Setting Priorities… Creed or Deeds?

Question and answer details
Dear Sir, I am a 35-year-old French man living in Paris. In the last two years I heard a lot of things about Islam, and I believe that my mind started to change and accept that nice religion. Please try to be patient with me, because I’m new to everything about Islam. I liked and believed that idea in Islam which says after all people die, every person will go either to Hell or Paradise. My issue is that I heard that gay relationship in Islam is unlawful. I’m sorry to say that I’m gay, and the thing which prevents me to become a Muslim is my being gay. I know that gay sex is not the normal thing, and the relationship must be between man & woman. I respect all Islam’s instructions NOW… Let us say that I became a Muslim and I am not gay any more because I want to follow Islam’s instructions so I can enter Paradise after death … OK? On the other hand, I’m sure that I will still like gay relationships from my inside … but I will not be gay any more as I said above. It’s like stopping drinking alcohol while you like to drink it. You stop it because it’s unlawful in Islam. My question is about relationships and instructions in Paradise: Let’s say that I entered Paradise, I know that I can wish for anything there and get it ... right??? Now, can I ask or wish and get something like gay people in Paradise? Very sorry for that question, but I need to know if I can have a gay relationship in Paradise. I asked you this question because my Muslim friend told me that everything is possible to get in Paradise if you follow Islam’s instructions in this life. Honestly, the most beautiful thing in my life is being gay … honestly, I love it. And I need to know about the nature of Paradise and the kind of relationships there. Sorry again for my long question, but I’m so serious and interested about Islam. Many thanks.
AAI Editorial Staff

Salam Jorge,

Please forgive us for the delay in answering you and bear with us. I also need to thank you for your interest and trust, which I hope we will meet.

There is a story that I heard from a friend that could help as a parable. A sheikh in Turkey was asked by a man who wanted to embrace Islam, who said that he truly wanted to become a Muslim but he still believed that he could not do without a sip of wine every now and then. The sheikh’s reply was a smiley nod. The man continued by saying that also a piece of ham would not harm every now and then. The sheikh’s reply did not change. The man said I also fancy drugs every now and then. The sheikh’s graceful and calm reply was “Go ahead and believe in God. As for the rest, is not that what all Muslims fight themselves against?”

The moral of the story is that the sheikh is not giving a green light for the man to go on with these things. Instead, he is saying that the purification of the heart is the essence of what we always struggle for, against our desires and the foul sides of our egos. But to get stuck on something—whether sinful or not, doubtful or otherwise, trivial or significant—in relation to something as essential and immanent as faith in God, is not proper, if not tragically amiss.

There is a hierarchal paradigm in Islam: that Allah—exalted in His majesty—comes first, then Islam, and then Muslims. To put it differently: Demonstrating, calling to, and working for the cause of the oneness of God, Who is One All-Merciful, Transcendent, Immanent, and Omnipotent—in addition to all His other attributes—are more important than religious matters—both esoteric, or even less importantly, exoteric—or even the state of the coreligionists, per se.

So, simply, for you to leave the blessing that God has bestowed upon you, of Him guiding you, opening the eyes of your heart to Himself, for whatever reason; or for you to not be able to give up anything whatsoever; or for you to think that the obligations that come with such a belief and worldview are beyond your capacity—that’s not acceptable. It is self-destructive.

Many people, Muslims and otherwise, are born blind. Others are born clinically mad or mutilated. Others are born fine but meet existential tragedies in their lives. Does any of that mean that the relativity of the world and the existence of imperfections, defects, sin, and incompetence—does that mean that we should not obey God, the Perfect, Absolute, and All-Kind Being? If anything, these traits of the world are there to show that without a God, we as beings spiritual and physical cannot face and dwell in the world to the fullest.

The point here is that we worship God unconditionally and leave it to Him to help us with our human condition, in this case, living our lives as He wants us; and if our lives are not the way we want, it is the state of our faith that determines our happiness. It is not the hardship that is needed, it is the spirit to go through that is. Meaning that the closest people to Allah, prophets and the like, are the ones who were tested the most. Still, their strong spirits and faith are what helped them and what made them what they are. Abraham, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon them all) are examples.

Your hardship is understandable. It is not be taken against you. To fight a temptation like yours is not easy. May God be on your side and assist you to fight it. If anything, having homosexual tendencies does not mean that you are sinful; yet it does not mean that one who does not have them has a privilege over you. Your situation is not special. Many, many people are tested in different degrees in sexuality and in many other things. Even worse, some people, Muslim or otherwise, might take their homophobia out on you. One should always focus and prioritize and expect to always find hardship and disagreement. This is life, after all.

So that is not a hindrance enough to stop you from pursuing your spiritual and intellectual beliefs.

Then again, once you embrace Islam, always keep asking God’s guidance to help you with your case.

As for the second part of your question, concerning the state of affairs in Paradise, I guess you should be aware of the following. What does “anything” mean? If, in a worldly sense, the most powerful human says “I can do anything,” what are the scope and boundaries of that? Still, this is within human limitations in this world. Humans will be humans in this world and the Hereafter. Meaning, absolutism will always be an attribute of God, in this life and the afterlife.

How do you know, Jorge, that you will be the same in the afterlife (once you are in Paradise, to which a person with your sincerity should go)? The Qur’an gives many references that in Paradise the human hearts will be “healed” (meaning of all human deficiencies and psychoses). Paradise, designed to be the place for ultimate rejoicing and delight, is the place where all our failings and deficiencies will cease to exist. Still, life, afterlife, or whatever state of being that exists within the realm of divine governance—they all are governed by absolute and unchanging divine principles, that do not change. And whatever God sees as impure, against the primordial nature of the human, or sinful, seems to also continue to have the same position/state in all parallel worlds and stations of existence.

If “anything” is allowed, then maybe someone would want to rape, kill, or even be more powerful than God in Paradise. No, Jorge, only God is Absolute in His putting the boundaries for the limitations of the world(s) and creatures. The life, limited and relative as it is, or the afterlife, limitless and infinite as it is, both will be the way the Divine planned them to be. There is no evidence otherwise, and this is more logical. Or else, the afterlife would be a place to fulfill some things that were immoral and sinful in the eyes of God in one stage of life, and it seems that He would be inconsistent—praised be He in His perfection. This unequivocally goes against His absoluteness and consistency. God would not be God if He were so. Humans will be different humans (of course, only in relation to the norms of the afterlife and within the realms of the state of being in Paradise). God will all the time be God.

I sincerely pray to meet you in Paradise to see how things will be there.

Thank you, Jorge, and please keep in touch.

Useful Links:

Tears of Repentance…

Why Is Islam Good For Me?

Relief With Every Difficulty