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Hard to Say Good-Bye to Yesterday -Ruth Nasrullah

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Back in the mid 90s, when I was a newly single mom living a life that swung between elation at my freedom from an oppressive marriage and anxiety over what to make of that new life, I had a best friend named Janice. She was one of three women whom I considered my closest friends in the world. Two of them were single mothers and one was keeping her commitment to a loveless marriage for the sake of her daughter. We each had one daughter and I believe we each hoped to spare our daughters the messiness of our lives.

I have memories of good times with Janice. One year she and I and another of the moms went trick or treating together in the pouring rain. The six of us were crammed into my car and we stopped every few houses to let the kids out to do their thing. We took turns supervising the kids and we all ended up completely soaked but giddy with the adventure and the thought of all the candy to be had once we dried it out. Another time Janice was helping me move out of my apartment and I knocked over an entire canister of ground coffee. Being the caffeine addict that I was, I was obviously horrified. As I swept it up I started my own soulful version of Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.” Seeing that I hadn’t freaked out, our kids and then Janice joined me in an off-tune and melodramatic version of the song. It was hilarious.

That was life back then – I was not a practicing Muslim and life was both fun and bittersweet, full of laughs that kept us just from the edge of bitterness. We were all teetering on the edge – the edge of being broke, the edge of being lonely, the edge of really screwing up our kids, quite frankly.

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When I befriended Janice I was very close to the edge. We met in a shelter for battered women the police had sent me and my daughter to in a last ditch effort to keep us safe from my ex-husband. When we walked in the door of the shelter she was the first person I saw and I was immediately intimidated by her. She was a super-butch black woman with un-straightened hair and a spray of moles across her face.

And by butch, I do mean butch. About a year after we met, Janice said she needed to talk to me about something. She sat me down and I listened. “When I was 13 years old I realized…” I interrupted her and said, “That you’re gay?” She looked surprised, but I couldn’t understand why – it was obvious to me from the day I met her that she was a lesbian. So that was the end of that conversation and life carried on as before. Ultimately she moved to another state and our friendship slowly dissipated, as tended to happen in those pre-e-mail days.

A lot has changed since then. I didn’t practice Islam then. I do now, and my religion forbids homosexuality. That’s a part of my faith that I have to accept no matter what I believed in the past – in for a penny, in for a pound; in issues that are clear, you can’t change the religion to suit your opinions. Accepting things on faith is not always easy, however. One of the most obvious examples is wearing hijab – I’ve always known that it’s required, but it took me several years to get used to the idea.

Although I don’t have any gay friends now, I have to wonder how I would follow the mandates of my faith if I did – would I shun someone like Janice? I can’t imagine that I would, but the fact that there’s a question at all demonstrates a change, no matter how it plays out in my life. My religion sets me on a path away from the open acceptance of homosexuality I was raised with, but as with other things that have changed in my life, I know that I am only on the first step on that path. And although it’s sometimes a struggle to change my beliefs, that struggle does not represent weakness of faith, but rather demonstrates the strength of my faith in that I try to accept ideas I did not embrace before.

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39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Avatar

    dario

    March 19, 2008 at 1:21 PM

    I have to wonder how I would follow the mandates of my faith if I did – would I shun someone like Janice?…. but the fact that there’s a question at all demonstrates a change, no matter how it plays out in my life”

    If you shunned “someone like Janice”- ie: someone who is sinning according to the tenants of you religion, you would have to shun everyone on the face of the planet, including yourself. So no offense, but quite frankly I realy don’t understand the difficulty you’re facing here and think you’re really making this overly complicated. Just because you’re attitude towards a specific lifestyle or action changes (which as you indicate, you are trying to change your views) doesn’t mean your attitude towards a person has to change.

  2. Avatar

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    March 19, 2008 at 1:32 PM

    As salaamu ‘alaykum Sister Ruth,

    Jazzak Allaahu Khayr for this beautiful and thought provoking piece. Although I have a different life story than you, I related to almost every line of it…perhaps it’s a convert thing, perhaps it’s just a human thing.

    By the way, while I agree that we cannot pick and choose what to accept of the deen and it is a sign of our faith that it changes us I don’t think there’s any prohibition on having gay friends. I have gay friends and I have gay family members and to be honest shirk is a far worse sin than being gay. So if I have a gay Christian friend or family member, it should be more of a problem for me that he/she worships Jesus than that they’re gay. And to be honest, neither is a “problem” for maintaining a human relationship of decency and kindness and of familial love with them.

