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Being patient when tempted April 12, 2007

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Advice, Islam.
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Excerpt from The Message of Sûrah al-`Asr by Sh. Salman Al-Oadah
(Part 4 – see also Parts 1, 2 and 3).

How can a young man or woman be patient in the face of the temptations and trials that inflame their desires when unlawful gratification is within their easy reach? The best way for such a person to fortify his or her patience is as follows:

1. He should contemplate the greatness of Allah and think that Allah sees him when he is disobedient. Nothing that we do escapes His attention. He sees and hears all things. This is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) meant when he said: “A fornicator is not a believer at the time that he is committing fornication, an imbiber is not a believer while he is engaged in drinking, a thief is not a believer while he is in the act of stealing.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2475) and Sahîh Muslim (57)] this is because a person who is conscious of Allah watching over him will feel ashamed to do the things that Allah has prohibited or to neglect his duties towards Allah. Consider a man who is naked or engaged in some vulgar deed and discovers that someone is looking at him through a crack in the door. Will he not be ashamed and embarrassed? Will he not be unable to look that person in the eye?

2. He should cultivate his love for Allah, for Allah commanded his Prophet (peace be upon him) to say: “If you love Allah, then follow me. Allah will love you and forgive you your sins and Allah is most forgiving and merciful.” [Sûrah Âl `Imrân: 31]

3. He should consider the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon him. We are constantly in receipt of myriad blessings. When we disobey our Lord, we do so with the limbs that he provided us with and which He empowered us to use. We are using His very blessings upon us to disobey Him.

4. We should fear Allah becoming angry with us. Allah says: “Do those who concoct evil deeds feel secure that He will not cause the Earth to swallow them up or that punishment will not visit them from whence they cannot perceive? Or that He may not seize them in their goings to and fro without a chance of their escape? Or that He may take them with a gradual loss, for Allah is full of pity and mercy?” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 45-47] This anger could be delayed until the Day of Judgment when our Lord will be angry as He had never been angry before.

5. He should keep in mind that Allah could take his soul at any time. A person could die while he is drunk. A car might overturn, killing all of its occupants, including a young man and woman engaged in unlawful pleasures out of the sight of their parents.

6. He should think about Allah’s reward and His munificence. He should know that if he leaves off something for the Allah’s sake, then Allah will give him something better. Sufyân al-Thawrî said: “When a person lowers his gaze from unlawful sights, Allah bestows upon him such faith that pleases his heart. What Allah has to offer is better and more enduring.”

7. He should think about the transience of this worldly existence. He should think about his very body, how it first grows and reaches full, robust maturity and strength, only to return decrepit and bent with old age.

8. He should think about Allah’s mercy and the blessings it provides. He should fear that if he persists in wrongdoing and does not yield to Allah’s greatness, he might be cut off from that mercy.

9. He should realize that he must break his bad habits. Many people who drink, abuse drugs, or engage in voyeurism do so out of force of habit. They need to resolve themselves to submit to Allah alone and not submit to anything or anything else.

10. He should consider the immediate as well as spiritual benefits of abstaining from the unlawful. Allah does not prohibit something without that thing being harmful or at least bringing about more harm than good. Likewise, Allah does not command us to do something unless that thing is beneficial or at least brings about more good than harm. Obedience to Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) is always better and more enduring in virtue than any benefit that can be secured through disobedience.

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Comments»

1. Matthew Crouch - April 12, 2007

Can a samesex married homosexual male convert to Islam and forge out a proper life to fit in with the Ummah?
Honestly I don’t think there is an answer to this question but I figure if it is impossible then either way I would be barred from Jenna.
Certainly Islam has made it possible for me to set aside some self destructive bad habits. Which led to maturing into manhood something I can do with greater ease and considerably more confidence. I don’t know if I believe it is actually possible to be an ex-gay like in those Christian ministries – but I will say my life has become what I call Post Gay as I identify now with things beyond the limitations of the gay marketing economic commercial commodity that sadly defines the life of many people living with samesex desires.
I am glad to see that at least on the internet there are resources for those of us intrigued by Islam who are out there as a soul in the material world looking to rise beyond the desires of our physical bodies.
Thanks for putting your wisdom out there as it were to be found.

