One night, my friend whom I came out to more than two years ago, were having a conversation on the matter of LGBT+ and Islam. She is a practicing Muslim just like myself, and she has shown me moral support since coming out to her. On my WhatsApp, she messages me wanting to settle her curiosity. “So do you think that to be LGB in Islam is haram? I’m going to be honest, I’m still not convinced”. Below is our conversation regarding my independent research as to why one can live a full life as someone who is LGB and Muslim:
Me: Since the start of research into homosexuality in the 1980’s there’s compounding evidence that it is a biological drive. If this is part of our nature then this is part of our fitra (natural state) to be attracted to the same sex. Therefore this is merely how we were fashioned in the womb. Looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, sexual and emotional intimacy is a basic need and harm can be caused if this need isn’t met.
Me: In Islam there’s a huge discouragement of celibacy and i find it a double standard to apply this to Muslim homosexuals bc we know it doesnt work. AbdulHakim Murad himself said “if this is a test, surely most people will fail” so whats the point of the test. It’s needless suffering and anguish.
Me: Another thing about homosexuality and same sex marriage. Homosexuality does not cause harm, nor deception, nor corruption of a society. So you can’t really call it immoral. But what would be immoral would be to oppress a subset of humanity from getting their basic needs fulfilled and have them punished for a biological drive of theirs.
Me: I’m sure you’re clued up on the logical arguments for the case of homosexuality. And you want to know the Islamic arguments of homosexuality. Reason is not seperate from Islam. Islam is a deen of reason and justice as in the Quran these themes are emphasized by Allah so many times.
Me: the two arguments in Islam against homosexuality really boil down to two things:
1- The story of Qawm Lut
2- There’s a consensus on the matter
Me: Now regarding the story of Qawm Lut, I’ve already sent you resources on that.
Me: and as for a consensus, there has been many times where a consensus has changed in islam. for 1200 years it was considered a consensus that slavery and concubinage was permissible (despite it being immoral). Consensus is not meant to be set in stone and consensus can change based on politics and new information/new arguments that are available.
Me: to say “homosexuality is haraam because there is a consensus” is like saying “homosexuality is haraam because everyone thinks so”. It’s not an objective argument based on facts or logic.
Me: Besides Imam Shafii himself said that consensus doesn’t exist. To get all sheyoukh, hundreds of thousands throughout history to agree on one thing is impossible.
Me: Especially when you look at historical attitudes towards homosexuality. You will find that punishments for male homosexuality were harsher than that of female sexuality. Why? Because in these patriarchal cultures, a man being penetrated by another man was not seen as an act of love. Rather it was seen as an act of humiliation, emasculation and dishonour. Ibn Al Qayyim himself said that when a man and his wife are having sex, the woman cannot be on top because it will lead to his masculinity being debased.
Me: You will find some crazy theories on homosexuality throughout history.
Me: For example, homosexuality in men was not seen as an actual orientation within its own right. It was seen to be ’caused by an anal itch’. They called this Ubna. عبنه and they would treat it by prescribing homosexual men to sit on a camel hump 😂😂
Me: Lesbianism was thought to be caused by the mother eating too much celery whilst the child was still in the womb (theorized by Ibn Sinaa)
Me: This was taken by Khaled El-Rouayheb’s book “before homosexuality”
Me: So you see, the rulings on homosexuality are not morally absolute, but you can see that these rulings were influenced by conceptions of homosexuality. Either as ‘an itch’ or a ‘dishonour’ and these preconceived biases will obviously influence the rulings.
Me: Also, in Islam, we dont have rulings for the sake of rulings as you know. There is maqasid alshariah (higher objectives of shariah). Imam Ghazali studied this and he said that every ruling in Islam came to do 5 things. These were the preservation of: 1) religion, 2) life (extends to wellbeing mental and physical 3) intellect/reason 4) progeny 5) property.
Me: anything that goes against directly is haraam.
Me: homosexuality doesnt do this. At all.
Me: if anything, catering to homosexuals in Islam enhances this. It will protect their wellbeing and their faith
Me: and if you do the opposite of discriminating against homosexuals, it does lead to harm. So you can see discriminate rulings that affect homosexuals would be haraam and would go against the Quranic value of justice!
Me: The Quran says itself that Allah sent prophets and religions to teach people to act equitably and just (5:48, 6:165, 11:7, 11:118-119, 67:2) but instead we want to hold onto unjust rulings because “our sheikh says so and we’ve always done it this way”. Even though Ibn Al Qayyim warned us about practicing taqleed (blind following)
Me: In the Qur’an God tells us why he sent down scriptures “We sent the messengers and sent them revelations and books… in order that people act equitably”. God describes himself as qa’imun bilqist and orders Muslims to be “standing for equity, witnesses for God” In ayah 5:42 God describes himself as loving those who deal equitably.
The terms Qist and Adl both mean equality and justice. There is an important difference between them. Qist is mentioned in the context of weighing with a spirit level – it is to have a consistent standard rather than hold double standards. Adl mean that people have the same thing or its equivalent. It is the universal application of the law and equality under the law. This is the very purpose of shariah. When we apply it to this situation of homosexuality, how can we have the double standard of celebrating and encouraging heterosexual marriages and discouraging celibacy whilst we do the opposite for our LGB counterparts. Knowing that celibacy and a life without intimate companionship is not only impossible but will cause harm to the individual? Therefore it is imperative that according to the Quranic injunction of justice that we treat our LGB counterparts fairly despite what tradition might say. Allah’s word, justice, is above the tradition of men.