By Shamshad Elahee Ansari
July 6, 2009
That Islam is complete opposed to homosexuality cannot be doubted if one reads the scripture even casually.
There are only a few Prophets, whose names are mentioned in the Quran, who asked Allah to bring destruction upon their own people in connection with homosexuality, or more particularly to punish people for what was considered a heinous sin and crime. To name a few, these are Propeht Hud, Prophet Salih and Prophet Lot (Lut).
The story of Prophet Lot can be related to homosexuality in particular. Prophet Lot was a nephew of Prophet Abraham who went to Sodom City (Sadum) which was on the western shore of Dead Sea (Palestine). The inhabitants of the city Sodom were known for their open, widespread homosexuality. The word Sodomy is derived from that place. Prophet Lot strived hard with the people of Sodom and preached them to stop this and advised to have sex with their legitimate wives only. Surah 26:160-171,66:10,29:29,15:51-77,26:172-175 could be referred to for all these details where Prophet Lot is trying hard to deal with this problem and finally, when three angels came to see him, as they were most beautiful human beings (this news was spread by Prophet Lot’s wife in the city) and people of Sodom went to Prophet Lot’s house to see them and wanted to have sex with them. They continued to persuade Prophet Lot to allow them to see these three guests and even broke open the door of Prophet Lot’s house.
Seeing the pandemonium inside the house, these angels intervened and said ‘Do not be anxious or frightened, Lot, for we are angels, and these people will not harm you’. On hearing these words, the mob fled and later the whole city was destroyed by a severe earthquake with the rain of stones. Only Prophet Lot and a few of his family members survived, his wife was also killed since she was a disbeliever. She is the second such woman after Prophet Noah’s wife who perished under the wrath of Allah.
This story from the Quran is the testimony that homosexuality has been a part of human civilization in all ages. From the time of Prophet Lot to the Greek empire as Alexandra the great was said to be a homosexual, to Roman Empire which indeed institutionalized homosexuality, through all of the medieval period to our present time, homosexuality has existed in human societies.
Religion has been fighting against it, keeping in view the contemporary social norms. Judaism, Christianity has been exhorting people to abandon it but have failed to make any impact.
Saudi Arabia presents a glaring example. Despite capital punishment for homosexuality in Saudi Arabia, this bastion of pure Islam – as Wahhabis think their Islam is - cannot remove this problem. Gay marriages are taking place in Saudi Arabia. Police raided such a marriage in March 2005 and beheaded the Gay couple in the northern town of Arar.
I personally heard a rather pathetic story from an Egyptian doctor who was serving in Saudi Arabia a few years ago. His son was sodomized by some Saudis. The doctor lodged a policereport, only to invite new kinds of trouble. His house was hounded by visitors in unknown cars; stone pelting started, and soon he was named in a hospital conspiracy and arrested by the police. Incidentally, the Egyptian Doctor was from an influential family of Egypt. His brother was in Foreign Service and he intervened in this matter through diplomatic channels. In such a diplomatic meeting, a Saudi diplomat asked: “why are you making it an issue? Ask the Doctor to withdraw his case of sodomy. Is there anyone sitting here who has not faced such a problem in his childhood?”
The Saudi diplomat’s statement is a pointer to the state of affairs in the Saudi society. Mind it, these people were diplomats. One can imagine the state of affairs with the common man. Later, the doctor had to leave the country.
In other words, Saudi Arabia, the birth place of Islam, has not been able to solve this problem, despite the strictest injunction in the holy Quran through stories of Prophet Lot, and despite harshest legal punishment (death) awarded by Saudi authorities. Homosexuality is rampant in Saudi society and is increasing day by day.
