Homosexuality and the ‘Muslim Gay’
Hakim Faiza Fatima
It was on 6th September 2018 that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibited homosexuality in India was struck down by a 5-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court of India which recorded that Section 377 was “irrational arbitrary and incomprehensible, as it fetters the right to equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (LGBTQ) community”.
Homosexuality or LGBTQ movement has been in existence from the early days of Prophecy to ancient Egypt and from the medieval ages to today’s modern world. There have always been people with certain sexual orientations and this is nothing “modern” or new. The only thing that has changed is the acceptance of it in different societies.
United States of America was founded on Judeo Christian principles and traditions and people in general were religious and conservative Christians, so were their laws. Topics related to women, sexuality or homosexuality and even liquor were largely considered taboo. It was in the late 40s that a man named Alfred Charles Kinsey, an American biologist wrote a book called ‘Sexual behavior in Human Male’, and it fell onto the traditional God loving society like an atom bomb. It was a detailed study of the human sexuality based on extensive experiments done on the American population. His work was a collection of data and was considered almost of the level of Darwin. Shortly after he published another book, ‘Sexual behavior in Human Female’ and for the first time in the history of America or for that matter the world there had been such an intensive study on the sexual behavior of human beings.
Kinsey’s so-called scientific work wasn’t as scientific after all. It was later proved that Kinsey had personal gains in raising this issue and the subjects of his research were largely criminals, paedophiles, rapists, minors and his own colleagues who later admitted that they were forced and pushed by Kinsey into committing perverted sexual activities.
Alfred Kinsey’s reports on human sexual behavior challenged conventional beliefs about sexuality which were, until then considered taboo. It was around the same time that a man named Hugh Hefner decided to make this more exciting for common men. He launched the playboy magazine, a publication with revealing photographs and obscene articles. Middle-class American society in the 1950s was notoriously strait-laced and the combination of photographed women and intellectually stimulating articles appealed to the post-war urban male. Hefner later remarked, “I was the pamphleteer of Kinsey.”
It was an unqualified success, selling more than 50,000 copies within weeks. Hefner extended the Playboy brand into a world network of Playboy Clubs. He also resided in luxury mansions where Playboy “playmates” shared his wild partying life, fueling keen media interest. He was an advocate of “sexual liberation” and “freedom of expression”, and he was a political activist in the Democratic Party.
As the sixties entered, The American society found itself on the shores of a new era. The term “the Sixties” is used by historians, journalists, and other academics to denote the complex of inter-related cultural and political trends around the globe during this era. Some use the term to describe the decade’s counterculture and revolution in social norms about clothing, music, drugs, dress, sexuality, formalities, and schooling; others use it to denounce the decade as one of irresponsible excess, flamboyance, and decay of social order.
In the second half of the decade, young people began to revolt against the conservative norms of the time, as well as remove themselves from mainstream liberalism, in particular the high level of materialism which was so common during the era. This created a “counterculture” that sparked a social revolution throughout much of the Western world. It began in the United States as a reaction against the conservatism and social conformity of the 1950s, and the U.S. government’s extensive military intervention in Vietnam.
The youth involved in the popular social aspects of the movement became known as “hippies”. These groups created a movement toward liberation in society, including the sexual revolution, questioning authority and government, and demanding more freedoms and rights for women and minorities.
From civil rights movements and Black power Movements and anti-war movements and second wave of feminism to Gay rights movements. It was a time that marked the contemporary history of the United States of America.
One of the most important changes in the history during the sixties was the “Sexual Revolution”. The sexual revolution, also known as a time of sexual liberation, was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the United States and subsequently, the wider world, from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Sexual liberation included increased acceptance of sex outside of traditional heterosexual, monogamous relationships (primarily marriage). The normalization of contraception and the pill, public nudity, pornography, premarital sex, homosexuality, masturbation, alternative forms of sexuality, and the legalization of abortion all followed.
It was the sexual revolution that gave way to a new culture of “free love”. Beginning in San Francisco in the mid-1960s thousands of young people becoming “hippies”, inspired by Indian culture, who preached the power of love and the beauty of sex as part of ordinary life. This is part of a counterculture that continues to exist.
By the 1970s, it was socially acceptable for colleges to permit co-ed housing.
The LGBT movement also experienced a turning point in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association, declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Free love continued in different forms throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s, but its more assertive manifestations ended abruptly (or at least disappeared from public view) in the mid-1980s when the public first became aware of GIRD (Gay related immune deficiency) a deadly sexually-transmitted disease. The term GIRD was never used in the scientific biomedical literature. In the popular press, it was only used for a very short period of time.
On August 8, 1982, the acronym AIDS (for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) first appeared in the New York Times. Today, we know of this disease by the name Human Immune-deficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).
This marked the decline of the golden era of sex mixed up with the rhythm of Jazz and the notions of free love. The Sexual Revolution that most people believed, had come to stay, started to decline. With the outbreak of the new gay related deadly disease religious people and traditionalists started to set up events preaching about going back to Judeo Christian traditions and values. Many conservatives also stated that it was punishment for the homosexuality and so there was an increase in crimes against the homosexuals.
In some American cities, health officials proposed closing gay bathhouses in an attempt to slow the spread of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) by discouraging promiscuous sexual activity among male homosexuals.
