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Daayiee’s latest heresies February 11, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Islam, Queer Muslims, Responses, Shari'ah.
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Mujahid introduced you already to a Mr Daayiee Abdullah, moderator of the Muslim Gay Men group (closed membership) and owner of the more-than-a-bit-dubious epithet of “queer Muslim scholar”. Daayiee (assuming my reading of the corrupted Arabic is correct) means “inviter”, and we can see just what sort of things he is inviting to, in a recent post of his. He is responding to a gay-affirming new member who made the following observations:

This group deserves the most sincere praises from us gays, since it is an oasis in the desert i.e. a hope.  However, I had observed that you guys rarely mention the ahadith, though ahadith are the second leg of Islam and I am a staunch supporter of it. … I think this group’s aim is to promote Islamic values and to know Islam, but unfortunately no such thing is being carried on…

I’m going to pick up a few points from Daayiee’s lengthy post, beginning with the most serious part. Not for the first time, he expresses his misgivings about hadeeth.

For those unfamiliar, let me give you a quick summary of this subject in Islamic jurisprudence. Muslims affirm the authority of the Qur’an as the Word of God, which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). Islamic law (Shari’ah), or its human interpretation and application (Fiqh) is based upon various sources, but the two primary ones are the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The Sunnah is the living example of the Prophet, as found in hadeeth reports  (pl. ahaadeeth). These are reports from the Prophet’s companions, together with chains of narration, informing us of what the Prophet said, did, or approved of tacitly (and also his personal characteristics). The following is a clear and thorough outline of the subject:

The Authority of Sunnah (Mufti Taqi Usmani) 

See also this fatwa from Islam Online, and you can follow links at the bottom to more. So what does Daayiee say?

Yes, Brother Jamel, there are many ahadeeth that contradict each other.  Depending upon the source, you will find ahadeeth of various levels upon which you can depend whether it is weak or strong on its dependability.  However, on the side of reason and experience, I do not put much faith in ahadeeth because of its “human interpretation” and “hearsay” chronology recorded several lifetimes after their “supposed” occurrence.  Anyone with knowledge of Islamic history knows of the political dissension that occurred after the death of Prophet Mohammed, and the ultimate resolution of religious and political control over the Muslim community–the grandson of the emir who wanted to kill Prophet Mohammed, saws, became the leader of the fractionalized Ummah of the time.  It is well understood that the ahadeeth that we as Muslims today do depend are the distillation of hundreds of thousands of ahadeeth across the Islamic world, and the basis upon which they are considered accurate has a science.  Though some ahadeeth do have accurate historical references, generally, some do not have clear reference to Quran and authentic Sunnah of Prophet Mohammed, SAWS.  Some of the ahadeeth are clearly attributable to sahabah, who we all know were not Prophets, but human beings who could and did error in their judgments.  In my humble opinion, if we can glean a benefit from the ahadeeth that does not undermine or destroy Quranic teachings–whether specifics or themes, then for me, those ahadeeth are worthy of study and usage.  However, much of it is neither accurate nor dependable on Quran.  So for me, ahadeeth is a weak source of Quranic and Islamic knowledge.

This explanation betrays ignorance of the highest order. However, I am not a specialist in fiqh and even if I were, I would not wish to dignify his claims with a detailed refutation, since this has already been done by worthy scholars. Perhaps it will suffice for me to refer you to one book by Sheikh Taha Jabir Alalwani (remember, Daayiee claims to have been Sheikh Taha’s prize student).

The source-evidence upon which the whole Ummah fully agrees, and on the validity of which there is general consensus, comprises the two sources that formed the basis of legislation at the time of the Prophet (PBUH). These two sources of legislation are:

1. The Qur’an: […]

2. The Sunnah: This includes everything, other than the Qur’an, which has been transmitted from the Prophet(PBUH); what he said, did, and agreed to.

Thus, every utterance of the Prophet (PBUH), apart from the Qur’an, and his every deed, from the beginning of his mission to the last moment of his life, constitute his Sunnah, in the general sense of the word, whether these establish a ruling which is generally applicable to all members of the Ummah, or a ruling which applies only to the Prophet himself or to some of his Sahabah.

Regardless of whether what the Prophet (PBUH) did was instinctive or otherwise, his every word, deed and approval may be taken as the basis for evidence in a legal ruling. This is so regardless of whether his utterances or actions related to matters of faith or practice, or whether they were concerned with commanding or recommending, prohibiting, disapproving, or allowing; and regardless of whether his word or action was based on a ruling previously revealed in the Qur’an, or whether it served independently to establish legislation.

