Are you against people who choose to embrace the “LGBTQ” lifestyle?
Not at all. “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256). We must respect the right for self-determination.
What is your stance on LGBTQ?
We do not identify with straight or gay labels. We do not identify with sexual identities. Islam only recognises the relationship of husband and wife. Islam does not ordain sexual identities (or sexual feelings). It only ordains marriage between a man and a woman. Different people have different desires.
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female (49:13)
It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her (7:189)
Are all Muslims meant to be “straight”?
Sexuality as an identity is a concept that was developed in the West between the 18th and 19th century. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are terms that were first used in the 19th century. We are not saying that before that time same-sex relationships did not exist. They did. However, they were considered as practices, as actions and not as an identity. Before that time, no one called themselves Gay or Straight. But people did engage in all forms of sexual relationships and practices.
This box that frames sexual practices as part of one’s essence; hetero-, homo-, or bi-sexuality or any other label, is a recent invention. It is an example of the paradigm of life, based on a self-centric lens. It is when the individual decides on reality, on what is right and what is wrong. For those who are God-centric, who their paradigm revolves around God, this box simply does not exist. It did not exist for anyone before the 19th century, and it certainly does not exist now for those who are God-centric. Therefore, as people of faith, we must step out of it.
So what sexual identity should we have?
Step out of the box. Neither “straight” or “gay” are identities.
Allah named you “Muslims” before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. (22:78)
With the only identity being Muslim, as a believer who has God-Centric lens as opposed to a self-centric one.
Heterosexual or “straight” attractions can be sinful. A man’s attraction to a woman who he is not married to, is not acceptable. Therefore, our identity must be that we seek to be God Centric Muslims.
Is sexuality a choice?
No, sexual feelings of attraction are not a choice. Sexual feelings are result of various factors (upbringing, environment, predisposition) which are for most individuals, outside of their control.
Is acting upon sexual feelings a choice?
Yes. An individual can choose whether to take the sexual feeling of attraction into an action. Take the individual who is married, but doesn’t act upon their feelings to people other than their spouse. Islam is clear that it is only the act that is forbidden, not the feeling or thoughts of attraction:
“Do you approach males among the worlds? And leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing” (26:165-6)
Why not embrace being gay?
There may be different reasons for Muslims not wanting to embrace the gay lifestyle
- A sense that the gay life isn’t an authentic, truthful identity for us
- A sense that the same sex lust is to do with unmet or underlying needs
- A general un-satisfaction with the gay life
- A desire to get married to the opposite sex and start a family
- It goes against their religious or spiritual belief
Should one have shame in having same sex lust?
No. There is no shame in experiencing same sex lust. Allah tests us all in this life. Many Muslims experience same sex lust. You are not alone.
Indeed, We have made that which is on the earth a beauty for it that We may test them [as to see] which of them are best in deed. 18:7
And We will surely test you until We make evident those who strive among you [for the cause of Allah] and the patient, and We will test your affairs. 47:31
Then, how do we address our same sex lust?
The famous Prophetic narration says “One who knows himself, knows his Lord”. Once we identify what thoughts and messages about ourselves are leading us to envy and lust, then we can start our work.