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When Muslims are brick walls May 15, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Islam, Proggies, Responses, StraightWay.

The StraightWay Foundation, and this blog run by an adviser to them (i.e. yours truly), take among our aims to inform the Muslim community about the realities of same-sex attractions (SSA) and how they affect many Muslims, and how these Muslims deal with the situation – whether silent struggle, flagrant disobedience or any of the many shades in between.

We speak as mainstream Muslims ourselves, believing in and practising Islam just as our brothers and sisters do. We don't have some unique interpretation of the religion, nor is our position on homosexuality any different from the accepted view: except that ours is thought out more clearly and in more detail, and expressed better!

Among us are some people who personally experience SSA, and are just as 'qualified' to speak on the subject as those who affirm a "gay" identity for themselves. Some have even committed what Islam regards as among the most serious of sins. But all of us agree on the Islamic prohibition of homosexual acts, and are committed to the ideas of self-restraint and self-development; our work helps individuals in their struggles along this path.

LISTEN, O MUSLIMS: the phenomenon of same-sex attractions exists, and it affects Muslims too!  (Even if it is to a lesser extent, as you prefer to assume.)
You can ignore this all you want, but it will not go away that way. Listen to what we, your faithful brothers and sisters, are saying to you – and engage in fruitful discussions so we can work towards a way out of the growing problems of homosexuality amongst Muslims, and the "gay Muslim" movement.

Here I'll furnish you with two recent examples of Muslims who have dealt with us in an inexplicably negative manner.

The first occurred when one of our colleagues in Canada, Taleb Haqq, sent a simple message out to a number of e-mail groups, informing people of this blog and and the StraightWay Foundation's support group. There was at least one positive response leading to discussion, and one moderator seemed unhappy with the link to gaymuslims.org – so we graciously purchased another referring URL: straightstruggle.com.

However, the Muslim Students Association of Carleton University did not approve the message. Our friend enquired as to the reason, at which he received this reply from the moderator: 

Emails that have benefit to the Carleton University MSA general body are the only ones that are approved. The email that you have sent out was actually discussed amongst the members of the MSA body, and they feel that no benefit can be derived from it being sent on this list. That does not seem to be a problem that faces any Carleton MSA member Alhamdulilah, and given the above reasons the email was not approved.

How, pray tell, do they know that no Muslim student at their university experiences attractions to members of the same sex and would benefit from Islamic guidance on this matter? Statistically, they are pretty much bound to be wrong. I don't see why the proportion of affected Muslims would be significantly lower than the figure for all students at Carleton, or indeed for the Canadian population as a whole – much as we wish Muslims were immune from the causes of these feelings! Taleb wrote back to them:

I'm sorry to tell  you but the statement "That does not seem to be a problem that faces any Carleton MSA member" really upset me. I mean I know some of the MSA executive and I respect you and your work, but such a statement is a slap in the face of every Muslim sufferer because you refuse to believe that they exist! I know for a fact that there are MSA members who suffer from this…and it's not something that you can go around and tell people, is it?

Quite. Well they have chosen not to reply to him further, but perhaps the response of the Islam-Gatineau group was worse: they kicked Taleb out and refused to let him re-subscribe, saying:

In your first demand, I added you. But you sent a message about a non-accepted Topic (Gay muslims). That's why you are deleted from our mailing list, and you will not be added again.

We'll keep you posted on any updates on the e-mail moderation struggle worldwide. It's hard enough to get our voices heard on the Queer Muslim groups (we generally don't bother trying), so it's more of a shame that mainstream Muslims are silencing us too: probably due to a basic unwillingness to acknowledge this very real problem.

As for my second example, well it actually occurred a few weeks ago. I look at many Muslim-run blogs, and one I popped by was that of Haseeb Ahmed. It's a good read, and he refers to work by various respected scholars, including Imam Zaid Shakir. Given that he takes authentic scholarship seriously, I was a little surprised to note how glowingly and repeatedly he wrote about Reza Aslan, the young Iranian-American author of "No god but God".

