classical one.  More people try and escape from mental health wards with locked doors than with open doors.  People react to their environment; if unbalanced it will be an unbalanced reaction.  We are unbalanced in our view of LGBT.

Too often, we are commenting on what we do not know; believe me, the literature is very, very complicated.  We are better off when someone says “I am gay and Muslim”, smiling and saying, “Please get in line; prayer is about to start”; tactically ignore.  We are not making it an issue, so look how it is no longer an issue.

Or to put it in a crude and slang analogy; some insecure angry fools in a 19th century play dragged two gays out of the backstage closet against their will when all was fine and shone the spot light on them, pointed and shouted, “How dare you inflict your gay poison on a good Christian audience!”

And then the gays made a fire and burnt the closet and said, “We’re not going to stand for this, if you make theatre out of us we’ll act up.”

So the insecure fools fanned the flames hoping to destroy the gays, but they turned the fire into a giant furnace that burned uncontrollably and engulfed the whole auditorium.

Please, for the love of God and our neighbour, let us pour water on this fire - all of us!

Brother Hajj Ahmad: I am sorry, Brother William, but I see nothing problematic in my thinking, but your abbreviated sentences are truly confusing.  If someone considers themselves Muslim and is homosexual and knows that the practice is haram and considered intensely deviant by the Qur’an yet tells other Muslims he is a practicing homosexual and expects to be accepted in the prayer line, well, good luck to him.

The strange thing is how modernists tend to water things down with so many words and far flung opinions.  Islam, as we all know, means submission: submission to God’s Laws, the foundation of which is the Qur’an.  A Muslim is “one who submits to God’s Laws”.  God’s Law strictly prohibits homosexual practices, so how is that one who engages in what God not only Prohibits but Detests considers themselves to be Muslim and is considered by others as a Muslim?  This escapes me totally and no explanation will ever change the blank I have drawn about this logic; so please, do not try.  It is a rhetorical question only meant to illustrate how I feel about this issue.  Homosexual practice is an abomination. This is the Islamic opinion throughout history including today.

Brother Colin Turner: It is the special pleading which disturbs me.  No amount of sympathy for those predisposed to heroin addiction, or alcohol, can ever be prevailed upon to pave the way for open house on drug consumption.  Similarly, there is no way that we can make allowances for that infinitesimally small group of homosexual men who, for reasons known only to their endocrinologists, cannot eschew sexual relations with other men and must thus be allowed to legalise their intercourse through nikah.  Who draws the lines?  Who monitors the people who draw the lines?  Once Pandora’s Box is open, there is all hell to pay, as we have been finding out since the box of sexual revolution was prised open in the Sixties and left lying around with its lock smashed in.  A pyrrhic victory if ever there was one.

Brother Hajj Ahmad, technically someone who commits fahshah is still a Muslim, that is, if they die, they have the right to be buried in a Muslim plot.  What this means, however, is another issue entirely.  But I think we have to treat him or her as Muslim, and not ask too many questions.

Having said that, there comes a point in this continued perpetration of fahshah - if, one assumes, it is being continued - that the resultant fisq becomes something more serious.  A Muslim can be a fasiq and remain a Muslim, but there is a tipping point.  I do not think anyone knows what that tipping point is, to be honest.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: So if someone says he is a practicing homosexual and wishes to pray in the same line next to me I either have the choice of keeping my place in the line or moving to another position.  Well, alright then.  I will keep this mind.  Shukran akhi.

True indeed: “Once Pandora’s Box is open, there is all hell to pay, as we have been finding out since the box of sexual revolution was prised open in the Sixties and left lying around with its lock smashed in.  A pyrrhic victory if ever there was one.”

Brother William Voller: Brother Hajj, we are very far on away on this, are we not, which is why it cannot just be distilled into one or two sentences, I guess.  “No explanation will ever change the blank I draw,” has rather finished the conversation, I think?  I am a little unnerved that you would ever contemplate changing place, but yes you have choice of course, but might I suggest for the good of the jama’ah, you do so quietly.

The sixties revolution is a reaction to a 19th century reaction.  Your fear sounds more the fear of change, I think.  The world you hark back to, my friend, was also a change actually, and it is one which has also now gone.  We need to deal with the here and now.

Brother Colin, is it special pleading?  It depends what we are saying.  I do, however, think analogies which do not work should not be used.  A heroin addict is not like a homosexual because the latter is not a pathology, for example.  If it were then, yes, of course everyone would agree.  But it is not so we do not.  And actually, the continued use of analogies and the like, that hint at 19th century psychiatry just fans the fire.  I take your point on accountability, but I think there is a pandemic Muslim problem of who draws and monitors lines anyway.

Let us all reflect, continuing in the same way is not working, is it?  So maybe, let us change our approach a little.  We can promote celibacy in a much better way, right?  Let us try a little empathy - that would really help.  Or to put it another way, let us come to terms with the open Pandora’s Box and stop lamenting over the broken lock.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother William, statements like “Your fear sounds more the fear of change” is a common diversionary and fallacious tactic that seeks to evade the issue by inferring that since my opinions are generally inflexible, they are not to be trusted.  I am open to change that is not clearly antagonistic to unchangeable Qur’anic textual assertions.

I am sure you are familiar with the ayat of the Qur’an relating to this issue, the ahadits which are even more vigorous in response to acting out on a homosexual impulse and the opinions of recognised jurists, who for over a millennium have voiced a common thread on the issue.  You seem, however, to profess a more encompassing view of the problem by contrasting modern scientific views eschewing homosexuality as a psychopathology with Islamic views, and you have created for yourself an identity as a scholarly arbiter.  Unfortunately, your extensive articulations are unclear.  Your writing, in my opinion, would benefit by clear, concise and simple conclusions.

I still do not clearly and simply understand what you support.  Is it empathy? If it is, then yes, I have empathy for homosexuals who wish to be Muslim.  It must be an extremely difficult challenge, but I know those who have done it and succeeded.  Their spiritual fervour overcame their sexual preference.  For those who cannot achieve this discipline, of course I have empathy for them as well, but the Qur’an speaks of homosexuality as an abomination beyond abominations, so though I do have empathy, I am not only intellectually bound by the Qur’anic text but also viscerally opposed by the mere contemplation of homosexual acts which, for me, is a personal confirmation of the textual assertions.

On a broader societal level, I am convinced that a modernist Islamic approval in any form whatsoever beyond empathy of what is considered an abomination beyond bounds by the Qur’an does no service to the societies, either Eastern or Western, in which Muslims reside in the world today.  It is on a par with fornication, adultery and pornography which are the pernicious results of the modernist inability to not fear changes that have disastrous psychological and social consequences, as Brother Colin has alluded to.

If there is anything beyond empathy that you support that is against what I have stated above, or in any way additional, please delineate it clearly and simply.  Thanks.

Brother Mingda Sun: “Abomination of abominations”?  I am not so sure about that.  The Qur’an hardly mentions it.  It does not mention lesbianism at all, and the people of Luth (a.s.), in addition to committing sodomy, were gang raping men who passed through the area.

Sister Sabine: I always notice in those discussions that some people get extremely upset, aggressive, and emotional at the thought of homosexuals and they are trying to justify their hatred with religion and with arguments about homosexuality supposedly being “disgusting”, “unnatural”, “destroying society” and so on.

What I find disconcerting is that the same people do not get that upset about many other issues that are happening right now in Muslim societies and with the blessing of many Muslim scholars.  For example, the widespread practice of marrying underage girls.  Or men taking a second, third, or fourth wife without the consent of the first.  Or husbands raping or hitting their wives.  Those practices – and some others – are causing way more suffering and harm than people engaging in consensual homosexual acts, yet I do not see the same disgust and outrage at those engaging in or those condoning them under the banner of Islam.  To me, this raises some serious questions about the real motives behind some people’s hatred and fear of LGBT, and about their priorities.

Brother William Voller: Brother Hajj, forgive me if it appears I am using tactics, any mistakes on my part are unintentional.  It just seems this issue is unlike others, so I wonder why?  I am trying really hard to be clear and concise in every post so I find it hard to know then what you mean.

You have read my article, correct?  Therefore, yes, I know the ayat and ahadits.  And therefore, you understand then that we are having a different understanding of them.  You are understanding the verses as, “Thou shalt not act homosexual,” which they do not.  The ahadits are problematic and lacking clarity and authority.  They are not used in the four madzahib other than some are used to augment an analogy; one which is criticised.

The issue, however, in the Qur’an, ahadits and scholarly opinion is not homosexuality or homosexual acts, but rather sodomy.  A ‘homosexual’ is a new category of person, one not actually addressed in Islamic history.  Yes, males were with males of course, but this is not as our modern usage of homosexual.  I was very clear on this in the article.  This is the linchpin to everything I am saying.  If you cannot understand that then, that is why we are not and never will understand each other.

I noticed you have used the word impulse, and spoken of change.  However none of these would refer to a homosexual; since it is not a cognitive behavioural maladaptation nor is it subject to change.  Yes there are those that are with men then change, but they are not homosexual.  Simply: all homosexuals desire to be with the same gender, but not all those who desire to be with the same gender are homosexual.  Is that any clearer?  There is much more, but let us start here?

Sister Sabine: Brother Mingda, exactly!  The Qur’an does not mention lesbianism at all, so how is it possible to conclude that it is an ‘abomination of abominations’?  I also agree that the story of Luth (a.s.) is about rape and violence, not consensual relationships, but that has been discussed at length before.

I also find it very interesting that most people focus their disgust and hatred on male homosexuality as if female homosexuality did not exist.  I wonder what the reason for that is.  Is it because they see women’s sexuality as less and not really worth mentioning or taking seriously? Or is it because many men are secretly turned on by the idea of two women having sex but put off by the idea of having sex with another man?  I would really like to understand why there is such a blatant double standard.  Which brings us back to the original question.

Brother James Harris: These issues aside, I am curious as to the basis for your interpretation of the verses on Luth (a.s.) in the Qur’an as being about ‘rape and violence’?  The word ‘rape’ is not even mentioned.  The specific word that is used to describe the acts there is ‘fahishah’, meaning ‘moral abomination, act of fornication, prostitution' and the like.’

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

Sister Colleen M Dunn: I think, in these modern times, there is a push and a tendency to separate sexual deviance from violent sexual deviance, and decriminalise the former.  While I have no problem with this in purely civil matters, this becomes problematic when people also want to change the religion to suit the current trend.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The Qur'an is very specific that it was sodomy, not rape.  That is a modern reinterpretation by people who do not know, or choose to ignore Qur’anic Arabic, to suit a notion they have already decided.  So whilst homosexual relationships are not forbidden, sodomy is.  And as for the nikah, two or three types, depending on the understanding, are Mentioned.  And they all specify it being between a man and a woman, or several women.

