We’re not “ex-gay” April 4, 2006Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Concepts, Ex-Gay, Queer Muslims, Responses.
There are various people, including from religious backgrounds, who, becoming dissatisfied with the homosexual lifestyle, or rejecting it outright without acting on their same-sex attractions (SSA), take on the label “ex-gay“. For some people, that makes sense, in that they have lived the “gay” life and have since turned away. We just found that we have been added to a list of “ex-gay blogs”, even though we don’t identify ourselves that way!
Mujahid Mustaqim, founder of StraightWay, has always avoided this term, along with all the other eggs in the “orientationist” basket. Using words like “ex-gay” or even “heterosexual” are just as mistaken as using “gay”, “lesbian”, “bisexual” etc., if we maintain the philosophical position that people should not be categorised according to feelings, and that “sexual orientation” is an arbitrary (and mistaken) way of describing the empirical facts (which include that some people experience SSA to one degree or another).
Saying that you are “ex-gay” is, in a sense, admitting to having been once “gay”, i.e. affirming that such an identity is legitimate to speak of. Again, I say that while plenty of people hold that view, our understanding of Islam and its worldview leads us to the conclusion that SSA are not intrinsic to identity, and that in general, people should not be put into boxes according to whom they’re attracted to.
If we consider being “gay” as a whole package of feelings, actions and lifestyle, then using the term “ex-gay” can make sense but have a rather negative feel to it (why define yourself by your past?). If it refers just to feelings/attractions, then when does an “ex-gay” truly become “ex”? Not everyone overcomes their feelings completely; probably most people just can’t.
So, we disagree respectfully with the name choice of the person who set up the Ex-Gay Muslims discussion group, but it’s a good place to go for a chat anyway.
Mujahid once wrote of StraightWay:
All of us describe ourselves as “straight” in the sense of striving to be on Allah’s path, according to His Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah (peace be on him). Some of us suffer from same-sex attractions (SSA), to varying degrees. Maybe a few among us have committed sins in the past, from which they repented. Each person has his or her own motivations for working in this field. But we all totally reject the idea of labelling ourselves as “gay”, or even “ex-gay”, because this terminology is mistaken from an Islamic point of view.
Imaan Chairperson Farzana has just alerted Imaan forum readers to our existence, and I welcome that move. We are always keen to establish dialogue, and it seems that Imaan are somewhat more plausible partners in this dialogue than various others we have faced off with. Shame that Farzana was also “loathe…to give any publicity to this group”! She states that StraightWay and this blog
actively promote the idea that its possible to change your sexuality.
This is a relatively fair description, compared to the loaded “definitions” that have been attached to our thought and work since it emerged a few years ago. (And more neutral than the likes of “Fake Sheikh” Daayiee Abdullah, who claimed that we “lambaste and shame you for your innate self”.)
More accurately, what we promote is the idea that people can and should resist their sexual urges if acting upon them results in disobeying God (and this applies to fornication etc. in general, not just homosexual acts). We do not buy the notion that someone who “is gay” should act according to “his nature”, and we certainly do not accept the extravagant idea that to turn away from this “nature” is something abhorrent, or even sinful!
Someone who remains celibate from awe of the Almighty, and out of respect for His commandments, is among His most noble servants, and he/she will meet blessings in life and a generous reward in the Hereafter. Everything abstained from for His sake will be more than amply recompensed.
But celibacy is not the only option. We consider that the ideal is to fulfil the Sunnah of marriage (obviously with the opposite sex, as that is part of the definition of marriage), and to procreate if Allah blesses one with that. This level of achievement will not be reached by everyone, as everybody is different.
We maintain that SSA have causes that are, in principle, explainable. By getting to the bottom of these issues (or perhaps even without that), it is possible to overcome homosexual desire, and perhaps restore attraction to the same sex. (And it does happen!) In some cases we might use a word like “healing” as a short-hand for this, but people should avoid hysterically accusing us of calling homosexuals “diseased”, or assuming that we have some weird therapy programme involving nasty electrodes and brain caps, or worse.
Farzana’s tone seems to indicate that our view is outlandish, as though it were not the same thing thought by most people until recently. The notion of fixed “arrows of sexual orientation” is novel, and I say that it is not well established. Certainly most Muslims would find my views easier to accept than those of Imaan! It’s sweetly ironic that these groups hardly see the need to justify their opinions, which they have swallowed wholesale from homosexualist theorists and campaigners and struggled to reconcile with Islam (usually by hosing down the latter).
Finally, Farzana mentions the “disturbingly great detail” in which this blog has “targeted Imaan and others”. Well, targeted sounds rather aggressive, and therefore is unfair. But yes, we are turning our eye on you, and giving the Muslim community an Eye onto your ideas and activities. I’m sure this could be seen as welcome publicity for you. But our intention is to bring to light what has been going on behind closed doors, misleading those who have knocked, looking for someone to help them through confusing times, to answer their questions and make them feel better. They have fallen into pots of ignorant bliss, stirred by people of sin and masters of deceit.
All manner of nonsensical arguments and justifications have been put forth to back up this Queer Fasaad (corruption – arrogantly called Queer Jihad by some), yet nobody has taken the time to deconstruct them and provide the alternative. Plenty of Muslims have tutted or even fumed about the existence of “gay Muslim” groups, but have done nothing about it. Now here we are… and we are ready for the healthy debate to follow, if you are.