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A Cry for Help

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I have a question and I really don’t know where to turn. This is something I can’t even talk to my parents or friends about, so I hope you can help me. I am a 19-year-old Muslim girl and I’m sexually attracted to other girls. Please don’t judge me. I know it’s not right to act on my feelings and so far I haven’t, alhamdulillah. But I come from a good Muslim family, and now I live away from home for college and it’s getting more & more difficult to stay away from sin. I’m part of the MSA (Muslim Student Association) & I tried to bring up this topic once (without telling them it was about me); and the Muslims got all upset & some people started making jokes about “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” And I was just asking what someone with these feelings should do to stay away from sin. I didn’t say homosexual acts are okay! Now I’m getting really depressed and feel so alone. I’m even starting to question my faith. I mean, why can’t Muslims with gay & lesbian feelings get advice or help when Muslims have no problem giving advice to Muslims who don’t wear hijab, who drink, who commit zina, and even Muslims who don’t pray! Do you know of any online resources or support groups for Muslims I can join anonymously? I don’t want to lose my faith. Please help me. –Don’t want to be Gay Muslim

This is an example of the type of questions I regularly receive from Muslim youth wanting advice.

UZ Corner

How Can We Help?

Undoubtedly, any Muslim who reaches out for help in practicing his or her faith deserves not only help and guidance, but also patience, compassion, and empathy. No believer should be shamed or blamed for simply wanting advice in fighting sin, whether that sin is major or minor, normal or abnormal. None of us is without sin. Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu’alayhi wa sallam, taught us that all of the children of Adam sin, and the best of those who sin are those who constantly repent.

Therefore, as we strive for Paradise, we should help each other in our efforts of repentance, even if the sin is shocking or repulsive, as homosexuality is to many people.

Homophobia: Remaking Religion in a New Image

Ironically, one of the greatest barriers to helping Muslims like the nineteen-year-old Muslim girl above is the alleged fight against homophobia. Literally, homophobia means an irrational fear of or paranoia regarding homosexuality or homosexuals. However, socially and politically, homophobia has come to mean anything that offends gays and lesbians, specifically those gays and lesbians who either reject God and religion altogether or those who wish to remake God and religion in their image.

Unfortunately, the latter group now includes professed Muslims. Some of these Muslims identify with a gay or lesbian orientation while others are merely silent (or vocal) supporters of “the cause”—whose primary goal is to dismantle the moral teachings of the Qur’an under the guise of “new interpretations.”

Gay Struggle vs. Gay Agenda

In the Qur’an, Allah discusses the stipulations of nikaah (Islamic marriage):4:4

“And give to the women [whom you marry] their mahr [dowry or marital gift]…”

Al-Nisaa, 4:4

However, one lesbian blogger who professes to be Muslim claims that Allah’s instructions are outdated. “I think the concept of nikkah is largely outdated,” the lesbian blogger told me in an email.

She went on to say that Islamic marriage is, for all intents and purposes, a reprehensible financial transaction that involves selling and buying a woman’s sexual organs, a concept that is inferior to her homosexual “marriage”

In the fiqhi discussions, the nikkah contract at its most basic is one whereby the husband purchases with the mahr access to the wife’s sexual organs usually from one of her male relatives. This is why this is little discussion or understanding of marital rape or the wife’s right of consent before engaging in sex with her husband. This concept of purchasing or a contract stipulating access to a spouse sexually is anathema to the relationship I have with my wife. Our marriage is based on more egalitarian principles of mutual love, support and commitment.

Interestingly, this explanation utilizes the same approach used by Islamophobes, wherein they describe praiseworthy Islamic concepts in reprehensible terms to make their “alternative” appear not only logical and justifiable, but also more desirable than anything offered by Allah in Islam.

Clearly, this view is not indicative of a Muslim’s “gay struggle,” wherein one struggles with gay feelings but merely needs support and empathy from believers in striving against temptation to sin. Rather, this view is indicative of a “gay agenda” designed to dismantle Islamic teachings altogether.

As we seek to be supportive and empathetic with Muslims struggling with homosexual desires, it is important that we don’t mistake a gay agenda for a gay struggle. The former is a path to kufr (disbelief) while the latter is a path to tawbah (repentance).

Is a Gay Orientation “Natural”?

In her email, the lesbian blogger argued, “God created us perfectly, irrespective of orientation.” She also said that “a person’s sexual orientation is not a mistake, sinful, or something to feel ashamed about nor hidden or suppressed.”

In other words, Islam’s requirement to avoid acting on our underlying sinful desires (homosexual or otherwise) and the perpetual existence of our underlying sinful desires are somehow mutually exclusive to each other…Or they are evidence that no Islamic law exists to prevent us from acting on our sinful desires as long as we can convince ourselves that our sinful desires stem from a static “orientation” that is part of our “perfect nature.”