2. Rasheed Eldin - April 12, 2007

Dear Matthew, thanks for your kind and interesting comments.

I’m not sure I entirely understand your question. I read it as: can someone who is homosexual continue in that life and become a Muslim? I would say this is a tricky issue, but the most important thing is to say YES, he can become a Muslim if he is convinced of the faith.

However, all homosexual relations are forbidden in Islam, so this is something he should leave behind. I don’t say necessarily this MUST be before converting, but really as soon as possible, as they could be very serious sins. It is not permissible to believe whatever we like about the Deen of Allah, but rather true submission (“Islam”) necessitates accepting His commands and prohibitions.

I would add, since you mentioned the Ummah, that Muslims should be welcoming and tolerant towards new Muslims to help them adapt to their new life at a realistic pace. However, if the person is in a homosexual relationship, at a certain point fellow Muslims will have to stay distant from them because this is a very grave matter and not to be taken lightly.

And we can rest assured that embracing Islam cleanses us of whatever sins we have done in the past. Alhamdulillah. I don’t think anyone should every consider themselves “barred from Jannah”! Just walk those steps, and Allah will come to you “running” (wording from a hadith).

Please feel free to expand on your query if I haven’t answered it properly.

3. Matthew Crouch - April 12, 2007

Hey, Wow, thanks for the fast response!
Actually my comment wasn’t really a question – It’s an issue I am struggling with and hence why I stop by your pages on the internet from time to time.
My samesex marriage life is nearly finished – in some ways regretably and in other ways – well – I am ready to move on.
I feel like something tremendous is happening in this long process of coming into Islam. But given where I am coming from – sometimes this is difficult for other Muslims to grasp how far I have come in this life. Equally it is also difficult for some non-Muslims to grasp where I am going!
So, that’s why I say your pages are really helpful and why I had to leave an encouraging comment. Never under-estimate your work here on this site. In Brother to Brother conversation there just is not any resources such as this for me or other Brothers with similar issues. That’s why I commented because this site and others like Straight Struggle have really changed how I think.
Thanks again

4. Rasheed Eldin - April 12, 2007

Thanks and God bless. I will pray that He continues to guide you, and that you find what is best in this life and the next.

5. Taleb Haqq - April 13, 2007

Brother Matt, it’s so good to hear from you! All the best and do keep in touch.

6. Mujahid Mustaqim - April 15, 2007

Also here are some tips from Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi on restraining desire:

1. Observe fasting, because it bolsters one’s faith, preserves chastity, and protects one from evil thoughts.

2. Observe moderation in eating and drinking in order to avoid stimulating your desire.

3. Keep away from anything that is sexually stimulating, such as pornographic pictures, erotic films and love songs.

4. Choose good and righteous friends.

5. Keep yourself busy in worship and spiritual acts.

6. Interact with activities of the society in such away that it keeps you away from thinking about sex.

7. Try to admire natural things such as flowers and beautiful scenery, which do not stimulate one sexually.

7. Let’s Make The Halal Easy at Ijtema - April 18, 2007

[…] Advice on how to remain patient during our struggle against the haram. How can a young man or woman be patient in the face of the […]

8. iMuslim - April 20, 2007

Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah
I pray that you are in the best of health & imaan.
This is a short message to notify you that this entry has been selected for publishing on I J T E M A; a venture to highlight the best of the Muslim blogosphere.
To find out more about I J T E M A, and how you can further contribute, please click here.
May Allah bless you for your noble efforts.
Wa’salam

9. secret - July 22, 2007

İm a new Muslim before i use to be a christian but right now i beşieve that im taking the right path.Dear brothers i do hope that u will figure this concern that i have and taht have been bothering me a lot.
look i feel atracted with males it doesnt mean that i dont like females i do but i also like to look at females body.i feel so bad sometimes that i think that i dont deserve it i have never been in contact with males but it disturbes me to much.please help me to run away from this evil.