The same is true of all Middle Eastern societies, including Iran. It is important to write about Homosexuality in Afghanistan. Kandahar, the mainland of Taliban is considered to be a heaven for beautiful boys whom Pashtun calls ‘Ashna’ or ‘Halekon’. These young boys are between 12 and 16 years of age. We have all heard and read poems praising the beauty of women, but Pashtun poetry glorifies the beauty of boys. The famous poet Syed Abdul Khaliq Agha who died recently, says in his poem "Kandahar has beautiful halekon," the poem goes: "They have black eyes and white cheeks." According to some study, about 18% to 45% of Kandhar’s men are engaged in homosexual sex which is significantly higher than 3% to 7% Americans who identify themselves as homosexuals. During Taliban Regime in Afghanistan, homosexuality was dealt with an iron hand and many were put to the brutal death as accused were put to death under a falling wall. Many Taliban Commanders too were reported to have hidden Halekons. There are other sociological factors which cause the higher rate of homosexuality amongst Afghan society as it’s a closed society where men and women hardly get a chance to meet each other. The same is true of the entire Middle East and more or less the Muslim community wherever they exist (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia etc) compelling people to take the so-called unnatural path. Maulanas are particularly worried about the state of affairs in the madrasas. If homosexuality is legalised, they fear, it may become almost impossible to check this “disease” from spreading further.
Clearly, both secular and religious societies have tried to control the practice of homosexuality but failed. It is time now for them to come to terms with ground reality and accept the demand for legalisation of this widespread practice. Though science is still not very clear about its genetic roots, given its spread across the length and breadth of the world spanning all secular and religious societies, it should be accepted as coming to human beings as a natural “affliction.” If so, both secular and religious societies should try and come to terms with it.
Islam is better placed than all other religions to come to terms with continuing or changing ground realities. It has the institution of ijtihad (rethinking, reform), as a part of its orthodox practice. It’s time Muslims decided to open the closed gates of Ijtihad and discussed and changed the laws regarding homosexuality, among a whole host of other things.
Shamshad Elahee Ansari is an independent writer based in Dubai, U.A.E.
© Copyright 2008-2009 www.NewAgeIslam.com
We need to look at this issue in different situations. Sometimes it is not possible to provide separate schools for boys and girls in many places because education and literacy may not be a priority in such places, or population is too less for starting separate schools which means separate establishments and the cost of having separate establishments may be a deterrent factor.However along with religion, education and literacy especially among the Muslim Men and Women should become a priority agenda not only for parents but for the community itself.We find that many of the problems faced by the Muslim Women are because of a lack of knowledge of how to go forward in life, to handle situations, to solve issues, and thereby being exploited and with a low self esteem. Well this I say from the majority of the population where the girl child is brought up in seclusion and protection and is denied access to meeting people, interacting until her marriage.I believe strongly that parenting is an important factor of a child’s life and once this is in place and we are not over protective or fanatically steadfast about some ideologies then the child has a happy childhood and the formative years make a child stable and ready to face many a circumstance in the future.It is also to do with parents as role models and how the child views them in the formative years of a childs upbringing. For this, other than the peace and harmony among the parents, it is also necessary that parents keep channels open for children to discuss and talk all their doubts, fears and consternations in life which they come across everyday.
Mixing with cousins, meeting people and interacting, reading relevant books commensurate with the age, going out more often with parents to places of interest, involving in activities like summer camps etc and meeting other children with similar interests all help a child to develop an individuality and also for the parent to understand the nature, aptitude and attitude of the child.Instead of chiding the child about certain happenings, it is necessary that the parent makes a note of happenings and see the frequency of repetition so that they are then able to take the issue in hand and tackle it diplomatically and with reasoning.Coming to schooling, it is not uncommon that parents are ready to blame when something goes wrong. Whether it is teaching, disciplining, attitude or any matter - It is primarily a blame game and parents usually think that once the child has been admitted and a fat fee has been paid their responsibility is over.. But it is very necessary that parenting extends in the school where the child and the teacher are aware of the parent’s involvement and care of their child. A lot of issues are thus avoided. It helps the parent to assess the atmosphere in which the child is growing and how to handle issues of the childs friends without being too fastidious of who the other child is. Very often we have blocks in our mind which the child does not have. And it is these blocks which cause prejudice and differences within us. By projecting these we are teaching our own child bias - rich/poor, fair/dark. clever/dull, etc etc.. Again it is also necessary that children are not stressed about performing.Now coming to the question of co-ed schools - if parents can be monitoring their child in school as I have mentioned and have a good built in relationship then they would be able to keep channels open with communication with their child, they would then be able to understand the school management, other classmates, parents of class mates, teachers. This applies to any parent and any child and not necessarily uslims alone.
