Muslims with Same Sex Attraction

Incredibly important piece from a side of the debate that we rarely get to hear. Please share widely.

Here are some highlights:

“[The perspective of a Muslim with same-sex attraction] is important, however, for two reasons. First, many Muslims today are seeking a way to respond to the question of homosexuality that is both principled and compassionate, particularly when it comes to fellow Muslims who may be dealing with same-sex inclinations. At the same time, Muslims, like all members of society, are constantly being bombarded from all quarters by a strident and increasingly aggressive “gay affirmative” public discourse that presents itself as the only reasonable, just, or even moral response to the phenomenon of human same-sex desires and attractions. It is no wonder, therefore, that Muslims – both those who experience same-sex attractions and those who do not – have recently begun ceding to this pressure at the expense of their religious integrity and Islamic moral commitments. With very few voices to counter the dominant narrative, many Muslims today have become sincerely confused, and troubled, over this issue.”

“It is also important for me to stress that I do not believe that my same-sex attractions are my identity. Same-sex desires are feelings that I, and others, have that I contend with in my daily journey towards Allah. They do not make me different in any essential way from any other Muslim. For this reason, I reject the idea that Muslims who experience same-sex attractions should be given a special label or that we should “self-identify” as “LBGT,” “gay,” “homosexual,” or “queer.” I believe these labels isolate people with such attractions and, from what I have seen, sometimes force them to conform to certain lifestyles even if they do not really want to. Also, these labels have the effect of elevating sexual desires – basically shahawat – and making them part of the “core of who I am” as a person. This seems arbitrary to me and something that I find hard to justify from an Islamic perspective, both legally and spiritually.”

“I believe a key step in reaching equilibrium in the process of dealing with SSA [same-sex attraction] is learning to avoid two common extremes: the extreme of despising ourselves for mere desires and attractions we did not ask for and the extreme of “identifying with” these desires as somehow defining who we are as human beings and as Muslims.”

“I and many other same-sex attracted Muslims that I have encountered over the years completely reject such attempts to manipulate our religion in order to “accommodate” our (or anyone else’s) “sexuality.” We also reject any attempt on the part of anyone to pressure or to bully Muslim communities, imams, leaders, mosques, schools, or other institutions into accepting what Allah has clearly made haram in the name of “tolerance,” “affirmation,” “acceptance,” “inclusion,” “diversity,” or any of the other buzz words that are normally used for this purpose. The meaning of Islam is “submission,” and my submission to Allah and my faith come above all else, including my own desires, sexual or otherwise.”

“So, on the one side are people who try to distort the deen by changing its clear teachings, but then on the other side there is often the culture of hate and stigma within the Muslim community with respect to people who experience SSA.”

“Until we, the mainstream Muslim community, find a way to offer a safe environment for people dealing with same-sex attractions to open up to caring and compassionate individuals among us, we will be losing many of our brothers and sisters to a falsified understanding of Islam, or to leaving the religion altogether, or even to suicide (wa’l-‘iyadhu bi’Llah). Now, I certainly do not mean that people should start waving the rainbow flag, wearing pink triangles, and proclaiming their same-sex attractions publicly. What I do mean is that we need to end the isolation and the misinformation about SSA, on the one hand, and the twisting of the deen, on the other.”

“Many factors are necessary in dealing effectively with SSA, as I have mentioned, but in my experience, the single most important overriding factor for me has been my faith in Allah,sub??nahu wa ta’?la (glorified and exalted be He) and my unwavering faith in and commitment to His deen. Without this critical element, I do not believe I would be anywhere near where I am today in all of this, wa’l-hamdu li’Llah.”

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Luzita Ball

Assalaamu alaykum wr wb.
I agree with your opinions given in this short article. I believe Islam recognises that same sex inclinations have the potential to exist and like inclinations people have towards anything that is beyond Allah’s limits, these need to be guarded against and the situations that give rise to those inclinations should be prevented.

In Islam a lot of focus is given to preventing opposite sex attraction before marriage to prevent sex outside marriage but not enough discussion or attention is given to how Islam guides us to minimise sexual attraction to the same gender. We are commanded in the Qur’an to stay far from any fahasha which means any sexual behaviour outside marriage. The ways to do this are to lower the gaze, to fast, to remember Allah at all times and develop strong God consciousness. Also between men the awra should be covered between the naval and the knees. There are also hadiths which show that Muslim men would avoid being in a room alone with a beautiful young boy (often clean shaven and close in the appearance to a woman) to prevent shaytan suggesting temptation towards him. So they recognised that hormonally such things are possible.
Islam does however allow much affection between the same gender that is not sexual or in private such as kissing on the cheeks, shaking hands, hugging, putting arms around their shoulders, giving them a massage etc. So it only considers forbidden the sexual types of affection or closeness as they lead to harm if not between a husband and wife in a marriage- physically in terms of diseases, as well as emotionally in terms of creating an unsustainable bond which does not lead to children or grand children or a family with Islam as its foundation and purpose. It is also harmful spiritually as Allah has forbidden it and He does this due to the negative consequences in this life and the next, the harms of which we do not have full knowledge of.
The need for love and affection and sexual satisfaction are naturally instilled in most if not all healthy human beings, and that is why men and women are encouraged to marry early or as soon as they are able to financially if they feel the need to do so. If this is not made possible, fasting regularly may help to minimise sexual desires, and lowering the gaze and minimising seeing anything or any situaton that arouses our sexual desire. We have quite a strong degree of control over where we focus our mind and can channel our intellect and energies into other creative projects. However this cannot go on indefinitely and in men the level of hormones of attraction is up to 10 times that of women, so they will find a lack of outlet for the sex drive much harder. Also biologically they have a need to get rid of the sperm they are constantly making. Otherwise they will get ill. For women there is usually less of a biological need for sex.

So men have to be particularly aware of how to control and minimise or to channel their need for sex in a halal i.e. beneficial direction. They need to do this and work hard to get into a good financial position so they can support themselves and a wife and children and other dependents as soon as possible after reaching adolescence. The modern education system does not make this easy and they would need a lot of family support to be able to get married while still in the long winded university education system- which seems has been very unconducive to a healthy family life. Alhamdulillah it is now becoming a bit more flexible.

Women seem to be able to withstand long periods of time without sex to the extent of almost entirely forgetting about it, when widowed or left for long periods of time while their husbands wirk away but a limit of 3 months is usually put on this time when women have no physical contact with their husbands. This is again to preserve their fidelity, their health and their happiness and consequentially that of their children. It is also to preserve the health and happiness of the husband and his bond with his children and wife, and to keep the family together as well as minimising the temptation towards fulfilling needs outside the marriage.

The test of all Muslims is to bring their desires and inclinations to within Allah’s limits which they have to at first acknowledge are the most wise and based upon the best knowledge and awareness of all benefits and harms to human nature.

The Qur’an recognises that we can be inclined to what is bad for us and away from what is good for us. Therefore we need guidance from Allah and to follow that guidance with firmness. Society today almost reveres sexual desire and love as holy and not to be argued with. That is a form of shirk mentioned in the Qur’an whereby we obey our desires over and above and in contradiction to Alah’s commands making them a god or partner to Allah. This means we do not even categorise what Allah has forbidden as sins and will therefore not try to stop ourselves doing these acts, or going towards these acts, or regret or repent from them or seek forgiveness and reform from them.This will lead to lack of forgiveness from Allah and Hellfire. This is why shirk is so dangerous.

We always also have the power of du’a which gives us access to the infinite power of Allah to ask His most capable help in controlling our desires for love and physical closeness and sexual satisfaction and pleasure. May Allah help us all.