What about these Muslim saints? February 19, 2006Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Islam, Responses.
Siddhartha of the Golmal Press made a point that is also brought up regularly by the more intellectually-aspiring homosexualist Muslims.
Historically, there have been many Muslim saints who have chastely adored the male form as a path to gnostic enlightenment – as recorded by Ibn Arabi in his writings of travels amongst Andalucian saints. So, there’s certainly a spiritual precedent of conciliation.
I thought it worth reproducing the reply by a commenter there called nasser:
Historically, only a handfull of Sufis have written about the possibility of approaching the divine by looking into eyes or the faces of beautiful youths. They spoke in terms of “God is beautiful and He loves beauty” (al-hadith), or “The apparent is the bridge to the Real” (Najmuddin Qubra).
There is *nothing* to do with homosexuality in any of this. “The path to gnostic enlightenment” is a process by which the vagaries of the human state become united by means of focusing on the One, and only after this integration can there come about the transecending of the human state into en-lightenment. The means by which this focus is maintained, be it prayer, meditation, music, whirling, work, or gazing into the faces of youths, is merely part of the process.
So to repeat: there is nothing at all to do with homosexuality about this. When sufis see God in the face of a person, they are seeing God. There is no “homo” and there is no “sexuality”. This may impossible to understand (and easy to ridicule), or it may be the easiest thing in the world to understand (to the point of needing no explanation) – but that depends on one’s psycho-spiritual constitution.
The few Sufis who have written about this were therefore ridiculed and scapegoated by those who find it necessary to scapegoat.
Ibn ‘Arabi may have documented it in others he met in his travels. As far as is known, he never experienced it himself. Although he did experience a theophany (the seeing of God in His creation) when he looked into the face of a young Perisan lady while circumbulatig the Ka’bah. This experience resulted in him writing the “Futuhat al-Makkiyah” (The Meccan Revelations), the opening chapters of which contains the line: “The vision of God in the form of the beauty of Woman is the most perfect of all”).
It should be remembered that in a society where God-consciousness no longer exists, religion has already lost its value and transformational power. What is left is an empty shell of stark injuctions and prohibitions. The vast majority of people – those who follow the predominant thinking of the times – will only see an ireconcilable contradiction between religion and homosexuality – and because for these people homosexuality is “real” and religion is a “theory”, the latter will suffer further ridicule, compromise and devaluation.
But the tiny minority who can – or choose – to focus on the consciousness of God in these times can see the real value of religious injunctions and prohibitions. For them, the prohibition of homosexuality becomes a saving grace – even (and maybe especially) for those who experience psychic turmoil as a result of finding homosexual tendencies in their selves. For them, sooner or later, there will remain no contradiction between religion and “homosexuality”, or indeed any human tendency which seeks to pull one away from the “primordial” state. There is simply no competition.
To quote Frithjof Schuon: “A civilization is integral and healthy to the extent it is founded on the “invisible” or “underlying” religion, the religio perennis, that is, to the extent its expres-sions or forms are transparent to the Non-Formal and tend toward the Origin, thus conveying the recollection of a Lost Paradise, but also—and with all the more reason—the presentiment of a timeless Beatitude. For the Origin is at once within us and before us; time is but a spiral movement around a motionless Center.”