Brother James Harris: Sister Sabine, your comment contains some sexist stereotypes of men, which is unfortunate.  The issue of male homosexuality is due to the matter of sodomy, which is not an issue with respect to female homosexuality.

Sister Sabine: Brother James Harris, I do not want to discuss those verses again because we have done it in detail in the past.  Just one thing, the verse speaks of something that “none in the world has ever done before”, yet homosexuality has been existing as long as humanity.

Brother James Harris: So has rape.

Sister Sabine: Where am I stereotyping men?  I am describing what I have been observing whenever this issue comes up.  And what I am observing is a double standard.

Brother James Harris: We may have discussed this before, but I have not seen any convincing response to the question as to how you have arrived at that interpretation.

Sister Sabine: I am sorry but I have no energy or time to discuss it again.  Also, I noticed that discussions about this topic bring out the worst in some people and I just find the hatred, ignorance, and arrogance I encounter depressing.

Brother James Harris: I was genuinely interested and did not ask with any malicious intention, but that is fine.

Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger: Sister Sabine, if the Word of Allah (s.w.t.) Says quite unambiguously that male homosexuality was “not known in the world before”, it means that is not part of the nature that the Creator has Endowed man with, and that it was instituted as a perversion by an act of man – period.  That male homosexuality has been existing as long as humanity is no more than presumption, and perhaps wishful thinking of those who would like to confirm it as a social norm.  Taking a position like that leaves only the two alternatives: Either the Word of God is flawed or untrue, or the proponent's assumption is.

Sister Sabine: I did not feel you asked with malicious intention at all, Brother James.  And there are some topics that I do not mind discussing over and over again.  But this specific topic makes me too angry and sad.  Plus, as I said, it has been done in detail before, there are some very long discussions.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother Muhammad Harun, you bring up an excellent point.  In fact, if we are to use existing Mesopotamian chronology, the time of Lot (a.s.), which was also the time of Abraham (a.s.), was about 4,000 years ago.  This far predates the history of all cultures in which homosexuality was practiced.  Homosexuality was not unknown in the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.), Brother William, as I am sure you know.  There is the story of Hit who served one of his wives and was mukhannats, but was relieved from his duties because he made a comment about the desirability of a certain woman.

According to Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.), “A mukhannats is the male who carries in his movements, in his appearance and in his language the characteristics of a woman.  There are two types; the first is the one in whom these characteristics are innate, he did not put them on by himself, and therein is no guilt, no blame and no shame, as long as he does not perform any illicit act or exploit it for money such as prostitution, for example.  The second type acts like a woman out of immoral purposes and he is the sinner and blameworthy.”

In our time, the behaviour characteristics of a homosexual have expanded because of the permissibility of homosexual so that now even manly types of homosexuals including professional sports athletes exist.  This, for me, is a confirmation on how dangerous the broad cultural acceptance of homosexuality is.

The issue of separating violent from non-violent homosexual has been dealt with above.  One additional point on this is that the distinction has been created and used by so-called “progressive” Muslims to establish the validity of homosexual practice in Islam.

I am not denying the existence and proliferation of homosexuality in cultures around the world.  It does exist and is increasing.  A Gallup poll a few years back indicates an increase in homosexuality in America as a result of permissive attitudes.  This does not bode well for the society.  As I mentioned in my last post, homosexual practices, fornication, adultery and pornography are pernicious influences seeking to undermine the moral health of modern cultures.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Mingda Sun, how do you reach the conclusion that the people of Luth (a.s.) were ‘gang raping’ men who passed through the area?

Brother Hajj Ahmad: This is the claim of progressives who read into the ayat of the Qur’an as rape due to the violent nature of their highway banditry.  They have extrapolated to their homosexual practices.  It is an invalid claim.

Brother Colin Turner: Yes, it would appear to be a replay of older discussions.  I thought that it had all been resolved, but clearly not.  Scott Kugle’s claim that the people of Luth (a.s.) were renowned more for their violence than for their sodomitic rape is disingenuous in the extreme.  How does he justify it?  Surely his linguistic arguments are threadbare, no, Brother James Harris?

Brother James Harris: Unless there are verses in the Qur’an that I have not considered, which is why I was asking for clarification.  As far as the verses I mentioned above go, they are not ambiguous at all.

Sister Samra Hussain: I do not understand why it is necessary for Qur’an to state lesbianism is haram for it to be haram.  It is quite obvious from the story of Prophet Luth (a.s.) that homosexual acts are forbidden which are between two men.  Plus, there are also clear verses that state one is to remain chaste until we get married, and marriage is clearly between man and woman.

There are verses that describe mahram and non-mahram and we can tell from those, that people of the same gender are given more leeway to be around one another in relaxed clothing since they cannot marry one another.  With the argument that there is nothing in Qur’an against lesbians we can say there is nothing specific in the Qur’an that says paedophiles, child molesters, and people who engage in threesomes or groups sex should be punished.  Why must there be a horrific punishment for one not to engage in something immoral?  I would never condone burning or killing of someone homosexual regardless of how sexually active they are.  But at the same time I am not going to condone homosexual acts as morally acceptable.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Let me be very frank.  The reason I often respond to these types of posts despite the fact that they are repetitive is because I have the same ardour for repulsing the pernicious acceptance of homosexuality in Islam as Brother Terence has for repulsing the acceptance of the Wahhabis.  This malignant, modernist trend of thinking is culturally bound, and it is slowly seeping into the consciousness of Muslims today and colouring better judgement.  It is an uninformed and dangerous trend.  The Qur’an instructs Muslims to call to truth, not to accept concessions about those things which are clearly haram and an abomination.

Brother Mingda Sun: Sister Colleen M Dunn, I have stated that this is me pondering about how I should vote in a secular democracy as a Muslim, and have given my rationale for why I would support same sex civil unions.  So you are right.  This is not about changing the Diyn.  It is about changing society to be less punitive and more merciful, humane.

Brother Mansoor Rizvi: Brother Mingda Sun, I do not know if anyone else posted this here, but let me post this from a Shi’a scholarly source to answer your question: Did ‘Ali (k.w.) Really Set Two Men on Fire because They Claimed He was God?

Brother Mingda Sun: Sister Samra Hussain, the Qur’an tells us to tread carefully when making things halal or haram.  Most people are raised to hate or fear gays.  It is worth wondering what the Qur’an says on the matter.  I trust it more than people’s bias and assumptions.

Brother Hajj Ahmad, you are using reason to deduce that if two men engaged in sodomy are an abomination, so are two lesbians engaged in whatever.  So that is your dalil?  Assuming, using your own independent reason to arrive at that conclusion?

So why are others not allowed to use their own logic to come to a different conclusion?  All sex outside of nikah is sinful, but sharia is not clear on which is worse.  Many scholars think heterosexual sex outside of marriage is worse than two women experimenting sexually, on the basis on that the former can cause visible and overt harm to society, illegitimate kids and whatnot, and the latter is more of a personal matter, mistake.

You can conclude that something is sinful without creating a whole new category of ‘abomination’ to put it in.  In fiqh, none of our feelings matter, whether something grosses us out or makes us feel indifferent, it should not affect the way we classify sins and I think that is what Brother Hajj and Brother Colin Turner have done.  You are entitled to feel how you feel.  Two men kissing makes me feel very uncomfortable, so it is not like I cannot relate.

I am just saying, we should all be mindful of the spirit of Islam when we discuss these things.  It is not intellectually honest or righteous to compare being gay and acting on it to paedophilia, heroin use or something else.  Even if you were not making an exact comparison, the associations are still insulting and slanderous.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: I never spoke about women specifically, and the word ‘abomination’ is a translation of the Arabic word ‘fahshah’.  Brother Mingda, you need to look into the meaning of this word, you need to read the ayat of the Qur’an, the ahadits and the scholarly opinions on homosexuality.  Brother Colin and I have not gone outside of these boundaries.  You have misunderstood, because you support a modernist, liberal, human rights opinion on homosexuality in Islam.  Islam is not against human rights, but it is against homosexual practice despite all the conjuring we may do to legitimise what is patently haram.  May Allah Give us the wisdom to see where we are making concessions with the truth.

Brother Mansoor, please provide as detailed a discussion as possible about homosexual practice in Islam from the Shi’a perspective.  Thank you.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Hajj Ahmad, no one is making anything halal or legitimising anything.  You keep insisting that this is the case.  You are also confusing same sex love for same sex sexual behaviour.  Even Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis just said its sodomy that is prohibited, not homosexual relationships based on love.  If you are under the impression that scholars have found the whole spectrum of homosexual behaviour an abomination rather than the one act of sodomy, you are simply following your own biased nafs.

When Allah (s.w.t.) Destroyed the people of Luth (a.s.), He mentioned nothing about female homosexual behaviour.  Why not mention that men and women of that region had turned to unnatural sexuality?  To add things to Qur’an that are not there is not wise.

Brother James Harris, I think it is quite obvious the people of Luth (a.s.) were going to rape the angels sent to visit.  Why else would Luth (a.s.) have gotten so distressed about keeping his guests safe?  Perhaps I misunderstood the verses but that is the context I am seeing.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother Mingda, Islam does not separate between religion and society except if we live in a non-Islamic society as we do.  If we, as Muslims, lived in a society according to basic Islamic principles, same gender civil unions would not be allowed.  This society does not need our help to become more humane and less punitive; they are already engaged in that with endemic racism, economic oppression, oligarchic control, special interest politics and on and on.  As Muslims, we need to stand up for what is correct according to the Qur’an, not conceding to the pressures of modernism when it encroaches upon ethics and morality.

No one described same gender affection as halal or haram.  This has been made very clear.  The issue is practice.  Please let us not confuse what is clear.

Brother Mingda Sun: Does anyone truly think that the people of Luth (a.s.) were going to propose sex to the angels and just go away in peace after they got a negative reply?  That is not how I interpreted the situation.

Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger, are you sure?  Does the Qur’an not state that sodomy was unknown until then?  Does that mean men were not romantically or sexually involved with each other until that time period?   There are other ways for men to find satisfaction from other men other than sodomy.  And people can be in love and together even if there is no sex.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Once again, I believe there has been consensus that homosexual feelings are not homosexual practice, and the latter is what is haram.  Your interpretation of the Qur’an in the case of Lot (a.s.) in order to justify the immoral practices of homosexuality is just that: your interpretation.  My interpretation is in line with the majority in Islam.  So you are obviously right and the majority is obviously wrong?  This is one of the great dangers of modernist Muslim opinion today: it is narcissistic to a greater degree than ever before because in our post-Freudian world we have enthroned the ego as our hidden god. Islam came to eradicate egoic opinion and replace it with Revelation with the support of those who have knowledge.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Hajj Ahmad, that is incorrect.  We must be engaged in the larger society we live in.  We cannot justify or afford to have an arrogant separatist attitude.  Perhaps Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis can expand on that.

