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Debate: “Islamic gay marriage” December 10, 2006

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Proggies, Responses, Shari'ah.
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I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how focusing the scriptural debate over homosexuality according to Islam on just the passages about the people of Lut (peace be on him) falls short of understanding the whole picture of opposition from the entire legal system of Islam, based faithfully upon the Qur’an and Sunnah.

I want to write something in-depth about this, but in the meantime here are snippets from an ongoing debate over at ProgressiveIslam.org, a haven for bizarre opinions, but not entirely unchallenged. I have posted a couple of comments, which I reproduce here alongside others relevant to the thread:

Laury Silvers posts:

FINALLY SOME GOOD NEWS

Now in a certain sense, we don’t have to wait for big moments like this:

1. Islamic marriage does not require a religious authority, simply witnesses, etc.  You can look in Nuh Keller’s translation of the Reliance.  It’s easy.  Gay Muslims can already marry in a practical sense right now.

2.  Gay men can already legally lead prayer, give khutbas.

3.  Legally speaking, being gay should not be a barrier to community leadership.  If I am correct, the only thing “really” illegal associated with homosexuality is anal penetration.  It is illegal for everyone.  Not much chance of that happening such that anyone would know.  And, uh, gay men are not the only ones *not* doing that in public.

4.  Gay women are stuck for leadership as women are in general.  So we keep working on the women’s issue, yes?

Straight Muslims got a ways to go on this, but we have what we need to at least stop making life hell for our gay brothers and sisters right now. 

Rasheed Eldin:

> 1. Islamic marriage does not require a religious
> authority, simply witnesses, etc.

I’ll look into this. Interesting that you referred to a Shafi’i fiqh manual. I wonder how much you concentrate on the rest of its contents.

But of course the whole notion of “gay marriage” has no supportability in Islamic law. e.g.: Who are the categories of men forbidden to a man to marry? Can he marry his brother or father? (Na’udhu billah) Who gives the dowry to whom, and how is divorce enacted? What nonsense.

The authority is before Allah, and He has revealed His law, to which we are bound. This law gives “marriage” its definition and significance. Sin cannot be sanctified, and the marriage bond is a sacred one as well as being based on a legal contract.

> 2. Gay men can already legally lead prayer, give
> khutbas.

If they are known to engage in sin, then they will not be accepted by a believing community in any position like this. But if you mean people who simply have same-sex attractions, then those inner SSA are nobody’s business.

That being said, I did hear that the Maliki school has recognised that some men are “ma’boon” and it is disliked (makruh) to pray behind them. The scholar who mentioned it seemed to mean people with SSA, but the dictionary says “catamite”, i.e. younger partner in pederasty. Something to investigate.

> 3. […] If I am correct, the only thing “really”
> illegal associated with homosexuality is anal
> penetration.

Not so. The generality of the Qur’anic condemnation (in the words of Prophet Lut to his people) indicates that ANY ACTION based upon homosexual desire is sinful. I discuss this idea more at my blog.

Fashion Mujahid (Nakia Jackson) responds:

“But of course the whole notion of “gay marriage” has no supportability in Islamic law.”

-Neither do many Muslim marriages contracted today, where Muslims marry for mutual companionship, instead of a man acquiring a bride to improve familial holdings, secure an heir, etc.

“e.g.: Who are the categories of men forbidden to a man to marry? Can he marry his brother or father?”

He can’t marry his mother or sister, either: what is your point?

As to the remainder of your comment, fiqh focuses on actions, not identities- i.e. one can’t be condemned for being something, but you may be condemned for doing something. Therefore, strictly speaking, one can’t be under penalty for being gay, one can only incur penalties for extramarital sex, no matter the gender of the partner, or one’s own sexual orientation.

Now, do you suggest we return to the “established form of Islamic marriage”, where a man acquires a bride to secure an heir, improve familial holdings or status, or in the case of those who hold office, to secure the terms of a peace treaty, or otherwise improve relations between foreign powers?

Rasheed Eldin in response to FM (Nakia):

You didn’t grasp my point about “supportability in Islamic law” – think supportability as experienced in computer systems. Can your operating system handle this program? Well I am saying that Islamic Shari’ah does not handle “gay marriage”, as it is a nonsensical concept Islamically, even if some man-made legal systems accept it.

