Certain lobby groups will tell you that some people are ‘gay’. To some, it may even be considered an indisputable fact. This viral messaging now encompasses the most common ‘LGBTQ+’ identities. Some spin-off comments utilising Stonewall’s absurd style are:
“Some people are ‘trans’. Get over it!”
“Some people are ‘lesbian’. Get over it!”
We also often hear ‘coming out’ stories, where people talk about a feeling they had, that they had hidden away for so long. As though they were rediscovering something deep down, something innate.
“I always felt ‘bisexual’…”
…said the woman who ‘came out’ to her husband, 10 years and three children later.
“Ever since I was five years old, I felt I was ‘different’…”
…said the footballer who was lauded for his brave declaration in a sport where most people hide their ‘sexuality’.
Problems with such messaging and how we respond
Look at the following often-heard statements:
- “Being ‘gay’ is haram”
- “Islam prohibits ‘homosexuality’”
- “You cannot convert from being ‘gay’ to ‘straight’”
- “We need to teach our children ‘heterosexuality’”
- “‘Gender identity’ can change”
Before you continue reading, stop and work out why they are problematic.
One of the foundational principles we must teach our children is to interrogate the premise behind the statements they hear. We must never take a statement at face value, even if it is accepted by most people.
It’s also important they appreciate that when most people – influenced by the dominant ‘-isms’ of our age – proclaim a certain view, they are not proclaiming a universally acknowledged truth. Rather, it is often a values position.
Take the following statements: which is an objective truth, which is a values position?
- “Women were born to be more than just mothers”
- “Every human being breathes in oxygen and breathes out carbon dioxide”
If a statement is accepted across all cultures, it usually speaks to a universal truth.
When a position comes from a part of the world where a particular world-view exists, or people differ over it, it is a values position.
This is a values position that stems from capitalistic societies that see every individual as a consumer and a producer.
It is founded upon a secular-liberal world-view that conveys a notion of life being a materialistic pursuit to achieve rights and happiness.
It conveys a sense that being ‘just a mother’ is problematic, and that there are higher aims than such a ‘lowly’ aspiration.
This is a universally acknowledged fact that is accepted across all cultures. It is based upon a truth accepted in London and Lagos.
There is nothing inherently wrong with a values position, but we must accept that every values position is open to scrutiny and academic criticism.
Common ways ‘LGBTQ+’ is discussed
Going back to the five statements above, let’s proceed and briefly look at how ‘LGBTQ+’ is spoken about within the Muslim community and in our wider society.
1 | “Being ‘gay’ is haram”
Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) is only ever concerned with actions and not ‘identities’.
Being ‘gay’ is not an objective reality. It is an identity adopted by men who are attracted to other men, and men who have sex with other men.
There is no truth to the claim that there is a biological basis for same-sex attraction. Human behaviour is complex, but there is neither a ‘gay’ gene or a biological explanation for same-sex attraction.
- Same-sex sexual behaviour is definitively haram (prohibited) in Islam. It is a major sin.
- Same-sex sexual acts are not an identity, but rather a behaviour. As such, they are changeable.
Whilst ‘sexual identity’ is understood to be a part of who someone is, a behaviour is external.
Behaviour is what someone chooses to do and not who someone is.
2 | “Islam prohibits ‘homosexuality’”
‘Homosexuality’ is understood as an innate characteristic, rather than a behaviour.
A man who is attracted to another man is described by a ‘sexual orientation’. An orientation is a fixed characteristic that is unchangeable and unchanging.
In reality, ‘sexual orientation’ is a 19th century idea about human beings, their drives, and attractions. It is an idea not rooted in biological or objective reality.
To argue that everyone has a ‘sexual orientation’ as a way of categorising people may seem fine as a theory, but to claim it exists as an objective reality has no basis in the real world.
Someone can claim to be ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’, ‘bisexual’, ‘asexual’ or ‘heterosexual’ as much as they can accept that they are a Jedi or a ghost. People can identify however they like, but it will never become an objective reality, no matter how much that label achieves social or cultural acceptance.
And if a reality doesn’t have an existence, Islam has nothing to say about it. Islam does prohibit anal sex but it has nothing to say about a modern idea based on ‘identity’ labels. Islam prohibits the use of identity labels that glorify sinful behaviours.
For this reason, a Muslim should not wear with pride the ‘LGBTQ+’ labels.
3 | “You cannot change from being ‘gay’ to ‘straight’”
The notion of ‘being gay’ or ‘being straight’ is ontologically problematic.