Put simply, if we can blame Allah for our ongoing struggles and desires in this world, we are allegedly absolved of any responsibility for following His laws in the process.

This is an interesting argument given that not a single one of us controls the tests we are handed, only how we respond.

Sexual Orientation Argument Debunked

If we use the blogger’s definition of orientation (an underlying consistent sexual desire that the person himself/herself did not choose), then we have to recognize that there are people who have an underlying “orientation” toward animals, inanimate objects, and even children—orientations that they too did not choose. Thus, if we remove acts of homosexuality from the category of sin based on the consistency of the underlying sexual desire beyond one’s control, then we must accept that a host of sexual desires can be acted on without falling into sin.

Though the modern Western world typically uses the “consenting adults” argument to dismiss the validity of acting on sexual desires toward children, the “consenting adults” argument is inherently flawed when approving homosexual acts.

In other words, if you believe homosexual acts are not sinful but you apply the condition of “consenting adults,” then you are agreeing to the same principle that rules homosexual acts as sinful in the first place—that, ultimately, morality trumps desire. The only question is: What is your definition of “morality”?

Muslims, like Jews and Christians, recognize only one ultimate authority in defining morality: God. Thus, any underlying “nature” is irrelevant in discussions of sexual morality. Although many Muslims (as well as Jews and Christians), argue that homosexuality is “unnatural,” this is really a moot point as far as the religious concepts of sin and obedience are concerned.

Islam, as a general rule, is most concerned with sinful acts, not with the underlying desire itself, irrespective of whether or not the desire is rooted in nature (i.e. a man and a woman sexually desiring each other) or a perversion of nature (i.e. a person desiring sexual relations with an animal).

However, viewing certain desires as unnatural (as some desires certainly are) is helpful for those seeking to understand and subsequently root out their perverted desires. But, in the context of religious morality, the categorization of the sexual desire as natural or unnatural is irrelevant when discussing sinful behaviors.

In other words, in Islam, we are not held accountable for desiring something sinful. We are held accountable only for acting on something sinful.

When We Betray Those We Can Help

When offering advice to others about a sinful lifestyle, there are only two possibilities: We frame our advice according to how the sin is viewed in Allah’s Book and the Sunnah; or we frame our advice according to some other point of view.

When we choose the latter approach, we are betraying those whom Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has entrusted us to help.

Whenever we are given both emaan (Islamic faith) and a severe trial, it as if we are being given an answer key along with a test. And if we are able to share with others the lessons we learn during our tests in life, we are offering a hand to others with struggles like ours. In fact, as believers we have a responsibility to help others during our brief sojourn on this earth, especially if Allah has equipped us with both the life experience and the Islamic knowledge necessary to help others remain on the right path.

I just wish there were more experienced, knowledgeable people to help Muslims like the nineteen-year-old Muslim girl struggling with lesbian desires, help that strikes a balance between not judging her for her struggle and not inviting her to effectively indulge in the very sin she is crying out for help in fighting.

…Or inviting her to leave the very faith she wants to hold onto by encouraging her to replace her gay struggle (a path to tawbah) with a gay agenda (a path to kufr).

Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy. Her latest novel Muslim Girl is now available.

To learn more about the author, visit ummzakiyyah.com or subscribe to her YouTube channel.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Al-Walaa Publications. All Rights Reserved.

WRITTEN FOR MUSLIMMATTERS.ORG

Related Reading: From our What’s the Matter Counselors Attracted to Same Sex

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi Dealing with homosexual urges

 

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Daughter of American converts to Islam, Umm Zakiyyah writes about the interfaith struggles of Muslims and Christians, and the intercultural, spiritual, and moral struggles of Muslims in America. She is the internationally acclaimed author of more than fifteen books, including the If I Should Speak trilogy, Muslim Girl, His Other Wife and the newly released self-help book for Muslim survivors of parental and family abuse: Reverencing the Wombs That Broke You, with contributions by Haleh Banani, behavioral therapist.Her books have been used in universities in America and abroad including Indiana University-Bloomington, Howard University, University of D.C. and Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.To learn more about the author, visit uzauthor.com.

99 Comments

99 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Sophie

    November 13, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Although your response is instructive, the Muslim sister is asking for someone to turn to, who can provide assistance and compassion in what is clearly distressing on a very basic level. Can you reach out to her privately and refer her to a Muslim who can provide counsel and support to her?

    • Avatar

      Cliveey

      January 17, 2016 at 3:53 PM

      Why true love.
      you let these people bully you. They ask homosexual people to things they do not have to face themselves.
      They can only speak with any integrity if they too are prepared to lead celibate lives as they would ask homosexual Muslims to do.
      But even that should be a matter of choice not compulsion.
      If you were to ask them to sleep with someone of their own sex they would be horrified at the idea – yet they are prepared to
      make people feel dreadful because of who they are and ask them to lead sad lonely lives and never know true love.
      They are prepared to encourage / force people to be physical with someone they really do not want to be with.
      This leads to repression, psychological disturbance, and a host of sad results for the homosexual people the partners who were not of their choosing, for their children and family.
      Do you really believe this is what the Loving Almighty wants?
      Is it not really for other intolerant peoples comfort.

