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Zaki Badawi on civil partnerships January 22, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Homosexualists, Responses, Shari'ah.

Sir Zaki Badawi, Telegraph imageIn the London Times article of 7th January 2006, which I have already mentioned for its promotion of the typical line on “gay Muslims”, and its web-links to the Safra and Imaan “havens”, the following little statement appeared:

A handful of Muslims are believed to be among the hundreds of gay men and women who have taken out civil partnerships in the past month. The country’s other top Muslim, Dr Zaki Badawi of the Muslim College, has urged gay Muslims to take advantage of their financial benefits so long as they are not sexually active.

The writer, Ben Hoyle, didn’t see fit to quote Dr Badawi directly, which is quite strange considering the sensitivity of the issue. We wrote to Dr Badawi to ask for a clarification. He told us that the reporter had, in summarising his views, misrepresented them. He then offered the following statement:

Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, rejects sex outside marriage. As regards the civil contract, I see no barrier to Muslims taking advantage of its financial benefits if it applies to them. So if old colleagues or friends choose to live together to support each other it would, in my view, be sensible for them to enter into such a contract so that if one dies the other would not suffer. The civil contract does not demand a sexual relationship, which would not be allowed in Islam as stated earlier. But safe-guarding property rights under this contract is permitted.  If the civil contract allows for two sisters or brothers to be covered by its rules I would advise Muslims to enter into such a contract.
I’m not sure to what extent this really clears things up. He has reiterated that homosexual acts are forbidden in Islam, but has not clarified his stance on celibate homosexual partnerships. I can only hope that he was misrepresented also when he was described as “perhaps the most powerful friend of gay Muslims in Britain”. I quote StraightWay’s comment on the original quotation:
For two men (or two women) to live together is uncontroversial in itself. However, where the intention is to replace the Islamic ideal of spousehood (whether or not physical contact is involved) with a notion of same-sex partnership, this is an act demonstrating contempt for the nature God Almighty has created for mankind.
Moreover, it seems that Dr Badawi hasn’t understood what these civil partnerships are all about. A government site offers the following summary:
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 comes into force on 5 December 2005. This will enable same-sex couples to obtain legal recognition of their relationship. Couples who form a civil partnership will have a new legal status, that of ‘civil partner’. Civil partners will have equal treatment in a wide range of legal matters with married couples, including:
  • Tax, including inheritance tax
  • Employment Benefits
  • Most state and occupational pension benefits
  • Income related benefits, tax credits and child support
  • Duty to provide reasonable maintenance for your civil partners and any children of the family
  • Ability to apply for parental responsibility for your civil partner’s child
  • Inheritance of a tenancy agreement
  • Recognition under intestacy rules
  • Access to fatal accidents compensation
  • Protection from domestic violence
  • Recognition from immigration and nationality purposes

Quite why any Islamic scholar should “urge” (a la Hoyle) or “advise” (Badawi himself) Muslims to “take advantage” of this system is beyond me. Why should any partnership be recognised by law as being equal to marriage? If the system were allowing some things to happen that the Shari’ah prescribed, such as certain inheritance rights, then perhaps I could understand Dr Badawi’s position. Indeed, he has specifically mentioned the case of “two sisters or [two] brothers”. But if we go to the FAQs page linked to at that government site, we find that the couples must

…not be within the prohibited degrees of relationship (i.e related).

In that case, although there is no demand on the couples to be sexually active, it is abundantly clear that this legislation is supposed to grant rights to homosexual couples, and not “old colleagues or friends”, and certainly not siblings! I don’t see that these civil partnerships preserve anything that our religion calls for.



1. Rasheed Eldin - May 16, 2006

Here’s another snippet that should be considered, when weighing up Badawi’s contribution to the debates:


More liberal imams, such as Sheikh Zaki Badawi of the
Ealing Muslim College, refuse to pigeonhole homosexuality
in this way. Speaking to Gay Times, he said that “the film
My Beautiful Laundrette [which centres on the love of a gay
Muslim man for a white former racist] should serve as a
useful reminder to the Muslim community that they cannot
simply sweep gays and lesbians under the carpet.
Homosexuality has always existed and continues to exist in
all Islamic countries. Indeed, many high-ranking leaders in
the Islamic world are gay.” Sheikh Badawi categorically
rejects homophobic violence. “In Britain,” he says, “we
Muslims are in a minority, and it should not be our task to
encourage intolerance towards other minorities.” He is one
of the few Muslim figures who advocates the teaching of
homosexuality in the context of sex education lessons in
schools, as long as it does not challenge the “normality”
of the traditional heterosexual family by “promoting”
homosexuality. However, toleration does not equal
acceptance, and even he considers homosexuality to be a
“problem” similar to alcoholism, which is against Islamic
teaching, even though being an alcoholic or gay does not
disqualify one from being Muslim.

2. Sharifah - June 5, 2012

Dr Badawi meant goodwill for all. He was looking at the BIG picture that there are people who dont have a spouse but do have a trusted buddy in their life. Someone who live under the same roof, standby the side in good and bad times. His advice was meant to make it official and legal to label this buddy as NEXT OF KIN in concern with assets and rights..

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