    By the way, I don’t think I am disagreeing with you here, but I think the point you make and the questions you raise are subtle and might be misunderstood easily as we see with dario above. I also think that many Muslims will try to convince me that what I’ve said above is incorrect and I welcome them to bring their proof and not their prejudices.

    Allaah knows best.

  3. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    March 19, 2008 at 1:35 PM

    Hi Dario. I cross-posted this on my Houston Chronicle blog and had both Christian and Muslim readers commenting on it. The Christian readers stressed acceptance of homosexuals even while believing homosexuality to be a sin. A Muslim reader wrote that he believed a Muslim’s responsibility is to try to guide a gay person to non-sinful behavior, and if they were unwilling to change, then not to associate with them. He used the story of Lut to demonstrate this.

    To me, the challenge in that viewpoint is: When do you determine that someone has become among those whom you wouldn’t associate with? I’m not sure where that line is drawn or if, as some Muslims say, you shouldn’t be friends with homosexuals at all, or on the other end of the spectrum, if it’s better to befriend them in hopes of changing their lifestyle.

  4. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    March 19, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    Walaikum asalaam, Abu Noor. We posted simultaneously, and I agree with you that I look forward to the range of viewpoints.

  5. Avatar

    Asad

    March 19, 2008 at 2:07 PM

    Ruth Nasrullah: “To me, the challenge in that viewpoint is: When do you determine that someone has become among those whom you wouldn’t associate with?”

    I’m not sure the question is about whether one can change anothers lifestyle or not. I think the questions is more about oneself. Remember, only Allah can change hearts and minds. Our job is to struggle in the way of Allah. If a muslim feels that the influence in such a relationship is flowing in the opposite direction of where it should be, that , I would think, would be the line in the sand.

    Sometimes we forget how much tawheed is the core of our religion. Every thing else flows from that basic belief.

  6. Avatar

    dario

    March 19, 2008 at 2:09 PM

    “When do you determine that someone has become among those whom you wouldn’t associate with? ”

    I would personally say when that person’s actions become harmful to either you or the people you love around you. If you think you’re faith will be damaged by having gay friends than fine, don’t associate (although I do think a person’s faith must be pretty weak if that is the case- and from your writing it is apparent that it is not)
    ABout the changing gays idea, stats have proven time and time again that it doesn’t work. Christians have spend quite a lot of time, money, and effort into “deprogramming” that sort of thing and its proven to be futile. Who knows, maybe some muslims think that an “islamic” approach is needed for it to work lol

    But at the same time I also have to ask, where do you draw the line at which sins people commit “are good enough” so that you can associate with them and which are “bad” to the point you can no longer associate them. It seems to me that a person will need to live a rather judgemental life in order to function that way. NOt to mention you will end up being surrounded by people who think exactly like you do which, might I add is an incredibly boring way to live a life. At the end of the day I agree with Abu NOor’s statement… “neither is a “problem” for maintaining a human relationship of decency and kindness and of familial love with them”

    I highly doubt maintaing friendships with gays and others who live lifestyles you don’t agree with is going to make you gay, turn you away from your faith, or make you start espousing the beauties of homosexuality and other forms of religious deviancy to all you meet so live and let live is what I say (not that what I say matters). Anyways, great post and thank for sharing

  7. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    March 19, 2008 at 2:14 PM

    i think that’s a really important question that is raised, especially here where homosexuality is not only the norm, but en vogue to some extent (popularized in tv/movies, etc).

    at what point should a sin cause you to boycott a person? whether homosexuality or something else. also i agree 100% w/ br abu noor that the shirk should bother us more.

    the question i have when it comes to homosexuality, is let’s say you have a homosexual family member or something, is there a certain point where you would, for example, not want your kids to interact with them so they dont start approving of that lifestyle?

  8. Avatar

    Sunie

    March 19, 2008 at 2:16 PM

    Assalamo’allaekum,
    I agree with Sr. Ruth that at a certain point you should dissociate yourself from a person involved in sin. This dissociation is not a hard set boycott on the person, where you refuse to even look at them, but rather a simple reduction in effort, focus and time (i.e if you see that their attitude changes, then start preaching to them once more). Generally speaking, if they come to you asking a question, then do not turn them away, and use wisdom and beautiful preaching.

