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How Islam Views Homosexuality

Question and answer details
Ali
2011/02/21
As-Salamu `alaykum! As homosexuality has become a phenomenon widespread in the world, not only in the West, we’d like to know what Islam says on this issue. Jazakumullah Khayran!
IOL Shari`ah Researchers
Answer
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, thanks for your serious question, which reflects your deep belief in the fact that Islam has answers for every problem facing mankind. Our utmost wish is just for all of us to adhere to the teachings of this great religion which came to save mankind from the peril of succumbing to the material life, to rescue them from darkness of following whims and self inclinations to the light of guidance and eternal prosperity.

“An increasing number of people are becoming homosexuals either gays or lesbians in different parts of the world. The former refers to the perverted sexual relationship between man and man while the latter is the title for women practicing sex with women. This is, however, not a new phenomenon; what is new is the attempt of those people who have been considered all the time as outcasts and perverts, to assert their identity and force the rest of the people to recognize and accept them and their relationships as natural ones.

As this is becoming an increasingly dangerous issue, it is indeed important to clarify the attitude of Islam towards homosexuality.

In both the Qur’an and the Bible, we are told that the first people who started this habit on a national scale were the people of Lot in the old city of Sodom which used to occupy the area where the Dead Sea now exists. (See Genesis 19). Let us concentrate on what the Glorious Qur’an says about these people:

In surat ash-Sh`ara', we read: 'The people of Lot rejected the messengers. Their brother Lot said to them: 'Will you not fear God? I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust. so fear God and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it. My reward is only from the Lord the of worlds. Of all the creatures of the world will you approach males, and leave those whom God has created for you as mates? Nay. You are people transgressing all limits.' They said: 'If you desist not O Lot, you will surely be cast out!'. He said: 'I do detest your doings. O my Lord! Deliver me and my family from such things as they do.' So we delivered him and his family, all except an old woman who lingered behind. The rest we destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower; and evil was the shower on those who were admonished.' (Ash-Sh`ara': 160-173)

The Qur’an also says: 'And Lot who said to his people: 'Do you do what is indecent though you see its iniquity? Would you really approach men in your lusts rather than women? You are a people grossly ignorant.' His people gave no answer but this: 'Drive out the followers of Lot from our city. They are indeed men who want to be clean and pure.' But we saved him and his family except his wife: We destined her to be of those who lagged behind. And We raked down on them a shower: and evil was the shower on those who were admonished.' (An-Naml: 54-58)

Then in surat Hud, we read: 'When our messengers came to Lot, he was grieved on their account and felt himself powerless to protect them. He said: 'This is a distressful day.' His people came rushing towards him and they had been long in the habit of practicing abominations. He said: 'O my people! Here are my daughters: they are purer for you (if you marry). Now fear God and cover me not with disgrace about my guests! Is there not among you a single tight-minded man?' They, however said: 'You know very well we have no need of your daughters. Indeed you know quite well what we want'. He said: 'Would that I had power to suppress you or that I could betake myself to some powerful support'. (The angels) said: 'O Lot! We are messengers from your Lord! By no means shall they reach you. Now travel with your family while yet a part of the night remains, and let not any of you look back; but your wife, to her will happen what will befall them. Morning is their appointed time. Is not the morning near'. When Our decree issued we turned the cities upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread layer on layer, marked from your Lord. Nor are they ever far from those who do wrong." (Hud 11: 77-83)

Let us see now how the Bible depicts this incident. In Genesis 18, Abraham intercedes for Sodom and the Lord accepts his intercession. Then God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah as in Genesis 19. From these texts we notice that both scriptures (the Qur’an and the Bible) mention that Lot, the Prophet and Messenger of God, advised his people to stop this habit and to return to the natural relationship with their wives. Instead they threatened to expel him and those who followed his advice.

