Gay Muslims—the Elephants in the (Prayer) Room


http://www.flickr.com/photos/ledr/3633632364/in/photostream/WebbStaff Note I: This is a controversial issue with varying perspectives. Our guest author is expressing one perspective; we encourage others to respectfully discuss their own perspective in the comments or submit your thoughts as a guest piece. This article is meant to open up a discussion on this issue, rather than be a definitive stance on homosexuality.

WebbStaff Note II: Comments have been closed on this post. We encourage positive and fruitful discussions, which we feel has already taken place in the comments of this article.

By Mohammed Yusuf

Muslims, I find, tend to be quite good at avoiding open discussions about deeply personal matters affecting our communities. The problem is, it is exactly this attitude that leads to the circulation of myths and the subsequent worsening of the original matter. Muslim communities tend to treat such deeply personal matters as elephants in the room. One such elephant is, of course, homosexuality—that someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender can also be a devout Muslim.

I am a student at a British university. I have not come out as homosexual and I happen to be quite active with my Islamic Society (ISoc) on campus. When I’m in the company of other students in the ISoc, I do hear a few “gay jokes” being made (although this is a wider societal problem too). In relation to these so-called jokes, do you think I enjoy that these jokes are essentially about someone like me? To those who make these jokes, given that no one has their sexual orientation stamped on their forehead, you’ve most probably already prayed alongside a homosexual without realizing. Let me ask you, was there anything ‘lesser’ about these people?

To those who have a conservative attitude towards homosexuals, given the homophobic rhetoric, attacks and social exclusion that a homosexual often has to put up with, do you genuinely believe that someone like me would have actively chosen to be gay rather than straight?

The number of times I have previously wished that I wasn’t homosexual…but that’s the whole point: you cannot choose to be homosexual (to put it another way, how many of you actively chose to have feelings for the opposite sex rather than the same sex?)

Homosexuality isn’t a choice. Muslim communities should stop sweeping the topic under the carpet and start providing the right kind of support and advice.

For starters, does your local mosque provide a confidential online or drop-in advice service? (Not a service run by a traditional-minded scholar who can barely speak English, but by someone who is fully aware of the contemporary environment, is a good communicator, and someone young people can relate to.) Does the Islamic Society at your university only ever discuss topics such as perfecting your prayers and how you can do charity? Or does it openly acknowledge that university is a time when you may have a whole range of personal issues, and therefore advertises suitable welfare services? Do our community leaders shun discussion of very personal problems or do they lead the way in acknowledging that personal problems do exist, and create initiatives to tackle these problems in an effective and Islamic way?

Ask yourself each of those questions and you will see that as a community we need to be doing far more to support the homosexuals among us.

Fortunately, I met an extremely knowledgeable Muslim who’d given a few talks at my university. I got to know this person, their open-minded nature, and knew I could approach them to discuss my homosexuality. The day we met up and I told them, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I no longer had to struggle on my own but could talk to somebody if I needed to. I then told a couple of my closest friends at university who I also knew I could trust. One of them afterwards gave me a hug, and that meant the world—knowing that this person wasn’t going to treat me any differently.

I’m now at a stage where being homosexual no longer bothers me as it once did, and I can now focus on the more important things in life. I have the odd struggle, but I guess sexuality just isn’t a straightforward thing. Having been through all the mental anguish though, I do feel for those who are on their own right now, unable to turn to anyone for advice and support. If you’re a Muslim struggling with your sexuality, I’m not going to offer you some generic advice as some scholars might, and then avoid your actual concerns altogether. I really wish I could point you in the right direction—but that’s part of the point of this article, that the Muslim community needs to do more to support those of us who are homosexual and Muslim.

I will say, though, that you’re definitely not alone. There is an Islamic viewpoint that says the having of same-sex feelings is itself no sin. And contrary to how others may make you feel, you’re no less of a human being or a good Muslim. I wish you all the best, and really hope you find the support you need.

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291 Comments

  1. Talha says:

    I find this article fascinating. As a Muslim, I believe its essential to understand where a person is coming from when they face an issue/problem. If you can understand, you can empathise and hence can help them deal with the issue.

    The nuance between feelings and actions are delicate, and this article has been written well. Personally, from all the studies I have done, I understand the ACT of homosexuality to be a sin. However – a feeling towards the actions/intention is slightly more ambiguous as it is linked to the intention behind it.

    Speaking generally:
    - If someone has a feeling but no intention to act upon it, this is not only fine but it is rewarded in Islam. We cannot control what is in our hearts
    - If someone has a feeling and resolves to act upon it but doesnt do it, some say this is a sin whilst others say it is not
    - If someone has a feeling and acts upon it, that is the sin.

    Saying that, the writer is perfectly right to suggest that a person with a homosexual feelings must not be shunned as they have done nothing wrong. However, I will go even further in saying that no one should be shunned EVEN if they do sin. We must welcome Muslims and non-Muslims in alike regardless of what they do. If we don’t, then how else can they expect to find the right company by which to change.

    Baraka Allahu Feekum

    • FZA says:

      Salam El Leh Kum to all,
      I agree w/Talha however would like to add something further. Each of us are born to struggle within ourselves. We each have something to overcome and that is the essence of why we are here. Allah, Subhanallah, TaAllah) is testing our metal and those who resist wrong doing will be successful. I understand that no muslim should be shunned and as long as s/he understands that his feelings/thoughts are wrong and reaches out to the community for help then that help should be given. But for one to accept these feelings as if to say “this is how i am” and then I feel strongly this is wrong as it is plainly evident in the Quran and I need not add anything further. Again, we all struggle within ourselves, the goal is to overcome and not accept. I truly believe, and this coming from a person who suffered from depression for years (and how many people can understand depression unless they are in it) that if you try with all your might and put your trust in Allah then he will help you. Remember, Allah does not change a person unless s/he has the sincere intention to change within themselves. Brother, go to Mecca and ask Allah. He is the all hearer and healer. If you really love Allah as you claim you do, then put your trust in him and he will help you. I have myself overcome many difficulties over the years and I continue to suffer but knowing that Allah is there helps me tremendously. For the love of Allah, I will never, never accept my desires because that’s the easiest thing I could do and what a terrible state I would then be in. No, I will never stop the Jihad that’s within me until the day I die because I am a slave of Allah and not of myself or my desires. Salam El Leh Kum, Au Rathmatallah, Au barakatu.