    I believe this for two reasons:

    Firstly, in matters of religion, self preservation(spiritual) is more important than that of someone else. If you yourself are drowning in a pit of fire, will you save the person next to you? Of course not. And can you be blamed for this selfishness? I don’t think so.
    Secondly, it is a matter of effective use of time and resources. Why would you keep spending your time on someone who is ‘unlikely’ to change(Although Allah only knows), when you can spend it on someone who is looking for the truth?

    Abu Noor, I see the truth in what you are saying. However, I don’t think a ‘no strings attached’, friendship with gays is in your best interest. Sure, associating partners with Allah is worse, but that does not sanctify homosexuality. Don’t look at it relatively, but by its own merits(Major Sin). You know how the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) warned about a person being like his companions.

  9. Amad

    Amad

    March 19, 2008 at 2:42 PM

    Very nice post. Touching too mashallah.

    There is another dimension to this discussion. What if you have a gay co-worker, or if you manage a gay employee?

    Now, I could never ethically or morally discriminate against a gay person who is working for/with me. I would need to treat him/her the same way as others (by the way, lesbians do not have the same ruling as homosexual men which adds another facet to this issue!). This is part of what my contract requires with my employer in the country I am living in.

    I would also say that gay men can sometimes be especially nice, perhaps because they are in touch with their sensitive, feminine side. So, its tough to be rude when someone’s being cool with you. While I would be uncomfortable with getting too close to them in a confidante type of way, I don’t know if I would be too worried about dealing with them “normally”.

    Finally, I do have a problem with people who want me to accept homosexuality as a perfectly normal lifestyle… I don’t have to accept what is against my religious ethos, but at the same time I believe I have to be just and kind in my interactions with everyone (whether they sin in bed or in worship).

    P.S. Good point Abu Noor about the shirk dimension. This also applies to Muslims who have fallen into homosexuality. Only kindness and soft cajoling can prevent them from further distancing away from Islam. Better to have a gay worshiper of Allah, than to have a straight denier of Allah.

  10. Avatar

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    March 19, 2008 at 3:03 PM

    Masha Allaah I am glad to see the responses here. I am glad to see people taking the issues involved seriously as well as approaching people with human sympathy and compassion.

    You raise a good point Sunie but let’s be clear about this. For sure every single non-Muslim I know commits major sins. (Shirk, for one, but also many others).

    Of course, I also agree that one should examine all of one’s relationships to see the effect it is having on you spiritually and that your emaan and the emaan of your family should be your top priority.

    Also, I didn’t mean to overemphasize how many gay friends I have. To be honest, I was thinking more about associates at work or in the community. When I was talking about deep emotional attachments I was mainly thinking of family members.

    Anyways, I have benefitted from everyone’s response so far which is not what I would have expected from a thread on this topic. Alhamdulillaah.

  11. Avatar

    akh

    March 19, 2008 at 3:08 PM

    In Islam we do distinguish between sins that are done on a personal level, and sins that are publicized and which the person deems as acceptable. Homosexuality, especially in the US falls into the latter category. In addition, if you look at the severity of the punishment for a crime in Islam, it kind of gives you an impression of how severe we should view the sin on a personal level.

  12. Avatar

    ruth nasrullah

    March 19, 2008 at 3:38 PM

    Br. Amad, I kind of figured there is a difference in Islamic opinion regarding female and male homosexuality, if only because I can’t recall any reference to lesbianism in the Qur’an. What more specifically is the difference in rulings?

  13. Avatar

    Nirgaz

    March 19, 2008 at 4:02 PM

    I understand your dilemma of what to do…my brother is gay. He was abused and lacked support from his mother(we have same father, different mothers) and in the end I think these factors pushed him towards this lifestyle. Yet he is my brother, do I shun him? Islamically you arn’t to cut ties with family, you arn’t to give up hope that someone might have an epiphany one day and understand the reality of our Rabb. So I don’t . I have contact with him. But I also am very clear how I stand on the issue of homosexuality. And on some occasions we have talked about faith. He has always taken to Islam, partly cause he respects my decision to embrace it…so he asks me what Islam says about it. I told him there is no middle ground. If you accept Islam you have to abandon that lifestlye.
    So I love him and hope…hope for him to be strong enough to accept that choice one day.