Source: Source Methodology in Islamic Jurisprudence (T.J. Alalwani)

Nothing radical there: it’s what every Islamic scholar I’ve heard has said. As for Daayiee, he is echoing both the Hadith Deniers (of various colours, but declared outside the fold of Islam by consensus) and the Orientalists whose sole aim in academic life is to undermine the very foundations of Islam and cast doubts into the minds of its adherents.

Sometimes uninformed Muslims who write comments about the subject of this whole blog will refer to the people in question as: gay “Muslims”. I lean more towards writing: “gay” Muslims, since I have more doubt in the concept of homosexual identity/orientation than I do in anybody’s claim to faith. In cases where we find statements of kufr (disbelief), such as persistent denial of clear Qur’anic prohibitions, or, as we may see here, rejection of the purified Sunnah, perhaps it is more fitting to say: “gay” “Muslims” (cumbersome, I know), in that both the terms are false claims, particularly the latter. Our duty is to advise and correct such people, so that the sincere ones may turn back to Allah in repentance and recant their heretical views.

Perhaps Daayiee meant here only to express doubts on some aspects of what is accepted as hadeeth literature. For sure, there are many levels of hadeeths, and many (including a number in popular circulation) are indeed fabricated, and rejected by scholarship – i.e. not used as a basis for belief or jurisprudence. But if that is all Daayiee wants to say, he should make it clear, and direct people to authentic scholarly works, rather than make general smears against the Prophetic Sunnah, as recorded in hadeeths – which, by the way, are also part of how the Qur’an was transmitted authentically. Otherwise, Daayiee is misleading people and could be responsible for their kufr, even if not his own (and Allah knows best).

Let’s turn to some other points made by Daayiee in the same post, with my briefer comments.

Quran has no punishment for homosexuality as a sexual orientation or even as a sexual practice.  What you refer is the human interpretation based upon heterosexual-normative’s (all sexual relationships are male and female).  Those normatives are promoted as the “ONLY” methodology in which sexual relationships can be derived by Muslims who are faithful.  Since Allah created gay Muslims, how then does Allah’s heterosexual believers corrupt Allah’s message to deny us sexual relationships?  Yes, the story of Lut.  Yet Lut in its more literal sense states it was “(heterosexual) men who turned from their wives and mates” who committed the sin or male-to-male forced sex.  This is what I mean by depending upon literal interpretations that have no basis in the truth but forth that it was heterosexual men who did this–not homosexuals.  The ignorant turn sexual acts into sexual orientation.  Do not men who are heterosexuals not have homosexual sex under certain circumstances?  If so, does that mean they are performing a sexual act and not an act of love between two loving people?  Does the act of sex between heterosexuals change the sexual act whether they are married or not?  No, it does not.  But it’s permissibility is based upon the societal mores that sex outside of marriage is forbidden–yet, this law is based on their own mental gymnastics and not based in Quran.  Where in Quran does it say samesex marriages are not permitted?

This may need a detailed treatment, but I thought it worth pasting it here just for you to observe this extremely dubious argument. I already refuted similar ideas in my responses to Adnan Ali and Scott Kugle not long ago. Daayiee here affirms “gay orientation”, without textual support (or indeed philosophical justification). He then imposes this notion on the Qur’an, and that is the real crime of interpretation: not his complaints against “heterosexual men” who just happened to be the Companions of the Prophet himself (peace be on him), and their followers, and those who transmitted from them.

I have said already that there is no textual evidence for the ‘sex’ between Sodom’s men being “forced” as Daayiee keeps claiming. BRING US THE EVIDENCE. As for his last point there: it is upon him to prove that such a thing could have any basis. I will not elaborate now on The Philosophy of Marriage in Islam, but please refer to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s article.

Daayiee to Jamel:

Or, do you believe the only sexual order is heterosexual procreation?  This seems to go against Quran’s teachings that sexual relationships are important within a committed relationship such as marriage.

Male-female partnerships are the only valid expressions of sexual feeling according to Islam, and these can only be within the specific relationship (alternatively: legal contract) of marriage. I expect Daayiee will be able to defend his contentions, but we are ready to show that he is misrepresenting the Qur’an and misleading innocent people who have been duped into believing he is a “scholar”. We are ready to engage in debate with him, examining the Qur’anic texts. We affirm the authority of the authentic Sunnah, yet even without referring to hadeeths, the story is much clearer than Daayiee will have you believe.