10. Rasheed Eldin - July 23, 2007

Dear brother, this is something that many people (including Muslims) experience. We can’t be sure what causes it for each person, but we believe that the feelings must be resisted, and might even be overcome if you manage to find what makes you feel this way.

From another angle, we consider it a test from God, so we need to ensure that we don’t do anything that’s sinful – as the feelings themself don’t make you sinful. We are only judged by our actions.

You can find various advice on this blog, but the best place to discuss these issues in depth is the StraightWay support group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/straightstruggle

11. saqibtahir - September 28, 2007

okay please could you answer this question, as it would be of great assistance 🙂

what if a same sex attracted muslim (eg.male) never did anything with another male and lead the traditional lifestyle (eg. marrying a woman have kids etc) but was still attracted to men.

Bearing if this person was quite religious, then inshalah if he was granted paradise, then what would he be rewarded with, men or women?

knowing that his heart desires for men, not women.

12. Rasheed Eldin - September 29, 2007

Dear Saqib, as salamu ‘alaikum.

I can’t give you a definite answer to your question, as that is a matter of the Unseen, and I’m not aware of any text which provides the specific answer.

I hope you will not find me cheeky for saying this, but: would it change your course of action in life if I told you an answer either way?

What we can be 100% sure about is that Paradise is the place of complete bliss and satisfaction, and nobody will be there wishing he had something instead of what he’s given! On the contrary, he will only need to wish for something and he will find it there for him. And there is much more besides that!

Knowing this much ought to be enough. It means that we should strive to obey Allah throughout our lives, patiently enduring whatever tests we face. And the reward will be worth it, to say the least.

13. Qusai - September 29, 2007

Salam

I’m aware of homosexuals, even non-muslims, who choose to get married and start families. How on earth they manage to do it is totally beyond me!!

Not entirely comfortable with ignoring the other spouse’s rights and expectations, though. Whoever you get married to would be denied a chance of a ‘normal’ relationship and that strikes me as a bit selfish. I’d rather stay celibate for that reason.

The other shocking thing that I’ve recently learned about my own family is that two of my relatives (one deceased) have been afflicted by this condition. One was married and lead a miserable life and the other is happy, but single, selfless philanthrope. Of course that may just be a statistical coincidence as we tend to have huge extended families in the Middle East.

However it is known that inheritance plays a role but in my case it seems pretty much confirmed. Again I would not forgive myself if any of my seed catches that inheritable trait and leads the miserable life that I’m struggling against at the moment. I’d feel the same if I know I’m carrying a nasty genetic disorder like Huntington’s disease or even CF. I maybe appealing to eugenics here but it just doesn’t feel right to me at all.

I suppose the way out of this dreadfull mindset is to either become very religious or non-religious. That I’d have to leave at the hands of God as there very little one can do apart from childish wishfull thinking.

14. saqibtahir - September 29, 2007

thankyou for the reply Rasheed Eldin.

i guess it wouldnt change my course of life becuase i know now, if i was ever near of doing something with another man, i wouldnt be able to go through with it even if i desperatley wanted it, becuase i know now the commupence.

It’s just hard… don’t get me wrong i wouldn’t want to like women, i like liking men, but i guess in this world that it all i can do. Just like them, nothing more.

It will be hard at marriage though… my future wife expecting sex and me not even being attracted to her.

But nevertheless, I love God, and inshallah he will help me with any problems I may face.

15. Rasheed Eldin - September 29, 2007

Saqib, I’m interested to know why you don’t even want to like women… can you explain please?

16. saqibtahir - October 2, 2007

im just not attracted to them.

i know a good looking woman when i see one, and i enjoy their friendship, but that’s all.

just doesnt do anything for me :/
I’ve never been “stimulated” by thoughts of women, whereas with men its the total opposite.

hope that helps lol.