Who someone is attracted to is not an innate state of being. It does not exist in reality. However, who someone decides to be sexually intimate with is controllable behaviour.
If we accept that every behaviour is controllable and ‘sexual orientation’ does not exist as an objective reality, then we can also accept that attraction or desire is not deterministic. A desire does not lead to behaviour in a way someone cannot control.
Rather than claiming that someone can change ‘sexual orientation’, as that doesn’t exist, we should agree that people can decide how they respond to their attractions/ desires.
In the modern age, it is blindly asserted that you cannot change your ‘sexual orientation’. The problem is, you cannot change something that doesn’t have an existence outside of the dogmatic orthodoxy that people have created!
Feel free to change any behaviour, but not ‘sexual orientation’
We are told that you can change any behaviour, but you cannot change your ‘sexual orientation’.
If a Muslim visited a counsellor and no longer wanted to be a Muslim, the counsellor would help him or her to leave Islam. If the same person did not want to act on their same-sex attraction, they would be told they are hiding ‘who they are’.
Counsellors aligned with accrediting bodies like the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) acknowledge the existence of made-up constructs such as ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’. They believe ‘sexual orientation’ cannot change. This is the entire basis for the planned ban on ‘conversion therapy’.
When someone publicly ‘comes out’ and says they’re ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’, this is celebrated. This is seen as a progressive step forward. But when someone decides they do not want to live a life based on what they perceive to be an aberrant sexual desire, they are accused of hiding a part of themselves or are called a ‘self-hater’.
The Kinsey Scale
We are told by the ‘LGBTQ+’ movement that ‘sexuality’ exists on a continuum between ‘heterosexuality’ on one side and ‘homosexuality’ on the other. This scale of attraction is fluid, and was made up by Dr. Alfred Kinsey, the perverted ‘sexologist’ who experimented on young babies to prove sexual feelings stem from birth.
The Kinsey Scale recognised that people can slide across the scale but cannot move from exclusive same-sex attraction to exclusive opposite-sex attraction.
Someone who identified as ‘gay’ could not decide to leave that life, marry a woman, have children, and never indulge in same-sex sexual behaviour again. Their decision would be described as moving from being ‘gay’ to being ‘bisexual’.
‘LGBTQ+’ descriptions and labels are not innate
These labels are a description, for an individual, of how one feels in terms of sexual attraction and how one perceives one’s ‘gender identity’ to be.
Someone could be ‘bisexual’ at one moment in their lives, and then decide to adopt the label of ‘asexuality’, where they do not have any sexual attraction of any kind, for a man or a woman.
The conventional term for someone who chooses to abstain from sexual behaviour in past times was celibate. So why is ‘asexual’ even a part of the ‘LGBTQ+’ world, as the term refers to abstaining from sexual activity?
When these labels are falsely described as innate, like the colour of one’s skin, we are forced to accept this is how people have been created. Just as expressing disagreement over someone’s skin colour is rightly rejected, in the same manner, if we concede to the existence of ‘sexuality’ in people, we accept that ‘LGBTQ+’ labels are also how people have been created. Therefore, it is equally unjust to raise any objections to an innate characteristic. By accepting these labels, we are forced into either becoming accepting allies or prejudiced bigots.
4 | “We need to teach our children ‘heterosexuality’”
‘Heterosexuality’, like ‘homosexuality’, is a modern, made-up label to describe sexual behaviour. It doesn’t have an objective reality like skin colour, the existence of limbs, internal organs, etc.
‘Hetero-‘ and ‘homosexuality’ are two labels that were made up by the Hungarian journalist, Karl Maria Kertbeny, in an 1868 letter to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs.
Kertbeny brought into the world a new claim: that everyone has a ‘sexual orientation’ and that this cannot change, as it is part of who a person is. His writings indicate that he engaged in sexual encounters with young men.
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was a nineteenth century activist in what was then known as Prussia. He believed that same-sex sexual behaviour was a “right established by nature” that “legislators have no right to veto”.
We need to reject all these labels beyond their value as self-defined identity markers. And we must vehemently reject ‘heterosexuality’ as much as ‘homosexuality’ as an objective reality that describes human sexual behaviour as innate and fixed.
Desire doesn’t compel action
We must teach our children that every behaviour and attraction is changeable and that no desire compels action.
If a young Muslim feels attraction to someone of the same-sex, they can and must fight that desire. Fighting against one’s desires is from the essence of Islam. They must not embrace these labels as that makes a changeable behaviour into fixed identities. It’s wrong that if a man is attracted to another man, society tells them they’re ‘gay’, this is who they are, this is their identity label.
