This is my way of trying to use my quaint Islaamic knowledge to dispel misconceptions about Islaam and homophobia, as well as give more perspective on the legislative nature. Although I am a devout Muslim and I do subscribe to the view that homosexual relations (expounded upon below), I don’t judge, or rather Islaam demands I do not judge, others by what they believe or feel, but their actions.
This is a topic muddied by misconceptions and pooling of Christianity and old Victorian beliefs as well as many Muslim cultures with Islaam. It’s in this area that many have taken cover under religious pretext to let loose their toxicity. Add to that the disdain of anyone who is different or not a part of the majority, and hypermasculinity, and you’ll get homophobia.
Islaam does not grant anyone license to discriminate or hate gays. Being a bigot is irreconcilable with being a humble servant of Allaah as we believe that only Allaah can judge. It’s quite arrogant to look down on others as if one is morally superior or were given a free pass to paradise. There’s a stark difference between not believing it’s acceptable because of your faith, and hating the person: just as there is a stark difference between not believing in Islaam and being an islamophobe.
It is my genuine intention to enlighten, and it is my genuine wish that we can empathize with one another, as humans, despite all our contrasts and differences.
Born what way?
The argument about homosexuality being natural or not is a Christian specific thing that somehow has been generalized to all major religions.
Islaam has no such semantics. To put homosexuality in Islaam into perspective;
Sins have three levels; one nullifies your Islaam, meaning it cancels your Islaam, and one is a major sin but doesn’t make you less of a Muslim ( in the fundamental sense) and the third is a minor sin. Homosexuality does not nullify your Islaam, though it be classified as a major sin.
Sin isn’t necessarily something that is abhorrent in nature. It’s something that Allaah or His prophet – sallAllaahu alayhi wasallam– put restrictions or absolute prohibitions on as boundaries of Islaam, and ways to put your faith to the test: when push comes to shove, what will you choose?
Some sins are temporary: eating during Ramadan, having sex during ’ Umrah/Hajj rituals,
Others are conditional; premarital sex, forfeiting on annual zakah for the one who has accrued a certain amount of wealth, lying not necessitated by making peace between two people at odds, for instance, missing of prayer not caused by oversleep or forgetfulness, killing not necessitated by defense of life
Yet others are absolute, regardless of time and place: Alcohol, superstitious beliefs and assigning Divinity to other than Allaah/God, being disrespectful of His prophet, homosexual intercourse.
Between thought and manifestation
While sex with the same sex is never permitted, there is no vilification of the orientation in terms of what someone is inclined towards or think of. One hadeeth says:
“Allah has forgiven my followers the forbidden thoughts that occur to their minds, as long as such thoughts are not put into action or uttered.”
What arises in the person of feelings or thoughts isn’t something taken into account.In fact, if someone makes their mind up about doing something forbidden and they refrain from going through with it because of their conscience, they get rewarded for holding back their urges.
The reason for this is to remove the focus on the ego by giving the person choices to make. Also, thoughts and feelings can’t be controlled so they aren’t policed, giving the person leeway to focus on things they can control.
In the grander scheme of things, homosexuality is seen as a test from Allaah just like having an addiction is seen as a test or like wealth is seen as a test: will you be able to transcend your inclinations for the sake of Allaah and adopt a different lifestyle or are you going to insist on your desires?
Put faith where your mouth is
The main difference between Islaam and Christianity in this regard is that in Christianity, adopting certain belief system and having certain intentions are paramount, whereas in Islaam it’s about what you practice.
The focus is never on not doing something, but on the affirmative, the doing. Sins are seen as innate to mankind, as part of the struggle. In fact, that’s what Allaah intended when He created us: imperfections. That’s how the divine light gets through. Because sins are fixtures, the focus is on how to be as spiritually evolved as possible. That’s what underlines all legislation and tenets.
“By Him in whose hand is my soul, if you did not sin Allah would replace you with people who would sin and they would seek the forgiveness of Allah and He would forgive them.” ¹
That’s gay. So what?
In that context, homosexuality isn’t even a nullifying sin. So you can still be a Muslim and gay. However, the rulings don’t discriminate and are fixed. They don’t change because you have certain preferences. Whether you want to make those adjustments (i.e. abstaining from homosexual relations) or not, is up to you. Islaam is never compulsory.
Despite the glaring truth about this in Islaam, there are many Muslims who have a nefarious desire to establish superiority via religion. The homophobic Muslims have a whole host of greater issues to concern themselves with:
Cursing and ousting others
If a man declares his brother to be an unbeliever, then it is as if he has killed him. And cursing a believer is like killing him.²
Involving yourself in things that are none of your business
Part of a person’s being a good Muslim is leaving alone that which does not concern him. ³
Not paying your workers their right
Pay the worker his wages before his sweat has dried.⁴
Abu Umamah reported: Abu Dharr reproached Bilal about his mother, saying, “O son of a black woman!” Bilal went to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and he told him what he said. The Prophet became angry and then Abu Dharr came, although he was unaware of what Bilal told him. The Prophet turned away from him and Abu Dharr asked, “O Messenger of Allah, have you turned away because of something you have been told?” The Prophet said,
“Have you reproached Bilal about his mother? By the one who revealed the Book to Muhammad, none is better than another except by righteous deeds. You have none but an insignificant amount.” ⁵
Being rude and inconsiderate of the weak
Jabir reported: When the emigrants returned to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, from across the sea, the Prophet said, “Will you not tell me about the most amazing things you saw in the land of Abyssinia?” They said, “Of course, O Messenger of Allah. While we were sitting, an elderly woman among the senior nuns passed by us carrying a jug of water on top of her head. As she passed by some young men among them, one of them pushed her back, she fell to her knees, and her jug was broken. When she got back up, she turned to him and said:
Soon you will know, traitor! When Allah takes up the Throne and gathers the former and latter generations, and hands and feet are made to speak about what they have earned, you will come to know mine and your affair shortly.” The Prophet said,
“She spoke the truth. She spoke the truth. How can Allah sanctify a nation if their strong do not support their weak?” ⁶
Not looking out for your neighbours
He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while the neighbor to his side goes hungry.⁷
It was said to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, “Can the believer be a coward?” The Prophet said yes. It was said, “Can the believer be a miser?” The Prophet said yes. It was said, “Can the believer be a liar?” The Prophet said no. ⁸
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” Someone said, “But a man loves to have beautiful clothes and shoes.” The Prophet said,
“Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.” ⁹
Oppressing or violating the rights of non-Muslims
Safwan ibn Sulaim reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If anyone wrongs a person protected by a covenant, violates his rights, burdens him with more work than he is able to do, or takes something from him without his consent, then I will be his advocate on the Day of Resurrection.¹⁰
It is an evil mount for a man to rely upon what others merely assert. ¹¹
That’s to just give an overview because unlike Christianity, the legal facets of Islaam are very technical and afforded entire fields of study that is quite esoteric for the layman to get into. It’s not all clear-cut because different renowned scholars throughout history have come to different conclusions about certain rulings. As a rule, the learned deliberate a lot in making rulings or making definite statements on behalf of Allaah or His prophet as speaking untruths is seen as extremely grave. Those who haste the most in making definite statements on behalf of Islaam are usually the least knowledgeable and least God-fearing. Seeing as there are nearly 2 billion Muslims, it’s not fair to zero in on the fringe. But that’s what happens when you rely on the media and filter bubbles: the most extreme representation of others gets passed off as a generalization. It is easier to judge than it is to understand.