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Georgetown symposium ’08 January 4, 2010

Posted by Rasheed Eldin in Queer Muslims.

Here’s a slightly old post from “Muslim Apple” [linked fixed August 2011] that’s worth drawing attention to, as the sister has made a good summary of a symposium featuring mainstream scholars as well as the charlatan Daayiee Abdullah aka Sid Thompson.

The words of Imam Johari Abdul-Malik seem to have been particularly wise, in that he defended the correct Islamic view while emphasising understanding and compassion, and condemning violence and persecution. The following point is a particularly unusual one to hear from a Muslim scholar:

Imam Johari used the analogy of pork and how he knew from the days before his Islam that pork “tastes sweet” and that no one raised as a Muslim that has never eaten it can tell you that “pork is nasty” and in a similar fashion, if a someone says, “gay sex is nasty,”  just ask them, “how do you know?” Otherwise, they are speaking without knowledge.

Yes, as Muslims we are disgusted by sin, and human nature does make certain things disgusting to ordinary tastes, but that cannot act as a proof against those who feel differently. Our reference should be to the essential methods of establishing law in Islam, namely the abundant proofs of the Qur’an and Sunnah.



1. gohar - January 13, 2010


I am a big fan of this site and its thoughtful approach, but I don’t feel entirely convinced by the pork example given above. When people say homosexuality is “nasty” for instance, I doubt that they are trying to argue that one form of sex is more enjoyable than another. What they probably are arguing is that the idea that someone would want to have sex with someone of the same sex is “nasty”, in the same way that most people would consider the idea of someone involved in an incestual relationship to be “nasty”.

No-on needs to have experienced homosexual sex to do that, anymore than we need to have experienced an incestual relationship before we can comment on that.

Some may turn around and say that the idea of heterosexual sex is equally repulsive to them, and even if we assume that they’re not just saying that for the purposes of maintaining their ground in a debate, it still wouldn’t change my mind any more than if someone committing incest would change my mind if they were to turn around and say that non-incestual sex was repulsive to them.

I do get that the imam (ra) was just trying to make his audience think more deeply and widely in the same way that this site does, and that is a good thing. However, I also worry that pushing that message too far, can also cause the ordinary masses to lose their feeling of repulsion to such actions too, the consequences of which I worry about.

2. Rasheed Eldin - January 14, 2010

Salam Gohar, and thanks for your point, which is entirely right. What I took from Imam Johari’s point (which we weren’t presented in full context) was that saying to someone that what they do is “disgusting” is not enough. Fine, it’s disgusting to me. But how will that convince them, when they could indeed claim that what I do is disgusting to them?

The sound fitrah (natural inclination) has an important role, but it is hard to argue on the basis of fitrah with people who have turned away from fitrah and buried it.

I think it would be reasonable to make physiological arguments for how one form of sexual activity is “unnatural” or “disgusting”, such as pointing out the difference between the anus and the proper sexual organs. At least this approach will appeal to reason as well as just gut reaction.

3. Muslim Apple - February 6, 2010

I just noticed the audio link to Imam Johari’s part of the talk was broken. I’ve updated it: http://www.imamjohari.com/Imam_Johari/Make_It_Plain%3A_Podcast/Entries/2008/10/28_Islam_and_homosexuality_George_Washington_university.html

4. jamila - March 4, 2011

Thank you my brothers, i support u very much.
Some of our leaders should be careful of their speech in public because there are some of the human beings who behave like animals.
Beware !!!


5. Unexpected Link! - August 26, 2011

Assalamu ‘alaykum,

Your first link to the Muslim Apple article leads to an obscene website – I think the link has been corrupted. You should change it. Barak Allahu feekum – may God protect us, our families, and all the Muslims.

Rasheed Eldin - August 27, 2011

Wa ‘alaikum as-salam and thanks for alerting us to that. The author moved to a new domain, causing that rather unpleasant ‘greeting’ at the old domain! My apologies on her behalf 😉

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