  14. Avatar

    Nirgaz

    March 19, 2008 at 4:13 PM

    P.S.
    rereading my comment I thought I needed to clarify something…when I told my brother he would need to abandon that lifestlye…I meant that that would have to eventually be something that he would be willing to change not that he would have to give it up and then shahadah. I favor much more someone acknowledging Allah and then changing their behaviour to follow their belief.

  15. Avatar

    WM

    March 19, 2008 at 4:13 PM

    If someone has thoughts in this direction, that is not a sin in and of itself, since people cannot control what passes across their minds. Remember how the sahaba used to say to Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) how they had bad thoughts about Allah? And what is this next to that? The point is, not to act on these thoughts, not to encourage them etc.

  16. Amad

    Amad

    March 19, 2008 at 4:27 PM

    Sr. Nirgaz, thanks for adding the P.S. because that is where I was going to go with this.

    The more I think about it, the more I believe that it is perhaps unhelpful to force the issue on whether homosexuality is a choice people make or it is something inside them that drives it. That is, does the man actually desire another man, or is it simply a perverted choice? Frankly, I don’t know the answer, but the more I look at the reality of things, whatever circumstances that may or may not have existed (as Sr. Nirgaz points to child abuse), it does seem that some men are feminine and may indeed have a desire for other men.

    I think we can make more progress with Muslim gays if we skirt around this issue. Let them have the say, and accept that something in their biology made their hormones act differently. Whether this happened due to something genetic or psychological is not that important, is it?

    If we move beyond this issue, we can open the discourse by reminding the brother or sister that all of us have our individual weaknesses and shortcomings. It may indeed be that some men lust for children… and no matter how disgusting we find this, it does happen. And it is a disease that may have happened naturally or by circumstances (just like homosexuality). I know some people may find the analogy to child predators offensive, but Muslims find homosexuality offensive as well (though it is definitely less offensive because of the presence of consent). A more palatable example is the fitnah married men face in avoiding extramarital relationships. Few men can claim that they are perfectly satisfied, and have absolutely no feelings towards other women. Doesn’t happen much. The fitnah is in protection from other women.

    The real challenge for these men/women, attracted to what we believe unnatural affection, is in avoidance of this sin. To compress one’s own forbidden desire and engage in the tayyab and the halal (the pure and allowed).

    Perhaps if one approaches Muslim homosexuals with a kind message, of admittance of a possible biological issue, of comparing it to the fitnah that other men or women face… perhaps this will make the message be heard a bit better.

    I repeat: a gay believer & worshiper is still better than a straight non-believer & non-worshiper.

    wallahualam

    P.S. Sr. Ruth, I don’t have access to the info. you asked for right now… perhaps others can help…

  17. Avatar

    Hassan

    March 19, 2008 at 4:57 PM

    Are we not islamically encouraged to have good company of friends?

  18. Amad

    Amad

    March 19, 2008 at 5:10 PM

    Continuation of my point about married men and fitnah, a perfect article:

    Are Humans Meant to be Monogamous?

    Only 3 percent to 5 percent of the roughly 5,000 species of mammals (including humans) are known to form lifelong, monogamous bonds

    Perhaps we needed this article in the Achilles heel post :)

    But please lets not divert the issue into this… my point was about fitnah, not about polygamy :)

  19. Avatar

    Aminna

    March 19, 2008 at 5:51 PM

    Hate the sin not the sinner

  20. Avatar

    Ahmad AlFarsi

    March 19, 2008 at 6:20 PM

    Hate the sin not the sinner

    Islam does not teach this. It is actually a part of eman to have love for those who obey Allah due to their obedience to Allah and have hate for those who disobey Allah due to their disobedience. Of course, as all Muslims know, this doesn’t mean we are to be rude; on the contrary, if the disbelievers are not those who fight us, then we are to treat them with birr and iqsat (kindness and justice). However, our hearts go beyond simply detesting sin; we also detest those who propagate and commit the sins. Furthermore, this love and hate for the sake of Allah does not prevent us from having familial/natural love for non-Muslim family members, or even to those non-Muslims to whom we would feel natural affinity for other natural reasons.

    The saying of ibn Umar RA sums it up well:

    “By Allah, if I fasted all day without eating, prayed all night without sleeping, spent all of my wealth in the Path of Allah, died the day I died, but had no love in my heart for those who obey Allah, and no hatred in my heart for those who disobey Allah, none of this would benefit me in the least.”