If I could vote, I would vote for civil unions, and I think I would still be faithful to my values.  I will gladly tell anyone, gay sex might be sinful, but love is sacred.  Anyone who wants to commit to one person for life clearly is driven by love.  Lust does not make someone do that.  I am going to give people the benefit of the doubt, and not assume they all just want sex from the people they are committed to romantically.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: You have totally missed my points, Brother Mingda, and they are not an arrogant separatist attitude.  You just do not understand what I said.  So referring to them as arrogant is in fact arrogance.  I have exhausted what I have to say.  I will always do jihad against the immoralities and unethical behaviour that threatens to bring down humanity and to compromise the truths of Islam.

Brother Mingda Sun: Endorsing civil unions is my way of saying homosexual love is valid; what they want to do within that civil union is their business.  Being able to say, this is the person I love, and we share our lives and possessions and I never have to worry about them not being able to visit me at the hospital if I am dying, or my insurance not covering them if they get sick; to me there is nothing unIslamic about giving someone this kind of peace of mind.  There is nothing modernist or narcissistic about that.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, are you familiar with Suhaib Webb?

Sister Samra Hussain: I have no idea what you are trying to convey, Brother Mingda.  If one wrong thing does more damage than another wrong thing it makes neither of them okay to do.

Brother Mingda Sun: Shari’ah tells us to choose the lesser of the evils.  To me, this is the least evil solution in a secular democratic context.

Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger: By accepting the ‘secular democratic context’ as the moral and ethical standard above the Revelation in the first place, you may have chosen the greater evil without being aware of it, Brother Mingda.

And as to whether I am sure the Qur’an was not speaking about sodomy, well there is something generally accepted and referred to in all religions as ‘brotherly love’, which to what I understand of it does not fall under the term ‘homosexuality’, even though some people who have a vested interest in the acceptance of homosexuality as a social norm, would make you believe, it does.

Brother Mingda Sun: No, I am simply acknowledging that this is where I live.  I would much rather live in a Muslim utopia devoid of the kind of passionate hatred and profound ignorance towards LGBT people that makes me believe there are compelling humanitarian reasons for making same sex civil unions legal.  But I do not.  I live in the US and I have to abide by the Constitution.  I can acknowledge that something is haram or gross and still tolerate people eating bacon, drinking beer, smoking cigs.  It is people’s right to make their own choices and love who they want.  I think a lot of good could come out of civil unions, including a societal discussion of love versus sex, gay people being encouraged to seek love and stability over sex and hedonism.

Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger: The ‘where you live’ has made or is in the process of making same sex civil unions legal anyway, and the tendency is rather to make opposing it a criminal offence, claiming human rights, so what is the problem?  It is simply that some religious teachings which were good enough as guidance for mankind for thousands of years contain certain tenets that cannot be compromised, and whenever they were on a large scale, it resulted in the destruction of the respective civilisations through some cataclysm or some man-made catastrophe.  It does not really need a lot of intelligence to figure out that modern civilisation is headed exactly in this direction, and to exclude the historically very recent surge in homosexuality from the sum total of the violations of the Divine Laws that keep the cosmic balance in tact is simply not seeing things as they are.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: There is no hatred towards LGBT in addressing this from a Revelatory perspective.  That is an arrogant and ignorant statement in and of itself.  Rather, I would think that we have conviction to adhere to Divine law.  This idea that Islam must accommodate what people feel is form of shirk, where the desire to be liked by the kuffar is more important than Revelation.  It is a clear lack of iman and knowledge.  We say to such people, “To you your religion, and to us our Islam.”

If you want to compromise your religion, Brother Mingda Sun, go ahead.  But do not expect us to approve of it and support you in this.  There is a Day of Judgement, and we will all be answerable.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger, homosexuality is by no means a new phenomenon.  I disagree with the assertion that there has been a “recent surge” in homosexuality.  No, this is something that has always been with us, as can been seen from the historical record.  In some societies, such as in many Native American cultures, LGBT people were always accepted, and seen as special individuals who possessed unique insights due to their disposition.  In others, especially in those where Christianity dominated, homosexuals were persecuted.  Obviously, in societies where people are persecuted, they are not going to speak openly, whereas in more liberal societies they will.  That is really all that has changed.

Brother Abdullah Shalchi: Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger, mankind has apparently been in its last days for thousands of years according to many civilisations, religions and cults.

Sister Sabine: I disagree, Brother Terence.  There is a lot of hatred towards LGBT people in Muslim cultures and also in this group.  Comparing homosexuals to paedophiles or rapists is a form of hatred.  Suggesting that they are more likely to engage in all sorts of immoral actions or crime, as has been done repeatedly in other threads, is a form of hatred.  So is the claim that homosexuals are causing harm to society.  Wishing them dead, which I have also read on here, is a form of hatred.  Saying that they should “just see their disposition as a challenge and not give in to their urges,” is not necessarily hatred but extremely cruel, ignorant, and lacking in empathy.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: I agree, Sister Sabine.  Surely pushing homosexuals into heterosexual marriages, as some people do advocate, is going to do far more damage than letting them form loving partnerships with people of the same gender and sexuality.  To suggest they never give in to their urges in a loving consensual way with an enthusiastic partner, well… What if that were suggested for heterosexuals?  Oh, I forget.  It has, and look at the consequences!

Brother Colin Turner: Luth (a.s.) offered his daughters up to the sodomites, suggesting that one of the solutions for homosexuals who wish to change their orientation is to have sex with women, but legally, through marriage.  How enlightened and forward-looking was Luth (a.s.)!

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, are you being willfully blind to the hatred for LGBT people that exists in the world?  People are bullied, beaten, and killed for their sexuality or perceived sexuality.  Denying that homophobia exists is as insane as denying racism or classism or ableism exists.  We do not need to be intellectually dishonest to sustain or justify our religious views.  It is a sin, to have sex outside of marriage, but we do not need to pretend that people have not used the issue to commit even worse a sin than the LGBT people they hate; oppression, mockery, even murder.

How am I compromising the Diyn?  Saving lives is more important to me than forcing everyone to accept the definition of marriage that makes me comfortable as a heterosexual Muslim.  If having gay civil unions is the only way to get people used to the idea that gay people are normal people who deserve to be left alone, not bullied, or forced to try to change, then I endorse that policy on humanitarian grounds.

Sister Sabine: That is one thing I cannot get my head around, Paul.  The damage that is being done by ostracising homosexuals, forcing them to get married or persecute, arrest and punish them and such, creates a very obvious damage – not only to LGBT people themselves but also to others, for example their spouses and children.  I would like to see suggestions on how to solve those problems but whenever these issues are pointed out, there is nothing but silence from those opponents of homosexuality who are very passionate and vocal about the issue otherwise.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Colin, even Alan Chambers has done a U-Turn on that and publicly apologised to LGBT Christians for all the suffering he caused them over the years.

Brother Colin Turner: Sorry, I have no idea who Alan Chambers is.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Previously, Alan Chambers was one of the foremost proponents of reparative sexual therapies in the United States.  If gay people could be ‘cured’ of their homosexuality, he is the man who would have done it.  But after years of trying, he had to admit it cannot be done.

Brother Mingda Sun: The ignorance is truly deep on this issue.  Anytime someone tries to bring up the issue they are accused of wanting to change the Diyn.  All of this is just deflection from the real issue.  LGBT are being persecuted, and have been for centuries.  It is the kind of persecution resulting in murder, suicide, depression, unhappiness.  To me, this oppression is more of an abomination than any consensual sex act between adults, sinful as that sex act may be.

Brother Colin Turner: There can never be any justification for the oppression of homosexuals, ever.  A truly compassionate society would outlaw any manifestations of anti-gay hatred, while looking upon the existential plight of homosexuals with great care and consideration.

Brother Paul, I do not think the issue here is to ‘cure’ people of their homosexual tendencies but to reorient them into heterosexual society with the aim of making their lives as happy and fulfilling as possible.

Brother Abdullah Shalchi: I take the personal view that it is up to LGBT to decide what they want and what the solutions are.  If someone is straight, they are straight.  I do not see how “live and let live” is threatening to me.  I respect the rights of others which I expect for myself.

I do personally believe that Islam encourages celibacy for homosexuals but if someone wants to set up a mosque where homosexuals can get married, I really do not care.  I am not critical of people with different beliefs.  Many other religions have sprung up which are based on Islam but I am not on a moral crusade to call them abominations or heretics.  How can we care so much about other people when we are all unsure whether our own actions, beliefs and prayers will be accepted by the Almighty?

Brother Mingda Sun: If anything, it might help religious people do da’wah on the gay issue and help convince gay people who believe in God to find someone else who is gay and spiritual to love in a nonsexual way, formalise that with a civil union and stop the hedonistic, hooking up lifestyle.

Sex is the weakest form of love, and civil unions are not a license to have sex but merely a recognition of love between two people.  It is not the fact that two people have sex that they are a couple, it is because they love one another and are committed to only love one another.  Endorsing civil unions cannot be equated to normalising gay sex, only queer love.  To me, this is a reasonable middle ground.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Colin, is that not, in practice, suggesting much the same thing?  Suggesting they not marry is surely far less problematic, far less damaging, and more ethical than suggesting they marry people of the opposite sex they are not attracted to!  How is that far too either party?

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Abdullah, our scholars have never really unpacked the whole issue of homosexuality and dealt with it properly, and that is a lack on their part for which they are responsible.  In an ideal world, in an ideal Muslim milieu, there would be time, money and research spent on the issue, with a view to arriving at a proper understanding of homosexuality and what we need to do as a society in order to deal with it.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Paul, homosexuals should either stay single, and celibate, or marry and attempt a heterosexual life that is as fulfilling as humanly possible.  If this had been something intrinsically unfair or unworkable, the Prophet Lot (a.s.) would never have advocated it.  We have never really tried to solve this problem, so we can't really dismiss it out of hand.

Brother Mingda Sun: Yeah, I mean Islam does not allow for compulsion in religion, so why do some people insist that as Muslims we need to compel others to accept our heterosexist ideals?  Being an atheist or idolater is the worst sin in Islam, right?  But I think it is every Hindu’s or atheist’s right to have their place of assembly.  How is my tolerating LGBT civil unions any different?

