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Homosexuality and Same-Sex Acts in Islam

  • There is a general consensus amongst the scholars of Islam (both past and present) that homosexuality is a deviation of man’s true (heterosexual) nature. Thus the act of homosexuality is sinful and perverted and is viewed with contempt in most Muslim societies and Islamic countries.

  • There are approximately seven verses in the Qu’ran (the holy text of the Muslims) that supposedly refer to homosexuality and same-sex acts. The majority of these verses refer to the nation of Lot) the biblical nation of Sodom and Gomorrah). The following are examples of a few verses:

    “We also sent Lut (Lot): he said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation ever committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” Surah VII (Araf), Verses 80-81

    “Of all creatures in the world, will ye approach males. And leave those whom Allah (God) has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are people transgressing all limits?” Surah XXVI (Shu’araa), Verses 165-166)

    “If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, leave them alone: for Allah (God) is Oft-Returning, Most merciful.” Surah IV (Nisaa), Verse 16

  • There are approximately four hadith (sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) in reference to homosexuality, same-sex acts, and cross-dressing. A few include the following:

    “When a man mounts another man, the throne of God shakes” – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

    “Kill the one that is doing it and also kill the one that it is being done to.” (in reference to intercourse) – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

    “Cursed are those men who wear women’s clothing and those women who wear men’s clothing.” – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

  • During the time of the Prophet Muhammad (d. 632 AD) there was not one single case of a reported punishment or execution for homosexuality or same-sex acts. The first execution to ever have been carried out was during the time of the third Caliph, Omar, who ordered a homosexual man to be burned alive. Scholars at the time differed in opinion on this form of punishment, arguing that no human should be burned (according to the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad), thus it was decided that homosexuals should be thrown off the highest building and then stoned to death.

  • Islamic schools of thought and jurisprudence differ on the issue of homosexuality. Sex between males was treated differently by the various legal schools, on the basis of differing interpretation of the traditional literature. All the legal schools regard sex between males as unlawful, but they differ over the severity of the punishment. The Hanafiteschool (predominant in South Asia and Eastern Asia today) maintains that it (same-gender sex) does not merit any physical punishment. The Hanabalites,on the other hand (predominant in the Arab world) believe that sex between males must be punished severely. The Sha’fischool of thought (also predominant in the Arab world) argues that punishment for sodomy can only be carried out if there are four adult male witnesses who actually see the penetration, “as though the key is going into the key hole.”

  • According to the AhmadiMuslim Jama’at(a small sect within Islam), homosexual behavior is a symptom of the decadence of society. In an essay entitled “Homosexuality & Islam”the Ahmadisect states (regarding the decadence of society), “As the is process continues, people find an invent even more bizarre and perverted means to satisfy natural urges, and trends like child and adult pornography, bisexuality, homosexuality and beastiality appear.”They go on to say that homosexuality “is utterly contrary to every natural law of human and animal life, and counter to the morals, purposes and institutions of a procreative society.”

  • The Ismailisect of Islam (also known as the Agha Khanimovement), with a population of approximately 2 million people believes Islam to be a continuously evolving faith that must be reinterpreted to adapt to modern-day society and culture. Their spiritual leader, the Prince Agha Khan, who is thought to be the direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad, has been open to dialogue and communication with progressive movements within Islam. Although he has not officially made any gay-affirming statements, it is believed that he will soon make a declaration regarding this issue.

  • In 1988, scholars from Al-AzharUniversity, the oldest and most prominent Islamic school in the world, located in Cairo, Egypt, passed a fatwadecree that sex reassignment surgeries were permissable in Islam. The Grand Mufti of the University stated, “It is permissible to perform the operation in order to reveal what was hidden of male or female organs. Indeed, it is obligatory to do so on the grounds that it must be considered a treatment…It is, however, not permissible to do it at the mere wish to change sex from woman to man, or vice versa.” This fatwa has set a precedent for the Muslim transgender movement for acceptance within the bounds of the Islamic faith.

  • There have been many executions and arrests of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Muslims. These stories range from executions in Afghanistan, deportations of transvestites and cross-dressers in Saudi Arabia, to the present-day corruption and sodomy trial of ex-Prime Minister Anwar in Malaysia. It is also estimated that since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the government has executed more than 4,000 homosexuals.