  21. Avatar

    aoife

    March 19, 2008 at 6:37 PM

    There are very few things that take us completely out of the fold of Islam 1) Shirk, believing that there is something else equal to or better than God, and 2) accusing someone falsely of disbelief.

    We were all created by Allah and given our own sets of challenges. I have always believed and found nothing to contradict it that homosexuality is one of those challenges. Its a fight against the baser self in order to attain something higher and more fulfilling. In the same vein, people with addictive personalities who struggle daily with things like sex and drugs and alcohol are working through their challenges, their test from God. And sometimes, we fail.

    This doesn’t mean we can’t associate with these people — they need support more than ever. What would happen if we thought no one cared for us in our time of need? We give up, we suck down a beer, we go have sex, we overeat and indulge our baser self which will, in the short term, make us feel better in the same way supportive friends of faith would do for us.

  22. Avatar

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    March 19, 2008 at 7:46 PM

    Ahmad,

    Jazzak Allaahu Khayr for your important reminder. The love in our hearts should incline towards the righteous and away from the disobedient.

    Of course, even the most righteous amongst us commit sins so every person is a mixture of obedience and disobedience. We cannot say because a person is a sinner that they are not deserving of our love. They may be obedient to Allaah in many other ways at the same time.

    I think one of the saddest products of modern culture (there are good products as well as bad) is that people have moved away from hiding their sins so that others may maintain a positive opinion of them based on what they show in public.

    I hope people understand what I’m saying.

  23. Avatar

    MuslimHomeschoolers

    March 20, 2008 at 1:08 AM

    This is something that I have often thought about. My brother is also gay. I always tried to think to our childhood to see if there were signs. There are 8 of us, yet he is the only one that is gay. His father basically abandoned him as a child. In high school he was in an environment that was very accepting of homosexuality. I think maybe both these things contributed to his present being. This is something that is very difficult for me to analyze how I feel. He is my little brother and I have so much love for him.

  24. Avatar

    usman

    March 20, 2008 at 1:21 AM

    being gay is not a gud thing ppl…it is infact haraam…so we should not support it either…wat we should do is try to help our brothers and sisters who are falling in this sin 1st…then try to focus on other ppl or religions for that matter.

    We should hate the disobedience of allah and love his obedience….very simple

  25. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    March 20, 2008 at 6:31 AM

    I had a gay coworker once and we would talk casually at work but whenever the conversation turned fruity and he began to talk about boyfriends and such I took that as an invitation to unabashedly describe my attitude to homosexuality and exhort him to Islam.

    I never tired about telling him that he should find a nice girl and get married. Needless to say the idea repulsed him but I never gave up.

    I must admit that in a work environment this could be risky but as a disclaimer I was trying to get fired from the job so do it at your own risk.

    If some dude isnt ashamed about openly telling you he engages in the vilest sin you shouldnt be ashamed to stand up for virtue.

    But above all else be civilized with everyone. If the conversation gets gross or uncomfortable change the subject or walk away.

  26. Avatar

    AbuHafsa

    March 20, 2008 at 9:58 AM

    In Islam, there is a distinction between someone who commits sins secretly and one who commits them openly. There is a difference between someone who commits zina secretly and hides his sin vs. someone who openly admits he is gay, is proud of it, attends gay-pride parades, and supports same-sex marriages.

    In the mind of the former, he acknowledges he is committing a sin while the latter is not. This is a crucial difference and this could be a form of kufr – as Sh. Ibn Uthaymeen said about singers and other sinners etc. because if a person unashamedly and openly commits a sin and is not emabarrassed by it (rather proud of it) then in practice he has made something haram into halal.

    Just wanted to point this out because the impression I got from the earlier posts is that gay ppl (even gay muslims) are ‘just committing a sin’ like any other sin. A ‘muslim’ who openly and proudly admits to being gay is *far far* worse than a muslim who commits zina or drinks alcohol etc. secretly and knows it is a sin (that is why he doesnt want anyone to find out about it).

    Wallahu alam

    Abu Hafsa

  27. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    March 20, 2008 at 10:00 AM

    Nirgaz and MuslimHomeschoolers, although it may be that unusual circumstances in your upbringing may “make you gay,” many (if not most) people feel that homosexuals are “born that way,” and I think there is truth in that, although of course it may not be in every case. To me that seems like two different challenges – one to overcome your nature, and one to overcome your past.