So whichever the school it is the trust a parent builds with their child which will pave the way for a comfortable schooling atmosphere for the child wherever they be.
The problem among the muslim children is the question of segregation. This in itself can have a lot of side effects where the child is not allowed to inter mingle with the opposite sex. While girls have to go to a higher extent in maintaining this, the boys are allowed some amount of freedom – they are given more freedom to go out with friends, and this exposure itself is enough most often. Do we realise because the parents word is final we do not even listen to the little voices - and very often do not hear about many of their issues including abuse and sexual abuse. I have come across a minimum of about 7 cases of incest in Muslim families and no one has known how to handle the situation – and thus the child was continuing to be harassed to protect identity, family name etc etc.. If you look deeper it is the segregation or the upbringing of the adult who is the offender and the root of the problem.
I dont know how many here are aware of the problems of extreme segregation which occurs due to our way of upbringing. There are schools - and I would not like to mention the names of these schools - because it is not the school to blame. But due to the segregation and no modulation by parents or their non flexible nature, children in the exploratory age of growth can get into homosexuality - both among boys and girls - in hostels and schools.. THis is not natural but due to circumstances because a child needs attention, care, touch and love gives into this convoluted love under the given circumstances.
Therefore once again I reiterate that parents should give their children more freedom of speech and freedom of movement.. We are exposed to many developments today and the children are too. You cannot be the only parent who does not send her child to a neighbours birthday party. The child has to know good and bad, right and wrong and no one but a parent can take this up. To attain this flexibility and give it within limits it is good to set up professional counsellors who can guide with parenting.
Schools on the other hand - whether segregated or co-ed require really professionally trained staffing who are balanced and experienced in handling different children in different ages and concerning their different problems at this time.It is also to do with the ratio of teacher to child.But most often we compromise on quality and therefore face the breakdowns we do.. Sometimes even the interference of management in school functioning dilutes many issues which can otherwise be run professionally.
Ultimately education should be treated as a speciality and a necessity for the community. Not something which we find fault with the system or use it just as a stop gap arrangement till a girl attains puberty or finds a match. If it should be given the seriousness of a long standing goal of “making an effective person”, then involvement of the parent will be complete. No one can do that better than a parent.
The more controlled a child, the more rebellious they become. It is best to give a child a conducive atmosphere and normal growing conditions. Otherwise a child tends to question, explore and experiment without guidance.
assalamu alaikkum, if it not all possible to establish a seperate educational institution for girls, then we can think of co eduation in muslim institutions as a last resort.having resources at our disposal and without using them, just opt for co educataion in muslim institution for charm and lusture, it is a not only a mistake but a sin for which they will be accounted for in the hereafter. at the same time others sould try to understand the difficulties and compulsion under which it is decided to open a co eduction classes and try to sort their problem with negotiation and pursuation. vassalamtmark khalid
Please let me have your views about co-education in Muslim institutions.VMK
Does it mean that all those who are gay need to be hanged? Would it not mean all minority views and culture should be nipped in the bud as practiced by Hitler against Jews and the present day Sangh Parivar and Talibans who would not brook any deviation from their understanding of what is good and bad? The connotation of such prescriptions by flaunting religion would have far reaching consequences .These actions against minority habits could be sited as precedents in the future by any majority formation to root out minority opinion.All people whether belonging to a religion or an atheist, heterosexual or homosexual or any other deviant tradition form has a right to exist in a plural society. People can be persuaded by parallel educative programmes of respective ideologies and dissuaded in following relatively deviant paths, but cannot be forced into following any one particular path.Kasim
Dear Asgar Saheb Your statistics that 1% of Muslims may be gay and that it does not matter when compared to the percentage of poverty amongst Muslims is not free of danger. One drop of poison will spoil a potful of milk. This one percentage will slowly improve and lead to the repetition of history of Quome-Looth (Aly). Therefore this evil practice should be knitted in the bud.