17. saqibtahir - October 2, 2007

also ive just reread my comment and i didn’t really answer it directly.

By me not actually being attracted to women, and being attracted to men, and not actually doing anything with men. Makes me like men more, in some strange way lol.

Though inshallah i wont do anything with men in this world, i just don’t like women sexually, never did… never will.

but i know one day i will have to get married to a women, so somehow i’ll have to get by that.

18. Rasheed Eldin - October 3, 2007

You still haven’t explained! I understand that you presently are attracted to men and not women. But why does it seem that you’re saying that this is how you always want it to be? Surely if you can’t be with men sexually, it’s better to get over that attraction if possible?

And surely if you’re planning to get married, you should want first of all to be attracted to women, or that one woman, at least enough to make a marriage feasible? (And fair to that woman!)

Our view is that overcoming same-sex attractions (SSA) is possible in general, but the ability to do this depends on the person and his circumstances. The same process can also lead to developing the opposite-sex attraction that is natural to the human make-up. However, none of this will happen without the person wanting it and being willing to work at it. So what say you?

19. adam - October 4, 2007

if talking about getting married and living a traditional lifestyle. is it expected that you keep your same/sex attractions to yourself and not tell anyone that you are what you are? isnt that being unfaithful by hiding such a truth from everyone?

20. Rasheed Eldin - October 4, 2007

I take it that you’re talking to Saqib, but if you’ll permit me to respond… You certainly have a point if you mean that marriage to a woman would be highly unfair if the husband is unattracted to her and will not be able to fulfil certain important marital rights.

But I disagree that we have to uncover every “truth” (as you put it), if that means deeply personal feelings that should be kept to one’s self and struggled against (according to Islamic teachings). We here affirm that such feelings do not define a person, so we disagree with your saying “you are what you are” just because of sexuality.

21. Hassan - April 7, 2011

Assalam o alaikum.

I know it’s rather late but I thought I should leave a response.

I turned 18 in February.I am a homosexual male.

I’ve known I have been attracted to men,and lacking in attraction to women,ever since the age of my earliest recollections.
When I hit puberty I used to think that my lack of attraction to women was just a phase that was meant to go away.I waited for many years for the opportunity to ‘get it’.
‘It’ never came.
I admitted to myself I was gay in October 2010.
A wave of calm swept over me as I finally sorted out the ambiguous stew of emotions that had accumulated in my heart as I had grown up.

The first thing I did was to look for religious guidance online.
Then I began with interacting with other gay Muslims online.

Then I interacted with non-Muslim homosexuals online but found that largely to my distaste.In general, anyone wishing to maintain a spiritual life will find little acceptance among gay people who have become fixated on sensual pleasure and rejection of anything remotely religious or spiritual.
That is why I have stopped visiting forums related to homosexuality composed largely of non-Muslims

I drew up a list of points as a consequence :

-God has made me homosexual.
-I will not indulge in homosexual activities.
-I will not marry a woman who doesn’t know about my homosexuality as I would be doing wrong by her and this is a sin most foul.
-I will be at peace with myself and shall be grateful under the conviction that God shall compensate me in this life and in the hereafter in return for not granting me the gift of sexual and romantic satisfaction.
-I understand fully that Allah is most just and takes no pleasure out of harming us.His logic is not human logic and,as a Muslim,it is my duty to receive(revelations) and obey.

I am grateful to the lord that I have never been a victim of depression brought upon by my homosexuality.Never,not even once,have I held it against the lord from my heart.
I’ve told my mother and she is very accepting though deeply saddened that I will be lonely (I have decided on celibacy).She is the love of my life (I don’t mean that is the romantic sense that is shoved down our gullets by the sex-crazed media we are exposed to all the time.I mean that in ways of love that have been side-tracked and ignored,but are stronger and deeper than romantic love though not sexually stimulating.) and it is my first priority to be a great son to my parents as far as emotional linkages are concerned.

