Answers to Frequently Asked Questions by Muslim Youth about LGBTQ Issues |

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions by Muslim Youth about LGBTQ Issues

Muslims across the U.S. and Canada are struggling to deal with the onslaught of LGBTQ+ discourse. Community activities and publicity campaigns have been especially vigorous during June, also known as Pride Month. Businesses are spending billions of dollars to jump on the pride bandwagon and it is hard to avoid these visible displays of support. Many public school systems are hosting book readings and discussion circles, exposing children even at the elementary school level to sexually-oriented material. Parents are scrambling to insulate their children from age-inappropriate visuals and exert their faith-based opposition to these alternative lifestyles. And in the mix of it all, Muslim youth are caught in the crossfire,  questioning Islamic guidance on the matter, and trying to figure out what’s the big deal about.

Obviously, we need to do more to educate ourselves and those around us, to enjoin good and forbid evil.

Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi has taken to the minbar to do just that. He delivered a khutbah on June 2, 2023, titled: Why Muslims Shouldn’t Celebrate Pride Month. It is vitally important for parents to get more information and prepare themselves to advocate for and speak to our children about these issues. And it helps to know where their heads are at first. There are five questions that Shaykh Yasir frequently hears from Muslim youth about LGBTQ+ matters. His responses to them are summarized below.

Q: What does Islam say about the matter of homosexuality?

The Islamic verdict on the matter of homosexuality is explicitly articulated in the Quran. References are made to the people of Lut in more than a dozen surahs. The deed of sexual intercourse between members of the same sex is referred to as a fashah, a deed to be ashamed of. There is mention of consensual intercourse permeating the entire society, a first in the history of humankind.

In 1400+ years since the Quran was revealed, there has never been disagreement among scholars in the ruling that homosexuality is haram. In fact, there is a unanimous consensus or ijmah on the matter. This is a binding ruling of the highest form with the Quran, the words of Allah, our primary source.

It is important to mention that Islam is not prudish when it comes to sex. Quite the contrary, our deen regards sexual intercourse as a blessing to be enjoyed between a married man and woman. Herein lies another important caveat and that is the matter of marriage. In Islam, sexual acts - even of a consensual nature between a man and woman - are forbidden outside of marriage. These acts are viewed as destructive to both marriage and healthy family relations. It is consistent to classify sexual acts between members of the same sex, who lie outside of the institution of marriage, to be destructive as well.

From additional angles - biological, historical, medical, scientific, and traditional - there is evidence that suggests homosexuality is an abomination. Even so, for Muslims, our position is very clearly faith-based. No other sin has been criticized in the same manner in Islamic guidance. Adjectives used to describe these acts in the Quran and Sunnah include: 

Kabaith - a filthy deed (Surah Al-Ambiya)

Munkar - rejected, not normal, evil (Surah Al-Imran)

Israf - beyond the bonds, unnecessary, harmful (Surah Al-Arafaf)

In the story of Prophet Lut, peace be upon him, we learn that the punishment for this major sin drew warning and, ultimately the most severe wrath, the highest form of punishment. The cities and Sodom and Gomorrah and the people within them were destroyed, literally flipped upside down.

Q: Why do we care about private activities?

According to Shaykh Yasir, is a great question and it contains in it a hint of truth. Private matters should stay private, particularly when it comes to the matter of sins. There is no question that all humans sin. For the Muslim, our very purpose in life is keyed to discerning between right and wrong, good and evil. And while our guidance is derived from the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, we are not encouraged to be most concerned about ourselves, not to spy, to knock down doors, to root out and exploit the sins of others. These matters are considered personal, between a servant and their Lord.

However, we are well beyond the time when matters of homosexuality were private affairs. Now there is an explosion of attention to sexual relations between men and men, women and women, in describing gender fluidity, transgender transitions, and more. When the private sin becomes a public spectacle, is mainstreamed, is celebrated and normalized, it becomes necessary to educate and preach against it. In doing so, we are teaching those who engage in wrongdoing, those who support it, and warning society about the inherent danger that lies within.

Q: Why are scholars obsessed with this topic? Why not focus your attention on bigger issues like rasicm, social injustice, poverty, etc.?

There are many societal issues that are unjust. And all of them warrant attention. The matter of morality and sexuality are essential to the fabric of the family and, hence, the society. Those who pose this argument are utilizing a logical fallacy to divert attention away from the matter at hand. This argumentative practice is referred to as what-about-ism. It would be the same as if a father questioned his teen son about a failing grade in chemistry and the son, rather than answering the question, asked why do you have a mortgage with interest? The two have no connection.

Q: Why are you preaching hatred? Why are you so angry?

This is another tactic to try to change the subject. Immorality is an action that involves sexual lust outside of marriage. Feelings of sexual attraction to a member of the same sex is not a sin in and of itself. Acting on it, however, is the sin. Passionately conveying the truth is not preaching hatred. It is based on care and concern for others - the sinner, those who can be easily influenced, and our society. There are Muslims who are fighting these urges and seeking assistance. We need to embrace and support them with open arms.

Q: The LGBTQ community has been at the forefront of supporting Muslim rights. Why can’t you return the favor?

Members of the LGBTQ+ community have been involved in issues of social justice for decades. They have advocated for women’s rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, matters impacting the disabled, the poor, and more. And Muslims have joined them in these efforts. Gays and lesbians have also joined forces to challenge the Muslim ban and Islamophobia. That is because it is possible to coalesce and build coalitions to advance causes that are just and fair.

But just because it was easy and profitable to gain support for a cause, there is no required quid pro quo, no tit-for-tat that requires us to facilitate evil. No Muslim should feel compelled or pressured to advocate for a matter that is unequivocally against the Islamic shariah. Doing so would be a sin of a high magnitude.

Islam is a religion that advances purity and wholesomeness, of modesty and shyness. There are Muslims in positions of high visibility - politicians, entertainers and actors, journalists, and more - who have come out to suggest that there is room for a favorable interpretation related to homosexuality in our religion. This is not true. And if that is the price they have paid for being held in high esteem by a heedless society, they are putting themselves in a dangerous position. A position which may, in fact, lead to kufr, publicly disobeying our guidance, and at worst  disbelief. And the warning to those who are listening is - don’t take your religion from those who don’t know.

There is guidance in Surah Al-Maida that is pertinent here:

 (O Messenger!) Say to them: The bad things and the good things are not equal, even though the abundance of the bad things might make you pleased with them. Men of understanding, beware of disobeying Allah; then maybe you will attain true success.

(Surah Al-Maida, 5:100)

Our measure of success in this life is all about heading the guidance that Allah so mercifully provides. We cannot be fearful of cancellation culture, of being banned for preaching morality. We must speak the truth and hope that others will listen. And make duaa that we will not be sullied by a repeat of history, of experiencing the wrath of Allah for the collective and widespread wrongdoing, inshaAllah.

The full khutbah by Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi can be viewed online at Why Muslims Shouldn't Celebrate Pride Month.

Zahirah Lynn Eppard is the managing editor of the Muslim Home parenting newsletter project. As Sound Vision’s Director of Religious Education, she has also spearheaded the production of more than 400 online classes serving children ages 3-12 in the Adam’s World and Colors of Islam Clubs. Eppard has also worked in the field of education as a teacher, homeschooler, and Islamic school principal, as a marital and crisis intervention counselor, and as a lobbyist, and social justice activist. She lives with her husband, children, and grandchildren in Maryland.

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