Oh! My God...asghar! How can a human being speak so thoughtlessly about another human being...i'm appalled and speechless! Zohra
I think poverty and education deserve more importance than writing on homosexuality. 90% of Muslims are poor but hardly 1% of Muslims may be gay. So why give it so much importance? Let the homosexuals die with AIDS and go to hell. Asghar
Delhi High Court has only removed the co-habitation of any two consenting individuals, irrespective of what sex they belong,from the danger being held to ransom by some corrupt police personnel due to a legal ambiguity.What is the problem in this as far as the two individuals do not cause any physical harm or infringe on any of their fundamental rights?
It is very dangerous to seek the help of lumpen elements like Muthallick of the Sangh parivar conveniently and blame the same goons when such fascist forces endanger the peaceful secular fabric.Secularism is entwined in tolerance with different points of view and different evolving cultural forms and systems.It cannot be matter of convenience to demand unity for a very questionable cause and at the same time raise a hue and cry against victimisation of minorities which is endorsed by the dangerous Frankenstein monsters.
I am sure better sense will prevail.
I think poverty and education deserve more importance than writing on homosexuality. 90%
of muslims are poor but hardly 1% of Muslims may be gay. So why give it so much
importance? Let the homosexuals die with AIDS and go to hell. Asghar
Delhi High Court has only removed the co-habitation of any two consenting
individuals,irrespective of what sex they belong,from the danger being held to ransom by
some corrupt police personnel due to a legal ambiguity.What is the problem in this as far as
the two individuals do not cause any physical harm or infringe on any of their fundamental
rights? It is very dangerous to seek the help of lumpen elements like Muthallick of the Sangh parivar
conveniently and blame the same goons when such fascist forces endanger the peaceful
secular fabric.Secularism is entwined in tolerance with different points of view and different
evolving cultural forms and systems.It cannot be matter of convenience to demand unity for a
very questionable cause and at the same time raise a hue and cry against victimisation of
minorities which is endorsed by the dangerous Frankenstein monsters. I am sure better sense will prevail. Kasim
Salams to everybody.
The nation is witnessing rabid moral degradation and the recent HC judgment on Gay sex has opened a pandora's box.
I think this is the greatest challenge we are facing today. There is a deep-rooted conspiracy to dismantle the family system and also spread the dreaded diseases like AIDS in the country.
Besides there is a pattern in these sinister moves. I remember, when an article on so called gay newspaper was published in a leading newspaper, the tone was more apologetic. Then with the advent of Globalisation in 1990s the scenario started changing slowly. Deepa Mehta's 'Fire' was released. It was also a calculated move to nurture public opinion and mute the 'shock value' over the issue. Newspapers and magazines started publishing articles, experiences, gory tales of gays and lesbians openly without any inhibition. The zeitgeist magazine section of The New Indian Express published from Chennai is at the forefront in glamourising perverted sex practices. This 'trend' spread its tentacles in Bollywood too. 'Fire' and similar films are offbeat films made for selective audiences. But 'Dostana' and other films come under mainstream film category and they involved big stars in the lead roles. And all these culminated into the open, blatant talk of legalising unnatural, perverted sex practises.
It is ironic that the socalled moral police bricade like Ram Sena, Muthalik, Bajrang Dal etc etc are silent over the issue.
The Congress, the BJP, the regional satraps and their parties, the communists are all in the same boat. They are sitting in the wall and refuse to take a clear stand in the vital issue.
With established 'scholars' like Amarthya Sen, Arundhati Roy etc supporting this perverted act, the responsiblity of saving the society from moral decay rests on Muslims.