Brother Colin Turner: No one has to accept ‘our heterosexist ideas’ in the confines of their own homes, Brother Mingda.  But as soon as the issue is out on the street, then it is a public order issue, and we all have a right to be concerned

Brother Mingda Sun: It is not our job to contain ‘evil’ whatever it looks like to us, such as two gay men kissing, or someone cursing God.  If someone wants to be publicly gay, publicly atheist; I have no right to get upset.  It is not our job to be moral police.  Except with our own selves and households.

Brother Colin Turner: I am afraid it is, Brother Mingda.  In a free society, your freedom is circumscribed by mine, and vice versa.  In a Muslim-majority society, where Muslim ideals inform the social as well as the personal life of the community, you have no right to parade your homosexuality in front of me and especially in front of my children.  If you consider the hudud rulings on zina, you will see that they are formulated with public order in mind.  You cannot do what you want in public and escape censure and, at times, punishment.  If you want a sexual zoo, create one in your own bedroom, not in the streets where others walk.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Colin, a question that is not often asked by Muslims, and Christians too, is whether the people of Sodom and Gomorrah actually were homosexuals or not, as the case may be?  Indeed, how could that have come to be?  How could a whole city be populated with homosexuals?  The very suggestion is illogical!  A point worth stressing is that those who have researched it, have discovered that rape is not really about sexual attraction, sex, or sexuality.  Rather, rape is about projecting power and dominance.  Heterosexual men with the inclination, will rape men, but be attracted to women and not in any way doubt their own sexuality.  That is not at all the same thing as being homosexual.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Colin Turner, I do not think it is impossible for someone who is gay to find happiness in a heterosexual relationship.  I was engaged to a lesbian at one point; we were both definitely in love.  But can that happiness last?  In most cases not.  I am drawn to feminine women.  Could I be happy marrying a woman who looked like a man in every way but her genitals?  I do not think so.  I want to be able to see my partner as attractive.  So I understand why the engagement did not last.  Most of us would not marry someone we could not feel physical attraction towards, right?

I think love can be gender neutral.  It is lust that is directed towards one or both sexes.  The issue is complicated more research is being done, we will see, insha’Allah, a clearer picture as we learn more about the brain, psychology, sexuality.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Love transcends.  Sexual attraction is, nevertheless, a vital aspect to a happy and stable marriage.  If the love is platonic, it is a friendship, not a marriage.

Brother Colin Turner: We have suffered a lot as a result of the ‘entitlement societies’ that we have been brought up in, particularly from the Sixties onwards.  We are deemed to be free individuals who are entitled to self-fulfillment of every colour, shape form and taste possible.  This has served to destroy the family and threatens to destroy society at large too.  Until we realise that we have absolutely no God-given right to the autonomous use of our bodies and lives in any way we think fit, we will continue to fall and fail.

Sister Sabine: I remember I asked the same question months ago but none of those who feel so strongly about homosexuals ever bothered to answer or address the very obvious contradictions that can be found in many scholars’ rulings regarding sexuality.  That is one of the reasons I find these discussions so frustrating – people only voice their hatred and contempt but duck out when it comes to answering questions or making suggestions as to how to solve some of the more pressing issues.

To those that say homosexual people should stay celibate all their lives and see it as a test – that is cruel, unrealistic, and completely lacking in empathy.  Moreover, I feel it is deeply hypocritical.  There are many Muslims and Muslim clerics who go to great lengths in order to ensure that men’s sexual desires are always being met.  Listening to them one might think that the satisfaction of man’s libido is very high on God’s list of priorities.  They issue stern warnings to women to never refuse their husbands’ request for sex.  Refusing sex is such a grave sin that as a result the angels will curse you and your husband can refuse to pay for your maintenance.  Since men are hyper-sexual, easily aroused beings who cannot control themselves, it is your responsibility to “keep your husband chaste” by dropping everything and having sex with him whenever he expresses the wish to do so.

Many claim that a man’s sexual appetite is stronger than a woman’s and that he should be allowed to marry a second, third, or fourth wife if he feels he is not sexually satisfied with only one.  In the past, they also permitted men to have concubines in addition to their wives.  Some scholars even say that a man should be allowed to take a second wife if the first one has “long menstrual periods”.  Expecting a man to refrain from sex for a week or so is supposedly cruel and unacceptable!

Yet, the very same people will tell homosexuals they should just refrain from ever having physical intimacy in their life.  To me, that’s cynical and contradictory.  What I would like to see from those who are opposed to gay marriage is a serious suggestion on how to solve the problem.  Homosexuals do exist and they are suffering in Muslim communities and Muslim countries, as has been discussed at length in William’s thread on the topic.  Telling them to get married or get over it does not solve the problem.  What do you suggest?  What kind of Islamic solution could be found that does justice to everyone and does not cause human suffering?

We have had these discussions before: The Sharing Group Discussion: The ‘Islamic’ Gay Marriage.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Sister Sabine, it is interesting and somewhat contradictory.  In addition, it flies in the face of modern scientific research which has discovered that in general, women have higher sexual desires than men, even if better at hiding this due to cultural conditioning from an early age.  It is strange that Islamic scholars had not picked up on that one in 14 centuries.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Addressing this as an issue of fiqh, there are two points to consider.  This is simply a reiteration of the points that were previously mentioned in this thread.

It is clear in the Qur’an that is was sodomy that was Proscribed.  Some people say that it is rape, but that is nonsense and is not borne out in the text.  People cannot simply change the Qur’an to suit their nafs.  This sodomy does not differentiate between the sodomiser and the sodomised.  Regardless of gender, it is Proscribed.

Secondly, it is also specified in the Qur’an that nikah is between a man and a woman, or a man and up to four women.  There is no mention of a man and a man, or a woman and a woman.  If people want to get married, they are free to do so in secular society.  But they cannot call it a nikah, and they cannot expect the body of Muslims to accept it.

What the Qur’an is silent on is the relationship between two men or two women.  There is no prohibition in love.  There are prescriptions in avenues of love and there are limits in its expression.

Equating an injustice to a prohibition in religion is disingenuous.  Islam does not allow the persecution and oppression of people.  It does, however, legislate and prohibit certain actions.  Using the basis of how one feels is invalid in shari’ah.  The nafs is not our god.  Our religion is based on Revelation, not feelings.

Brother Colin Turner: Masha’Allah!  The fact that homosexuality has not been discussed by our scholars with anything approaching the seriousness it warrants is a sad indictment of the current state of our scholarship and the Muslim academe in general.  Most of the discussion that has taken place is largely juridical in nature, and while this is to be welcomed, much more input is needed from Muslim sociologists, psychologists, medics, anthropologists and theologians.  A friend of mine once described homosexuality as ‘the dis-ease of the 20th century’, and, as such, it needs to be given time and consideration; after all, it is not something that is going to go away.  We are pulled between competing narratives: the justificatory narrative of the proponents of a ‘queer fiqh’ for the 21st century; and a harsh, condemnatory narrative from blinkered traditionalists who are still under the impression that the gate of ijtihad is closed.  We need to find some middle ground, before the ground in general is pulled from under our feet and one of the rival narratives finally wins out and sets the agenda for the rest of the century.

Incidentally, the word ‘disease’ is not used pejoratively here.  It means ‘lack of ease’, and as far as I can see, that is what characterises homosexuality: a lack of ease with one's own sexual lot.  So, no offence intended.

Brother Mansoor Rizvi: Brother Colin Turner, unfortunately, it is not just homosexuality where jurists face this issue.  Often, people think the solutions lie with the jurists solely, not understanding that jurists set the boundaries, but jurisprudence itself does not always offer the solution; that is, it sets the boundaries and parameters from which we can operate.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Mansoor Rizvi, you are absolutely right: homosexuality is just the tip of a very large iceberg of concerns that our scholars have conveniently swept under the carpet.  Apostasy, slavery, gender relations, religious minorities and so forth - all of them need to be revisited in a sane and serious manner.

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Sister Sabine, Brother Paul, this is a long one, but hopefully worthy of its read.  I have found this thread a real interesting conversation that continues to be dredged up to satiate someone's mental wanderlust to boost their iman as they understand it – “I am doing something to protect Allah, so I am in jihad to save the world.”  Allah (s.w.t.) does not need you to run Allah’s (s.w.t.) Creation.  As to Brother Colin, he has an issue with public displays of affection, and that it will influence his child.  Brother, if your kids are gay, they are gay, end of subject.  You cannot change it because that is how Allah (s.w.t.) Provided you with.  One that just happens to be gay.  You can try to beat them, manipulate them, force them, et cetera, but it will not change.  You can disown them, publicly shame them, physically harm them and kill them, and do all of the other things you support in keeping the “homosexual agenda” down, it is not going to make a big difference, particularly in non-Muslim states.

Now if you really want to live in such a state, planes are leaving from many airports that can take you to a country that has laws like that and you can be as happy as you can be there, but remember, if your kid is gay, location, location, location is not going to change them.  I think when people let go of the hatred they will find more space in their heart to understand how someone you can still love your gay child just as you would your non-gay child, but that takes practice and who knows, if you have a child or children, your surprise may still be forthcoming sometime in the future.  Allah (s.w.t.) has a great sense of humour and I hope you will be able to laugh if and when it happens.  Sister Sabine, as it relates to sexual relationships, so many speak of what Aristotelian laws of nature means, yet will not admit there is failure of many times in that range of thinking.  Procreation does not mean you have perfect babies; it just does not always turn out that way.  Far too many examples that proves this to be true.  Yet, inclusive Qur’anic ethics does provide that avenue for heterosexuals, and also provides such a space for same sex couples by equity as called for in the Qur’an.  As to children, there is adoption.

You know, in some instances, loving those children that heterosexuals did not care for, but was their responsibilities, or some form of surrogacy.  One of the issues is the numbers fallacy, so many believe like I do and if the numbers theory worked, then the Quraysh would have won.  The second, I find many heterosexual Muslims act as if LGBT Muslims have not contemplated these same oft claimed ideals they claim are the ways to freedom: just marry, celibacy, go for reparative therapy, sex change, and so forth; and refuse to accept what the responses have been over the past 20 years.  Those answers do not work.  By your standards, we as Muslims are denied the right to make decisions based upon our contemplation of Qur’an and our prayers to Allah (s.w.t.).  You must intervene in this spiritual process and physically make us do as you say we must do, or kill us?  LGBT Muslims will live their lives by the Grace of Allah (s.w.t.), and live it fully to the best of their abilities and on the Day of Judgment, we will all know who was on the preferred side and who erred, if it even comes to that question.