Someone may say, identifying as ‘gay’ is not bad. That’s a value position, not a universal morality or norm. People who come from the secular-liberal tradition must have some humility in accepting their norms are not universal. This is the same thinking that fuelled colonialism and slavery: the desire to ‘civilise the savage’.
People think they need to free Muslims from their backwardness by forcing us, especially Muslim children in schools, to adopt their norms. They should reflect on the fact that if they were living 150 years ago, they would believe same-sex sexual behaviour to be evil. So they are in effect reflecting modern norms, moralities, and dogmas.
When religious adherence in society declined, it didn’t disappear. It got replaced by modern dogmas and orthodoxies. Just as people in the past could be dismissed from their jobs for openly identifying as ‘gay’, today’s orthodoxy fires people for believing that same-sex sexual relationships are morally wrong.
5 | “‘Gender identity’ can change”
Just as ‘sexual orientation’ is a made-up belief system devoid of any rational or scientific backing, so too is ‘gender’ and ‘gender identity’.
‘Gender’ ignores biological realities of male and female and instead accepts the belief that how someone feels can differ from the sex of their birth. The problem, especially in children, is feelings of ‘being in the wrong body’ like any feeling are by their very nature, temporary and fleeting.
Children will cling onto many feelings with such intensity that in the moment it feels real. Many children who believe they are ‘in the wrong body’ will believe they know what is best for them. In the moment, they cannot critically locate the source of their trauma and the ‘adults in the room’ will often affirm their desire to mutilate their bodies in the search to take away their pain.
Society is failing our children
Instead of asking searching questions, every claim to ‘being in the wrong body’ is entertained.
Children are offered puberty blockers that interrupt the natural process of puberty. They are given cross-sex hormones to help them transition from a girl to a boy. They will start to use chest binders to flatten their chests in order to resemble the male physique. Of course, long-term use can lead to bodily damage, pain, damaged ribs, and respiratory problems. They will then be primed for top surgery (double mastectomy) to remove their breasts and bottom surgery to create an artificial penis.
Why are girls so hateful of being female that they resort to such drastic measures? Until society seeks to answer this question, we will continue to see a generation of troubled girls regretful of changes that are irreversible.
We are already seeing a growing movement of de-transitioners, people who believed their transition would ease their pain, but are now filled with regret. They rightly question why their teenage whims were never challenged.
As a community, we mustn’t shy away from these discussions. Many Muslims are scared to speak publicly about these issues because of a fear of being labelled ‘homophobic’ or ‘transphobic’. This is an understandable fear.
But the problem is, you will always be labelled, unless and until you adopt their ‘sexual dogmas’. There is a ‘fundamentalist’ section of secular-liberal society that will not be happy until we accept and celebrate ‘LGBTQ+’ identities. The modern liberal orthodoxies that they propagate, are founded on irrationality devoid of any evidential basis.
If we remain silent, where will this leave our children?
We need to ask ourselves, what the likely consequences are for our children and their children, if we do not speak up.
When we speak to our children, we must understand and teach them the following:
- Same-sex sexual relationships are a major sin, upon which there is a binding scholarly consensus based on definitive legal texts from the Qur’ān and Prophetic Sunnah.
- No desire or behaviour defines who a person is. Every desire is combatable and every behaviour is changeable.
- The mercy of Allah (subḥānahu wa ta’āla) towards His servant who seeks forgiveness is limitless. The doors of tawbah (repentance) are always open. It is a means of cutting through the normalisation of sin.
- We must reject identity labels that represent sinful lifestyles.
- We oppose ideas, lifestyles, and behaviours – not people. We must not engage in childish name-calling or seek to engage in personal attacks against people whose choices we disagree with. We need to depersonalise the discussion.
- We look upon others as the fellow creation of Allah. We do not premise our kindness and compassion based on the labels they choose to identity with. If someone is homeless and hungry, we don’t ask whether he identifies as ‘atheist’ or ‘gay’; we give him food and good conduct. If someone is drowning in a river, we don’t condition our help on their core beliefs. It is entirely possible to separate and reject the way someone lives from the person living it.
- We are told that academic scrutiny of ideas is fair game in a liberal society. In that case, we should be afforded the same right to question the premise that underpins ‘sexuality’ and ‘gender identity’.
- We cannot accept any lifestyle choice that contravenes Islam. That means taking part in ‘LGBTQ+’ flag-raising ceremonies, Pride marches, or to be indifferent to these lifestyles, because that is is inimical to Islam.
- People have different world-views that lead to different values positions. We need to interrogate their positions, question their premise, and recognise that their views are not universal, even if 99.9% of people hold onto them.