I am,by nature,emotionally needy and giving at the same time.That is why it shall be especially difficult for me to be alone.
Twenty years from now,I am most probably going to spend countless a night sobbing in my pillow at 3 AM out of sheer loneliness and lack of someone to hold and to connect with at an intimate level.
But for now I am fine with it.

I’m thinking along the lines of getting into an MOC ;in that I could raise a family with a woman(lesbian or asexual) who can be a great friend and companion for life.I would rather have a loving friend than a sexual companion if I cannot have both(a wife is supposed to both).However,there are sources which state that the prophet forbade men who ‘do not feel passion’ for their spouses from getting married.Therefore,I fear such a marriage may not be valid.

As shocking as it may sound,I am a practicing Muslim who constantly seeks to perfect his deen for himself so as to be worthy of the label ‘Muslim’ and I am happy with being gay;in fact,I’m downright grateful.
I do not know why.
But there is this undying conviction in my soul that whatever God does is for the best.
And God does not burden a soul with more than it can handle…
And God administers great tests to only those he loves and wants to be near him…
As a consequence,My homosexuality makes me feel special in a good way.
I’ve learned to observe and not judge.
I’ve learned to be open-minded.
I’ve learned to be at peace with myself.
I’ve learned that the middle-path is almost always the best path to follow and denying to oneself the truth is harmful.
That I owe,in no small part,to my homosexuality.Had I not been homosexual,I believe,I would have been one of those hypocritical and intolerant people who sneer at others without understanding the bigger picture.I belong to such a society.Most of us do.

God has made me smart and handsome,birthed me in a well to do Muslim family,and has not made me handicapped in any other way.
There’s too much to thank him for and nothing to be angry over.

My being gay IS NOT a sin.
And this is NOT something that can be changed.
However,at the same time,its inability to be changed does not validate homosexual relations.(even though most homosexuals use it as an argument)

I will not be ‘cured’.
It is not a disease nor a curse.
It is a test.
It does not matter how one becomes this way.
It is a part of our being and we must accept it.

Homosexuality is a phenomenon that needs to be dealt with throughout one’s life in my personal opinion.

One must learn to reach a state of tranquility knowing well the options available according to Islam.
Perhaps that is the meaning behind the test.
One must strive for peace within oneself.
I would like to end my post with a very beautiful hadith I found a while back:

“He who loves and remains chaste and conceals his secret and dies, dies a martyr.”-Prophet Mohammad(PBUH)

Rasheed Eldin - April 7, 2011

Dear Hassan, wa ‘alaikum as-salam, and thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts. I think anyone with a heart cannot failed to be moved by what you’ve said.

Your attitude to the matter is very close to what we promote as the Islamic approach to the issue, but there are some minor points I would make in reply to your post:

1. What you’ve called accepting being homosexual/gay, we would prefer to term being SSA (same-sex attracted). This is because it’s more neutral, describing the specific point and not carrying baggage of what other people who call themselves by that name get up to. I personally consider it unbefitting Islamically to label one’s self as “homosexual/gay” for these reasons as well as the incompatibility of orientationist theories with the Qur’an (as we’ve written about elsewhere). On the other hand, your calling yourself “homosexual/gay” does present a greater challenge to those who reject celibacy and reject fearing God – as touched on here:
http://gaymuslims.org/2011/03/21/strugglers/

2. Just because it’s a test from Allah, that doesn’t preclude the possibility of overcoming it altogether. I don’t really buy the idea of “accepting” it. Anyway, there are some theological subtleties behind these questions that we can’t get into here.

3. About a marriage of convenience, really I don’t know the ruling on that and we would need to refer it to scholars who are deeply aware of the Islamic texts as well as the modern context. But the point you made about “not feeling passion” may not be relevant, as long as there is an understanding between both partners and they agree to be chaste (except with each other, in theory).

May Allah bless you, guide you and accept your struggles, ameen.


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