Finally, I have done all kinds of marriages for Muslim men and women, in opposite sex and same sex couplings, and I do not see any difference in the love, respect, honour and sexual compatibility.  I can only see, at times, difference of opinion, willingness to compromise, and a love that keeps the doors of dialogue.  So if you have that in your marriage, you are doing very, very well.  However, to prevent another couple from experiencing such a life that Allah (s.w.t.) has Permitted for them, I am really wondering who has the problem, as it is often not the LGBT Muslim same sex couples.  Now, brothers and sisters, if you cannot accept those facts, then playing Allah (s.w.t.), using fiqh to comply with a legal fiction of perfection through shari’ah, you eat the flesh of your Muslim brother and sister and you do no less harm that you claim same sex people do.  If marriage makes sexuality halal, following the universal rule of fiqh, and natural selection to find one’s mate, not the whims of human beings to control others, then in a place where same sex couples can marry, then the same sex couple marriage is halal.  If you do not like that conclusion, go fight with Allah (s.w.t.).

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Daayiee Abdullah, I have no problem with public displays of affection.  How can you make such a judgment, given that you've never met me?  I kiss all of my close male friends, hug my male children in public and have no issue with others doing the same.  However, we're not talking about simple displays of affection, and I think you know that.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Daayiee Abdullah, this is not just fiqh, it is in the Qur’an, as mentioned above.  You cannot change 1,400 years of scholarship and religious studies because some parts do not agree with your desires.  The religion is based on Revelation, so how we all feel is irrelevant.

It is interesting that you would point out that us not accepting these ‘facts’ is playing Allah (s.w.t.), which is actually an accusation of shirk al-akbar, when you have willfully ignored a clear injunction from the Qur’an.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Terence, thank you for calling my interpretation nonsense!  Would not something like, “according to my understanding, this is incorrect” be better?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: You would notice that I did not name anyone in particular.  And it is not my understanding.  It is a jumhur.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Terence, I never said you did.  This is a view shared by many people, and does have some reasoning to back it up.  You do not have to accept it, but you could at least acknowledge that those who have come to that conclusion have their reasons, and are not nuts.  Just a constructive suggestion.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: There are two points of view here and we are never going to agree on the validity of a homosexual nikah.  It would be more constructive for us all to focus on what we do agree on, as Brother Colin Turner mentioned above: that the manner in which it has been addressed is inadequate, and that the treatment of people of this orientation leaves much to be desired and is unacceptable.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother Daayiee Abdullah, thanks for your contribution.  You are the major protagonist for the acceptance of homosexuality in Islam in America, and I have long been against you, your opinions and specifically your actions, but you have brought several important points to the conversation including the question of, “What if your child is homosexual”?

Homosexuality in Islam is a major topic going forward and will not be resolved by this group today or tomorrow.  Qur’anic textual evidence and the opinions of scholars certainly marshal against its acceptance, and over the last 40 years, I have personally witnessed the degradation and degeneration of a society that has become increasingly accepting of what I believe is an aberrant expression of sexual behaviour along with all the other open sexual avenues including the worst of all today which is pornography.  This now is a far worse threat then the licentious homosexual parlours of the 1970s which were unimaginable to me back then. I had acquaintances who were gay, and I know what went on.  Homosexuality has now calmed down and taken a more socially acceptable track including marriage and even Islam.

I would ask that in the interest of understanding this better, for me personally and perhaps others, that you please attach through a personal message or directly to this post any articles on scientific research that support physiological cause to gender confusion and any articles supporting an epigenetic cause.  In the quest for understanding and applying Islam to our 21st century, these are important aspects of the puzzle to consider.  Thanks for your help.

Brother Daayiee Abdullah: Brother Terence, placing an immutable barrier before you and claim it can never be altered, then why the discussion?  Why the desire to deride another Muslim?  What is the real reason behind all of these “claims” against something that you do not like?  Does it make you a big guy to feel real superior to someone you have little respect?  Agreeing on how I marry a willing Muslim same sex couple is really none of your business.  I follow all of the rituals based upon traditional nikah, and the results are the same.  Do you think a heterosexual blessing is better than my own?  Most Muslims of a variety of backgrounds care not one iota about your desires to be right, dude.  You have your way of understanding Qur’an and I have mine, and others have theirs.  Obviously, we have both ignored something, since no human being can know all of Allah (s.w.t.) - how lofty you are, sir.  I can tell you have studied Islam from various aspects, and not surprisingly so have I.  Therefore, opinions are commonly given, but all do not provide the answer you propose works.

1,400 years of history, no matter how misapplied, does not make it the best that Qur’an has to offer.  I believe better answers can be derived for our Muslim lives today, not focusing on the rituals of dead men that people who follow their guidance still has not saved Islam from its internal problems or those very special I-think-I-know-it-all Muslims.  You decide where you are on that spectrum.  I do not have to give homage to all that is old, because it is old in and of itself.  Yes, there are some wonderful thinkers I have studied, for and against any issue, and certain ones provided me clarity which helped me to understand those who are opposed to my conclusions, and those which helped me to extrapolate for my life today.  But I do not readily accept custom and ritual unthinkingly, it has to pass the Qur’anic ethics test.  Preventing other human being from being in their very best as they see it, you are actually trying to intercede in the personal interaction between the believer and their Creator, Allah (s.w.t.).  So if your response is more blah, blah, blah, please keep it to yourself.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: You said, “Preventing other human being from being in their very best as they see it.”  There is a problem with this thinking my friend, and that is that Revelation is meant to subdue the “me” in the equation of misguidance that has long plagued the human species.

I would be interested in learning about what teachings of the Qur’an override the injunctions against homosexual practice for you.  I am genuinely interested in understanding this if you are interested in an unemotional discussion.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Again, Brother Daayiee Abdullah, you have cleverly avoided the part where the Qur’an specifically Prohibits it.  Of course I know you do not care what we think.  After all, you have ignored 1,400 of the pious predecessors.  And you have ignored the Qur’an.  This pretence of scholarship, as if your position is a viable opinion, carries no weight beyond your circle.

I am not addressing you specifically in my comments unless required.  I am not here to debate or change your mind.  I am here to state the orthodox position in Islam as eloquently, and as cogently as possible, and to assure Muslims who are homosexuals that we do not see them as any lesser, and we do not put them out of Islam.  But we cannot change the fundamentals of the religion.  We can only work within what we have.  And if there is some faith, some trust and some good opinion of the Divine, then there is an answer there.

Brother Ali Camarata: What is the purpose and position of Revelation if we take a clear issue such as this and just sum it to that is your opinion and this is mine?  Revelation sets the framework and while differing opinions happen in minor matters, it seems rather suppositious to argue for the permission of something Allah has Forbidden clearly and then turn around and use concepts of general equality or ethics, based on your version of them, as a form of proof.

He it is Who has Sent down to thee the Book: in it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are not of well-established meaning.  But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is not of well-established meaning.  Seeking discord, and searching for its interpretation, but no one knows its true meanings except Allah, and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, “We believe in it; the whole of it is from our Lord”; and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.  “Our Lord!” (they say), “Let not our hearts deviate now after Thou hast Guided us, but Grant us mercy from Thee: for Thou art the Granter of Bounties without measure. (Surah Ali ‘Imran:7-8)

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Honestly, it astonishes me how homosexual marriage gets some people's blood boiling so!  When homosexuals get married, they intend to spend the rest of their lives together.  How is that more controversial than people who are straight, gay or bisexual who do not marry, and secretly have affairs?  Or are some people so naive as to imagine everyone who does not publicly celebrate their love for another is remaining totally celibate?  Note; Catholic priests have tried that for centuries; they are still trying.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Nobody’s blood is boiling, Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong.  I think we are addressing this from an intellectual, and jurisprudential position. And if there is a new position, then there has to be a dalil.  That has always been how the religion works.  And if people want to make nikah other than what is understood by the jumhur, the there has to be evidences, dala’il.

I am not an emotional person.  This idea of feelings carries no weight.  And pointing to other wrongs does not justify this wrong.  And wrong here, is from the position of al-Furqan.  If people choose to have affairs, it is a sin, regardless.  And sodomy is a sin.  One does not justify the other in any way.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, I was not meaning you.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: My sincere apologies, brother.  We can all disagree and still be good friends.

Brother Ali Camarata: Brother Paul, I have less issue with someone sinning secretly but recognising that what they are doing is wrong, as I have yet to see someone who does zina justify it using the religion, than those who would change the religion, make haram to be halal and then promote it and confuse the people.  This has everything to do with the Rights of Allah Alone in Legislating such and religion.  It has nothing to do with being heartless, emotions of love, celibacy, and so forth, and it would be disingenuous to relegate it to narrow terms as such.

It is magnitudes worse for one to commit a sin but then promote it, call others to it, justify it and so on - just as when Iblis refused to prostrate when Allah Commanded him and responded with “I am better than him.  You created me from fire and created him from clay.”

…He said, “I am better than he: Thou didst Create me from fire, and him from clay.” (Surah al-A’araf:12)

Whereas when Adam (a.s.) and Hawa fell, they responded differently:

They said, “Our Lord!  We have wronged our own souls: if Thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost.” (Surah al-A’araf:23)

Again the problem with sinners is minor in comparison.  As the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “All the sons of Adam are sinners, but the best of sinners are those who repent often.”  It is human to sin but much worse to justify those sins as something else, and then proceed to call others to it.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, I think 'gay marriage' represents the tip of an iceberg of reasons why people’s blood boils.  Having said that, the reasons why some people oppose gay marriage are quite specific.  Apart from genuinely wondering why homosexuals want to mimic an institution so beloved of religious heterosexuals who are opposed to homosexuality, one main concern that people have, I think, is that something should be normalised which has absolutely no locus in a sane and healthy human society.  One by one, orientations and proclivities which are proscribed by Scripture have been taken out of the closet of history, given a public relations makeover and presented to an increasingly bewildered - and thus also increasingly complicit and complacent - public as normal and, therefore, to be emulated should one so desire.  I am sure there are more concerns, but that is just one for starters.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Yu said, “How is that more controversial than people who are straight, gay or bisexual who do not marry, and secretly have affairs?”  Brother Paul, this is not the issue.  The issue is whether there exists some overriding dalil from the Qur’an, not necessarily the pious predecessors, that we can begin to question the ayat of Qur’an against homosexuality with.  I am an evolutionary Muslim, and only interested in ancient scholarship as it may illuminate the way forward without diluting what is most important based on the Qur’an and the reasonable teachings of older scholars.

