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What’s in a name? January 22, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Responses.

Mujahid asked me why I decided to call this blog (in its URL) “Gay Muslims”, given that I agree with him that this juxtaposition of terms is problematic. Why problematic? Because to accept that one is Muslim means thinking as a Muslim, which precludes accepting the orientationist philosophy that underpins words like “homosexual”, “gay” and even “heterosexual”.

[What happens if you look at it the other way round? If someone accepts that they are “gay”, then they have to figure out what they mean by “Muslim”, considering the pretty obvious negativity in the Islamic sources about what they consider homosexuality to be. See Mujahid’s “two approaches” in Muslim Before Anything Else.]

Well, I decided on that name to make it simple for anyone who is searching for perspectives on these issues. Also, among the major subjects of this blog are those who call themselves by that name (or LGB, LGBT or even LGBTIQ Muslims, etc.). So we are taking a look at this phenomenon, hence the name Eye on Gay Muslims.

I neither endorse their decision to identify themselves that way, nor of course do I include myself in such a categorisation, despite what my username (gaymuslims) might unintentionally lead people to think.

Naturally, a lot of people are going to ask what my interest is in all this. Well, I have thought deeply over this, and concluded that such questions are quite irrelevant. I don’t regard myself as anything but a Muslim, and one who is trying to please his Lord – you can call this “straight” if you wish (if that means being on the straight path, and upright – haneef as the Prophet Ibrahim, peace be on him).

So some people will claim that I am a “closet gay” and others will complain that I just don’t understand because I haven’t experienced what they have. To the former, I say that they should grow up. To the latter, I say: if I misunderstand something, inform me. I have worked hard to learn and understand, so don’t rubbish my efforts. I am always ready to stand corrected. But at the same time, don’t disparage those people who have gone through everything you have, but have found a different way to reconcile their feelings with their faith. I am interested in that struggle, and you should be too.

Rasheed Eldin



1. Devils Advocate - January 27, 2006

Rashid, I think you are copping out by dodging the closet gay question.

How have you got the nerve to question the intimate lives of other people and at the same time ignore questions about yourself.

What is your situation? Are you what your ‘organisation’ (it’s just you on your own isn’t it?) call an ‘ex’gay’.

I think your argument would have mroe credibility if you came clean.

2. gaymuslims - January 27, 2006

I don’t have an organisation, but I support StraightWay, which has been running for a few years now. Its main work is in running an online support group, which I have no part in. I have chosen to run this blog to share my ideas, which I have mainly only shared by e-mail.

You can ask questions about me all you like, but I can question their relevance, especially if no answer I give is going to be satisfactory. I am by no means “ex-gay”, and StraightWay has never used that terminology (nice to see you jump to conclusions).

I have every right to study and comment on the phenomenon of “gay Muslims”, especially in response to what is in the media. I don’t presume to know everything, but I present my thoughts, researches and opinions here.

3. Devils Advocate - January 27, 2006

I just find it odd that you are so keen on the details and intricacies of a debate but make no reference to what it has got to do with you personally.

Why spend so much time and energy on this tiny facet of human existence unless you have a vested interest?

4. gaymuslims - January 28, 2006

That’s fine, there’s no harm in being curious. But don’t let it become an obsession.

I do have vested interests. I am someone with a potentially revolutionary understanding of an issue that people talk about in a very foggy way, leading to confusion on the personal and collective levels. I see it as my duty to share this, and put it forward for consideration, criticism and review.

(By the way, I’m not bigging myself up by saying I have this understanding, which I think to be simple and based on the sources. It’s also not original or unique, as philosophers such as Foucalt have discussed similar concepts, without the religious perspective.)

It may seem to you a “tiny facet of human existence”, but as a British Muslim deeply concerned about my religion and community (in its wider and narrower senses), I see it as an important issue. The fact that it’s hardly discussed makes it all the more worthy for me to push the issue forward (though I am not the first to resolve to do this).

I am concerned to help Muslims who are unhappy to experience same-sex attractions to find an understanding that suits them, and some guidelines to help them live lives they are happy with. However, my main personal interest is to deal on the level of concepts, including to refute those who are attempting to twist the clear teachings of Islam (and now get prime time on Channel 4 to promote their views).

Why don’t you write to any professor and ask why she chose to specialise in her particular field of research and teaching? This is an interest of mine, and I don’t need to justify it. If you want to draw some unwarranted conclusions, go right ahead. But ad hominems and other logical fallacies will be challenged head on.

5. Devils Advocate - January 29, 2006

“That’s fine, there’s no harm in being curious. But don’t let it become an obsession.”

Perhaps you should remind yourself of your own quote? I still don’t get it but each to his own I suppose. Your website has obviously taken a lot of work and as far as I am aware this area of interest is very specialised.

What are you hoping to achieve. Where will you stop, are you trying to make all gay people straight?

6. gaymuslims - January 29, 2006

I think what I am trying to achieve is quite clear, and you should think before making outrageous suggestions like that. I am simply trying to explain the standpoint of Islam on this issue, and offer advice in that light. I don’t know why you’re so sensitive about it.

7. Faz - May 7, 2007

I don’t care what anyone says or how they try to justify it ……… but being Gay is wrong & its a sin. Allah (swt) did not make anyone gay, as a muslim you should learn to control your desires & temptations.

I dont care what you all say being gay is strictly forbidden & if you read the story of Prophet LUT then you will know what a terrible sin being gay is.

WAKE UP PEOPLE …… IT’S ALL THE DEVIL’S WORK & GAY S ARE NOT DOING MUCH TO FIGHT IT, They making themselves comfortable by having gay blogs & gay society’s.

One more thing ……………… DO NOT CALL YOURSELVES MUSLIMS GAYS BECAUSE IF YOU WERE TRULY A RESPECTABLE MUSLIM, YOU WOULD NOT BE GAY………. So don’t embarass Islam by using the word Muslim for your sins.

8. Rasheed Eldin - May 13, 2007

You talking to us? Calm down, you’ve got the wrong idea about us I think. Just read the post above for a start.

9. Qusai - May 21, 2007

On Islamonline site if you look up the question by ‘Richard from Germany’ he asked:

Should Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others work together to stop people from taking drugs, dressing immodestly, and engaging in homosexuality?

The counsellor’s reply caught my attention:

“..There are people who might be born with or develop homosexual tendencies, whether biological, psychological, or emotional. And many of these people can be helped. Others cannot. Of course with the homosexual act itself being categorically unaccepted, these people should be seen as individuals who need aid from their communities on all levels. What I mean is that you should see homosexuality, although unacceptable, as a symptom, not a disease….”

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