    And I think loving and advising a gay family member is the best approach.

  28. Amad

    Amad

    March 20, 2008 at 11:16 AM

    jazakallahkhair br. abu hafsa, for the important points.

    A ‘muslim’ who openly and proudly admits to being gay is *far far* worse than a muslim who commits zina or drinks alcohol etc. secretly and knows it is a sin

    What if this person commits zina/drinks openly… so in that case, it is similar then to an openly gay person? But I think we don’t usually treat things like that… we are usually much more hard on the gay thing than the other things…

    Anyways, point taken.

  29. Avatar

    AbuHafsa

    March 20, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    Dear Br. Amad,

    Indeed, a famous hadith talks about people being punished for commiting illegal sexual acts *openly*, not just for commiting them.

    Here’s an analogy:

    Suppose you tell your child to abstain from a certain thing X. But the child, indulging in desires does X when you’re not around, afraid that you will find out. And one day you find out, and your child is embarassed/ashamed that they disobeyed you and they apologize. This child acknowledges that you have the *right* to 1) prohibit them from something and 2) to punish them for disobedience.

    Now consider another child. He openly flaunts X right in front of you and all his friends even though his friends know that you’ve prohibited him from X – but he doesn’t really care – in fact he is proud to show it. This child does NOT acknowledge your right to prohibit and punish.

    So the two, even though they commited the same act X, are totally different. I know its not the best analogy but I hope I managed to get my point across :)

    I think Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen discussed this issue in detail in Sarh. Riyadh us Saliheen but I can’t find the quotes right now. Basically, a person who commits sins openly without shame, guilt, or fear than he is treading into dangeous territory with regards to his eeman.

    May Allah enable us all to love eeman and beautify our hearts with it and to hate fisq and kufr and cleanse our hearts from it. Ameen.

  30. Avatar

    Umm Reem

    March 20, 2008 at 12:35 PM

    Perhaps we feel such a strong repulsion from homosexuality because of the whole story of People of Lut, and how they were given the most severe of punishments (combination of so many) because of this heinous sin.

    In any case, what bothers me is how living in a society where it is becoming so common to see homos quite often, we are loosing that feeling of ‘disgust’ that we (or at least I) initially had.

    I remember almost 12 years ago UH had ‘gays & lesbians’ day and the other students actually condemned them and I felt strong aversion to it, but astaghfiruallh now that feeling has lessened just because I am getting ‘used to’ them.

  31. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    March 20, 2008 at 7:07 PM

    I don’t know if I mentioned this before but there was a brother I know who went homo. I learned a lot from that experience especially since he had strong potential to grow into someone really great.

    The one thing I will say: I can guarantee however that just about everyone here has had a sexual thought about the same-sex…does that make you gay or a lesbian? Of course not. Very few people are absolutely oriented to the opposite sex.

    I’ve also seen very effeminate Muslim men who talk and act like women. In fact it’s just how they are. But they got married and had children. So it’s not black and white.

    I have more hatred and disgust for homos now. In fact, I have so much hatred I don’t even want to discuss this even more.

  32. Avatar

    brnaeem

    March 21, 2008 at 1:53 AM

    Interesting discussion.

    I must admit I’m impressed with the overall demeanor of the comments (especially the earlier ones). Very civilized and very humane.

    Sadly this attitude is not reflected in our wider communities. There exists an inexplicable disgust and shame against this one sin, far greater than any other sin, including shirk – which is the one true najas! (Amad made this point earlier)

    And its this unabashed repulsion against gay people that has lead to such dehumanization and oppression.

    Lets be clear about a few things – homosexuality is haram. And as AbuHafsa clearly pointed out, the pride and self-satisfaction that many practitioners exhibit is borderline kufr.

    That being said, let us address the way in which we, as a community, relate to someone who isn’t the stereotypical modern, western homosexual – someone who feels guilt, someone who accepts that its wrong, but someone who just can’t change and has contemplated ending his/her life over this raging inner conflict.

    How do families treat a teen son who has ‘come out’? What of the social pressures to get married (leading to the horrible ‘marriage of convenience’)? How about the person who was essentially excommunicated by the local masjid?

    I strongly believe that we have been negatively affected by the contemporary western construct of ‘homosexuality’ (as a lifestyle) as opposed to the more widely accepted concept of homoerotic tendencies (which occur in most individuals, but are duly repressed and rejected).