Brother Colin Turner: Perhaps it should be added that if we were having this conversation in 1972, the vast majority of us would have absolutely no compunction in describing homosexuality as a sickness.  The fact that few of us dare describe it as such today is testimony to the all-pervasive power of Hollywood, the print media and the advertising industry, and the extent to which we sacrifice our critical judgment on their altars.  Why 1972?  Because it was not until 1973 that homosexuality was formally struck off from the register of psychological illnesses.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: The objective discussion of homosexuality has become like an objective discussion of anti-Semitism versus Zionism.  It has become so emotionally charged and special-interest manipulated that it is hardly possible anymore.  But, in the interest of sorting this thing out more completely, I am still calling for scientific evidence that proves homosexuality is not psychopathological.  There are scientific innuendos that I have perused, but every one of them is shot through with holes.

I personally wish to remain open.  If there is mitigating scientific evidence to consider and other Qur’anic ayat that can possibly override the ayat about Luth (a.s.) and sodomy, I am open to consider the evidence.  Please bring it forth.

Brother Colin Turner: It should be added, as a footnote, perhaps, that the efforts to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was the result of power politics, threats and intimidation, not scientific discoveries.  Some homosexuals themselves have admitted this openly.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Please supply some proof of that statement, if possible, Brother Colin.  I am truly in an investigative phase of this issue.

Brother Colin Turner: This is from Ronald Bayer, Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis (1981), pages 3-4: “The entire process, from the first confrontations organised by gay demonstrators at psychiatric conventions to the referendum demanded by orthodox psychiatrists, seemed to violate the most basic expectations about how questions of science should be resolved.  Instead of being engaged in a sober consideration of data, psychiatrists were swept up in a political controversy...  The result was not a conclusion based on the approximation of a scientific truth as dictated by reason, but was an action demanded by the ideological temper of the times.”

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Without ijtihad, Islam is dead.  It is buried in the graves of the pious predecessors to remain in modern obscurity and conflict.  Brother Mansoor provided some insight into this above: “Often, people think the solutions lie with the jurists solely, not understanding that jurists set the boundaries, but jurisprudence itself does not always offer the solution; that is, it sets the boundaries and parameters from which we can operate.”  I would add that the jurists sometimes have no inkling of what is happening on the ground and become obstacles to the growth and development of Islam.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Brother Ali, there is a huge difference between accepting something exists, especially something that is real and has always existed, then making some allowances to make the lives of those affected easier, and on the other hand, promoting it.  Besides, even if homosexuality had a multibillion dananir marketing campaign promoting it, I would not be interested!  I have always been attracted by the opposite sex.  In much the same way, even if there was a multitrillion dinar campaign promoting heterosexuality, gay people would not be interested, because they are not straight.

Gay people may try to pretend they are straight, especially if the penalty for being themselves is death!  But, they will still be gay.  That is reality.  The only question, is how we address this reality.

I beg to differ regarding secrecy being better.  The reality is that we get more problems with abuse and domestic violence when people are made to feel ashamed about their private lives and keep everything about their sex life a secret.  Why is that?  Because it provides the perfect environment for abusers, rapists and other criminals, who thrive on secrecy and vulnerable guilt tripped victims.  Now, what do we see in many traditionally Muslim countries with conservative cultures?  Precisely that reality!

The approach of liberal societies generally manages this problem better and gives more support to people in their relationships, and especially victims of domestic violence. 
Now as Muslims, the question we should be asking ourselves is; are we going to use current scientific knowledge to build better societies, or are we going to implement outdated models based on mediaeval thinking and continue to suffer the consequences?  The answer should be obvious.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother Paul, I agree with your last paragraph, so where is the scientific knowledge you speak of?  Please share it.  Have you not seen my requests?

Brother Colin Turner: “Current scientific models” versus “outdated models based on medieval thinking”?  In the context of Islam, what are the “outdated models based on medieval thinking”?  The Qur’an?  The ahadits?  Or interpretations of them?  If so, what kind of models exist in our scholarship?  As for “current scientific models”, I echo Brother Hajj Ahmad: what are they?

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: The comment is typed based upon what I have learned here and there over many years.  I obviously do not have this data to hand right now, but do dig it out when I write on the subject.  People should do research themselves, it is not difficult to find this information.  Just look for current research on homosexuality in psychology, health, and for the other point, case studies and summaries regarding domestic violence.

I must stress, it is important to take an unbiased approach when researching anything.  Let the case studies and data speak for themselves.  Until some years ago, I used to be extremely uncomfortable about homosexuality and held private views regarding sexuality that totally differ from my current understanding.  An element of this was due to my understanding of Islam at the time, the rest was there beforehand.  That is what education is for; increasing our understanding, to develop ourselves, which in turn allows us to make better decisions concerning others and society.

Brother William Voller: Brother Hajj, you said, “Homosexuality was not unknown in the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.).”  It is things like this which means we will not understand each other.  Like I said, my article is very clear on this point of what is ‘homosexuality’.  The story of Hit is interesting, there are a number of narrations.  The mukhannats is not homosexual but effeminate, so actually, it has more to do with transgender.  This is another example of misunderstanding; there is no connection between feminine mannerisms and homosexuality.  Your comment about ‘manly homosexuals’ is disappointing.

al-Muhallab said his banishment was for describing private matters in public thus defeating the point of seclusion.  The whole affair is a little unclear, and like I said, is not really about homosexuality.  I think it interesting that classical scholars engaged in this in a much more nuanced and intelligent way than many of us today.  The ‘ulama describe at least three genders, mainly to incorporate the eunuch into society.  The Gallup poll is interesting.  There might be a few reasons for this, such as more willingness to admit it.  However, my main bone of contention is that the best way to stop the spread of what Islam is against is not to make an issue of it.  Just look at puritans who force ‘piety’ with state intimidation, they spread kufr and equally aggressive reactionary opposition.  I really do not see how facilitating, say civil partnerships, is going to spread fornication as you say.  No, the way to promote virtue is role models, education and support.

Also like with Brother Colin’s unhelpful analogy, your linking homosexuality to promiscuity is not only unfounded, but going to fuel the fire.  Could we not all agree that using neutral and actually respectful language is only ever going to help?  I would be very interested in this reference too, Brother Colin, because although there was certainly much political opposition.  I am not convinced it was the direct or only cause.  Because again, how is it an illness?

Brother Colin Turner: Maybe ‘disorder’ is a more suitable word than ‘illness’, Brother William.  Regarding my analogy, I understand why people find it distasteful, but if we really try to explore the premises, they are not dissimilar to the ones which operate in homosexuality.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother Paul, anecdotal assertions are not helpful in this case.  I will post a link below which is after a very quick search, and if you read the article you will find that there is no proof and the word evidence is used in its broadest definition.  In fact, if this is a normative scientific study, then so-called ‘scientific evidence’ needs a strict re-appraisal.  Even if non-gays do not have the same variant SNPs, no other variables have been controlled for; for example, how do we know that homosexual practice in and of itself does not change genetic SNPs?  According to the National Institute of Health fact page, “Acquired (or somatic) mutations occur at some time during a person’s life and are present only in certain cells, not in every cell in the body.  These changes can be caused by environmental factors....”  Anyway, it is my feeling that if you are to adopt the position you have adopted you must back it up with other than anecdotal evidence.  This is the link: Homosexuality is Genetic: Strongest Evidence Yet.

Brother William Voller: Brother Colin, why not just use another analogy?  Avoid any problems.  It is a sensitive subject so - and I remind myself foremost - we need to be careful.  Again though, I cannot see how any analogy relating to some sort of mental phenomena that causes dis-ease is ever going to be a suitable analogy to one that does not. You may have to explain it to me.  Disorder may be a better terminology, but the question still arises how?

Brother Hajj Ahmad: This is an important final paragraph from the article I posted above and needs to be considered: “Still, the researchers stress that regardless of genetic preference, genes are but a factor in the greater picture, taking into account that social and cultural pressures can still effect an individual's sexual lifestyle, no matter how they were born.”

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Hajj Ahmad, you are taking the right approach to finding the answers, many of us are emotional and do not even get to that point.  But I believe if we stay connected to Allah and use our intellect, we will be safe, and benefit from investigating things further.  For me, I started on the American Psychology association and the Wikipedia article on sexuality.  I started clicking links and googling names.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother William, you as a proponent for re-examination of the Islamic approach toward homosexuality most surely have come across something more than the vague and unsupported scientific evidence I have found that supports your view of homosexuality not being psychopathological.  What I have seen is completely unsubstantiatable.  Please do not respond with anecdotes.  People are speaking too much from opinion with no proof.  This makes the post just another Tower of Babel.

Brother Mingda Sun: If anyone is in interested in the source for what I said about love being gender neutral, the lady’s name is Professor Diamond, University of Utah; she did the research for that.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother Mingda, this is not useful.  Those who are making claims need to facilitate the way to establish those claims, otherwise these claims are unhelpful and do not further the search for truth.  It makes this post just another blab post.  The question is not about gender love neutrality.  It is about the genetic propensity toward homosexuality which eliminates choice in consummating that propensity in action.  Please read carefully and respond appropriately.  Our friend, Brother Daaiyee, as the foremost proponent of Gay Islam in America took a defensive position and could or would not supply anything useful.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Mingda, it would help if you did not misrepresent people's positions.  I have not ‘ranted’ about conspiracy theories.  I do not buy into conspiracy theories as a rule, and I am not making an exception for homosexuality.  All I am emphasising is the power of the media, that is all.  Would you say that I am overestimating that?

Brother Hajj Ahmad: I want to communicate intelligently about the issue with those who support that homosexuality is indeed a genetically disposed event and cannot be helped or overcome by the element of ‘choice’ which is what all human beings have.  Those who support religion have provided their dala’il.  Those on the other side have provided nothing other than personal opinion.

Brother Colin Turner: I apologise again for bringing the word ‘paedophile’ into the situation, but there is a reason.  If we believe that paedophilia is an aberration, we have absolutely no qualms about “telling someone with an extremely high libido to remain celibate”, because that is precisely what we would expect in the case of someone who cannot curb their sexual desires for young people.  And please don't say that paedophilia is different, it is about coercion and non-consensual sex and so forth.  That really is not the issue here.  The issue is that society is quite happy to tell one group to remain celibate - or to develop ‘normal’ sexual interests - but it will not countenance telling homosexuals to remain celibate or to attempt a heterosexual lifestyle.  Again, I caution people against taken offence by my bringing the p-word into the discussion again, and I repeat that I am not comparing homosexuality with paedophilia.  I am simply pointing out the difference in our expectations, that is all.  And the fact that this is philosophically and ethically problematic.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Colin Turner, if you think media is the reason people become gay or have left behind the outdated, superstitious view that being gay is a disorder or disease, you have overestimated the power of the media.  Sexual misbehaviour is actually on the decline as is alcohol consumption.  All of that peaked years ago.  People who are middle aged are actually just as promiscuous, if not more so, than people in their 20s.

