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“Inner knowing”, “fullest potential” February 1, 2007

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Islam, Proggies, Responses.
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Ghazala Anwar

Ghazala Anwar, one of the Al-Fatiha “scholars” has been appointed as associate professor in the faculty of Usul al-Deen at Islamabad’s International Islamic University, sparking protests:

Dr Ghazala said in her email reply: “As an imperative of my faith in a Compassionate and Merciful Creator, I extend my support to the right of all creatures human and non-human to live their lives in the light of their inner knowing, according to how they were created by the Creator and to their fullest potential. This is what Islam teaches.”

Meaningless rhetoric. Points of note: 

  1. Allah is indeed Merciful and Compassionate. But these attributes of His are not brushes by which you can whitewash the religion which He perfected by His Messenger (peace be on him).
  2. “Inner knowing” is defined and regulated how? Ever heard of Qur’an and Sunnah?
  3. How were they created, and how will they know? Allah said: “I did not make them witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor even their own creation…” [18:51]
  4. Ah, so that’s why you must declare they were ‘created that way’. Now you can go on to say that by following in the evil footsteps of the Sodomites, they are only ‘fulfilling their potential’. And that’s got to be beautiful, right? Any other option would be plain sacreligious. After all, as Ghazala claims: “The larger Muslim community has to come to the recognition that homophobia and not homosexuality is the sin.” Presumably denying yourself anal sex is a form of self-inflicted homophobia.
  5. Islam teaches this? The Qur’an places value on diversity of gender, colour, language, and nationalities. Not of “orientations”, a dubious concept.
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Comments»

1. Mujahid Mustaqim - February 1, 2007

Another verse relevant to what you’ve written in point 2 is the following:

{…Did they witness their creation? Their testimony will be recorded, and they will be questioned!} [43:19]

A stern warning for those who speak about Allah without knowledge.

2. Hidden - February 2, 2007

3 points:
1. Homosexuality is a 19th century term from Europe so it isn’t as clear cut as saying ‘homosexuality is haraam’ It’s like saying driving a car is haram even though cars wern’t around at the time of the Prophet. [Of course, homosexuality WAS, but not in the way we understand it today].
2. Gender is not as simple as dualistic male-female, some argue there are 12 genders. Gender is not necessarily biological/physiological/physical.
3. In some cultures there is a third sex which gay people fit into. Since one is only a full male if he is attracted to the opposite sex, he will be of the third gender if attracted to the same sex.

3. Taleb Haqq - February 3, 2007

Hidden: If you read other pages on the blog, it is explained that the sexual acts between males is what is haraam.
Regarding your second and third point: These are human attempts at interpretations to social phenomena [even if “some” argue, it certainly does not make it so]…we prefer to use the Qur’an and Sunnah as a basis to our arguments: the concept of male and female is clearly stated in the Qur’an as God having created the “spouses”: Male and Female.
There is also the topic of “mukhannath” which will require some more studies amongst Muslim jurists. However, having said that, it is nowhere found that the Prophet allowed the “mukhannath” to have sexual relations with other men…

4. Rasheed Eldin - February 4, 2007

“Hidden”, how dare you come on here and create a new numbered list?! –Just kidding. Here are my responses:

1. You really need to read more on this site. I doubt many people push that point more than we do. But maybe our conclusions about it are different. You should notice we’ve never used such a wording as “homosexuality is haraam”, and certainly not in this article. I suggest you read, for example, this one:
https://gaymuslims.wordpress.com/2006/01/29/the-c4-documentary-ii/
From here onwards: “Let’s turn now to the discussion much later in the programme with Scott Siraj Al-Haqq Kugle…”

I see that your analogy is weak, as it happens. The car is an object that exists now and did not at the time of the Prophet (pbuh). The concept “homosexuality” is new, but the claimed referent is not, if indeed there is such a reality as “orientation”. I assert that there is no such thing, and that it’s just a way of describing something real (i.e. same-sex attractions) – a BAD way not consonant with the Qur’an and Sunnah.