- Allah created us for a higher purpose than the fulfilment of temporary and fleeting desires. Our foundation is built upon objective truths that speak to the majesty of our Creator. The existence of Allah is confirmed and affirmed through the signs, design, and complexity around us. His message was divinely revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and its authenticity is objectively established. His revelation was sent as guidance to mankind, a criterion for good and bad, right and wrong.
- For Muslims, whatever Allah defines as good is good, whether we can rationalise it or not. Whatever He legislated as bad is bad, even if the only reason for it is, He said so. Allah knows what is best for His servants.
- Humans are singularly incapable of defining good vs. bad actions, because they are subject to bias, to self-interest. They are shaped by the morality of their age, and in a capitalistic society, subject to vested interests and lobbies.
- Humans are unable to understand the negative, long-term impact of short-term laws. A right is afforded to some, that takes away the rights of others. Who is overseeing the impact of this legislative short-termism? The answer is no-one.
Being loved and accepted
Our children must know that they are loved and accepted.
The Muslim family home, in this age of confusion and the fast pace of change, must be the loving sanctuary in which love is visibly shown, through saying and showing it, and practically living Islam though modelling behaviours and teaching what Allah (subḥānahu wa ta’āla) revealed, and that which His Messenger (ﷺ) modelled.
In the coming articles, many of these complex ideas will be broken down to support Muslim parents to meet these challenges head-on.
If you have any questions you’d like answered in future articles, please include them in the comments section below.
- ‘LGBTQ+’ History Month: Key messages for parents
- 5 ways YOU can fight back against school ‘LGBTQ+’ agendas
- It’s time to respond to statutory relationships & sex education
Many thanks for your comment and from what I understood to be perhaps a modern Christian reference point?
It is important to note here, since we are on the topic of references, to clarify that this article is centring itself on the pillars of Islamic jurisprudence (Islamic divine law): these are the Quran and the Sunnah (sayings and actions of the prophet Mohammed peace be upon him as recorded and understood by his companions/followers).
If a Muslim deviates from Islamic divine law, whether intentionally or accidentally, it does not automatically take them outside the fold of Islam. In fact, since Muslims believe in God’s forgiveness, it is actually quite difficult to fall outside the fold so to speak. Therefore, you can have sinful Muslims, ignorant Muslims, biased Muslims; but they are all still Muslims! Ergo, it’d be irresponsible to assume that any public statement made by a Muslim originate from Islamic divine law; always examine the source.
I don’t pretend to know Mr H Yusuf thought process. It could be due to his lack of understanding of the nuances of the particular matter, a personal bias, or even a political agenda (you mentioned he is an SNP candidate; what would his election chances be if he was labelled “homophobic”?). It could also be his personal genuine belief, but that does not make it divine Islamic law.
It is interestingly that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has received considerable “revision” in Christian theology to catch up with “modern scholarship”. Since this is isn’t the main topic of my comment, I shall reference this academic article for your perusal: https://www.str.org/w/what-was-the-sin-of-sodom-and-gomorrah-1
In contrast to Christianity’s “fluidity” on the topic; I’d like to contrast Quran’s very clear statements about why Sodom was destroyed: Why do you ‘men’ lust after fellow men (21:165). And ‘remember’ when Lot scolded ‘the men of’ his people. ‘saying,’ “Do you commit a shameful deed that no man has ever done before? You lust after men rather than women! You transgress all bounds!’ (7:80-81). I’d encourage you and all readers to read both Quranic chapters in full (www.Quran.com), since they detail why several past nations were destroyed for particular sins that became a “norm” for their time.
Whilst on the topic of Sodom, it is interesting here to bring to your attention a point eloquently put by the author: despite the severe punishment landed on Sodom, nowhere in the Quran did God label Sodom’s inhabitants as “homosexuals” – the inhabitants were punished for a behaviour, not an identity. A behaviour they chose to pursue with free will.
The point you raise about the rise in fornication and adultery is a very pertinent one indeed and was prophesied by the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) long ago; but Islam makes it very clear that what is “moral” does not change with time. True followers of Islamic divine law will always take an equally grim view on fornication, adultery, alcohol consumption, etc. However, just like crimes are punished by authorities and not vigilantes, it is important to make it clear here that sins are punishable by God and not by the bearded “Mozlem” next door. So whilst Muslims may deem all the above as sinful behaviours, it does not preclude treating individuals with fairness.