I do not get where this idea comes from that since the 1960s the line graph representing sex outside marriage in frequency just keep sloping upwards.  In the US teens were more promiscuous in the 1960s and 1970s compared to today.  So all this griping by older people about how things were so amazing in the past have no statistical backing, it is just hypocritical grumbling.

Brother Colin Turner: Maybe you should bring a little more depth to your analysis of my words, Brother Mingda.  This is not about people becoming gay because of the influence of the media.  It is about people becoming more accepting of homosexuality.  The fact that most people today do not believe that homosexuality is a disorder is down largely to the media, to advertising, to popular culture and to all other conduits of information communication.  Talking about ‘statistical backing’, all of those assertions you have just made could do with some serious quantitative substantiation.

And I do not think anyone has said anything about society becoming more and more promiscuous.  The point made, which I think no one can dispute, is that acceptance of sexual impropriety has risen since the 1950s, and behaviours that were frowned upon then are now seen as more or less kosher.  That does not mean that people were not ‘sexually improper’ back then.  Of course they were.  But it was generally a ‘behind closed doors’ thing.  That has changed dramatically.

As for linguistic niceties, anything which is sinful is, by default, a disorder, Brother Mingda.  Same-gender sexual activity is therefore, by definition, a disorder, the same as any act of zina or fahshah.

Brother Paul Salahuddin Armstrong: Ideas on what is proper or improper are in perpetual flux.  Look at the difference between the reign of Oliver Cromwell and His Majesty King Charles II, and that was centuries ago!  History spirals, repeating similar things over and over, albeit in slight variations.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: That is only true from a human perspective, not a Divine One.  And that is why we have the Qur’an.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Colin Turner, my point has been to point out that sentiment and emotion has no place in this discussion, including an attachment to the past.  Why does it matter that the past seemed more chaste and pure?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The entire original post is based on nothing but sentiment.  It ignores dala’il.  It is based on emotion and nafs, not the Qur’an.  It has no basis in the sciences of the religion.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother Paul, I am more interested in what you have come upon that has changed your opinion.  When you have the opportunity, please message me with links.  There is a deeper intention here than just an idle curiosity.  Shukran.

It does not bother me that it has no basis in the sciences of religion, Brother Terence, though that is true.  What bothers me is that it has no basis in science either.  Most of what has been written is based on hearsay and emotional opinion as you said.  Brother Mingda, you are not using the logic you are calling to.  According to Islam it is definitely a disorder, and according to science there is no evidence that it is genetically or epigenetically produced.  The science is all supposition trying to prove a point.  You have shown nothing to the contrary.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, you yourself said if people want to get married or whatever, it is their right, only that Islam will not recognise it.  That is my position too.  I am talking about a secular state recognising same sex unions.  I have not talked about changing the Diyn.  Stop making straw man arguments please.  It is beneath you to keep repeating nonsense ad nauseum.  No one has advocated making gay marriage part of the Diyn except the latecomer to the discussion, Brother Abdullah.

Sister Eleanor Grant: Whether we agree or disagree with homosexuality, the fact is, to answer the original question, there is no punishment for sodomy in the Qur’an

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I edit the threads and I pay attention to the comments, Brother Mingda Sun.  I suggest you read through it again.  The entire nature of the discussion is characterised by Islam recognising same sex nikah.  You are moving the goal posts. I am not easily fooled.

In summary, the initial contention that was brought forth was that it may be permissible in the Qur'an, and that was soundly refuted by the text itself.  Please recall what you wrote above.  You mentioned that the punishment for the people of Luth (a.s.) was because of rape when the Qur'an clearly spoke about sodomy.

The contention that it is genetic is disputed, and is not resolved.  It is an opinion since there are partisan studies either way.  And that has an impact on the theological position since the implication would be an inadequacy in the Qur'an.

And finally, the contention that Muslims must accept it was refuted on the basis that it is an inadequacy in faith, that we accept something contrary to Islam.  You have provided no basis for a change in the theological or jurisprudential position.  Your only recourse was an appeal to emotion.

Brother Mingda Sun: Eating pork is contrary to Islam but I am not going on a jihad to eliminate it from my sight because my religion forbids it.  I am a religious minority living in a liberal society.  I have no justification for trying to make the larger society around me conform to my own ideals on anything.  When I vote on civic matters I have to weigh other considerations besides ‘what religion do I practice’.  I keep repeating that to myself.  I should not have to.  If civil unions can be demonstrated to do much good for the public, I am okay with them, because it would be normalising gay love while remaining silent on gay sex.  Civil unions are not an endorsement of gay sex, only gay love.  That, I can live with.  You said yourself, love is not forbidden.  So what is the problem?  I see no problem, no moral dilemma.  I just see people repeating unfounded accusations.

Brother William Voller: Brother Hajj, I am unsure what you are asking although I agree with you, that you and I are having a tower of Babel moment.  I think my article points to plenty that is not anecdotal.  I mean, it is all from peer reviewed sources.

In this millue, the truth is we do not know because it is very complex and nothing is beyond doubt.  But this is also true of heterosexuality too.  I mean, no one is talking about the straight gene, why?  I would think like many things, sexuality is probably a continuum, which is multi-factoral.  However, having been involved in mental health for many years and reading journals and discussing with my psychiatrist wife, the problem with homosexuality as a disorder is it should never have been one in the first place and people are not suffering from it, such that it causes anxiety or social disorders and such like, or there is no Oedipus Complex, for example.  There may well be people who are ‘unwell’ who are involved in same gender sex, but that is an entirely different state of affairs because there are also ‘unwell’ heterosexuals.

Essentially it just looks like there are left handed and right handed people and there are gay people and straight people, although there are influential factors of both there is no way to predict who will be either.  I suggest there is a category that does not fit normative rules so something else should be done.  I may be wrong.  But I never deny Islam clearly is for man-woman mature relationships in formal marriages, this is undeniably the mathematical normal and is all that is promoted because it is simply undeniable.  However, I also do not think homosexuals as we use the term today can really be said to be like Qawm Luth and they are not abominations or the like. Homosexuality challenges how we understand Islam, ourselves or even God.

My article says all of this.  So I leave you with that and I guess we will just smile and chalk this conversation as irreconcilable, Brother Hajj.  But never mind, there is more to life and we have much else in common and I love you, but not in a homo-erotic way.

Brother Colin Turner: It would seem to me that studies carried out on sets of twins would probably have knocked on the head the notion that homosexuality is somehow genetic.  Wa Allahu ‘Alam.

Bother Mingda, you said, “Civil unions are not an endorsement of gay sex, only gay love.”  Well, this is completely counter to how marriage is perceived in Islamic law and legal theory, where nikah is an endorsement of sex, not of love.  But none of this is really relevant, because no one here is talking about trying to impose on secular liberal societies the kind of moral and ethical norms which we hold sacred in Islam.  Another example, as Brother Hajj Ahmad pointed out, of your moving the goalposts every hour or so.

Sister Eleanor Grant, correction: there is no earthly punishment for sodomy in the Qur’an.  There is an ukhrawi punishment though, clearly, as I am sure you will agree.

Brother Mingda Sun: Brother Colin Turner, if I stand in the way of other people living their lives, then I am imposing.  If I lived under a caliphate, it would be justified.  Since I do not, it is not.

My goalposts do not exist, because for me, there is nothing to win, no points to score.  I have asked for evidence that it would be wrong to support same sex civil unions.  To recognise all love as sacred, between adults.  If these couples sin and have sex, so what?  I do not endorse that, nor do they need anyone’s endorsement to do that if that is happening anyways.  I am just recognising that all love is halal.  No one has provided that evidence,

If someone wants to make fatwa that it is haram to vote for same sex civil unions, the burden of proof is on them to provide dalil.  Islam does not start with the assumption that everything is haram unless proven; it is the opposite in fact, right, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis?

Brother Colin Turner: Again, you are on the completely wrong track, Brother Mingda Sun.  No one here is talking about 'making it haram to vote for same sex civil unions; the issue of legislation regarding homosexuality in a liberal secular society is not being discussed here.  You berated someone earlier on for setting up straw men, but you are doing that yourself.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: In case you forgot what you wrote, Brother Mingda Sun, and you seem to forget a lot of things you wrote earlier when it is convenient: “Intellectually and philosophically speaking, why might that be the case?  Is there, in Islam, something somewhat better or less wrong about two women engaged in homosexuality than two men?”  That is dishonest.  But to answer you other question, taking as qiyas, the hadits on alcohol, it would be the probable position of most Muslims that it would be unconscionable to support it.  That is the position in the Muslim world.  That is the position in the Christian world, not secular Europe and the US.  And that is the position in the Far East.  If two homosexuals want to engage in anything within their own home, no one is going to interfere.  But much of our societies do not recognise such unions.

Brother Mingda Sun: Yes that was the post, and I followed up with other questions because I wanted people to know I wanted this information to make an informed decision at the ballot box.  I had to remind everyone that this was not a question of what should be done in the ideal Muslim state or what I would do as a jurist.

Anyways, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, do you think it is possible to recognise the union, at least the love while remaining silent on the sex part?  Imagine two pious Muslims of the same sex who are in love, want to share their lives, possessions, everything, just not their bodies.  Would it be wrong to recognise their civil union as legitimate?  Gay or straight or whatever, we all crave that love and companionship more than anything physical after all.  Instead of telling gays to avoid sex, why not encourage them to seek love?  Love for Allah, love for their romantic partner for Allah’s Sake is the only thing I can imagine keeping someone who is LGBT chaste after all.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The body of believers is not going to endorse that.  Unless you were not paying attention, it was already mentioned earlier, by me and several others, that it is contrary to the Qur’an.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Is the continued questioning going to help you at the ballot box, Brother Mingda?  I cannot see how it would, and the answers have been clearly set out.  I think this thread has reached a conclusion.  What do you think?

Brother Mingda Sun: I think there is more to discuss.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, what about Imam Suhaib Webb?  Because he is a well-known imam who believes that his duty as an American is to uphold the Constitution even if it means giving people more rights than he is comfortable with religiously.  So he supports gay marriage even as he has the standard interpretation of homosexual acts being sinful, balancing civic duty with religious values.  Comments?

Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger: Brother Mingda, it appears that you are going on about legalising civil union is all about security.  Well, let me tell you, if you are not indulging in something that you know is wrong, you will not feel insecure, and if you still do out of fear of how others might react to it, then your first priority should be to rectify your iman before the gratification of your or others’ romantic or emotional ‘needs’, because if you are a Muslim or a cumin, Allah’s Right that you should only fear Him, and trust that no harm can come to you from Creation without His Permission, is greater and more real than the right your hawa has to your obedience.  The key to, and root of your problem is the ‘-sexual’ in ‘homosexual’, because in this particular usage it is not signifying gender as a condition, but sex as an activity.

Brother Mingda Sun: The problem is that the need for love is recognised in Qur’an.  It is not my hawa saying people need love and romance, most of them.

Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger: No one is denying that need, least of all Allah, Who has Created it, and He has also Given pure means and ways to fulfil them.  The problem is that for some people, these God-Given means and ways do not seem to be good enough.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Whilst we respect Suhaib, that does not mean we have to follow what he says.  He is a minor American scholar expressing an opinion on the matter based on the situation there.  I feel that he said it, as he has said quite a few thing, out of political necessity.  And in this, we disagree.

We had a long discussion with Shaykh Alaeddin Elbakri, who ministers in San Francisco to the gay community.  On one hand, we offer them friendship, love and community.  It is the humanitarian approach.  We all have our different sins.  But we do not endorse their lifestyle in any way out of religious conviction.

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Mingda, if you are adamant that all you want to know is whether you should vote on the issue, here is my input, for what it is worth.  We live in secular liberal societies and we cannot discriminate between individuals on the basis of gender, religion or sexual orientation.  If, however, it is put to the vote, then I would vote against - purely on conscientious grounds.  Who knows how we will be questioned about this in the hereafter?  I cannot openly prevent such legislation from being implemented once it is passed, but I can make sure I have nothing to do with the legislation being passed in the first place.

Throughout this whole thread, one thing in particular, has caught my eye and that is Brother Terence’s strictures on the importance of not putting feelings and emotions before obedience and justice.  The ‘freedom’ lauded so exuberantly by the unbelievers is basically the freedom to do as the whims and fancies of the nafs dictate - an approach which is often framed in terms of the tension which exists between Revelation and reason.  While such tension does exist, of course, we have to knock on the head this notion that the central processing unit of the nafs is reason.  It is not.  The central processing unit of the nafs is personal desire, which in turn can be fuelled by a thousand and one things, and which appears in various guises, such as  ‘reason’, ‘common sense’, ‘progressive values’, ‘liberalism and libertarianism’ and so on.  It is imperative that we, as self-identifying believers, do not fall into the trap of using ‘reason’ to justify wrongdoing.  It is much better to sin and to admit that it is a sin than to sin and somehow justify it by giving it another name.  Wrong is wrong, and no amount of sophistry, rhetoric and special pleading will make it otherwise.  Brother Terence’s insistence on this has been an important reminder, not just with regard to this issue but as advice to be taken on board in general, on all issues.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: We hear this statement, “They can't do anything about it” so it is okay?  Essentially, they are saying that free will has been eliminated in the matter of being homosexual.  This is nonsensical and is only used by those who have nothing else to say to support the choice people make by allowing homosexual impulses to dominate their behaviour.

By the way, Brother William, I do get what you say, and I am trying to explore the genetic science you are alluding to, but there is absolutely nothing substantive to date.  I have been pleading for evidence and have received none.

I realise that homosexuals have very strong impulses toward their behaviour, and I truly empathise with someone who wishes to be Muslim and is severely challenged by this impulse, but so far there is no compelling evidence to overrule the consensus opinion that the behaviour is not allowed in Islam.  If science provides hard evidence ‘proving’ there is a genetic component which undeniably causes this abnormality, then an Islamic ijtihad would be required.

It is important to differentiate between homosexuality in the larger societies versus homosexuality in Islam.  Islamic behaviour presupposes adherence to Islamic norms, so if I wish to be Muslim, I would seemingly adhere to Islamic norms that establish reciprocity for wrong actions.

Now as to the issue of homosexual marriage in the larger society, I would agree that this is a positive thing.  Better to civilly legitimise these relationships as marriage tends to reduce the amount of licentious behaviour.  Marriage for homosexuals became a defined trend after the early 1970s uncontained licentious behaviour led to the explosion of HIV.  Homosexuality then became more contained out of necessity, and now unions have become normative in the larger society.  Homosexual marriage in Islam, however, is precluded, and I doubt that Suhaib Webb endorses this, though he might.

Sister Sabine: It is not nonsensical.  Being homosexual is not a choice, just like being heterosexual is not a choice.  End of story.

And again – I would like to hear all those arguments about not giving in to physical desires, controlling your nafs, living a celibate life and so on when it comes to heterosexual men.  That would be a nice change from the common rhetoric about men's insatiable desires that need to be catered to under any circumstances because supposedly how God Created them.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Within Islam, there is spiritual tradition that has been ignored for the most part.  It is applicable to all Muslims and pertains to curbing the physical appetites and controlling the nafs.

Brother Colin Turner: Unfortunately we live in societies - Muslim and non-Muslim - that have purely instrumentalist approaches to self-control.  If such and such a measure will have this or that kind of social or financial impact, it is adopted.  The notion of self-control as a means of obedience and spiritual purification was thrown out with the bathwater when religion became ‘a personal and purely private thing’, and when God was displaced from the centre of the universe and the human ‘I’ was enthroned there instead.  Talk about curbing the physical appetites and controlling the nafs today and people look at you as though you have suddenly sprouted an extra head.

You can do a bit of ‘intermittent fasting’, the new health fad which advocates two days a week of fasting, if it is for health reasons, but fast ‘for the sake of God’?  “Are you mad?”  “Were you off sick when the memo came round from Nietzsche announcing God’s death?”

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Sister Sabine, do you read anything and are you open to absorbing other points of view?  It appears not.  Brother Mingda and you continually seem to be unable to address what others who oppose your ideas are saying.  From your last post it seems that you have enthroned the notion of giving into physical desires whether in the form of heterosexual or homosexual relationships.  The fact of the matter is that Islam came about precisely to set the boundaries of those physical desires, deeming some of them out of bounds and some of them within the bounds of Islam.

You and those who support your view would willy-nilly compromise the Revelation, the Prophetic dispensation and 1,400 year of scholarship by being seduced into the predominant culture which Islam came to reform.  Opinionated people like you who are incapable of anything beyond personal opinion are the bane of Islam.  Where are you people going?  Do you not understand what you are doing?  A more conservative theological position would refer to your insinuations as Shaythanic, and in a sense they are because they are outside of the bounds of the consensus Islamic thinking and outside of the bounds of Islamically-influenced reason.

Your position is untenable in Islam, so my suggestion is that until you have some hard scientific evidence to back up the supposition that homosexuality is genetically hard-wired and that choice is impossible so that perhaps ijtihad needs to be made, you either search for this evidence and provide it or cease and desist your line of argumentation which is not reasonable within the constraints of Islam.

Brother William Voller: Brother Hajj, personally I am not so sure about the ‘genetic’ question.  As you say, it is highly contentious anyway, despite being sought by both extremes.  But I am unnerved by the suggestion actually.  I do not think humans are really that simple, although there may be genetic predispositions that in of itself would not be sufficient to prove anything.  Also, it implies illness or freak of nature.  Like I said, there is no search for the heterosexual gene.  This kind of thinking created this whole mess we are in and leads down the path of Gattaca-type eugenics.  And actually, I would think the non-finding of the gay gene as the biggest proof of it being a form of the human condition.  So I suppose, Brother Hajj, we agree on proof of naturally occurring compulsion requires ijtihad, but we see proof differently and I think you are asking the wrong question anyway; searching for the gay gene will prove nothing and only make matters worse.  God Knows best

Sister Eleanor Grant: I think we need to look to Qur’an and the example of Abraham (a.s.).  Allah Tells us that in Abraham (a.s.), there is an excellent example, and here is one of them.  Unlike many ‘religious’ people today, he was not bloodthirsty.  His first instinct was to forgive and give people more chance to amend their conduct.  Even to the homosexuals, he was merciful.  When the angels of Allah told him that they have come for the purpose of destroying Luth’s (a.s.) people, he started to plead with Allah on their behalf:

When fear had passed from (the mind of) Abraham and the glad tidings had reached him, he began to plead with Us for Lot’s people.  For Abraham was, without doubt, forbearing (of faults), compassionate, and given to look to Allah. (Surah Hud:74-75)

Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger: Sister Eleanor, it does not say Abraham (a.s.) pleaded with Allah on behalf of the people of Lot (a.s.):

He said, “But there is Lot there.”  They said, “We know well who is there: we will certainly save him and his following ― except his wife: she is of those who lag behind!” (Surah al-‘Ankabut:32)

We know what the argument was: Abraham (a.s.) was concerned that Lot and his household would be destroyed with the wrongdoers in the course of the visitation.  That is quite a different matter, and we ought to be more careful, when quoting the Qur’an, not to make it a pawn for our arguments.

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Brother William, you have taken great liberty in using the word ‘proof’.  What does ‘proof’ mean?  It seems that you posit that because the condition exists this is the proof of its reality and must be accepted.  That is not the way Islam works.  Please read my above post.

According to Islamic thinking, homosexual behaviour is spiritually damaging and illegal according to Islamic law.  You are saying that because the condition exists, this is proof of the reality of the condition and we must therefore do ijtihad.  This is nonsensical, my friend.  Think about it. I am not denying the compulsion; this is real enough.  What I am addressing is whether there is choice to engage or choice to fight the impulse which is referred to as ‘jihad’ in Islamic terminology.  Now I understand that people outside of Islam choose to engage and follow their compulsions, but Muslims live by normative laws that are created on the basis of the Qur’an, the Prophetic examples and the diligent investigation of scholars.

We have yet to conclude that homosexuality in Islam, not in the larger society, should become normative.  There is simply no evidence according to Islamic dictates that leads us to any other conclusions.  All the rest is just anecdotal opinion.  It is a diversion.

Brother William, you have been taken over by modernist thinking.  Please reappraise your position according to what has been discussed.  You have said nothing other than because the condition exists and homosexuals are ‘compelled’ to engage, we should consider changing the normative position of Islamic thinking.  Do you not see how this argument falls apart?

Sister Eleanor, your understanding of the Qur’an is one dimensional.  As long as it true for you, that is enough.  This is not the spiritual path.  You need to step out of your box and explore the vast teachings of Islam.  You have accepted what is comfortable for your ego, and Islam through the Qur’an is jihad against the ego-self and errors of kufr-based societies.


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