Particularly, learned scholars of this forum are more responsible. It is high time the elders, thinkers, leaders of the Muslim society in Chennai take initiative and launch a mass awakening campaign. The country's moral fabric and family system is at stake.
We cannot remain isolated, actively engaged in this and that petty squabbles over whether this hadith is mursal or not and so on. We owe a moral responsibility. It is also one of the basic duty of all of us. Our peace activist and writer Faizur Rahman and Kasim Sait should take a leading role in this noble task.
Let us do something in this regard.
Here is an interesting article on the ongoing debate on legalising the sin of the peole of Prophet Lut(AS).
The URL of the article is http://ummid.com/news/July/27.07.2009/dead_sea_can_help_gov_take_a_decision_on_gay_sex.htm
It is deeply hurting me when I see that our scholar, intellectual like you intends to withdraw from the very important debate.
Dr. Farooq you are the asset of our people and you please take it as a challenge to put your point and defend the issue. Allah has blessed you with the Dr. level of education, so don’t you feel that defending the point of your people is or should be your commitment.
We know that there are systematic conspiracies working behind the scene to weaken us but that does not mean that for a simple reason of emotional hurt we withdraw. If every scholar does that then you know what we are heading for.
Islam has most humanitarian, highly civilized, polite, deeply social & extremely secular character It believes in peace. The only thing which matters is by whom and how it is being presented. Therefore being a scholar & intellectual you have to come forward to perform this job. A layman like me cannot do it; he can only practice it in his innocent way because he is born here.
Shabih H Zaki
from Dr. Mohammad O. Farooq to Sultan Shahin Editor@NewAgeIslam.comdate 12 July 2009 12:05subject Re: India’s syncretic Sufi Islam: Visiting Khawja Moinuddin Chishti’s Dargah at Ajmer, NewAgeIslam.Org - 09 Jul, 2009
May I request that I am removed from the mailing list of this newsletter? Quite clearly, there is clever agenda in the background to introduce homosexuality related discourse in the Muslim community. M. Farooq
The American Psycho logical Association states that sexual orientation "describes the pattern of sexual attraction, behavior and identity e.g. homosexual (aka gay, lesbian), bisexual and hetero sexual (aka straight)." "Sexual attraction, behavior and identity may be in congruent. For example, sexual attraction and/or behavior may not necessarily be consistent with identity. Some individuals may identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual without having had any sexual experience. Others have had homosexual experiences but do not consider themselves to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Further, sexual orientation falls along a continuum. In other words, someone does not have to be exclusively homosexual or hetero sexual, but can feel varying degrees of both. Sexual orientation develops across a person's lifetime-different people realize at different points in their lives that they are hetero sexual, bisexual or homosexual
The sex orientation is a variant & a debatable issue. There are so many factors do influence and touch this phenomena. It can however be categorise in a most converging focal points as the religious and social significance of sex orientation.
Religious: No religion accepts the sex other than hetero sexual sex, as this is considered to be the only natural way of sex. This seems to be very sensible also since this is the only way of reproduction of humankind. The reproduction of human being will come to a stop if people on this planet choose other ways.
Social: Through the civilized cultures also homo sexuality is considered to be an immoral act, one would not appreciate if his/her son or daughter is involved in this. This existed over the period of times in the society, but this is a different issue like too many other ill events are taking place in our society every day.The animals who also have their natural biological urge of sex like human being do not choose the homo way.
Thank you Mr. Shams your article is widely informative and descriptive but at the religious and social focal points the significance is un changed. I am also equally impressed of the article written by Julianne who is coming from extremely liberal family, keep it up.
Shabih H Zaki
I grew up in an extremely liberal American home, was raised to be tolerant of all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, politics etc. But I find myself feeling strongly that the heterosexual way of life is the more natural, specially speaking.
If everyone were homosexual the human race would die out...
But since we have a portion of people who choose that different lifestyle, we should simply live and let live, for all human beings have something valid to contribute to the species as a whole.
It takes all kinds to make up an entire planet.