  • Although Islam has been declared as the official religion in most Arab countries (except for Lebanon), European law heavily influences their constitutions. For example, in Algeria, a country heavily influenced by French law(s), sodomy may be punished with imprisonment for two months to two years and a fine (500-2,000 Algerian dinars). Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, where shariah(Islamic law) was always enforced, liwat(sodomy) is to be treated like fornication, and must be punished in the same way. If muhsan(sane) and free, one must be stoned to death, while a free bachelor must be whipped 100 lashes and banished for one year. However a non-Muslim who sodomizes a Muslim must also be stoned to death. Sodomy is proved either by the culprit confessing four times or by the testimony of four trustworthy Muslim men.

  • Since the occupation of Afghanistan, in 1992, by the extreme conservative army of the Taliban,there have been approximately 10 public executions in the country. The men, all accused of committing sodomy had a wall toppled on top of them. According to the Talibanlaw, if the accused survive the execution after 30 minutes, they are innocent and are taken to a hospital for their injuries.

  • Islamic extremists tried to beat up a gay man and threatened to kill him at a London conference on “Islamaphobia,”designed to promote understanding and tolerance of Muslim values, and attended by Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders. The conference, held in London, England claimed that “Islam is wrongly and unjustly portrayed as barbaric, irrational, primitive, sexist, violent and aggressive.” During the question and answer session, an OutRage! Activist and former Muslim of Pakistani descent, asked the panel of speakers how negative attitudes towards Muslims among gay people could be overcome, given that Islam advocates the burning alive of homosexuals. Most of the conference (then) turned on him. He was surrounded by over a hundred Muslims who screamed abuse and threatened to kill him. None of the Muslim, Christian or Jewish leaders on the platform (panel) intervened to calm the homosexuals: all he had to do was look at the audience’s reaction. The man was quoted as saying, “Muslims want tolerance for themselves but not lesbians and gays. They condemn Islamaphobia, while zealously promoting hatred and violence against homosexuals.”

  • Imam Siraj Wahaj, an African-American convert to Islam, and a prominent cleric and scholar of Islam in the United States was quoted as saying the following in 1992, in reference to the supposed opening of a gay mosque in Toronto: “I would burn down the masjid (mosque) myself, if I could.”
  • After hearing about the First International Retreat for GLBT Muslims held in Boston in October of 1998, Imam Talal Eid of the Islamic Center of New England, based in Quincy and Sharon, Massachusetts, USA, was quoted as saying, “This is their life. It’s up to them. They are acting against the teaching in Islam. I do not distribute blessing. I’m not in the position to give licenses to people. Nobody has the power to say that is okay. There is nothing I can do except call this person to repent, because he is committing one of the greatest sins in Islam. This is how it is described by the prophet Mohammed. Usually people who do such things don’t practice being Muslims. If they do, they are betraying themselves.”

  • The Islamic Society of North America’s Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, answering a question posed on homosexuality, says, “Homosexuality is a moral disorder. It is a moral disease, a sin and corruption… No person is born homosexual, just like no one is born a thief, a liar or murderer. People acquire these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education.” Attempting to explain why homosexuality is a sin, he says, “There are many reasons why it is forbidden in Islam. Homosexuality is dangerous for the health of the individuals and for the society. It is a main cause of one of the most harmful and fatal diseases. It is disgraceful for both men and women. It degrades a person. Islam teaches that men should be men and women should be women. Homosexuality deprives a man of his manhood and a woman of her womanhood. It is the most un-natural way of life. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of family life.”

  • Although mainstream Islam officially condemns homosexuality there is a growing movement of progressive-minded Muslims, especially in the Western world, who see Islam as an evolving religion that must adapt to modern-day society. It is within the movement that Al-Fatiha Foundation hopes to work in order to enlighten the world that Islam is a religion of tolerance and not hate, and that Allah (God) loves His creation, no matter what their sexual orientation might be.

Al-Fatiha Foundation is an international organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) Muslims including those questioning their sexual orientation/gender identity and their friends. Al-Fatiha’s goal is to provide a safe space and a forum for LGBTQ Muslims to communicate issues of common concern, share individual experiences & institutional resources. By using our knowledge, our faith in Islam and our belief in Allah (God), the mission of Al-Fatiha Foundation is to help LGBTQ Muslims in reconciling their sexual orientation/gender identity with the religion of Islam.

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