 

EDIT: I just found this article by Daayiee, in which he summarises his “scholarly” position on homosexuality, denouncing the consensus of, well, everybody else as a “misinterpretation” belonging to “those who know little to nothing about Islam”. Has he no respect for any scholars, then? What about Sh. Alalwani, who knows plenty about Islam, and whom Daayiee claims as a teacher? I find the following outrageous claim to be of most note:

Prophet Mohammed, (Sallu Alayhi Wa Salaam or SAWS Peace Be Upon Him) “dislike” for homosexuality is a legal fiction created after the death of Prophet Mohammed, SAWS, by Prophet Mohammed’s, SAWS, companions.

So it turns out that Daayiee’s hadith-scepticism is not against later generations, but against the very companions of the Messenger (peace be on him and them)! It is overall an article of abject stupidity and superficiality, and I will probably dissect it in the future only for want of something of more substance and worth. The excuse I can give him is that he was writing for a mainly non-Muslim readership. How would he handle writing in a scholarly Muslim journal, or presenting at a scholars’ conference, let alone subjecting himself to the debate that he and his colleagues keep fleeing from?

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Comments»

1. straightway - February 11, 2006

I would love to read an extended ‘tafseer’ by Mr Abdullah of the passages about the Prophet Lut (AS), and watch his “mental gymnastics” in full play. Does he mean to say that the people of Lut (AS) were destroyed in the unique triple-destruction because of male rape? As always, we demand the evidence. But it seems he wants to say that their crime was acting homosexual when they were actually heterosexual. Does Daayiee want us to believe that the real crime being warned against in the Qur’an is denying one’s “true sexuality”, and not – as the mainstream would have it – performing deviant sexual acts? I have heard some of his group members and followers say things like that, but usually just as a pathetic justification for not choosing a path of obedience to Allah’s revealed commands. But if Daayiee wants to give this scriptural backing, he will have to work much harder.

2. Salman - February 14, 2006

The agenda is clear, as it is with all the “progressive” types. To convince anyone of their extreme liberal stances (i.e. to submit absolutely to modern Western ideas and norms, including on sexuality), they need to get rid of all the Islamic sources that contradict them. The hadiths are far greater in number than Quranic verses, so disposing of them is a great start in reducing the extent of the ‘problem’. Also, hadiths (as bearers of the Sunnah) constitute the explanation in detail of the general Quranic principles. So if they get rid of the details, they can claim to follow the principles, denouncing the rest of us as literalists and blind followers of irrelevant texts.

3. Yousef - February 26, 2006

Assalamu alaikum,
His “interpretation” becomes even more disturbing when you factor in the fact that the Qur’an narrates that he offered his daughters in marriage to the perpetrators that came to lust over his guests (the angels). Can you imagine offering your daughters for “rape” rather than males?

4. Qusai - March 29, 2007

Salam,

The sprouting of heretic groups on the issue of homosexuality is but a manifestation of external pressure on our Islamic scholarly to re-examine its position. We are fortunate to have a large group of trained schoalrs but the issue of homoseuxality is still largely marginalised and thus we have to accept the authority of scholars on issues of homosexuality despite the fact that their expertiese lies elsewhere.

As the Islam attracts more and more people it is inevitable that we would encounter a larger variety of minority groups with various pressing issues. Shutting the door on homosexuals has already proven to be a dissatisfactory approach as this group has ‘vented’ in a variety of heretical ways. The problem with progressive Musims is that they attack the fundamentals of what defines the community instead of using the Islamic princiiples to try to derive fresh solutions to the problem of homosexuality.

Therefore it is unlikely that progressive muslims will attract a large following among the community but at the same time the traditional scholars are unlikely to command the full respect on their dealings with gay behaviour in Islam because their conclusions appear to be somewhat detached from some rare but well observed components of human behaviour.

In a link to al-Jazeera’s interview with sheikh Qaradawi one is able to perceive the dilemma faced by these scholars in tackling the issue. Theirs is a great responsibility. It is not unusual for him to be passionate about his religious views but on that occasion his frustration was manifest.

The status quo is just not sustainable: raging anarchistic heresies versus powerful yet unconvincing traditional authority. Something has to ‘give’ somewhere along the line and it doesn’t necessarily has to be a full compromise from either. My feeling is that the traditionalists will compromise in vindicating an established sin but by addressing homosexuality as an ‘affliction’ as opposed to a perversion. This would encouarge homosexuals to refrain from practise in hope of a reward in the hereafter.

On the other hand the compromise from homosexuals would be at least to not voice their harsh criticism so as not to cause confusion and disillusionment among the masses. Each will then decide (naturally) whether to accep the ‘deal’ or to act on his inclinations taking full repsonsibility of their presonal choices. But preaching openlly against it would harm the musim community as a whole and is thus best avoided.