    • bilal says:

      totally agree with you talha..

    • Haajara says:

      “However, I will go even further in saying that no one should be shunned EVEN if they do sin.”

      Completely right! Too often we push away our brothers and sisters for their sins and they end up only leaving Islam. We need to support one another, guide another, not push each other away. We should not judge one another — Allah SWT is the one and only Judge.

      • Sara says:

        Well said: Only Allah can judge and who are we to judge for we have our own shortcomings as well and we are not perfect.
        We all need to be accepting of each other and seek to understand and help and not judge and push away.
        I have known a girl who was so close to converting to Islam and almost left because of the actions of some in the Muslim community, even an inappropriate behaviour of a local Imam. She was lucky that she found on her path others who were more open and helped her.

    • Tariq says:

      AOA,

      Actually, in certain cases where people are sinning, “shunning” and other things are required.

      There is a big difference between a person who is sinning in private versus public. A public major sinner is considered a FASIQ. There is a special term for them and people should avoid their company in order to protect themselves. And their actions SHOULD be shunned. They should be shamed by the community and feel ashamed. Without shame, society will end up in ruins. And by shame I mean don’t hang out with that person, don’t accept what they are doing, remind them of hell but also of the forgiveness of Allah swt. But their act definitely needs to be shunned. Especially if they are doing it in an open and arrogant manner. So if there is a Muslim man who openly is dating another Muslim man, the community needs to advise him, but also shun what he is doing and proclaim that it is a major sin in Islam punishable in Hell.

      However, with all general advice, wisdom is needed. Sometimes people have severe addictions to things such as drugs, alcohol and even sex addictions. I would argue that their activities can still stay “private”, but if they choose to do them so openly and in the public, some type of consideration should be given to the way you deal with them because they might be physically or mentally addicted to something and have lost control of their minds.

  2. Z says:

    Without going into legality issues, I know what you mean. I’m not a homosexual myself, but as a fellow ‘misfit’, I can certainly relate to your situation. I guess there are just things that the ‘mainstream’ are generally not capable of understanding. But He understands. So hope.

  3. Waleed says:

    Respect to the brother who wrote this, homosexuality is certainly a topic that is swept under the carpet in Muslim cultures and not discussed openly and candidly.

    Keep it up!

  4. shema says:

    Assalamualaikum brother. All i can say is pray to Allah to forgive all your sins. If you dont want to have that feeling of homosexuality because of fear in azab of Allah,then ask for His forgiveness and He is very near to us. Ask for His Guidance to banish such feelings. Afraid that feeling will be uncontrollable. You know what is huge thing in this duniya? Nafsu(strong desire). I pray that Allah will give you the answer :)

  5. Waleed says:

    So being a homosexual still means you’re a ‘good muslim’ How does that work ?

    • Sr.Mehgan says:

      Asalaam alaykum,
      Gay Muslims can absolutely be good Muslims, their struggle is different than say mine or yours. I am happy to see this article, even though I am straight I am still and odd puzzle piece in our Ummah as one other poster put it(a misfit). But our community is so close minded on topics like drug or alcohol addiction, sexuality, women’s sexual addictions, etc. So much is swept under the rug or the ‘haram police’ berate you for it and that only brings shame and pain and distances some from the community when they need to be understood. Everyone in this world wants to know that they matter and that people hear them. Plain and simple. Allah is the only one to judge each of us and it will be up to Allah when we pass away, but only Allah truly knows what lies in our hearts and what struggles we have. Jazak Allah khayr.

    • M says:

      Having feelings for the opposite sex and not acting on them means you’re still a ‘good Muslim’? how does that work?

    • Siraj says:

      That’s the trap, us humans should not be judging anybody as good or bad muslim. Allah will decide. What the article is trying to say is having homosexual feelings is still OK as long as you don’t commit the act of homosexuality.

      I disagree when the writer says Homosexuality isn’t a choice. I wouldn’t exactly know if it is or isn’t as I am not homosexual.

    • Miqsh says:

      like some comments say above: the ACT of homosexuality is a sin and any feelings that arise within you isn’t held accountable as a sin. Reflect on the mercy and justice of Allah the Almighty.

    • Mielad says:

      Allah does not hold us accountable for the thoughts and desires we have. If say I, a heterosexual man, thought a woman was incredibly beautiful, that is fine. And likewise a homosexual man can have the same thoughts about another man. The problem is when I start acting on these feelings and want to actually commit sins. (Such as asking the woman for ‘coffee’ or what have you)

    • Omar says:

      To feel homosexual impulses and to act on those impulses are two very different things. Sexuality is not binary–there are many variations in what attracts us and stimulates our nafs.

      For this guy to acknowledge his challenges and ask for help was praiseworthy. May Allah help him in his struggle, ameen!

      • Sara says:

        Agree, I just said the same in my comment before reading yours as I just saw the article.
        I will come back to it later to read remaining reactions to it.
        I am surprised though that some people confuse being homosexual with acting on those feelings.

    • Khan says:

      Are you a good muslim? How does that work?

    • Farah says:

      The author already feels backed up into a corner, and your choice of words isn’t very helpful. Does the offensive approach make one a ‘good muslim’? Does heterosexuality make one a good muslim by default? None of us knows what his/her end will be, and none of us is in a position to judge another’s muslimness.

    • Yaqub says:

      Brother Waleed…you say and ask the following… “So being a HOMOSEXUAL still means you’re a GOOD MUSLIM. How does that work?”

      Firstly…what determines TRUE homosexuality? Are feelings/attraction for the same sex without acting on them the definition of homosexuality? Or is it the actual action of acting on those feelings towards the same sex that defines homosexuality?

      As the saying goes; actions speak louder than words..or thoughts/feelings for that matter. People can think/feel/say whatever they want; but it’s the action (or lack thereof) that truly defines things.

