This is a very touchy subject that I’ve never shared my thoughts on before. I’ve pondered this question for many years, trying to approach it from different aspects. Earlier tonight, I came across a blog that belongs to a teenage Muslim who is gay and secretive about it. In it, he writes that he is torn between his feelings,his identity,his beliefs, and the gloomy days that lie ahead. Reading his blog gave me the incentive to write about this. I must say right from the onset, that I’m gearing this specifically towards gay Muslims who have a desire to remain Muslims and have faith, yet are confused because they don’t have anywhere to turn to for advice without running the risk of being ostracized. However, this does not mean that I endorse this, and I hate the extreme dichotomy that exists today in relation to homosexuality ; you either have to fully endorse and believe in the ‘culture’, for want of a better term, or you have to be a hateful homophobic. I’m neither. There’s no hate in my heart, only compassion. But establishing boundaries, as I’ve written about here , entails being able to consider an idea and appreciating it, without having to take a stand for or against. I am my own person with my own beliefs, but this is not about me now.
So now, this is what my heart tells me. I am not well-versed in this issue, and I contemplated waiting to write this until I gained more insight into it, but I realized this was procrastination of a perfectionistic nature, and in fact I’m a bit nervous writing this. I feel I’m walking on eggshells! But I write this especially to the gay Muslim because I am Muslim and I know the widespread ignorance and harshness there exists today across the different Muslim demographics; I know there are a sizeable portion of anonymous homosexuals who wish to practice their faith, but can’t ferret out cultural opinions from the deen.
I know that you are in extreme distress and confused; you have undeniable feelings that you’ve struggled with, and you have belief in Allaah, yet the deen is obscured by the chantings and protests of fellow Muslims who may very well be speaking from ignorance and bigotry. You try google to find answers, but all the search results come up against your favour. What do you do? Do you remain in this state of limbo, hiding yourself from yourself, your family, your community? Or do you come out, and risk being ostracized? And what about Islam? How can you be a Muslim when…
Listen, I’m not going to tell you about the intricate rules and jurisprudence in Islam pertaining to your case, but I’m speaking from another place; one of empathy.
We all are sinners but we sin differently. This is our innate nature that Allaah created within us to challenge us in life. We have different inclinations to different sinful outlets, and we all have our private struggles. Do you know the gist of Islaam? Of this life? It’s not about hell or heaven.
The very gist is this; to fully realize our innate imperfections and limitations, and the perfection and power of Allaah, the creator, and then to actualize this belief by the feeling of true humility in one’s heart. This then enables sincerity, ikhlaas, to take root in one’s heart. This is, in very concise terms, Tawheed (monotheism) which is that one should worship Allaah alone, without any partners,intermediaries, belief that other than Him have power to cause things in whatever fashion. No one stands between you and Him. No one. No Imaam, no ‘authority’, no scholar, no one. You should now that Allaah is the Most Merciful; the only sin He does not forgive ( if one dies without repenting) is that of Shirk which means to associate others with Allaah, by deifying them,believing they hold some or all the power and traits that are exclusively attributed to Allaah, or in any other way foil one’s sincerity, one’s tawheed with opposing elements.
What does all of this mean? It means that you should never give up hope. It means that Allaah gave us different challenges, and yes, that includes feelings and innate inclinations that might go against the laws Allaah set out for us, however He also gave us a free will to choose our actions.
There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path
[ al-Baqarah, verse 256]
Some choose to believe in Allaah, others choose to disbelieve in Allaah. Of those who chose belief, some choose to pray, others choose not to pray. Some choose to drink alcohol, others refrain from it. Some looter and rob, others don’t. Some murder, others don’t. Choices.
In between these visible actions are hidden processes that are even more important than the actions themselves because the actions stem from these; the internal struggle. The tug of war that ensues when one is at the fork in a road. One thing should be clear to you; having homosexual feelings without acting upon them is not sinful. The realm of feelings and thoughts is something we are not held to account for, but what we are held to account for is what we do with this. Whether one chooses to act on their homosexuality or not is a choice, not a compulsion. Likewise, if someone has an urge to imbibe alcohol, do drugs,have pre-marital sex, and is so enmeshed with these desires that one cannot resist them even if one wished they could, and consequently acts on these urges, then it’s still a choice.
This is your journey, your life. No one can dictate what you should or should not do. Do not abdicate this power, this only power in life that you have by letting harsh Muslims who don’t know better bully you into a corner. If you wish to take this journey towards Allaah, then you should know that Allaah is the Most Merciful and gentle. Establish your relationship to Him directly, and turn away from the concern of what others would say or do if they knew. You were created with a purpose, and for a purpose and you never truly live until you found out what those things are. Don’t just let things happen. Take a stance. Make a choice. Deal with the consequences.
Allaah is the muqallibul-quloob, meaning the changer of hearts. Make du’aa. If He doesn’t enable you to do something, it’ll never be possible.
ما شاء الله كان وما لم يشأ لم يكن
Whatever Allaah willed, became and whatever He does not will to happen, will never be.
This life is fraught with hardships, and this journey is long. You need a strong heart, a resilient mind, infinite hope, and growth mindset. No one can walk it for you so no one can direct your path. That is, but Allaah. So turn away from people and their invalidations and hasty judgements, and turn to the only one who truly knows you and can help you. The one who created you, and the one to whom you’ll return one day.
p.s. if you wish to contact me, please do not hesitate: firstname.lastname@example.org ( I love cinnamon in my somali tea 😀 )