Today there are approximately 38 million people with HIV.
The Sexual Revolution was marketed as a business and means of personal gain for a lot of people, organizations and even Governments. How they dealt with its decline, is something we may not discuss here.
Now let’s put on the Islamic lenses and see what Islam has to say about the LGBTQ movements. Islam has never denied the existence of homosexuals, both gay men and lesbians. It has always been in literature and history of Islam.
Homosexuality has found a mention in the Holy Quran as well, and the most common story is that of Prophet Lut (a.s). Prophet Lut is referenced, relatively large number of times in the Holy Quran. So, Homosexuality was a lifestyle and has been there from the very beginning of the Islamic History.
Now, let’s have a look at the Quranic text and the discussions it makes on this topic.
And [We had sent] Lut when he said to his people, “Do you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from among the worlds?
Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people.”
But the answer of his people was only that they said, “Evict them from your city! Indeed, they are men who keep themselves pure.”
So, We saved him and his family, except for his wife; she was of those who remained [with the evildoers].
And We rained upon them a rain [of stones]. Then see how was the end of the criminals.
-Surah Al A’raf (80-84)
And when Our messengers, [the angels], came to Lut, he was anguished for them and felt for them great discomfort and said, “This is a trying day.
And his people came hastening to him, and before [this] they had been doing evil deeds. He said, “O my people, these are my daughters; they are purer for you. So fear Allah and do not disgrace me concerning my guests. Is there not among you a man of reason?”
They said, “You have already known that we have not concerning your daughters any claim, and indeed, you know what we want.”
He said, “If only I had against you some power or could take refuge in a strong support.”
The angels said, “O Lot, indeed we are messengers of your Lord; [therefore], they will never reach you. So set out with your family during a portion of the night and let not any among you look back – except your wife; indeed, she will be struck by that which strikes them. Indeed, their appointment is [for] the morning. Is not the morning near?”
So, when Our command came, We made the highest part [of the city] its lowest and rained upon them stones of layered hard clay, [which were]
Marked from your Lord. And Allah ‘s punishment is not from the wrongdoers [very] far.
-Surah Hud (77-83)
The people of Lot denied the messenger
When their brother Lot said to them, “Will you not fear Allah?
Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger.
So, fear Allah and obey me.
And I do not ask you for it any payment. My payment is only from the Lord of the worlds.
Do you approach males among the worlds?
And leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing.”
They said, “If you do not desist, O Lot, you will surely be of those evicted.”
He said, “Indeed, I am, toward your deed, of those who detest [it].
My Lord, save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do.”
So, We saved him and his family, all,
Except an old woman among those who remained behind.
Then We destroyed the others.
And We rained upon them a rain [of stones], and evil was the rain of those who were warned.
Indeed, in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers.
And indeed, your Lord – He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.
Surah Ash Shu’ara (160-175)
We also sent Lot, and recall when he told his people: “Do you commit shameless acts with your eyes open?
Do you lustfully approach men instead of women? Nay, you engage in acts of sheer ignorance.”
But this had only one answer from his people. They said: “Expel Lot’s folk from your city. They pretend to be absolutely clean.” Eventually We saved (Lot) and his family, except his wife. We had decreed that she should be among those who would remain behind.And We rained down upon them a rain. It was an evil rain for those who had already been warned.
Surah An Naml (54-58)
As mentioned above the Holy Quran repeatedly and very clearly condemns Homosexuality in the above verses. The point is crystal clear.
But what I see is that whenever the discussion of homosexuality in Islam comes up, pro-LGBT people mostly bring up the argument that love is unconditional and a person must have the right to love anybody they want. This argument is essentially invalid as homosexuality is something completely against the creation and against the institution of family, which is the most fundamental social unit according to Islam and humans must refrain from illogical and unfruitful actions, for Allah in Quran says:
And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”
Surah Al Baqarah (30)
Islam teaches us that the institution of family is sacred. Individuals are brought up in families and they build up a society and ultimately a civilization. Islam teaches that each and every family is a living cell of the society and if the cells get damaged, the body aches and if these cells die, the body dies.
Islam preaches a lifestyle where it does everything to protect the family and make it a happy and a healthy place for an individual to grow and in turn making a better society. Islam is against anything that is at odds with this sacred institution. And Islam is quite sensitive on this issue. When Islam asks the Muslim women to observe Hijab, it is for the sake of the family, when Islam commands the Muslim men to lower their gaze it for family’s sake, when Islam orders to punish the person who engages in premarital sex, it is for the sake of the family, when Islam orders to kill the person who is married yet indulges in fornication it is for the sake of the family, when Islam orders to kill the person who acts on their homosexual desires, it is for the sake of the family, when Islam says kill the rapist it is for the sake of the family.
So if you are a Muslim you cannot pick and choose what you like of Islam. Either you read and believe it or you don’t.
Lastly, for my such young brothers and sisters who may experience unwanted same sex attractions or same sex lust, or are transgender or Intersex, I recommend that they come out and seek help and rather than accepting a destructive lifestyle that the LGBTQ communities propose. There are support organizations out there for people who choose to embrace their authentic selves as believers and wish to live God-centric lives.
(The views expressed by the author are his own)