This response is getting drawn-out so I will conclude with this: you mentioned that homosexuals do not harm anyone else with their sexual practice and that society has changed a lot since the 1700s and 1800s. Using these two (harmlessness and modernity) as your criterion for morality: in ten or twenty years’ time, Stacey, would you entertain the idea that bestiality and consenting incest could be treated as morally OK? Or would you consider the Islamic divine view law that: morality does not change with time or human perception of harm (what about spiritual harm)?
I hope you find some food for thought in my response. I did not mean for any of it to be in any way demeaning but would understand that you may disagree with some or all of it; and that’s OK to agree to disagree!
I don’t argue with what you have put in response as they are valid points that you make and your are correct that Muslims are Muslims whether they are ignorant, biased or sinful … The same can be said for any religion as there are bad Christians, good Christians, sinful Christians, uncharitable Christians, but they still fall into the category of being Christians and there are fanatics among Christians and in other religions as not everyone is the same of course.
The Islamic divine is that moality does not change with time as what is immoral stays that way as its called haram and what is good of course is halal … The view of homosexuality is deemed immoral in the Bible as its seen as a sin against God and of course the Bible cannot be rewritten to suit others who think that its not sinful and the Qur’an cannot be rewritten to suit others who think something within the Qur’an needs to be updated because times are different to when it was written, so what is immoral stays immoral. If immorality is allowed to happen of course it will give rise to many bad things such as incestuous relationships and even bestiality, so there has to be a moral ground in society that there are things that are never to be done.
I do understand that homosexuality is a sin against God and in the 1700s homosexuality was called sodomy of course and it when a person went on trial for it the newspapers of that time described it as an “unnatural crime” and if found guilty a person was either hanged or put in a pillory for public humiliation such as the De Vere Street Coterie in 1810 when it was hoped that by publicly humiliating those who did sodomy would deter people from doing it.
Today for people to be gay then its presented as something normal as gone are the days in the UK when they are hanged or put in a pillory to be humiliated and there are gay singers, actors, writers, TV presenters and so on because they are accepted in society today and so attitudes have changed since the 1700s and 1800s as gay people are accepted in society. I doubt there are people who just decided one morning to get out of bed and say from now on I am a gay person as its not a choice as I do think that there is a neurological factor in them becoming gay … A gay person cannot ever be attracted to a person of the opposite sex as it cannot happen or be made to happen … As a straight female I cannot imagine waking up one morning and thinking I am going to be a gay person and be after women as its something that could not happen, so there must be a neurological problem with gay people to make them gay and its not a choice they chose to be gay and I don’t think its because of genes that cause them to be that way.
There is a time when we die of course and we are to stand judgement for our sins and if being gay is a sin then God will punish those who sin by homosexual activities, but Christians do not so much think of the life hereafter as Muslims do … There are millions of Christians that don’t even pray or go to church and they go even against the Ten Commandments as they are bad Christians and they don’t care what happens to the soul once dead, but Muslims do think of what happens when life ends in this world as God is all seeing and all knowing as nothing can be hidden from Allah.
I think its wrong that children today are brought up to even question their gender and they get confused by so many public figures who have many different genders that are seen as normal today when there are just two genders and that is a male and female and they are to reproduce as that’s what their bits are for to make the next generation, but children are brought up with public figures influencing how they think about their own gender and that is wrong as it causes confusion and so teenage boys and girls start to question their gender because of trans gender people want acceptance because of it being normal, so its normalized in the media and that’s not good at all for young impressionable children.
It maybe immoral for people to be gay but there has to be some acceptance that its out of their control that it happens as its not just human behaviour as its like their brain is wired that way to be attracted to the same sex, so that needs to be given understanding by people than condemnation for being that way. There are Shia Muslims who have a mu’tah to have sex with a woman who is not their wife and to Sunni Muslims this is wrong and there is an Sunni Islamic preacher in Birmingham who says on YouTube that a mu’tah is halal not haram, but Sunni Muslims would disagree with him, but he tries to change the attitude towards something that Sunni Muslims regard as haram … So there are many people who want to change attitudes in this life for others when its immoral or its not permissible, but the Qur’an cannot be changed and the Bible as they instructions on how to live a healthy lifestyle and to steer clear of sin, but of course a human without sin is hard to find as we’re not all born to be the next Mother Theresa as a saint among the sinners of this world.
What you put is something I wholly agree with and of course its Ok to agree to disagree because opinions are good when both are respected as then you can see the two side of a coin than thinking there is only the one you see, so thank you for taking the time to reply and you have enlightened me on the matter by making me think of it all from a different perspective and that’s what is good about what you put as it makes sense to agree to it than disagree. So for that thank you.