I asked: “Who are the categories of men forbidden to a man to marry? Can he marry his brother or father?” You said: “He can’t marry his mother or sister, either: what is your point?”

MY POINT: The Qur’an has enumerated the categories of women forbidden to a man to marry. It hasn’t said what categories of man he cannot marry. So going by the idea that anything not expressly prohibited must be OK, why would you say that he cannot marry his brother or father? (Na’udhu billah). And as I mentioned also, who gives dowry to whom, and how is divorce enacted? These would be serious questions to anyone trying to officiate “Islamic gay marriage”. And there are of course plenty more where those came from.

> As to the remainder of your comment, fiqh focuses on
> actions, not identities- i.e. one can’t be condemned for
> being something, but you may be condemned for doing
> something. Therefore, strictly speaking, one can’t be
> under penalty for being gay, one can only incur
> penalties for extramarital sex, no matter the gender
> of the partner, or one’s own sexual orientation.

There is probably no greater advocate for distinguishing actions from attractions in this matter than me (except my colleagues).

But to restrict what is prohibited only to one specific act (sodomy), while the Qur’an and Sunnah didn’t do that explicitly, is unwarranted. To live with a man is not in itself prohibited (or as far as I know, disliked). But if they mean by that to REPLACE the concept of spousal relationship with this arrangement, then surely they are guilty of contradicting the Qur’anic guidance. Some more thoughts on that here.

> Now, do you suggest we return to the “established form
> of Islamic marriage”, where a man acquires a bride to
> secure an heir, improve familial holdings or status, or in
> the case of those who hold office, to secure the terms of
> a peace treaty, or otherwise improve relations between
> foreign powers?

This, of course, is a red herring. Marriage has always had companionship as its highest aim, as established by Q30:21 and by the example of the Prophet (peace be on him), who did not only marry for those aims you mentioned.

[Continuing in response to another FM comment]:

> [D]epriving a segment of the Muslim community of the
> familial relationship that a spouse provides, and
> condemning them to lifelong celibacy to boot should
> give us pause. Does the Qur’an dictate that this be so?
> It’s possible, but it would be inconsistent with other
> parts of the Qur’an, which speak of God’s mercy, and
> the extolling of marriage as just about universal.

At least you admit it’s possible. There could be any number of people who are not able to experience all the joys and blessings available in this temporary life. There are people who are asexual and will never taste that sweetness.

There are people who are poor and cannot go on Hajj. There are people who are physically disabled and cannot stand in prayer. There are people who are mentally disabled and cannot even recite the kalimah.

None of this lessens the people in Allah’s sight, and all of what is ‘missed out’ on in this life will be recompensed in the Next.

The call for mercy, compassion and empathy is a noble one, but one that is abused by some. Mercy doesn’t mean ignoring God’s laws. We should recognise the difficulties faced by SSA people and try to reduce the social stigma that is attached to not marrying.

But of course the path of marriage is one option available to SSA Muslims, but only really those who are willing to strive against their misleading desires. Even for those people, marriage will not always be right for them. But let’s not pretend that the road is entirely cut off. Plenty of folks will happily testify to the contrary.

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Comments»

1. DrM - December 10, 2006

Nice. “Progressiveislam.org” are a bunch of MWU remnants and rejects. Laury Silvers illogic is based on jews allowing gay rabbis to do their thing. Thats rich isn’t it, a jewish munafiq pretending to be a Muslim trying to make homosexuality kosher for us. What a freak show.

2. DrM - December 11, 2006

You may want to place a disclaimer before posting links to “progressiveislam” site. They’ve now started posting anti-Muslim cartoons there.

3. Rasheed Eldin - December 11, 2006

Nakia (FM) has given up responding to me and has simply asked me to read the following:

Kamali, Mohammad Hashim. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. Cambridge, UK: The Islamic Texts Society, revised ed., 2000. Lindholm, Tore and Kari Vogt, eds. Islamic Law Reform and Human Rights: Challenges and Rejoinders. Copenhagen: Nordic Human Rights Publications, 1993. Abou El Fadl, Khaled. Speaking in God’s Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women. Oxford, England: Oneworld, 2001. Fareed, Muneer Goolam. Legal Reform in the Muslim World: The Anatomy of a Scholarly Dispute in the 19th and the Early 20th Centuries on the Usage of Ijtihâd as a Legal Tool. Bethesda, MD: Austin & Winfield, 1996. Hallaq, Wael B. Authority, Continuity and Change in Islamic Law. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Hallaq, Wael B. A History of Islamic Legal Theories: an introduction to Sunnî usûl al-fiqh. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Hallaq, Wael B. Law and Legal Theory in Classical and Medieval Islam. Aldershot: Ashgate/Variorum, 1995. Heer, Nicholas L., ed. Islamic Law and Jurisprudence: Studies in Honor of Farhat J. Ziadeh. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1990. Johansen, Baber. Contingency in a Sacred Law: Legal and Ethical Norms in Muslim Fiqh. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1999.