      I do feel that MANY (if not the vast majority) of homosexuals are born into it…just as how straight people are born into being straight. Just as how some people are born with pre-existing ailments such as mental handicap, blindness, lack of limbs, disorders and diseases of the heart or other bodily functions and organs, etc..people can see homosexuality as being born with a disorder of sexual orientation. And then some can see it as not necessarily having to be born with it; but that homosexuality can develop over time or all of a sudden in an individual.

      At the same time; I do feel there are some that may not have been born homosexual..but because of certain environmental factors in the way they were raised for example; they either consciously or subconsciously evolve into an attraction for the same sex.

      Food for thought.

    • Jamal says:

      Good Point

    • Asma says:

      It is only when you act upon your thoughts that it becomes a sin.

  6. HM says:

    Interesting article..

    This is an issue which needs to be discussed more often. I joined a small online community which supports and guides muslim with same sex attraction. We also have a small yahoo forum where we often discuss and help one another

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StraightStruggle/

  7. Zahra says:

    Yes, same sex attraction is an issue not to be completely swept under the carpet, but neither is it something that has to be broadcast to the world. Essentially its a private matter, what sexual tendencies someone may have or may not is entirely their business and certainly does not impact on my life. That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be support networks for individuals who need that support.

  8. Hafiz says:

    totally agree with author.

  9. Naddu says:

    Aslk brother Yusuf,

    It is good that you bought up the topic, the discussion of which is still a taboo not just in the islamic world but also in greater part of the world.

    Let me try answering your questions purely based on my personal opinion and experiences.

    1. Does your local mosque provide a confidential online or drop-in advice service?

    Ans: Nope. Online services and technology based communication in mosques is in a nascent or even non existent state (In asia, middle east and parts of europe). Usually if one has any issues, he/she will personally approach the imam or any learned person like you did and get their answers. However confidentiality of the matter is uncertain.

    2. Does the Islamic Society at your university only ever discuss topics such as perfecting your prayers and how you can do charity? Or does it openly acknowledge that university is a time when you may have a whole range of personal issues, and therefore advertises suitable welfare services?

    Ans: NO. Again a negative answer here. Islamic societies at university level majorly focuses on the basic principles of islam and how to be better at it. The reason behind this is most of the dawah work is done by the people who are knowledgable only in basics and does not pursue their knowledge to a level sufficient enough to do the analysis with koran/hadiths and their interpretation relevant in todays time.

    3. Do our community leaders shun discussion of very personal problems or do they lead the way in acknowledging that personal problems do exist, and create initiatives to tackle these problems in an effective and Islamic way?

    Ans: I think community leaders are well aware of personal problems existing in the society. To my knowledge, it is difficult for them to comprehend the concept of Gays or homosexuality in general, since there is no straight forward mention of such things, be it in koran or hadiths. This is a modern world culture. So, they always try to avoid such topics or totally shun the concept. I strongly feel that they need to discuss more on this topic and come out with convenient solutions in the light of islamic principles.

    One more thing I would like to add. You have mentioned that homosexuality not being a choice. It is not just homosexuality, there are others such as sex, physical well being and beauty! These things are not choice but somethings which we get by birth. The important thing here is we as believers of islam adapt ourselves to what koran and hadiths say!

    Maybe others could shed some more light on the discussion.

    PS: I am not gay. I am a person who would any

  10. Shariff.N says:

    Salaam wa alaikom dear brother,

    If somebody has such urges, it does not justify them acting upon it. Feeling attracted to the same gender is that having such urges and conquering them is a part of the test Allāh has given them. Each one of us is tried in different ways, and merely wanting to do an act is not justification enough to carry it out. Imagine if we were to open this door, and legitimize acting upon an urge merely because it existed!
    Allah Azza wa Jall mentions in the His glorious book about the story of Prophet Lut and how Allah T’ala wiped the entire people because they were practicing homosexuality. Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are reminders of punishment suffered by the people who committed homosexuality.
    Of all creatures in the world, do you approach males and leave those whom Allah created for you as your mates? But, rather, you transgressors! (Al-Sh’ura 26: 165-166)

    In another verse, Allah says concerning His prophet, Lut: Truly, they were an evil people, perverted! (Al-Anbiya 21:84)

    And I firmly believe – and this is my theory, and it may be wrong – that the primary reason why we are seeing a rise in such unnatural inclinations is because of the proliferation of sexual images and the increasement of public sexuality around us. What this proliferation has done is to desensitize us to that which we should not be desensitized to. We are constantly bombarded with images of the most beautiful women and the most handsome men, and such images are a temptation to those of the opposite gender. Wherever we look, whether its TV, advertisements, magazines, the internet, or even simply strolling down a public road, we constantly see the most sexually charged images possible. Sexuality is always flaunted in our faces. And the proliferation of such overt sexuality desensitizes our normal sexuality. It is amazing that looking at a scantily clad gorgeous model in an advert hardly elicits any sexual arousal amongst people of our generation, whereas just a few decades ago that very image might have been banned in some Western countries, or at least never displayed in public.

    I recommend the reading by Yaser Qhadi below:

    http://muslimmatters.org/2009/04/13/dealing-with-homosexual-urges/

    May Allah Azza wa Jall forgive our sins and help us control our nafs and help us to not fall in the pleasures of the dunya so that we may have a beautiful akhira, ameen.

    • Shariff.N says:

      If Allāh has tested you in this manner, then that is a part of your test and trial, and Allāh says in the Qur’an, ‘And Allāh does not burden a soul with more than it can bear.’

      Another point to realize is that the urge, in and of itself, is not sinful. It is simply a desire, and desires are beyond our control, hence we are not accountable for them. But to allow such feelings to persist without trying to control them is problematic. In any case, the urge in and of itself is not sinful, acting on the urge is what incurs sin. As long as the desire remains in the realm of feeling, you are not accountable on the Day of Judgment, but the second that this desire is manifested in a physical action, you are liable for all that follows.

  11. MFST says:

    It is a very tough time for Muslims at the moment, we are trying to comform two clashing identities, hoping that they somehow fit. The more homosexuality is accepted in the Western world, the more Muslims would try and accept it within Islam. Islam was created as the perfect guideline for us in how to live our lives. The Quran is very clear on the matter of homosexuality. Like all other sins, you will be judged on whether you act upon those desires.