According to the Qur'an, Prophet Lot neither despaired nor gave up. He continued to warn his people against this crime of theirs. He faced a lot of hardships. They began to comment sarcastically that he tried and his followers to be pure. Even his wife was inclined towards them. When these people turned deaf ears to Prophet Lot's call, both sides were put to the test. Almighty Allah sent down a group of angels in form of attractive young men. These angels first entered unto Lot as guests.

As soon as his wife saw them, she immediately told her people about them. They rushed to practice their abominations against the guests. Lot reminded his people once again to refrain from this and not make a scandal for him and his guests. As a matter of fact, until this point of time Lot took the guests for ordinary human beings. To his surprise and relief they told him that they were the Messengers of God and that no harm will be caused to him. He even defended his guests physically; but when every attempt to stop them completely failed, Allah sent His punishment from Heaven. The city was turned upside down and brimstone rain was sent against them so that they all perished along with Lot's wife, their collaborator.

The Glorious Qur’an makes the following comment after this tragedy took place. It says: 'Such a punishment is not far from the unjust ones.' (Yunus: 83), which means that the same fate will happen to those who commit this injustice.

We are also told in the Qur’an that Lot's people used to practice this same sex relationship in public. They saw no harm in looking at each other while doing this. They claimed that it is beyond the capacity or human beings to be pure or clean in this area.

Part of the Qur’anic perspective of the universe is that Allah Almighty controls everything in this world. Being the Creator of life and death, He is also the Sovereign and the legislator. He sends messengers to different peoples from among themselves who are role models as well as conveyers of His message to them. If they listen and obey, this is for their own good in this world and the next. Whatever Allah permits is everything that is good, pure and healthy; and whatever He prohibits us to do, it is also for our own sake. This is how the Ever-Glorious Qur’an looks at this issue of homosexuality. It is against human nature; it is harmful to man and it betrays one basic goal of sex, namely: procreation within the limits of marriage only. That is why it is prohibited to practice homosexuality.

It is really sad to remark here that while the Bible condemns homosexuality, it ascribes to Lot, the Prophet of Allah and His Messenger, that he was given wine by his two daughters and that he committed incest with each of them in the cave to which they resorted. This, the Bible says, took place on two consecutive nights! (See Genesis 19). How can this be said about Allah’s Prophets and their daughters? This is not, however, strange for those who are familiar with the present version or rather versions of the Bible. David, the well-known Prophet and King of Israel, is accused of committing adultery with the wife of Uriah, a military commander of his. Several other crimes are also attributed to sons and daughters of Allah’s Prophets.

In the Qur’an, however, we find the image of all Prophets of Allah to be the best images of obedient slaves of the Almighty. In sura Al-Anbiyaa verse 73 and after, we have the following description of Lot as well as other Prophets: 'And We made them leaders, guiding (men) by Our command; We inspired them to do good deeds, establish regular prayers, and to give alms. They constantly worshipped Us.'

Not only this but the Qur’an specifically describes Lot as follows: 'And to Lot, too, We gave wisdom and knowledge; We saved him from the town which practiced abominations. Truly they were a people given to evil, a rebellious people. And We admitted him to Our mercy; for he was one of the righteous.' (Al-Anbiya':74-75)

Two more points deserve our attention. One is that Islam does not consider sex as a sinful deed. It does not look down on this human instinct. On the contrary, it considers it to be rewarding by Allah provided that it is practiced within the limits of marriage. On this the Prophet of Islam says: 'He who gets married has acquired one half of his faith, so let him fear Allah in the other half.'

The second point is that the present Bible reports a number of sexual crimes attributed falsely to Prophets, Messengers of Allah and their children. Not only this but crimes of incest are said to be committed by Prophets with their own daughters as we mentioned earlier. On the other hand, there are passages of pornography in the Bible that escaped the attention of religious censors. Take the song of songs by Solomon. You cannot imagine these passages to be part of a Divine scripture. It is time that the Bible itself be purified from all these falsehoods before purifying the actual lives of the people.”

Excerpted, with slight modifications from: www.al-muslim.org

You can also read:


How to Give Up Homosexuality

Homosexuality and Lesbianism: Sexual Perversions

Almighty Allah knows best.


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