The surprise for me, despite not knowing much about Aslan, was caused by my recollection of reading another glowing endorsement, that one from Faisal Alam, founder of Al-Fahisha. Remember that's the same Faisal who forwarded round a link urging his friends to watch the "really really powerful" film by vicious Islam-hater Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Of Aslan, Alam wrote:

Reza Aslan is actually v. pro-LGBT rights … I've talked to him personally and he's very supportive of Al-Fatiha and the struggles of the queer Muslim community…Definitely worth getting his book.

I decided to reproduce this endorsement as a comment on Haseeb's blog, but he deleted it. I asked: "Care to explain why?" He responded:  [EDIT: I removed his message at his request, after he apologised. Don't worry, it wasn't all that rude!]

It saddens me that someone who apparently respects these scholars – and presumably accepts their position on homosexuality and their opposition to false "progressive" movements – would endorse one of the proggies' spokesmen (however nice of speech and manner), and censor someone who questions him in such a simple way. I think Haseeb needs to clarify, and not just send terse e-mails. What's so great about LGBT rights, from an Islamic perspective?



1. Rasheed Eldin - May 15, 2006

We just heard from a Carleton student that a rep from the Carleton GLBT group came and spoke to their class, and when asked about the most pressing issue facing the GLBT group that year, said that it was the number of Muslims coming in and seeking their help! (They lack information on how to "help" Muslims in this situation.)

Our Carleton contact added: "I was stunned to find out that this was their biggest issue…The MSA better start paying attention to those who actually need help, not only those who look and play the part. The GLTB group is actively pursuing ways to reach out to gay Muslims. Are we to sit on the sidelines and watch this?"

2. Chief - May 15, 2006

Carleton heads very much in the sand

3. Rasheed Eldin - June 10, 2006

Here’s another quote from Reza Aslan, this time in an email to a lady who converted to Islam, albeit the most watery interpretation she could come up with. Note the irony of telling someone not to listen to anyone (oh, except me when I tell you this…):

“Thank you for your kind words, and mashallah on your decision to follow Islam. However, you must be careful, because there are lots of crazies out there and they all have their ‘authoritative’ views on what Islam is and what it is not; what it allows and what it doesn’t. Don’t listen to any of it. Your faith is between you and God and no one else. Islam is what you consider it to be. It must be a part of your life and your views on life. I have countless gay Muslim friends and encourage you to contact my very good friend Faisal who is the head of al-Fatiha organization (google it). You are at a crucial point in your spiritual journey and you must make sure that no makes your decisions for you. Be strong. Be faithful. Love God. Love God’s creation. That’s it!”


4. Brittany Sullivan - January 3, 2007

who are you to judge?

5. Taleb Haqq - January 10, 2007

Brittany…care to elaborate further on what you are talking about?

6. Rasheed Eldin - January 12, 2007

What did I judge? This “don’t judge” mantra is usually used by some of the most judgemental people, as a way of shutting up people who might criticise their views or actions.

Brittany is the one whom Reza wrote the letter quoted just above, and she read my description there about the “watery interpretation”. She visited my MySpace page and wrote: “Who are you to say I follow a watery interpretation, sir? thank you.”

My reply to her then:

“I, Brittany, am a person with an opinion. Do you disagree with me? Feel free to express that. But I don’t need a special authority to come to an opinion. Surely that is exactly the essence of how you perceive Islam anyway – that anybody can hold any opinion and it is automatically as valid as any other – n’est-ce pas?

“And I should [add] that I don’t have anything against you personally, and hope your feelings are not hurt. Still, it is plain to me how the real crazies at MWU have used you and your journey to Islam to bolster their own attacks on other Muslims, attacks characterised by lack of intellectual rigour.”

7. Sabri Ben-Achour - September 26, 2007

uh.. . .you explicitly judged Brittany’s interpretation as ‘watery’, that pronouncement constitutes a ‘judgement’. Brittany was just responding to your snide criticism of her, and legitimately so. You sound like YOU’re the one, Rasheed, who is short shrifting intelectual rigor for your own purposes. here i’ll explain it:

if, for the sake of argument that your presumptuous characterization of what Brittany believes is correct and she does believe anyone can have whatever interpretation and that it is automatically as valid as others, then the other side of that is that is that no opinion would be MORE valid than another, on which grounds she would consistently be able to ask you what makes you an authoritative figure to decry what you construe as her spiritual epistemology or beliefs are.