2. & 3. As Taleb stated, yes, according to the Qur’an (which is our object of discussion here), gender is indeed dualistic. One of many verses: “Then He made from [the foetus] the two pair-partners (az-zawjayn), the male and the female…” [75:39]

5. Qusai - February 8, 2007

Salam,

Although many Gay muslims ‘speak about Allah without knowledge’ on the other hand Muslims in general seem way off-point when discussing issues of homosexuality. Unfortunately the lack of empathy in Islam stems from a lack of understanding of this odd phoenomenon.

4-10% percent of humas seem to think they were born that way despite the overt hostility of a world that does not accept such a situation. There is absolutely nothing attractive about this ‘sin’ and I can’t understand why people such as the writers of this blog don’t seem to see that.

Of course you will be quick to quote the Quran. But be carefull. The reason why some gay muslims have rejected the faith (see imaan.org) is that they can’t fathom how an Almighty God who designed all creation still manages to get surprised that some of his creatures turn out to be gay. If the Lord doesn’t know that 10% of us are gay then there is a chance somoeone else created us not Him. (God Forbid).

However if you look carefully in the Quran you will find that that is not necessarily the case. The Quran says the people of Lut approached men ‘shahwatan’, i.e out of lust. The fact that they raped men out was indeed a matter of their own free will but this is a completely different issue.

Alhamdulillah we have the likes of Dr Ghazallah otherwise we, gay muslims, would go absolutely insane with frustration and disillusionment. Let her try to find a way out of this mess while the rest of the muslim world lives happily hetersoexual ever after.

Salam again.

6. Rasheed Eldin - February 8, 2007

Qusai – salam, and thanks for the contribution. I would ask that you give us a bit of credit, and bear in mind that among us are people who experience SSA and went through the same mental and emotional struggles, and also had to find their feet in terms of the faith.

We don’t deny that some people have an inclination to the sin, but we do assert that everyone has choices about what they do with their desires. I’m sure you do not mean absolutely that “There is absolutely nothing attractive about this ’sin’…”, given that you are talking about people who find it very attractive! This is test and trial for them just as all our urges are a test and trial for us.

Recommended:
http://gaymuslims.org/2006/04/10/actions-attractions-and-personal-responsibility/
http://gaymuslims.org/2006/05/29/genetics-and-morality/

Allah is not surprised. The reason the “gay Muslims” go off track is that they are fooled by the false terminology that has us talk about people “BEING gay”. This is not something agreed upon by all thinkers, let alone anyone who takes as their foundation the Qur’anic discourse (as every Muslim should).

Recommended:
http://gaymuslims.org/2006/01/22/muslim-before-anything/

As for the verses you refer to: they say (see 7:81) “shahwatan min duni an-nisaa'” – i.e. you approach the men with desire INSTEAD OF THE WOMEN. So this is not about rape, as the Prophet Lut (peace be on him) would not be suggesting that they rape women instead! Nor would he later have offered the women to them if that was their way! (See 11:78-79)

If these are Ghazala’s theories, they are laughable.

7. Qusai - February 8, 2007

Salam Rasheed,

Thanks for the article.

Although a non-practicing homosexual I can still understand why some people choose to follow their inclinations as a natural alternative way of life. Afterall prophet Adam deired a companion despite living in Jannah and having direct access to the Lord.

However this does not necessarily entails thatthey enjoy this sort of lifestyle (again, check the Imaan.org forums). You don’t find ‘perfectly hterosexual’ people longing for a homosexual existence yet the reverse is true. I hope this illustrates my point.

In fact you will find that among Muslims, those who say they are “Proud to be gay” are in fact expressing their disgust at a religious tradition long hijacked by belligerent heterosexuals who insist that their narrow minded views prevail over common sense. Whereas we here are sending the wrong message to our community that we are waiting for them to ‘insert’ heterosexual thoughts into our heads. One group is positively proactive, the other negatively submissive.

There are two well known outcomes of excessive divine tests: either attainment of a sublime state of strong unshakeable faith or a realisation that having to endure a life of ‘tests’ just for the sake of it is a truly bizarre concept.

