The intersection of LGBTQ and Islam: a sensitive and polarizing issue
Exploring the intersection between LGBTQ and the Islamic faith can be tricky and polarizing. While Muslims often view sexuality from a moral standpoint, those within the LGBTQ movement view Islamic teachings on sexuality as backward and in need of reform. They have claimed that any disagreement with the LGBTQ lifestyle amounts to discrimination against them as individuals. This raises an important question: how incompatible are these two lenses through which we perceive sexual orientation? It is essential to acknowledge each other’s perspectives before delving into this complex discussion so that meaningful understanding can take place.
To begin with, it is important to understand and clearly define terms such as human rights, justice, dignity, love and equality. All agree that these concepts are important and necessary for healthy societies. However, what these terms actually mean is different depending on who defines them. As will be noted later, these terms are general, but used in a very specific sense by the LGBTQ movement.
When approaching any subject, it is important to try to take a step back and look at it through the lens of the other perspective. Islam forbids homosexuality, but before quickly dismissing it, it would be more objective to re-examine the perspective and methods used by the LGBTQ community to define sexuality and identity.
Sexuality and Identity
Today, if a Muslim were to say that homosexuality is prohibited in Islam, it is immediately seen as an attack on the person’s identity and existence rather than the act. This is because, historically, sexual orientations were simply actions, not identities. Today, entire identities are built around sexual feelings and actions. For example, members of the LGBTQ community are often associated with being liberal, secular, and in most cases, Democrat. In the past, a sexual desire was just that, a desire, instead, today, entire identities are built on sexuality. This is because the LGTBQ movement has worked very hard to establish itself as a community. In doing so, disagreeing with their actions is often equated with being racist. In fact, there are many cases where the LGBTQ community is being misleadingly compared to communities that have suffered decades of racial inequality.
Islam’s view on sexuality compared to the LGBTQ movement
On the other hand, Muslims view sexuality through the lens of morality, while the LGBTQ movement portrays it as a matter of equality and rights. These two different approaches result in different views on the subject. That’s why the LGBTQ movement often falsely equates race, gender, and sexual identity. In the same way, they fuse desire, action and identity. This combination results in the problematic assumption that if one is against the act of homosexuality, one must also be against the people who practice it.
Furthermore, the LGBTQ movement is taking an extreme colonialist approach, in which there is immense cultural and political pressure on individuals, communities and countries to accept the LGBTQ movement and its goals. Any resistance to the movement is met with unfair accusations of being bigoted. The LGBTQ movement is quite dogmatic in forcing others to accept their understanding of sexuality. The transformation of desire into an identity of the movement became synonymous with the rejection of the very existence of the person, and hence the comparison with the denial of dignity and human rights. On the contrary, Islam does not classify people according to their desires or orientations, but rather according to their actions. One may have an orientation or desire, but Islam looks at people’s actions rather than their desires.
Sex and limits
Are there limits to what is sexually acceptable? Where are these boundaries drawn and who decides? Sex and the boundaries that surround it impact the way people view the world. Historically, even in America, there was a point where sex outside of marriage was considered wrong and immoral. This idea may seem silly today, but in the early and mid-20th century having sex outside of marriage was taboo and it was rare to find unmarried people living together. In the 1960s there was a “sexual revolution” that rejected Christianity. Christianity saw sex as a means to procreate and build families. Once religion was removed from the equation, there was no need to restrict sex to the family structure. This changed the stability of the nuclear family and there was a rapid increase in the number of children born out of wedlock and single parents. Sex was limited to a means of pleasure. Love, commitment and agreeing to start a family together no longer became a prerequisite for sex, it was just consent. This helped the rise of same-gender sex, if sex was no longer about building a family, then what is the difference between a man and a woman and two men or two women? However, this brings us to the question of limits.
If consent is all that is required, where does the LGBTQ community draw the lines for acceptable sexual practices? What if two consenting adults who are also siblings want to have sex? What about a father who wants to have sex with his adult daughter? One can immediately object and say that it is wrong or disgusting, but without a reference to what is wrong, such as God, then “wrong” will remain subjective forever. Similar arguments about “bad” or “disgusting” were made about homosexuality in the past, but over time they became accepted. So, on what grounds, other sexual acts, such as incest, will not be acceptable and normal in the future? In reality, every community, including LGBTQ, has limits on sexual behavior. The question is where is the line drawn? Since the line for sexuality must be drawn somewhere, Islam draws that line between a man and a woman in marriage.
The limits of the LGBTQ movement on sexual behavior
Not clearly defining these limits results in vague statements that are applied inconsistently. For example, any form of sexuality that the LGBTQ community considers good is considered progressive, while all others are wrong, backward, and evil. The LGBTQ movement and the West in general are promoting a liberal Western understanding of sexual boundaries. For example, they do not support polygamy, which Islam allows and was also practiced in the Old and New Testaments. Polygamy in Islam is a marriage between a man and up to four women, all of whom are consenting adults. However, Western countries ban polygamy and the LGBTQ community does not include it in their cause, because they have certain limits on what is “good” sexuality versus “backward” sexuality. The terms “love”, “equality” and “human rights” are limited to the types of sexual acts that the LGBTQ community promotes, and polygamous marriages are excluded. In other words, “love” and “equality” really mean that you must accept my definition of boundaries for acceptable sexual behaviors. If you don’t, you are against love and equality, and therefore you must be intolerant. However, this same term does not apply when talking about other forms of sexuality such as polygamy. This illustrates that while these terms are attractive to any reasonable person, they are used in a very specific sense that precludes other interpretations of sexuality.
islam about homosexuality
This brings us to the question of Islam and homosexuality. Islam does not view homosexuality as an identity. There is no term in Islam that is equivalent to homosexuality, but the term sodomy exists because it is an act, not an identity. Islam prohibits any sexual relationship outside of marriage, even between a man and a woman. This does not mean that Muslims are called to hate or judge the person, but they do judge the act. If someone cheats on his spouse, one will say that he is wrong, but if that person is good or bad, going to heaven or hell, he depends on God, the final judge. If one has feelings and desires towards someone of the opposite sex or the same sex, he is not supposed to act on it. One can object and say it’s oppressive, but again, every community, LGBTQ included, tells others that certain sexual desires are wrong. For example, pedophilia is considered wrong and anyone who has such a desire would not only be told not to act on it, if they did, but would be punished by the state. According to Islam, if someone has an illicit desire towards people of the same gender, or the opposite gender outside of marriage, the desire itself does not make him evil, but acting on it is a sin; however, the person is still a Muslim. Although Muslims absolutely must treat everyone with dignity and respect, this does not mean that everyone’s actions should be accepted and celebrated. Committing a sin does not remove one from the fold of Islam or make one unworthy of God’s love and compassion. God is the Most Forgiving and always accepts sincere repentance. Rather, denying that God is worthy of being worshiped and obeyed is what leads someone out of the fold of Islam.
How Islamic law protects the family unit
Ultimately, Islam offers a paradigm in which sexuality is closely tied to the nuclear family. The nuclear family is at the core of what makes a healthy society. One of the goals of Islamic law is to protect the family due to the many negative repercussions that societies face when the family unit is abandoned. The LGBTQ argument shifts the discussion from a moral one to one that is falsely framed around social justice, which is defined very subjectively. Islamic law seeks to build strong communities that have healthy families. Islam, therefore, is considered a way of life rather than a religion restricted to private acts of ritual worship. In this sense, God wants man to live a happy life in the true sense of the word, in which he puts God above everything, even his desires. You have more questions? Call 877-WhyIslam, you deserve to know!
To read more on this topic, check out this article on Islam and the LGBT issue.