  12. Saadia says:

    Such a great article… I certainly respect these thoughts. I recently met a sister who had just converted to Islam. She told me about her struggles with her family, the amazing journey by which she found Islam, etc… but what she was terrified about was that she was gay. She kept asking me what Islam taught about this, and I am ashamed to say that even though it’s my job to help such people, I did not have any knowledge about this topic. As Islam spreads in the West, we will have to deal with such non-traditional topics more frequently. I hope I can have answers for her that strengthen instead of destroying her newfound faith.

  13. NF says:

    Asalamualaykum, To the author; Your blog is an example of so many struggles our youth face today. Especially the youth of the west who live among a law which is different than our own. I know, because I was one of those youths as well. I feel everyone is born with some inner struggle that they live with. Your struggle is a very hard one, but there are heterosexuals who do not have to deal with the struggle you are facing, but they have their own struggle. Most, if not all, struggles have to do with your Nafs. In Islam, the one who is successful is the one who can control his Nafs. You did not go into detail about your communication with that knowledgable Muslim who helped you and what your current feeling about your situation is. It is not a sin to think the thought but it is a sin do act upon it. I pray that Allah guides you and gives you strenght to control this Nafs and be content in living in a halal manner.

  14. Maryam says:

    May Allah bless you Mohammed Yusuf and make you a means of benefiting our communities in every way!

  15. Azeem says:

    What was the point of publishing this?

  16. Azeem says:

    If I took this article and changed the word homosexual with the word alcoholic would it be fit to publish? Pick your sin, whatever it is, your sin won’t be legitimized wether you call it a lifestyle, or you call it something uncontrollable whatever it is don’t expose your own sins. I am sure you can find other articles on this site explaining the benefits of not exposing your sins. If you want to go to a counselor to get help that is different.

    • Yusuf says:

      The analogy doesn’t work. An alcoholic is someone who at point took the decision to consume alcohol and was unable to give up the act of drinking alcohol. A homosexual is someone who has same-sex urges without having chosen them, just like a heterosexual person has sexual desires about the opposite sex that he/she didn’t choose.

      A heterosexual is still a heterosexual even if he/she doesn’t act on their desires, just like a homosexual is still a homosexual even if they don’t act on their desires. However, an alcoholic is an alcoholic because they keep drinking alcohol.

      So the analogy doesn’t work.

  17. Olla says:

    Assalamualikum Wrt Brkt,

    I would like kindly point out something, homosexuality is not a choice but its your choice if you act upon it and that is what is forbidden in Islam. I agree, our Muslim communities should discuss the topic more often in order to help people overcome it and not act upon it! and Marriage(opposite genders ofcourse) is one of the ways to overcome the problem of the nafs and to ask Allah swt endlessly to guide you to right path!

  18. Gibran says:

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    I have no problem with shaking hands or hugging or even befriending my brothers who have these perverse desires….

    However you need to make it more clear in your article that you understand the act is a major sin, not just a minor sin and it, like other immoralities is something to be resisted.

  19. SH says:

    Interesting. Acting upon homosexual desires is a sin, as is acting upon heterosexual desires outside the contract of marriage.

    What is next? Adultery? Should the mosque provide hotlines or confessionals for heterosexual crimes and other immoral actions also?

    Morality must be preserved and especially in times like these when immorality seems to be growing, encouraged in all walks of life and is readily available.

    It is very hard for the moral fabric of society to be repaired once it starts to decay. This is one way of decaying.

    I find it fascinating that some imams and scholars endorse political candidates who support same sex marriage and abortion. Weren’t the people of Lut (AS) the most severely punished by God due to their immorality? Didn’t the Prophet (PBUH) put an end to infanticide about which we so proudly tell our children?

    God’s message is for all times. If he said homosexuality is a sin centuries ago, it is a sin today.

    Stop twisting religion to conform to the immorality of today.

  20. Andreea says:

    Hello borthers and sisters,

    I have conflicted feelings about this issue. How many of you know that homosexuality is decided in the mother’s womb??? the fetus receives sort of…shots of testosteron which determine the geography of his/her brain so to say. our brains are slightly different as men and women and the difference is decided by this shots. the explanation is longer and i do not remember it all but from a medical, scientific and factual perspective your future sexual orientation is decided before you were even born. which is to say, you were created this way. so with Allah’s knowledge, praise Him. I know we are taught homosexuality is sin, but i beg you inform yourself before you judge anyone harshly. Besides,knowledge is a blessing and we are encouraged to seek it. May peace be upon you, and the best of wishes to you brother :)

  21. Maria says:

    We have to realize that there are multiple types of sins. But that doesn’t mean that person cannot be Muslim because of that. So many Muslims have sex before marriage which is a sin but no one can say that they are no longer Muslim because they did that. In the same way, we simply need to believe and accept that the act of homosexuality is a sin, but unless acted upon, those individuals do not become sinners- and even if they do, we have no right to judge them or exile them because they are Muslim sinners just like me, you, and every other Muslim. And ofcourse we should remember to not flaunt or flaws or sins.

  22. Umm Naadirah says:

    as salaam alaikum,

    No one chooses to be an alcoholic, either, but that still doesn’t make it halal.

    I’m not saying this to be rude, but this is the truth 100%. Having urges or thoughts is not haraam but basing an entire lifestyle on the haraam is certainly not a good thing.

    Oh and for the record, I’ve also probably prayed next to people who commit zinna. I don’t think I’m better than them, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to come out and say zinna isn’t a sin when we all know that it is for sure.

    • ThinkDifferent says:

      Alcoholism is different homosexuality. Zinna is also different from homosexuality. Both of these urges have to be acted upon to become sin. You cannot be an alcoholic before ever consuming alcohol, and zina only becomes a sin once you’ve had sex. Being a homosexual (having an attraction to the same gender) is not inherently a sin in Islam because having that innate attraction is completely normal and God-given. Now, acting upon those lusts and desires can become zinna or even extramarital sex.

