Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
As Muslims, what should be our attitude towards homosexuals? Are we allowed to associate with them? How should we view the gay marriage crisis? Jazakum Allahu Khairan
I pray this message finds you in good health and iman.
As Muslims, our attitude towards homosexuals is that they are our fellow human beings, albeit in a state of rebellion against their fitra, which is the primordial state of submission to Allah Most High that was given to every human being from the beginning of the creation of man. Allah Most High says, “When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): “Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?”- They said: “Yea! We do testify!” (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: “Of this we were never mindful.”
The Qur’an addresses homosexuality in several chapters, including Surat al-‘Araf (7:81-84), Surat Hud (11:77-83), Surat al-Hijr (15:57-75), Surat al-Shu’ara (26:160-174), Surat al-Naml (27:54-58), and Surat al-Ankabut (29:28-35).
For example, in Surat al-‘Araf, verses 80-81, Allah Most High says, “We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practise your lusts on men in preference to women : ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.”
According to Ibn Kathir’s tafsir (exegesis), the above verses show that homosexuality was unknown to humanity until the men of Prophet Lut’s tribe manifested this sin by approaching men instead of women. The Prophet, Lut, peace be upon him, went on to express his astonishment that the men of his tribe had forsaken their natural mates, females, to practice their lusts with males. The commentary goes on to describe this practice as ignorance and transgressing the limits.
Furthermore, as Muslims, we know that the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, provided us the best example of a human being in his Sunna, or living tradition. Allah Most High says about the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, “And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character.” The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, married women and exhorted his companions to marry women and warned them against trangressing beyond the limits of Allah Most High.
The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “May Allah curse him who does what Lot’s people did.” [Reliance of the Traveller, p17.2]
In a rigorously authenticated tradition, the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Whoever can promise me what is between their lips and what is between their thighs I will promise for them paradise.” [Muslim]
Guarding one’s sexuality from unlawful sexual intercourse is the duty of every Muslim. If it is unlawful for a man and woman to have sexual intercourse outside of marriage, then it is even more egregious for a man to approach another man, or a woman to approach another woman.
The purpose of life is to surrender ourselves to Allah Most High. Our desires must be in accordance with Sacred Law. We do not fashion law to follow our desires. Therefore, issues such as gay marriage, are completely antithetical to both the letter and the spirit of Sacred Law, which defines marriage as being between one and one woman. The only exception to this provision is the allowance for a man to marry up to four women, with the condition that he be able to treat them all equally.
As far as associating with homosexuals is concerned: As Muslims living in Western societies, we recognize that there is a need to interact with many different people. With the example of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, before us, we know that we are required to deal with people with justice, compassion, and dignity. We avoid insulting or abusing homosexuals. And we also exercise caution about who we take as close friends. The basis for close friendships in Islam is the existence of God-fearingness and righteousness. Thus, a Muslim is courteous in his dealings with non-Muslims, but also realizes that close companionships are reserved for those who are upright in their beliefs and character.