Of course florid images of monstrous torture at an evil masterpiece called Hell helps us to sober up again and come back to our senses. Of course! We are not really really homosexual we are just deluded and one day we’ll know it! Much similar to persuading a colour blind individual to give up his colour blindess. Utterly pointless.

Some people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali take the quantum leap and break the chain, as it were, while others like the good people on this forum cling on to their trust in Allah and use this as a premise to reach any future conclusions that they manage to come up with. The first group choose common sense over faith while the second group feel the abstract is more relevant than the real. Don’t get me wrong I feel I belong more to the second group!

That explains why the articles overemphasize the distinction between intention and action. When I see that Islamic jurisdiction concludes that Lesbianism is unlawfull in principle although not punishable I see that maybe the distinction between intention and action with regards to homosexual behaviour is not very relevant at all.

This also explains why gay muslims still happily quote that “not all thinkers agree that being gay is natural” as you alluded to in your reply. I don’t even know why you bother to wait for others to define thoughts that belong solely to you. I know that a fine line exists between Bi-sexuality and obligatory homosexuality. Those who are able to make the transition are no longer by definition homosexual and I suspect if they were homosexual to begin with. May be they are realising a bisexual potential they didn’t know they had? Who knows?

Personally I am into my thirties now. I have nver been abused nor had serious father-son issues. I realise that Iam just plain boring homosexual and tired of playing all those pro-heterosexual psychological acrobatcis that the writers of this blog are inviting us to! Sorry, maybe indeed I shouldn’t be on this blog to begin with!! Sorry, won’t trouble you again.

Salam.

8. Rasheed Eldin - February 9, 2007

Not at all, in fact these are very interesting thoughts. We don’t get enough of them round here! In fact a comprehensive reply isn’t possible just now, even if I did know all the answers. Just a few points–

A) Do people want to “be gay”? Highly unlikely. But do they want to fulfil their desires? Of course, that’s what desires are! But there are all sorts of levels of wanting. I think it is basic in Islam that we choose which of our impulses, desires and even ambitions that we go for.

B) I think the problem is less about “belligerent heterosexuals” than about people who just don’t get it. Not only do they not get the facts and realities, but they don’t get how they should navigate the concepts.

C) There is nothing excessive in divine tests. “Allah charges not a soul with more than its capacity” – 2:286. But I do tend to feel the severity of this one (desiring something unlawful, lacking desire for the lawful) is a bit exaggerated, when we consider what so many other people on this earth have to go through.

D) On lesbianism – an interesting point. However, I would note that issues of worldly punishment would be affected by the potential outcomes as well as intention. As for what happens in the Hereafter, that is a different matter.

E) Now, you know I didn’t actually say what you put in quote marks. What I said that thinkers don’t agree on is the matter of transferring a real internal experience into a postulated internal state, or identity. I maintain that this might be one way of explaining things, but it’s not in tune with Islamic discourse.

9. Qusai - February 9, 2007

Salam once more,

Thanks Rasheed for your kind reply. I assumed you would be fed up after my last reply and thought it better to preempt that by volunteering to leave!

However I am beginning to feel our differences are probably irreconcilable.

Firstly the statement you made in ‘E’ is quite problematic. The complexity of the words is open to interpretation. Moreover I find that persuading anyone not to transfer real internal experiences into a postulated internal state would be, put in much simpler terms, to ask them to split their feelings from their thoughts.

Interestingly this is one of the ways Psychiatrists define Schizophrenia. It seems that the thinkers who want us to disowe our gay identity are either themselves crazy or want us to end up that way!!

Moreover, don’t you feel that statements such as ” people who just don’t get it” and “they do not get the facts and realities” can be effortlessly reciprocated between any two disputing groups? Who is exactly not getting their facts right? Who is the arbiter?