  23. pt says:

    Homosexuality is a topic that our nation is dealing with right now, so Muslims should be able to talk about it.
    Gays should still go to the mosque and pray as we all should.
    I do not think that any Muslim should openly expose actions that have been deemed haram to anyone as it is no one’s business and that others should also cover the sin of his brethren if he is aware.
    If we went around as police, face it, the mosque would be empty with all the affairs, premarital sex, molestation, drinking, drugs, riba, domestic violence and one thing that the community often overlooks and that is the sin of gossip, which is dismissed like nothing.
    I think more mosques need counseling in general and those with funds, need to reallocate them instead of wasting them on frivolous items or giving contracts to themselves or friends and board members.
    We need a healthy community, but how do you get all of the different age groups, class, education levels, and types of Islamic understanding on the same page?
    Perhaps, we can all do something and that is stand up against bullying (back biting, exclusion, violence) in our masjids.
    Suhaib has told the drug users to come to the mosque and if anyone bothers them, just let him know.
    We should all be able to stand for justice if want change and justice for ourselves.
    That means when a brother or a sister calls out a group of bullies in the mosque who feel sanctified in their actions which they do not see as actually haram, you all go and back up the underdogs.
    I also am not afraid to call the police if the mosque leaders and community cannot handle their role and I will not cover up for this behavior.

  24. Osamah says:

    If one has a tendency or desire to act out in a particular way that is forbidden in Islam but is able to resist his temptations or urges i.e not act it out then I wouldn’t be surprized that technically he would be at the same standing as one who does not have such desires in the first place. Personally I have had the very strong desire to physically hit someone in the face out of anger or break the vending machine. Many times I’ve wanted to give the receptionist a really good shouting. But I control myself and don’t act out.

  25. Saiful says:

    It’s important to differentiate between someone having a homosexual orientation and committing a homosexual act. Islam prescribes the punishment for the act, not for the orientation. So even if Allah did create homosexuals, this is a trial for them and they must resist committing the act and try to seek Islamic counselling.

  26. A says:

    then I guess no one should be held accountable for their sins, cz in the end our desires drive us, and we are just victims to them, why to accuse pedophiles then?! or rapers?! may be those have never had a chance to think otherwise!
    Let’s all not fall for this opinion or we all are gonna be doomed.
    Anyone might have desires which might be their own tests from Allah, but we all should fight to be on the right path, ok?

  27. Sarah says:

    What the author is saying is that feeling exist within people. Some of them are very confusing. And is there not a place for people to go to discuss their feelings and thoughts? The reality is that there are many within the Muslim community. But like other issues such as domestic violence, etc. rarely discussed. So people hide in isolation that often take them does the wrong path.

    Waleed: is a good Muslim someone who has feeling and resists the actinos. It is like the Muslim with the urge to quick anger and fights it. Are they “good or bad?” Someone can have these feelings and they don’t know why. As long as there is no “act” upon it then is it “good or bad?”

  28. Asma says:

    Assalamoalaikum
    I am unable to understand what this brother wants to convey …
    If u r making ur way smooth of saying that homosexuality should be legal then i dont agree with u …
    As long as talking to some one and discussing about the issue and trying to over come it with true intentions , is concerned, that should be appreciated as u mentioned in ur article
    But that should be done in private.

  29. Shee says:

    I’d say if it is a psychological problem of not being attracted to the opp sex, then choose to not involve in sexual intimacy with the same sex. Only that is forbidden, to sleep with someone of your own sex.

    As for marriage of homosexuals, fasting would be a very good alternative. They can become single parents raising kids who are destined to be Orphans.

    I’d agree that homosexuality is not a choice. Then those people should be given guidance on not committing what has been prescribed as sinful.
    I have a gay friend and he is a far better human being than the bearded haraam Police in my friends circle.

  30. SS says:

    This was very brave of you. Know that there are many other Muslims, gay and straight, who will accept you just as you come. I admire your strength in accepting who you are, sharing your journey with others, and recognizing that Islam is accepting of you, too. There are many who would have turned away from the religion b/c of the way people interpret it and the added challenges of being a practicing gay Muslim. Pay no mind to the chastisers and keep on keepin’ on. Fi Amanillah :).

  31. Khadijah says:

    The Christians have been debating this for two decades, so there’s probably some interesting insights there.

    1) Their liberal denominations have decided that God’s precepts on this one must be broken in order to be “loving.” As Muslims, we have to reject this.

    2) The conservative denominations have pointed out that having a sexual feeling is not a sin, regardless of which gender those feelings are towards. What is a sin is ACTING on those feelings (sex) outside of marriage, and because marriage is only between men and women, the correct (sinless) behavior of a homosexual is to abstain from sex. Permanently. (Sounds harsh, be we should not be ruled by our bodies — we should be ruled by God. We are all challenged by sin in various ways in our lives, and this is just one of those challenges which for some is more difficult than others.)

  32. Farah says:

    Being homosexual vs. a practicing homosexual are two different things. You may not be able to control your feelings but you can control your actions. Just something I thought I would throw out there… Good luck to you brother! May Allah swt make this easy on you. Ameen.

  33. AbdulHakim says:

    I feel like this article is a subtle form of promotion.
    The “I’m ok your ok” vibe on this issue isn’t working with me. Get some counseling and medication if needed.

    • ThinkDifferent says:

      ??? he said he had counseling. Please read the whole article.

    • Umm Naadirah says:

      Counseling won’t help, as most counselors nowadays have taken on the role of the confessional, and all they do is absolve you of your sins.

      “You can’t help how you feel and God won’t hold you accountable for being who you are.”

  34. kay says:

    Glad to see this topic being discussed in a respectful heart felt manner, pity a disclaimer had to be given at the start of this piece.

  35. Muslim says:

    Although I find the article intriguing, the Qur’an has made it perfectly clear what the position of homosexuality is. Previous civilisations were destroyed because of homosexuality being in abundance.
    Shaitan will come at us from all directions; he fools us into thinking and believing what we are doing is right. Didn’t Shaitan make the son of Adam a.s. believe that he was doing the right thing by murdering his brother? Doesn’t Shaitan make us believe that we’ll get away with lying and that it will do no harm? People carry on doing wrong acts for long lengths of time in the belief that they aren’t doing anything wrong. This is Shaitan’s trickery – nothing less.

    I would suggest Ruqya – it may be the bringer of guidance into your life. The Qur’an and Sunnah have clearly outlined what is and is not acceptable in Islam and from a Muslim. We shouldn’t find excuses for something that is not accepted in Islam.

