Ghulam Esposito Haydar from New Muslim Network argues that Muslims should not compromise the Islamic stance on homosexuality to conform to liberal secular values.
The questions on homosexuality and the need to conform to liberal secular values have left many Muslims compromised when dealing with the issue in the public sphere.
Just recently, we had a British Muslim proclaim proudly on mainstream TV that he “champions gay rights”. Although he was ambiguous about which rights he was referring to, many took this as supporting the rights of gay marriage etc.
Such remarks are becoming more and more popular within the modernist discourse, and from afar, it seems they are merely compromising their beliefs to fit in with modern liberal secular values.
Islamic position on homosexuality
Admittedly, Muslims generally have had a problem articulating the Islamic position on homosexuality. Homophobic statements are rife and questions are dealt with in an inappropriate manner. This has led to many labelling Islam and Muslims as intolerant, backward and confined.
We Muslims should be making it clear that having feelings for the opposite sex in itself is not a sin. Although it is something non-desirable, only acting on such a feeling in a sexual manner makes it a sin, a major sin.
Intimacy is prohibited in Islam outside of marriage and marriage is reserved exclusively as a religious oath between a man and a woman. Encouraging and allowing feelings to flourish between an unmarried couple whatever their orientation is discouraged as it can lead to strong sexual desires.
The greater taboo with homosexuality lies with the fact that heterosexual feelings for one and another can be remedied through marriage whereas homosexual feelings cannot.
Although this clears up the Islamic position on homosexuality, for a secular liberal, such an answer will never suffice since the basis of the answer in the eyes of a secular liberal is absent of any divine wisdom, man-made and therefore should be subject to change.
This is precisely why we should always refer our conformity to Islam back to Allah (swt), the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Muslims believe in Allah because we have overwhelming reasons to believe. Without going into detail (see previous articles) they are:
1. An inherent natural inclination
2. Intellectual reasoning
3. Reflecting on natural phenomena
4. The miraculous Divine inimitable revelation – The Qur’an
The Qur’an passes the test for authenticity and preservation, i.e. it makes the claim it is from Allah and its very nature backs it up.
We also believe that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) was a truthful sincere Messenger of Allah who received the Qur’an from Allah via Angel Jibreel (Gabriel).
Since Muslims believe in the above, we accept the teachings in their totality. This is Islam. Muslims have no doubt in Islam’s divine origin and immaculate preservation.
Islam teaches us that Allah is above any imperfection. He is source of all knowledge and wisdom. He is just and loving to His creation.
Islam teaches us that Allah has created humans solely for the purpose of worshipping Him alone in the holistic sense. This means being conscious of Allah’s prohibitions as well as doing what pleases Him.
It teaches us this life is a test and everyone is created differently with different abilities and tendencies. A person may have a hot-headed temperament. A different person may have a sexual affinity towards the same gender.
As Muslims we are taught to acknowledge this and help one and other deal with it. These feelings have to be channelled and worked on. We cannot let the feelings take control over us. These feelings can ultimately lead us to hurting ourselves.
Allah does not burden someone with more than they can handle. He creates people with tendencies since He knows each and every person’s capabilities (though there is an argument that the environment plays a great role in shaping the psyche).
Whatever the individual situation, a person has the ability to stay on top of it. This can only occur by making some effort to seek Allah’s assistance and taking the necessary worldly means to overcome these desires.
Many of the rules and regulations in Islam are in place to allow society to flourish. This starts with the family: the bedrock of the family is togetherness and continuation of lineage.