Oh don’t worry, it’s nothing personal. She fobbed off two other commentators with the same list. Of course, I could have thrown a list at her too, but I preferred to actually discuss the issue at hand. Funny that it’s us “fundies” who tend to be accused of rigidity and arrogance…

4. Rasheed Eldin - December 11, 2006

DrM: Thanks for the note. I just saw that cartoon too. Very sad how low those folks are willing to stoop. I personally don’t see their posting the disgusting cartoon as much worse than what they write (including in praise of the cartoon). I wonder what Nakia’s booklist taught her about that. But none of the books are specifically about taqwa, hayaa’ or respecting the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

5. Taleb Haqq - December 11, 2006

Did I miss something…since when was the “traditional” objective of marriage to produce an heir?!?

6. Rasheed Eldin - December 11, 2006

I had an exchange with Laury & Nakia a while back. Here’s a link to my first comment, and you can scroll down to see how they used a similar tactic there, making the matter all about what books we use to help us peruse (or in their case, abuse) the Qur’an.

http://www.progressiveislam.org/young_afghan_brides_and_gay_marriage_varisco_on_tabsir#comment-2281

One thing I said:
“It seems your advocacy for plainly sinful things relies on portraying the Qur’an as a vague mystical text which cannot be understood except by an elite, but not THAT elite that has imposed its patriarchal, misogynistic, homophobic, conservative interpretation on the Islamic normative tradition.”

7. DrM - December 11, 2006

To put it mildly, Nakia is a far left remnant still stuck in the 1960s. She is an ignoramus pretending to be a seasonized pop academic. Check out this “exchange” I had with her altmuslim regarding FGM. Its one thing to disagree and another to have absolutely no idea what the subject is about :

http://www.altmuslim.com/perm.php?id=1711_0_26_0_C

Notice the recommendation of known fraudster Ayaan Hirsi Magan by her.

8. Radigal - December 19, 2006

It might be a good idea to confront our notions of gender before we delve into ideas of sexuality and sex.

9. Rasheed Eldin - December 20, 2006

What do you mean, Radigal?

10. fugstar - March 27, 2007

ewurgh!!

11. raza kamal - July 18, 2007

hi
i am raza kamal .
i am gay . i am married to a female .i am in trouble.
i want to go to heaven. Yet i cant stop thinking of men durning our sex. and i cant stop sex with men

12. raza kamal - July 18, 2007

hi
i feel the homosexualty is in my blood and soul . i cant stop it.And i feel guilt all the time . i cant tell my wife about it. all i want is that some one would come and say to me that its fine to be a gay . And one day u will see heaven .

13. Rasheed Eldin - July 19, 2007

Dear Raza, salaam.

I hope you’ll forgive me for being brief, but the blog isn’t the best place to go into depth on a person’s personal issues. You might wish to join the StraightWay support group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/straightstruggle

Nothing about how you feel inside can stop you from getting to Heaven if you are sincere in faith and strive in this life.

Certainly having sex with men is a very sinful thing, and I hope that the first thing you strive for is to bring this to an end. As for your feelings, those are a more long-term thing to work on, and it will take effort and probably support from others who understand the struggle (like in the group I mentioned).

To stop something, the first step is to truly WANT to stop it. When we commit a sin, we need to repent: and the stages of repentance include stopping what we are doing wrong, feeling regret for it, asking Allah’s forgiveness, and resolving not to repeat that sin.

I wish you all the best, brother.

14. Rasheed Eldin - October 24, 2007

Another interesting question for the proponents of “Islamic gay marriage”:

Is it permissible for a man to take more than one husband? Is 4 the limit? In that case, can each of these husbands also take 3 further husbands?

What a close-knit network of family this could create(!)