  36. FX says:

    Assalam alaikum

    It is a very interesting article. I have been privileged to work with a number of Imams and community leaders and have actually discussed this with them because I faced a similar situation in my ISoc. What I found is that every single one of them had actually dealt with homosexuality or generally sinful sexuality issues. I think possibly that those who aren’t in communication with a wide array Imams or community leaders (or even just locally) will easily make the assumption that they don’t deal with these issues, but have we even asked to find out? I think just because the mosque or ISoc doesn’t have a big sign, a telephone hotline or campaign about it doesn’t mean that this isn’t being dealt with. Although I agree more needs to be done to help those who are inclined in a sexually unacceptable way to be helped away from their sin. Allah knows best.

    May Allah help the brother who wrote this – if one has sinful inclinations and holds themselves back from it then there is reward! Clearly this brother knows and remembers the magnitude of this major sin which earned the people of prophet Lot (pbuh) three punishments when other people only received one. However, I don’t think it is correct to say that one can be homosexual and a good Muslim – if you do not act upon your homosexual inclination then you are not homosexual, you are just a good Muslim!

    Fouzan

  37. M says:

    I’m not a scholar but i believe that one is not a sinner unless he acts upon it. If one is struggling with thoughts of sinning, then that person should have someone to turn to better themselves as Muslims so that they may avoid sinning. Having homosexual thoughts should be no different. Allah is the only one that can Judge us. And Allah is the greatest.

  38. Gibran says:

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    “There is an Islamic viewpoint that says the having of same-sex feelings is itself no sin.”
    There is no viewpoint in our deen that the act of homosexuality is acceptable at all. As for the thoughts and desires, other brothers have cleared it up. But no Muslim has an option except to take the stance that the act of homosexuals is a severe sin.

  39. ASSIF says:

    Sallam, my understanding of islam is that everyone has a weakness on which they will be tested on, some of us can perform most of our duties but might be weak in others, for example i never been tempted by drink or drugs and i find it easy to avoid but i maybe attracted to women and pursue this further and this is where I am tested like all muslims. I pray and ask Allah for forgiveness as he knows my sin and i know and accept this sin even though most people think this is normal and society accepts being with women without marriage. I pray to allah to give me someone who will stop me from this sin and fulfill this need, but I cant openly say to other muslims who see me as a devout good muslim that this is what i do, as they will see this as acceptable. Same applies to Muslims who drink, i know Muslims who are good but they drink and if they keep it between themselves and Allah and we as brothers conceal the secret and help them to overcome this then Allah might forgive them on the day of judgment and in one hadiths its mentioned that Allah will hide the secret from others on the day of judgement as you concealed the secret for your brother.Problem is when you openly say you do something which is harram in Islam as the good deeds that others see in you and follow you for they will see this as acceptable, Islam is about how you portray yourselves as a Muslim to others so they follow you in good, whilst doing this you can also make people follow you in wrong. You know this not acceptable in Islam but you want guidance openly, ask for help but you conceal it. Being Gay has become open and acceptable whilst it goes on everywhere i dont know what the cause is but one thing is for sure people out there are choosing to be gay as its a trend and its acceptable, please don’t make a mockery of islam or push it back on muslims as why we don’t accept it and help as it clearly says in the Quran, allah destroyed the nation of Sodem as they accept it as normal it, am sure people around the world had same feelings or where gay but the difference was they were not open about it. We as muslims are currently weak and lack knowledge we don’t have scholars in abundance but there are people out there, if you value Islam and consider yourself a muslim with this problem then seek guidance in private as you will find it and i ask you not to be open as the truth is this is not acceptable in Islam and we are not able to change what the quran says like the Christians or the Jews. A muslim accepts all everything in the quran as truth if you dont then that is not islam am sorry to be blunt but its better to get it right her now then to face allah on the day of judgement

  40. Shaidi says:

    Asalamu Alaykum dear brother,

    Your article actually made me emotional. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. We are all creations of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala and I don’t think that anyone has the right to judge one of His perfect creations. This life is a struggle, it is a journey, where we are encouraged to learn, grow and develop our ‘self’. A journey where we have to learn how to love and respect others for who they are, not for who we would like them to be. It’s funny how we all love a colorful world Alhamdu’lillah, yet we seem to impose our views on others, wanting them to be the same. It is simply not possible and thank Allah it isn’t.

    Moreover, I find it odd that people don’t understand what it feels like, even though I am not homosexual, yet I understand what it feels like to be rejected by society. Being one of the few Muslims around and being a practicing Muslim can make one feel very excluded and unwanted, which obviously no one likes. So when I don’t like to feel this way, then why would I make someone else feel that way?

    We need to stop being so ignorant and step beyond our comfort zone. Our misunderstandings are only based on our fears (the fears of the unknown) and this will only vanish when we seek out to learn and understand!

    Anyway, before I go on and on about this haha, I would like to thank you once again for having the courage to speak up and for sharing this with us. Thank you so much and may Allah subhanahu wa’ta-ala bless you always with His love, grace, guidance and light! God bless you!

    Allah Hafiz,
    Shaidi

  41. Hibah says:

    I’ve found the topic of homosexuality in the context of Islam to be a very intriguing thing, especially since I’ve studied psychology. What I’ve studied on human sexuality in an academic setting has taught me that there are a lot of biological influences that can result in homosexual feelings and physical attraction. However, the concept of “love” is purely psychological. I guess the challenge is how to continue living a life where you are attracted to someone you can’t marry? The easiest piece of advice someone can give is to be patient, God has afflicted everyone with their own unique trials and knows and will acknowledge every moment of pain and anguish you’ve felt, physically and emotionally. But by the same token, you cannot change the religion to suit your own needs. I try to stay away from personal opions and stick with basic facts, and one is definitely that humans with homosexual attraction cannot help it. I would love to get in touch with a practicing Muslim with homosexual feelings and see how they deal with their test from God. I’m sure such a person would be nothing less than an inspiration.

  42. Iman says:

    Thank you for opening up a much needed discussion. Has anyone thought of providing a professional support program anonymously online for gay Muslims? I mean, we have many great dawah programs, this one would be a much needed one for sure.