    That is why we are so disgusted by homosexuals (maybe because we are ashamed of those very thoughts that we harbor?), when in reality their sins are no more than addictions, such as gambling, drugs, or porn.

    Addicts rarely, if ever, overcome their urges. They struggle *everyday* to control their inner demons. Those of us who have loved ones with these problems understand that. How come we fail to treat gays with that same mercy and sympathy and support?

    Ponder over the community reaction to a brother ‘coming out’ with his drug or gambling addiction and contrast that with the dehumanization felt by the gay brother ‘coming out’? His family would be consoled as if he had just died.

  33. Avatar

    suhaa

    March 21, 2008 at 7:00 AM

    asalaam alaikum warahmat Allah wabarakatu ruth, jazakALlah kheir for sharing your experiences. but i must disagree with your last comment. if it were natural for one to be gay..and if we beleive that leading a homosexual lifestyle is a sin, then this would contradict our belief in Allah being the Most Fair. it is not being judgemental to say that people who lead this lifestyle are committing evil behavior which is not approved, nor encouraged by any means in the Quran & Sunnah..

    i lived in the first state to legalize gay marriages in the US, mass. and i have come across many of them who do good deeds, may even be seeming wise in words, educated and all..but all this will go against them on the Day of Judgement because of their inability to see Truth. Shirk ofcourse is the worst of sins, but living a complete lifestyle by exemplifying it in one’s life is advocating for destruction upon oneself in the Hereafter. this is not about opinion..we should make duaa for them, but many of whom are rebellious.
    when working in a nursing home in miami..most of my co-workers were either gay or lesbian. one who wasn’t directly asked infront of a couple of them who were..”can one be Muslim and be gay?” i said no. because we are taught that while doing evil it takes us out of the fold of Islam, even though we claim to believe in the Islamic creeds of faith, pillars and all that..we are not practicing what we preach which draws us in the category of munafiqeen, hypocrisy..
    and ALLAH knows best.

  34. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    March 21, 2008 at 10:19 AM

    “if it were natural for one to be gay..and if we beleive that leading a homosexual lifestyle is a sin, then this would contradict our belief in Allah being the Most Fair.”

    the human in general has natural inclinations to do lots of sins. i don’t think there’s a contradiction at all. someone may be born with that urge, and they have to fight it.

  35. Avatar

    suhaa

    March 21, 2008 at 4:14 PM

    people are born upon fitrah..not my words, the words of Rasullilah, alayhee salat wasalaam and inshaAllah i will provide u with the exact hadith. the human has natural inclinations to worship Allah, to do good deeds and do what is righteous. one’s environment, marked with the evil of naas, and jinn, along with suppression of the innate desire to worship Allah brings upon other inclinations that the nafs struggles with..babies are not born with an urge to be gay that emerges at puberty, just like babies are not born with an urge to be atheists that emerges at puberty..

    the only thing we need to fight is Shaitan’s deceptions and get our priorities straight of why we live..to worship Allah.

    Prophet Lut, alayhee salat wa’salaam encouraged the men to stop their trecherous acts and even offered them of the righteous women..they declined..so just because they are sinful now does not mean there is no hope for them, that is not what i am saying. BUT to say that being a homosexual, a murderer, an alcoholic, or just a an arrogant loser in the sight of Allah who are NOT evil inclinations that Allah creates people with that they have to fight and rebel against. What they need to rebel against is ignornace and the lack of desire to know the truth, sincerely. If that desire is lost..then we can’t blame anyone but ourselves for falling into kufr acts-we can not blame our genes..because that in itself would be blaming Allah..which is so off, not islamic by any means. this is how i understand it..and ALLAH knows best. may HE guide us all..we are all in need of HIM..the most righteous of us, and the most astray of us..

  36. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    March 23, 2008 at 2:07 PM

    I actually talked to the gay brother I mentioned earlier and it seems he’s changed quite a bit, in fact, I can’t say for certain, but I think he’s no longer a homosexual.

    Doesn’t that make you feel gay (i.e. happy) ? :)

  37. Avatar

    ruth nasrullah

    March 23, 2008 at 3:24 PM

    LOL, alhamdulillah.

  38. Avatar

    Muslimah

    April 13, 2008 at 5:33 PM

    I think we should differentiate between friendship and amiability. The one does not preclude the other. As humans we have the capacity to direct acts of love or kindness to an object, without loving the object itself.