15. Bravvooo! - November 12, 2007

Interesting point Rasheed but to be honest I find Polygamy detestable anyway.

16. vogue - May 1, 2008

i can give my real name so i gave my faive song name
i wanted to tell that having sex is forbiden in islam and if you wish of heaven than go against your desire for men and stop thinking about them and as or marriage and telling your parents about being gay . The thought freaks me out . I know that marriage is a sunnat but i dont think i will be able to live with a woman whome i cant complete so i think i am beter alone Besides i am only 17 years old what else do you expect from me i have been living in Pakistan for years and havent seen a single confession of love of men but i know it happens becasue it happened to me after hitting puberty

17. Bravvooo! - May 11, 2008

Come on, Vogue..(pun intended!)

Let’s think more practical.

What if we allowed gay people to get married. That reduces promiscuity, discourages the transmission of the so called gay-gene and as a compensation for not having children, they get the emotional stability that they need to get through their miserable short existence.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Actually, just remembered, appealing to reason is irrelevant. The “truth” is “below reason”..I mean..beyond reason”..!!

Enjoy your weekend.
Bravo.

18. jihadjoe - July 4, 2008

okay, this is so weird. I can’t believe there are so many gay muslims. But I must concur with the person that mentions about “distorting” what might be illegal in Islam to serve carnal desires. For instance, watching porn is a sin, and a lot of married straight guys indulge in it. “addiction” is not a justification to change laws. Also, I know at least 2 straight guys that can’t afford to marry, and sort of missed that period in life to pursue it more vigorously. They r good looking brothers that just, you know may be God didn’t accept it for them, remained single. But that doesn’t deter them to continue finding comfort in the fact that this is a temporal life. I assure this is difficult. I find it hard being almost 30, and single. I’ve had several opportunities but man….Allah loves me, and so tests me, and endangering that love is not worth anything. Many straight guys choose celibacy because things do get difficult but it doesn’t give reason to create a license for zina.

19. Joseph - August 19, 2008

“None of this lessens the people in Allah’s sight, and all of what is ‘missed out’ on in this life will be recompensed in the Next”

So is Allah going to reward a SSA man with 72 male hoors? If not why not? I’m saying it as it’s what the above quote implies.

20. Rasheed Eldin - August 29, 2008

I am not going to try and specify something that Allah did not state. You might think that makes sense, others may disagree. But I say that if it encourages you to obey Allah and observe His limits in this life, believe what you want! As we said many times, what Allah rewards the steadfast and obedient servants with in the next life is beyond any imagination, and will be satisfaction of every noble desire and wish.

21. Joseph - December 4, 2008

Do you believe that Straight men will be rewarded with 72 ‘female’ hoors? Is that something in your opinion which has been specified? If so, why can’t that reasoning be transfered to each person according to their own desires?

22. Rasheed Eldin - December 15, 2008

I don’t know where this number 72 has been specified, though perhaps you can enlighten me on that. I know that this number is not mentioned in the Qur’an.

As I’ve tried to underline a number of times before in response to comments, the rewards of Paradise are described in rich detail for us in the Qur’an and Sunnah, yet our minds are not capable of truly comprehending these meanings except as a picture to draw us closer in feeling and longing. The overall principle is that the righteous are rewarded with whatever they want!

Will anyone, upon reaching Paradise, want to have those kinds of interactions with the same sex? Personally, I reckon not. What I’m sure of is that Allah will not deny anyone any satisfaction in the Gardens of Delight.

23. luvlilayla - December 22, 2008

Salaam alaikum ramatullah wa barakatuhu all,

I would like that everyone look at their nafs. A, If it (love, desire) comes from Nafess, stomach. It is just like a gas. It smell very bad. It makes us uncomfortable. It takes away all good experiences. One gets in a bad mood and one must go to toilet. (gay relations, lustful relations, etc.)
B, If it (love,desire) comes from Aqhel, brain. It is mostly from shytan. It is very selfish feeling. It sees only it self and self interest. One must be slap on the face to weak up.
C, If it (love, desire) comes from Qhalb, heart, it is spiritual. All it’s feelings are from Allah (swt). A sense of gratefulness, appreciation, patience and submission.