  43. WSUP says:

    To this brother, he is trying to draw appease to people like himself who are homosexual and Muslim. Which is fine, because not all of us are perfect, individuals like the author exist whether we seek them or not, however, what the Quran states regarding homosexuality is clear and concise. We have been given the example of Lut and his people. I can accept people to be homosexual but I cannot approve of it. I can accept there to be practicing Muslims who drink liquor, who carry out pre-marital relations, but still I can not approve of it. What the author fails to discuss, is what Islam and the Quran says about homosexuality. If the author wants an “open” discussion on the topic, then he must also be willing to address that as well rather than sweeping it under the rug.

  44. Anon says:

    Assalaamu ‘alaykum,

    I just want to put it out there that the author IS NOT saying that Islam allows homosexuality.

    He is merely opening the discussion about the ummah’s attitude towards homosexuality and how we are exacerbating a problem in our own community by creating an atmosphere of discrimination rather than creating channels by which we can help our struggling muslim brethren with their internal situation.

    Please remember that the homosexuals at the time of Lut were far far astray. Much further than the level of internal conflict.

    Yet, even in that situation, prophet Lut did not belittle them, nor did he shun them. Rather, he offered his own daughters and advised them.

    May Allah forgive us and guide us toward heeding the example of all of our beloved prophets.

    • Gibran says:

      wa alaykumusalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      You are misinterpreting “here are my daughters.”

      (Here are my daughters, they are purer for you.) Mujahid said, “Actually, they were not his daughters, but they were from among his nation. Every Prophet is like a father to his nation.” A similar statement has been reported from Qatadah and others.

  45. Umber says:

    I seriusly dont understand what do you really want to say. If you are saying this is natural feeling then i totaly disagree with you. If you are a practising muslim then it is not difficult to understand that these feelings are not natural these are the lesson from evil side because they made up all thes homosexuality thing in their mind to spread the evil and to stray people from the right path, because this is not in real.

    And which scholor gave you such answer that you are satisfied with you this feeling??? He must have told you the right thing, there is no such thing like homosexuality in nature these all things have been planned and made up in people’s mind by evil. Everyone born on Fitrah, thats y everyone feel attarction in oppsoite sex rather than in same. Human history is very old then y we r listning and talking about such topics now a days? Why we didnt heard this from past? Just because this is the gae of fitnah where evil attarcts you.

    May ALLAH show the right path to everyone.

  46. Abu Ayyub San Francisky says:

    Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullah,

    I don’t know if homosexuality is a choice or not. But I know that the act is cursed by God and His messenger, and is punished in this life and the next. Just read the near-weekly articles that the news media tries to slip by you, burying any mention of the harm of homosexual acts: http://nyti.ms/XwhdOc.

    As for those who struggle with such feeling. Keep struggling and ask Allah for help to overcome. Take the sunnah prescription and get married. Avoid people who commit acts of people of the hellfire, whether they be outwardly religious or not. Homosexuality as an inclination takes time to build in a person, usually with the company they keep. Never feel that you are “special” or “deserve better”. We are all sinners who deserve the wrath of Allah. The best of us are those with the most Tawba and repentance, even if we have to make it a million times over.

  47. Abdalrahman Algendy says:

    The topic of homosexuality has been increasingly debated openly through different communities now a days more to our concern is in the muslim communities. It has been increasingly being an accepted “NATURAL” fact of life just because those with no Islamic background or knowledge are saying it is NATURAL. Unfortunately even now a day we have muslim “scholars” who try to turn around corners and try to bless such thoughts and actions. I am now wondering will the time come and we find Imams and Ma2zoons who will legalize same sex marriages.
    The writer of above article encouraged conservatives to ask themselves some questions, but I also encourage him and others muslims who think this is “NATURAL” to ask them selves the following questions:
    When they call them selves practicing or faithful muslims and stand in prayer and listen to Allah’s words being recited before them, Allah SWT describing the homosexual people of Prophet Lut as “wicked and exceedingly disobedient”
    We bestowed upon Lot sound judgement and knowledge and We delivered him from the city that was immersed in foul deeds. They were indeed a wicked people, exceedingly disobedient. (Surah 21: Verse 74)
    As if Allah make some of his creation “NATURALLY” wicked, exceedingly disobedient”

    Quran mentioning Prophet Lut describing his homosexual people as “but you are wanton folk.”
    “And Lut (remember) when he said to his folk: Will you commit abomination such as no creature ever did before. Lo! you come with lust unto men instead of women. Nay, but you are wanton folk.” (Surah 7: Verses 80-81)

    “O’ my people! Here are my daughters! They are purer for you! Beware of Allah and degrade me not in (the presence of) my guests. Is there not among you any upright man ?” (Surah 11: Verse 78)
    In another Verse the Holy Quran throws a light on the character of those sinning people. It says:
    “What? Do you not come to males and commit robbery on the highways and do evil deeds in your meeting?” (Surah 29: Verse 29)

    Then Allah SWT describes the homosexuals response:
    “And the answer of his people was only that they said (to one another): Turn them out of your township. They are folk who seek to keep pure.” (Surah 7: Verse 82) They are backward conservative muslims.
    The following verse exactly describes the current homosexual words: do you think this is our choice, this how we were created, it is natural.
    They rejected this appeal of the Prophet and said:
    “Well, you know that we have no right to your daughters and well, you know what we want.” (Surah 11: Verse 79) Those conservatives (non english speaking) are asking to leave our natural inclines towards the same sex.

    We all sin, and we all get tempted to do wrong, no one is perfect. But when we sin, we acknowledge our sins, strive to correct ourselves and not persist on such actions. Yes, such issues need to be addressed to be treated and corrected in a gentle and right way.