Before you answer that the validity of any argument should be measured by its concordance with Islamic principles take a minute to reflect on how these principles were defined by a group who have little interest or understanding of our plight. Trying to engage us into brainwashing our own conscious identities is cruel and impractical. We simply need to listen to the likes of Al Fatiha lest we ignore a voice of reason that has been erroneously excluded from contemporary Islamic discourse.

One last point: I don’t want to remind ourselves of our own misery but you are wrong to say that the misery resulting from the sin, I mean, the test of homosexuality is exaggerated. You are right, you won’t die if you don’t engage in sexual activity but the scoial exclusion of unmarried men (who fail to switch their orientation) and the inability to beget children to pray for your soul after death is more important than lack of sex.

Heterosexuals are told that marriage is ‘nisf al deen’, this particulare exaggeration was intended by the prophet (pbuh) so that no good muslim would dare to claim that staying celibate is an easy matter of no great consequence.

Salam.

10. Sarah - February 15, 2007

What about lesbians?

11. Rasheed Eldin - February 15, 2007

Qusai – thanks, but at the moment I don’t have time to reply.

Sarah – please clarify what you’re asking. Qusai noted that Muslim jurists have stated that lesbianism (as an active thing) is less serious in sin than homosexuality (as an active thing). However, he wondered why this should be the case if both of them involve intentional following of evil temptations, as we consider them.

You can see this post, looking at a programme in which Sheikh Qaradawi talked about this:
http://gaymuslims.org/2006/06/27/are-gays-perverts/
(Scroll down to, or search for: “The interviewer goes on to ask why there is a difference between the punishments for homosexual acts and lesbian acts.”)

12. Eye on Backbiting Muslims at The Past Present & Future - February 18, 2007

[…] muslims – and boy are they a bunch of whiners. I mean they’re pleased some one got fired for ‘inappropriate’ views on sexual orientation. Puh-leese – they do seem rather a mean lot of people. ( call themselves compassionate as well ) […]

13. Chav-blogga - February 20, 2007

To whoever wrote the last comment:

If you have nothing to meaningfull to add to this blog please keep away. It is obvious that the forum allows for differing opinions if you follow the threads above.

14. Mujahid Mustaqim - March 3, 2007

About this interesting discussion on whether lesbian acts are as sinful as male homosexuality, I look to what Sheikh Qaradawi said as indicating the concept of mercy in Islam. The level of sin in the act is the same (in my non-scholarly opinion), but worldly punishment can be deflected – just as the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did.

Recall what Qaradawi said: “Lesbian activity is a lighter matter than homosexual sodomy in practical terms.”

And I quote from Rasheed’s post about what the Sheikh added:

“He recounted a hadith in which Ma’iz ibn Malik came to the Prophet (peace be on him) and confessed to zina (unlawful sex), asking him to enact the prescribed punishment upon him. The Prophet, from his mercy, said ‘No, perhaps you didn’t touch her, perhaps you only kissed her, perhaps…’ – but the man insisted that he had committed the major sin, which is defined and has the prescribed punishment according to that definition. So, Qaradawi says, lesbian activity can be considered like these precursors to fornication, which is distinct from the act of sodomy between men.”
http://gaymuslims.org/2006/06/27/are-gays-perverts/

As an aside, I tend to agree with Rasheed’s assessment that male and female homosexuality are two separate phenomenon, as laid out in this post:
http://gaymuslims.org/2006/02/18/l-g-b-and-t/

15. fugstar - March 27, 2007

Thank god the hec and iiu nipped this one in the bud. school boy error that could have done them a lot of damage (fundos could have used it to scare the people away from higher islamic education).

This is my first srious visit to this blog, just wanted to say a few things. I feel Muslim thinkers do need to engage with sexuality issues, but in our own framework of virtue. It is something quite strange upon which there are a lot of unknowns that need deep empirical and theoretical study and dose compassion. Aren’t we a nation entrusted with the integrity of humanity? or a bunch of half wit 21st century male reactionaries venting our spleens at the ridiculous to affirm some sense of masculine leadership?

Who knows what will become of our children, or what the parents affected by this must go through?

16. Idetrorce - December 15, 2007

very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
Idetrorce


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