8. Rasheed Eldin - September 27, 2007

I didn’t deny “judging” something: my point is that every person judges – should “judge”, in order to partake in analysis and discussion – and that it’s pretty weak to say “Who are you” to anyone who does so.

If you really want this philosophical arm-wrestle… It is relativism that is self-defeating; not so any absolutist position (not that I label myself as the latter).

I did not claim authority in my perspective, but Brittany seemed to demand that I have such in order to hold it. Yet if you’re to be believed, she would not hold that her opinion (“My views are not watery”) can be any MORE correct as a judgement than mine (“Sure they are, my friend”). So where can anyone go from there? Self-defeating.

9. Mr. HS - May 11, 2009

Islam is clearly against homosexuality and any homosexual acts. This can clearly be realized by the people of Lot and what occured to them. God has laid specific guidelines (among these is that homosexuality is wrong) in this world so that we may be true momins and submit to His Almighty will.

VM - August 29, 2009

Does God have a law against people who are born left handed? Or people who are color blind? How does sexuality, which is clearly considered a spectrum by all psychiatrists and scientists , is considered black and white by all religions?

10. Anonymous Bi - July 22, 2009

L/G/Bism is to be viewed in Islam as a ‘challenge’. And as challenges go all persons are challenged by Allah, each of us in a different way, to live as He has commanded. LGBs must be helped along with understanding this fact and the particular challenge they face.

11. VM - August 29, 2009

What would have God said about internet? What are gods views on tunneled catheters for dialysis patients? What does god have to say about Larium for malaria prevention in the east? What does God have to say about sexuality. Its amazing how every concept has evolved over millenia from governance to law to music to science to space technology. EXCEPT SEXUALITY !

Sexuality is as complex as law or medicine or cholesterol plaque build up or how we use magnetic fields to sizzle protons in the body and then image them as they relax by MRI !!!

Why is sexuality still black and white? Why is sex only between a man and a woman? Why cant sexuality be as complex and evolving a topic like others?

12. Rasheed Eldin - September 14, 2009

VM, you claim that sexuality is “black and white” in religion, but I would suggest that isn’t the case. It can be extremely complex, but that doesn’t mean that the moral principles should change.

13. Nafisa - April 20, 2014

Bismillahir Rah’maanir Rah’eem.

This is just as a reply to VM, assuming that you consider God’s words as it is in the Quran, there is quite a bit God has to say quite a bit on sexuality. While (taking just one part of your question) God has not explicitly condemned internet users(probably because, and I’m just guessing here, that internet didn’t exist in the 8th century) He did explicitly condemn LGBT acts. You will see in many parts of the Quran Allah tells us to practise restraint. That includes all immoral acts, not excluding misuse of a medium which is the internet. It is a place where you can both gamble and study the Quran, watch porn and also listen to Tilawat.

Hence, restraint. Whether you will exert it is entirely upto you.(Qur’an- 58:9) I will simply quote a few Quranic texts to show exactly what God has said against homosexuality and I will also leave sources so you can verify them.

But in case you want a non spiritual reason for why Islam doesn’t support homosexuality, please read this article. Know that Islam is a religion of peace. Surely something that is a potential cause for anatomical harm may not be listed under peace?


References from the Qur’an:

Qur’an (7:80-81) – “We also sent Lût: he said to his people:”Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation committed before you?… For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.”

Qur’an (26:165-166) – “Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males… And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing”

But Allah also tells us to leave them be if they amend, Islam is indeed peace.

“If two persons among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.”

The point I’m trying to make is that, other than the boundaries of faith and an individual’s morals, there are medical reasons as to why it is harmful. And it is our duty to help our brothers and sisters to enter Islam fully , exerting control over their lust, as such an uncontrollable emotion may lead to transgression.

“These are the bounds, the limits set by Allah. Do not then transgress them for who transgress them are evil doers.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2): Ayah 229]

Note that I am simply stating facts, and if you find you do not agree with them, there is little else to be done to change your mind, unless you actively choose to do so. Thank you.

Allah knows best and May Allah Bless us all. Ameen.

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