“The Islamic tradition has always acknowledged that some people may have homosexual impulses and this is not considered a sin in Islam. To act on these sexual impulses is considered a sin in Islam.
There is a difference of opinion among Muslim jurists whether this is a punishable crime or not. Muslims are not allowed to impose their beliefs on non-Muslims. As Muslims we must believe in equality and inclusiveness. People should not be discriminated for any reason. It is important to humanise people and not to dehumanise.” – Sheikh Umar Qadri
In the last few decades we’ve seen a major shift in the public opinion with regards to homosexuality. Tolerance and acceptance has shot up, from industries such as music, film, and sports, as well as the education system and the general public at large. Homosexuality has gone from being an action that one performs, to a form of identification and a culture, with the LGBT movement continuously gaining power and influence.
With Islam, which opposes homosexuality, also on the rise, and being the fastest growing religion in the world, there are a number of things that we must address. What is the story of Prophet Lut (Lot) in the Qur’an? How does this relate to the rise of homosexuality in the Western world today? What is our stance towards homosexuals and is Islam a homophobic religion?
Prophet Lut and his experiences with his people have been referred to in multiple places within the Qur’an, highlighting the importance of his story. Ibrahim (Abraham), heard of same-gender relations occurring in a faraway town, and so he sent Lut, who was his cousin, as an ambassador and preacher to the town.
The people of Lut weren’t just performing homosexual acts, but rather homosexual acts on both a public and large scale…
The story in the Qur’an begins with Prophet Lut asking his people “Do you engage in something that has never been performed before on the history of this earth?” One must ask, is the Qur’an stating a historical fact? That homosexual acts had never been performed by people on earth until that period of time? No, this isn’t the case. The people of Lut weren’t just performing homosexual acts, but rather homosexual acts on both a public and large scale, hence the Prophet posing his question.
The Prophet asked further, why do you cut off the line of nature? Why do you refuse to marry women? Years pass, and Prophet Lut continued to preach to a people that simply refused to listen and persisted performing public, indecent acts. Three angels, in the form of young, good looking men, were sent by Allah (God) to destroy this town, as was done to the people of ‘Aad, Irem and Saleh. When they came to Lut, telling him they were strangers, Lut took them to his house as guests. His wife betrayed him, climbed to the roof of the house and signalled to the whole town to come toward Lut and his guests. When the townspeople saw the young men, they became adamant on taking these men for themselves.
Lut attempted in every manner to convince these people to leave his guests alone, and to not embarrass him. Indeed, it reached the stage where to protect his guests, he even offered the townsmen his daughters to marry. As expected, the townspeople refused and attempted to take the men. At this point, the angels revealed their identities, and the town, which was located next to the Dead Sea, was destroyed.
The question now arises, how does this relate to the rise of homosexuality in the West? Let’s focus momentarily on the UK. In the UK, homosexuality was at one point seen as a mental illness, and then a criminal offence. However, as the numbers of homosexual acts increased, and the number of people committing these acts increased, along with their influence, laws were introduced which changed the game, most notably the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, which decriminalised homosexual acts between two consenting men in private.
Now, decades later, gay-marriage has become legal and commonly accepted within society. Homosexual practices in the time of Lut started off as acts of promiscuity. They were actions, there were no profiles. In the UK, homosexual acts were simply acts of promiscuity. Lut preached and told his people to stop, and as a response, their numbers increased and acts worsened. In the same way, homosexual acts were criminal offences in the UK, and when the Government told the people to not commit this act, their numbers and acts both increased and worsened.
Although this occurred around 3000 years ago, you’ll still see the same pattern in the West…
Suddenly, we notice that these people have a profile, they’re gay. It jumped from orientation, to being able to perform the act without punishment, and finally ended with “this person is homosexual”. The people of Lut went from being promiscuous to rebellious towards the religion of Ibrahim, and finally into an open rebellion. Although this occurred around 3000 years ago, you’ll still see the same pattern in the West: promiscuous acts, to rebellion to being told what to do, and finally forming a rebellious culture which is willing to fight what opposes it.
This is partly the reason for Christianity’s slow but sure demise in the West. Christians, mainly conservatives from the USA, openly preach hatred towards homosexuals, and polls have shown that this has pushed youth away from their religion. A survey finds that among those who say they left their childhood religion and now have no religious identity, nearly one in four (24%) say their church’s negative teachings or treatment of LGBT people was an important reason why they left.
The number of Americans who say they have a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian rose from 22% in 1993 to 65% today…
Many also have people close to them that are homosexual, which has pushed them to be defensive when facing criticisms of homosexuality. The number of Americans who say they have a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian rose from 22% in 1993 to 65% today. Again, millennials lead the way: 71% say they have a close friend or relative who is gay or lesbian.
So, what is our stance towards homosexuality? From the offset, there is no doubt that Islam opposes homosexual practices, and views them as immoral, indecent and inhumane. Allah destroying the people of Lut highlights just how opposed to homosexuality Islam is, and there is no doubt that we criticise it. However, does this make us homophobic? Not in the slightest. We do not dislike nor hate people that commit homosexual acts, we oppose the acts themselves.
For us, homosexuality is a sin, as is the consumption of alcohol, and pork, and yet the latter two are common practices in the West which are continuously criticised by us. We all make mistakes, and everybody has their own struggle. We love all people, we do not hate them; we hate sins. Not just homosexual practices, but also sins that we ourselves fall into, for as the commander of the faithful, Ali ibn Abi Talib said, “Nothing hurts the heart more than sin”. We love all people, and it’s because of that, that we oppose homosexuality. For if you truly love somebody, you will hate every dehumanising act or belief that harms that person.
We are all equal, and are all on the same journey. We must help one another, and love one another.
We live by the words of Ali ibn Abi Talib, who in a letter to his companion Malik al Ashtar writes, “Man is either your brother in faith or your equal in humanity”. If you go back to the story of Lut, notice how he even offers his own flesh and blood to keep his people away from sin. We are all equal, and are all on the same journey. We must help one another, and love one another.
When we reach the end of our path, and we arrive at the time of Judgement, Allah, Glory be to Him, will judge us according to what we have done. For when it comes down to it, we are ultimately, but beliefs and actions. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/26/homosexuality-opinion-survey/5828455/ Ibid. Al Kafi Nahjul Balagha