    So to my mind, it is *not* advisable to “befriend” those who openly indulge in this sin but that doesn’t mean we behave rudely towards them.
    As Muslims we care for the salvation for those around us, be they Muslims or non-Muslims. To this end, we work hard to advise them sincerely and treat them with dignitiy. But, we know we will be raised with those whom we consider friends or love. So we should only befriend those who love and follow Allah and His Messenger.

    If Muslims were not the ones to help these people, who would? Where would they receive guidance or admonition? But even so, we shouldn’t expose ourselves to fitan unncecessarily. We don’t have to interact with such people to the point that the dislike we have for the sin they commit is erroded. If you consider the wife of Lut, you’ll see what I mean. She didn’t commit sodomy herself and she believed in Allah (a prophet cannot be married to a disbeliever) but she was sympathetic without reserve to the people of her nation who committed this sin — above what she showed to her husband (a prophet) and Allah. We should ponder on this point. It’s really scary. It doesn’t apply to just the sin of sodomy, but to all others.

    We should question why it is that we want to “befriend” these people. If we befriend these people, we also run the risk of making them comfortable with their sin and perhaps this is one of the reasons why this issue is so grave. Alot of times, we don’t commit sins for fear of the disapproval of others. But when others welcome us despite the wrong we do, without kind or firm admonishment, it becomes easier for us and others to commit any sin. As Muslims we stay away from sins, first and foremost, because Allah forbids these actions — but I trust you understand what I mean. Are we “befriending” these people to guide them or are we doing so to make them, and consequently, ourselves feel better?

    “The human in general has natural inclinations to do lots of sins. i don’t think there’s a contradiction at all. someone may be born with that urge, and they have to fight it.” — With all due respect, the central issue is that one is born with that desire, rather than having learned it. I think what you might mean to say is we are born with the *capacity* to commit this sin, just like any other. It’s not that we have a natural inclination to steal, it’s that we have the capacity to do so – but some people choose not to govern their desires in the way Islam decrees. It’s a choice we make based upon our desires. Nothing more.
    – Hide quoted text –

    Also, a number of people have commented some Muslims (unnecessarily) hate this sin more than others. If you think about it, all sins are repulsive, both in and of themselves but more importantly because of the disobedience it entails to Allah. But some sins are more repulsive than others. For example, sins of a sexual nature or Fahshaa, are generally more repulsive or offensive than some others. Rape is more repulsive than theft. Adultery is more repulsive than backbiting. But even among the Fahshaa, some sins are more repulsive than others. Adultery is more repulsive than fornication. Fornicating with the wife of your neighbour is more repulsive than with a prositute. And committing sexual acts with members of the same sex is more repulsive than doing so with members of the opposite sex. But they are ALL sins and ALL inherently disgusting.

    “If some dude isnt ashamed about openly telling you he engages in the vilest sin you shouldnt be ashamed to stand up for virtue.” – Well said.

    I’ll leave you with a final thought: As Muslims, considering what you know about sodomy, how would you wish a Muslim would treat you if you were a non-Muslim who comitted this sin? – perhaps that this might shed greater insight on the issue.

  39. Avatar

    Umm Ismael

    September 24, 2008 at 5:14 AM

    Asslam u alaikum wr wb
    This is a topic that NEEDS the opinion of a scholar- if any on the panel would please do this.
    I am confused about what type of discussions one would ensue with a family member who is gay in order to tell him/ her that though you do not HATE him/her you abhor the lifestyle they lead. Can one be done while ignoring the other?
    For the record though please bring to mind the ayahs dealing with the people of Lut (as). ALLAH Mentions that this was a sin that they were the first to commit. (I don’t have the reference right now) That is no one prior to them had been engaged in this. If homosexuality was “inborn” wouldnt nations earlier on have been indulging in it as well. ALLAH never used this phrase while mentioning the sins of other bygone nations. Further more Lut (as)’s nation according to commentators was one that was given the maximum punishments when compared to Ad Thamud etc.
    While I also don’t agree on being rude etc but this is a topic which merits more than “treating all sins alike” discussions. Please could someone help me out by asking the scholars around you since I have access to none of the shuyookh. I am sorry if I have offended anyone since that was not my intention. I am not a scholar merely a student of deen BUT do reuire an answer to this PRESSING issue.
    Jazakumullah

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