Clearly, we all live with a strong connection to our ego (conscious life) and many of our desires come from there and our brains which is the breeding ground of the shaytan.
If we are allowed into heaven it will only be our rouhee (spirit, qhalbi) and not our ego and brain which is just physical and chemical, electrical.

the purpose of this life is not to follow our physical desires but to kill them so that our spirit (rouhee) can be realized in this life.
may Allah help us all.

24. Rasheed Eldin - March 30, 2009

Dear Layla,
Wa ‘alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

That’s an interesting comment, but I will politely disagree with the idea that our goal is to “kill” the physical desires. Rather, our Prophet (pbuh) taught us to restrain and guide them to what is halal, and thus experience divinely gifted joys in this life, a vanishing fraction of what is promised in the Hereafter.

25. Joseph - July 26, 2009

This might answer your question about the number 72.

“I take the oath of that Being who sent me with the truth; you are not more acquainted with your wives and houses than the people of Jannat. A person of Jannat will come to 72 wives whom Allah specially created in Jannat (hûrs) and 2 human wives. The human wives will have virtue over the [hûrs] because they worshipped Allah in the world” (Targheeb Vol.4 Pg.534)

Just a thought but wine is forbidden in this life as is the wearing of gold and silk for men but it will be permitted to those in paradise, by your logic surely people wouldn’t want these things upon entering paradise either!

26. Rasheed Eldin - July 26, 2009

Thanks Joseph, although the question does remain as to the grading of this hadith in terms of authenticity.

I see a difference between homosexuality on one hand, and wine/gold/silk on the other. The harm in wine is the intoxication, and the wine in Paradise is not intoxicating. Gold and silk are not filthy, as they are permitted to women in this world. Compare these facts with the way in which homosexual acts are condemned in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

27. Joseph - July 26, 2009

So what you are saying is that the forbidden objects of this world will no longer be forbidden in paradise? Forbidden acts on the other hand however will remain forbidden? That’s what I understand from what you’re saying.

Anyway, wouldn’t Allah, who is almighty, be able to give the people of paradise anything they want and make it for them so it wasn’t harmful or ‘filthy’ anymore?

From what I’ve read about paradise it seems as though all people will have the same kinds of rewards (of course I understand those who are more ‘righteous’ will have a few more rewards) almost like they’ll all become the same. I find the thought of becoming an Automoton as frightening as burning for an eternity.

Rasheed Eldin - July 27, 2009

I am not saying that with any certainty, as all I was expressing is a personal opinion. I don’t believe in speculating on details of the reward of Paradise, since what is known for sure is what I’ve repeatedly stated above.

If you are someone who is struggling with homosexual desires and want to keep in your mind that Allah will give you such-and-such reward for your patience in this life, I say go ahead and imagine that, and Allah will either give you exactly that or something with which you will be much more pleased than you ever imagined!

As for the idea that everyone will receive exactly the same rewards and be like “Automatons”, that is not the case and I don’t see any evidence for it.

28. ‘Gay Muslims’ comment on Eastenders « Eye on ‘Gay Muslims’ - July 30, 2009

[…] to adultery in the sense that it is sexual activity outside of marriage. There is no notion of ‘gay marriage’ in Islam. Farzana Fiaz, 37 Journalist Eventually I saw a meeting advertised in the Pink Paper […]

29. Mark - December 29, 2009

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

If people and all religions used reason, we would NOT have such problems. It seems religions are often unloving and even cruel. So many in society make gays and lesbian miserable (in the name of religion or Allah or Jesus or whomever). The incidence of suicide among gay and lesbian teens is 2 to 3 times as high compared to straight people.
Is your God really loving? Use some reason please. If he is loving then you should look at your interpretations.
Religion often serves to throw reason out the window!

30. Rasheed Eldin - December 30, 2009

Mark, we get comments like yours from time to time, inviting people to simply abandon Islam and religion in general. I know that must be popular among homosexualist movements, but our perspective is totally different. There are some groups which are trying to say “Don’t worry, we can change religion to get what we want.” We disagree with them too.

I don’t think there is any gap in my use of reason, but you seem to be confusing reason with materialism, which in my opinion is not at all a reasonable position. In any case, that debate is best had at any general Islamic/religious forum and not in a specific discussion on Islam and sexuality.

31. yusuph - November 15, 2010

gays is not allowed to be practiced in Islamic arena.if you are a victim try your level best to stop and forget it by staying with udhu every time and perform daily swalats


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