    A young man of the Quraish came to the Prophet one day and said: “O Prophet! Give me permission to commit adultery.” Some of the Companions who were present, seeing this request as being against Islamic morals, told him to be quiet and scolded the young man. Prophet Muhammad was very calm and told the young man “Come over here and sit down.” Then he turned to him and started to talk with him. “Tell me, would you like for another to commit adultery with your mother?” The young man said “O Prophet of Allah, I would never desire such a thing.” The Prophet said: “No one would want such a thing for their mother.” He continued, and said: “Would you want someone to commit adultery with your daughter?” The young man said “O Prophet of Allah, I would not.” The Prophet said: “No one would want for their daughter to commit adultery.” Then he went on to ask if the young man would approve of his sister, paternal aunt or maternal aunt committing adultery. Each time, the young man answered: “No, I would not want that.” When he saw that the youth had understood his error the Prophet put his hand on the young man’s shoulder and said “My Lord, forgive him his sin, clean his heart and protect him from committing sins.” The young man, according to his own words, did not allow the emotion of lust to enter his heart again.

    Prophet Muhammad did not agree with him and told him it is natural and approved it. As the writer of this article mention “to be open minded”.
    I am afraid if approve such actions and make it a norm “all natural and not our choice” I am afraid by that time we deserve Allah’s punishment.

    “Then the (awful) cry overtook them at the sunrise: And We utterly confounded them, and We rained upon them stones of heated clay. Lo! therein verily are portents for those who read the signs.” (Surah 15: Verses 73-75).

    Al salamu alekom

  48. Umm Ibrahim says:

    True,there are people who have these sort of urges. True, they should be supported and helped out of it. True, we need to have open discussions about this issue so as to make people and the following generations aware of the problems faced by the youth and how to help them out of it.
    BUT saying that there is an “ISLAMIC VIEW” that allows it is NOT CORRECT. You need to fight these urges. Dont try to change the religion just to suit your whims and desires. In the end, it does not matter as to what YOU or the PEOPLE AROUND YOU think of you…what matters is what ALLAH THINKS ABOUT YOU…and surely when you make halal some thing that He has made HARAAM…He wont have a good opinion of You.FIGHT AGAINST THE SHAITAAN…DONT FALL INTO HIS PLAN.

    • Um Yusuf says:

      I completely agree with Um Ibrahim

      To me the article is written by a lay person (with great due respect) who I feel is although honest about his own feelings is not in a position to comment on the legality of homosexuality in Islam let alone hint at it’s permissibility (which it is not. Rather disappointed at the editorial process of this website for not picking up on this point. This article if anything may be misinterpreted by some to give a green light to practising a sin for which the people of Lut alayhisalaam were destroyed by Allah swt for.

    • Farah says:

      Agreed!

  49. Kinza says:

    ASA … Being homosexual doesn’t make you any more or less of a good person than a person suffering from a bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or other debilitating condition is good or bad. Homosexuality was removed under very strange circumstances from DSM IV and the outcome therefore has, sadly, damaged the understanding about homosexuality. The whole push for homosexuality today is based on the premise that it is ‘natural’ i.e. determined and dictated by the genetic makeup of humans, not environmentally influenced and therefore one has no ‘choice’ in the matter that has been decided by God Himself. This, however, although now a popular believe, is quite far from the truth. Please refer to the book ‘My Genes Made Me Do It’ (by Neil E. Whitehead, Briar Whitehead) and additional articles on narth.com to get a better understanding of how this misunderstanding started and has perpetuated. Having said that, being homosexual does not mean you can be stripped off your rights to Life, Safety, Justice by anyone … there are some rights that are God-given and no one can deprive you of those without committing wrong or a sin themselves. However, and by the same token, Divine Law, as defined by God (and not humans) also cannot be twisted and changed to suit our personal needs over and above that of the society for which some Laws are designed in order to preserve a healthy balance. Here I mean the laws relating to marriage specifically. And this, probably is, and likely will remain, the biggest bone of contention between those arguing for and against what constitutes protected ‘basic and fundamental’ human rights and what can be considered ‘conditional privileges’. In the light of this many people don’t have so much of an issue reconciling with homosexuality as a lifestyle choice but have severe qualms about redefining or changing what God has already ‘defined’ to now include what never was part of the definition. Think about it. Where would that stop? Are we to keep defying the boundaries set by God? And, although this may seem troubling to you as a person struggling (or not struggling) with homosexuality, I hope you are getting the drift here and what it will mean for the rest of society and for the Family Structure.

    • Sara says:

      I believe you are mixing issues here. The article is not about marriage between homosexuals but the struggle faced by homosexuals who happen to be devout Muslims.
      As for your statement.
      “Homosexuality was removed under very strange circumstances from DSM IV and the outcome therefore has, sadly, damaged the understanding about homosexuality”
      I am shocked to read this. I do not know your background and whether you have scientific one, but you need to be careful not to assert something as fact when you are not sure. Homosexuality is not an illness nor a disease.

      Citing NARTH doesn’t help at all your argument as the organization was founded to counter the prevailing scientific consensus that homosexuality is not a disorder.

  50. A says:

    Honestly,I am also a closeted muslim and transgendered and unless you have these feelings nobody has a right to judge. It is the worst thing to feel this way. I feel so alone all the time I feel like I cannot connect to people at all (muslim or non-muslim) and that nobody understands what I’m going through. Especially within the last few months its been difficult waking up in the morning every day knowing that I could never feel normal or have the perfect normal life that everyone else has where they get a job, get married, have a family, and then die. Even though it is so obvious that I’m not normal it is an issue that is never discussed and I don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone in the community since they are all basically “the normal people” that would never understand and don’t care and think that everyone is supposed to be the same way and that it is my fault. Coming from a dysfunctional desi family where everything is expected to magically be perfect and extended family members try hard to start drama any way they can, I cannot even talk to my parents about anything. Bottom line is there should be support in the muslim community for people that deal with this. Muslims are supposed to pray for one another, but as I’ve seen in my community nobody is interested in anyone else’s welfare. Especially desis who are all jealous of each other and take joy in seeing the downfall of others, people are too busy trying to outdo their fellow brothers and sisters rather than pray for them. Honestly I feel abandoned by the community, my friends, and my family and I feel like the only being I can talk to is Allah swt.

    • Maryam says:

      A,

      I am so sorry for the difficulties you are facing. Please know that there are people who do support the struggles you face, even if they are not immediately around you. You will be in my prayers, inshaAllah!

      • Sara says:

        I have just made duaa fro him when I prayed Ishaa few minutes ago.
        I feel for him.
        Sara,
        Edmonton,
        Alberta

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