If anyone has any other ideas please fill us in.
Salams

5. Rasheed Eldin - March 30, 2007

Could you please explain the distinction between “affliction” and “perversion” as concepts? And do you feel that the “perversion” discourse is the only one in operation currently?

I suspect that in this blog we use both concepts, but in StraightWay’s work supporting SSA Muslims, the “affliction” side is more relevant and prevalent.

6. Qusai - March 30, 2007

Salam again,

I always thought that the differnce is in intention and whether you have control over this aspect of your psychological make-up.

You would think the differences are obvious but you look at some of the aswers Islamonline.net give to gay people and you begin to wonder whether the scholars have these distinctions clear in their minds or not.

The structure of the answers given is uniformly predictable. They start by saying they recognise that these feelings may come naturally to some people but soon ask that the person, not just to refrain from acting on them but try to get rid of them altogether. I never quite understood how this is possible unless homosexuality is considered to be an act of disobedience or a suggestion from the devil which I think it is not.

7. Rasheed Eldin - April 2, 2007

We’ve said similar. I found that StraightWay’s early writings were talking about striving to “overcome” the desires, and even if failing that, to “resist”. So using your terminology, SSA is an “affliction”, possibly a symptom of a “perversion”. I don’t think this latter term (if it has any use) entails that the person is at fault for feeling that way. But he could be somewhat at fault! This is the one to take a look at:

http://gaymuslims.org/2006/04/10/actions-attractions-and-personal-responsibility/

How is it possible to get rid of SSA? By discovering what causes them. As I’ve said and written about at length, I take SSA to be an explainable phenomenon, rather than a manifestation of “orientation” that is too inherent to isolate. It’s not comparable to stopping one’s self being white or black, or male or female. Defeating SSA is not so radical as changing one’s very identity. It is to better one’s self by healing whatever wounds caused the attraction confusion. It might not work for everyone, but people do manage this.

I don’t think it is so simple as to call SSA solely suggestions from the devil, but this is part of our Islamic explanatory matrix.

8. Qusai - April 3, 2007

Salams,

By suggesting that SSA can be defeated is to suggest that it is some form of controllable temptation and not a component of one’s identity.

As you know, from my first-hand experience of the condition, I can’t help but beg to differ.

The noble thing is to encourage one to suppress such feelings in sacrifice for the affirmation of one’s Islamic identity. However why can’t we just stop right there?

To confidently declare that SSA is not a component of one’s identity is but an assumption that is made on behalf of homosexual people. The staement makes as much sense to me as its opposite would make sense to you.

It is unlikely that we would ever agree on the subject but for practical purposes I can still conform to your Islamic principles without you risking your credibility on understanding human nature by challenging an existential component that would only be understood by a person who has full-time first hand experience of such a thing.

Salam

9. Rasheed Eldin - April 4, 2007

Wa ‘alaikum as-salam Qusai.

Putting aside the possibility of question-begging (i.e. you defining me as “heterosexual” while I am questioning the very utility of such a definition), let me just note that you cannot know what I experience any more than I know what you do. Not because we are definitely of different “orientations”, but because I have told you nothing of myself!

Regardless, there are people who experience SSA, and who have self-defined as “gay”, who agree with my assessments and discourse. So it is not as simple as your word against mine.

Peace and respect.

10. Qusai - April 4, 2007

Salam,

The reason why we can have a meaningful conversation is not because I know exactly how you feel. Indeed I don’t need to know everything about you. It would suffice to know what broadly defines your personality.

Major differences in behaviour (e.g heterosexual vs homosexual tendencies) aren’t that difficult to recognise unless we complicate things by dissecting and over-analysing easy everyday definitions like ‘gay’ and ‘straight’.

I don’t really need to know whether you’re heterosexual or not. It is obviou you object to homosexual behaviour and this is what matters to me.

11. shaikh - June 16, 2007

Assalamoalaikum

Dear brothers Fear Allah dont try to justify something with your limited intellegence you convince no body, maybe just your own nafs which is a bigger enemy to you than shaytan, Islam the purest of all religions could never condone such perversion, just because you dont find clear and defined quran ayats condeming homosexuals( even though its clear all scholars and to the over whelming majority of muslims) the quran does not say thou shall not have sex with animals, so your conclusion would be… lets not try to deviate from the straight path follow the quran and the sunnah.FEAR ALLAH

12. Faisal - October 20, 2011

Thier is a Hadith Shayk Riyad ul haq mentions that states those who interptrate the Quran according to Thier understating are surley leading themselves to hellfire and are blameworthy even if they may do it correct. Thats the severity of this. This man is from the same cloth as Bathr Bin Abdullah Alhamadani


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