    • Avatar

      joe macey

      June 30, 2016 at 2:25 PM

      very normal now to be gay and muslim.

  2. Avatar

    Confused girl

    November 13, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    I am confused about this aspect too.. some people have hormonal problems e.g. some female have higher levels of testosterone, and that is one of the reasons why they are attracted to a female.. This is something natural… nothing that the person is responsible for… because not everyone has the same levels of hormones… its a spectrum… so how does our religion explain that?

    • Avatar

      Maleeka

      November 13, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      If it’s a hormone problem then you should visit a doctor and try to see if this problem can be resolved with operation. But if it was your desire then I think you should spend more time praying and asking allah for forgiveness and help. I think marriage might resolve this issue too.
      But don’t surrounder to shaytan.

      • Avatar

        Sadia

        August 6, 2015 at 9:05 PM

        Can a gay muslim blood relative be maghram?

      • Avatar

        cliveey

        February 1, 2016 at 9:19 PM

        So may people have tried marriage in tehs ecircumstances. It causes untold misery and unhappy lives. How would a hetrosexual person react and behave if you tried to force them to engage in homosexual sex activities? It would be repulsive to them and they would have every right to object. What is being proposed here by counselling and prayer is plain old intolerance and bullying. What you propose with hormone tratment is monstrous too. I know that you mean well but it is palin wrong. It is a Chemical Cosh to beat someone with just because you do not like them being different to you and you are .
        A truly lovong compassionate God can understand and accept differences in His. What The Almighty cannot accept or abide is cruelty and ill treatment of fellow human beings that are His creation. It is teh condition of our hearts that matter not who or what we are.
        The big question is are our hearts ste on God and do we respect fellow human beings.
        May God Bless You

    • Avatar

      Lokman

      November 13, 2014 at 6:39 PM

      When she says “(un)natural”, it doesn’t mean “comes from nature or born with” it means something “normal”, “logic”.

    • Avatar

      islamnation

      November 13, 2014 at 6:46 PM

      In my opinion from what research I could get on the subject in addition to my medical education;

      Having different hormone levels is normal, as normal as it is to look different from another person. However, having a too high or low concentration of any hormone is NOT normal. It is as natural as having any number of diseases. Diseases are natural, however they are an abnormality; a natural abnormality you could say, but still an abnormality.

      Many different people are born with different levels of health and hormonal/neural abnormalities are one factor. Having too much or too little concentrations of a chemical is a disease whether the symptoms are physical, mental or both. Thus, having abnormal tendencies (for example: being quick to anger, attraction to same-sex, born with insulin dysfunction) is also a disease and should be treated as one.

    • Avatar

      Dawud Israel

      November 16, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Don’t think my last comment went through – pardon my spamminess… can somebody approves it?

      di.

      • Avatar

        Aly Balagamwala

        November 17, 2014 at 8:24 AM

        Salam

        I can’t find your comment. This was the only one that had your name on it.

        Aly

    • Avatar

      Hanif Kiriakos

      November 21, 2014 at 3:38 AM

      I was once told that I must be gay because my testosterone level is too low. Then I heard from a friend (who is far more effeminate than me) who got his testosterone levels checked. The results came back and he actually had higher levels of testosterone than most males. So, when we try to talk about science, let’s do it in an informed way and not in a way that makes people feel inadequate and abnormal. We gay Muslims have enough of a jihad trying to accept ourselves and we don’t need people making that worse by repeating ill-informed (and often times bogus) theories on why we are the way we are.

      • Avatar

        Dyn

        January 3, 2015 at 1:50 AM

        If you had gay desires but you are not acting upon it you can still change yourself.If being gay is part of who you are then why does some people who HAD gay inclinations before can repent and seek forgiveness? I know a gay person who had repented and corrected himself and now he HAS a wife and kids. If being gay is part of who you are then why does this happen to that former gay man? I also used to have some kind of attraction to other girls but now I can see what’s wrong and what’s not. I have fought this inclinations and now I like a guy rather than girls.You have to distinguish between who you are and what you chooses because if you get both of these things mixed up things will get worse. If being gay is totally who someone is then being heterosexual is also who someone is and women will not have to go through all those troubles to find husbands because suddenly we will all like the right guy automatically and he likes us automatically because that is part of who we are.Sadly, life is not like this. Women and men CHOOSES their partners and sometimes made bad choices by picking the wrong person. So it is a CHOICE rather than who or what you are. The same thing for the gay person because he chooses to act upon his desire of pursuing another gay when in fact if he starts to believe that women are attractive and had fought against his gay desires he might probably overcome it and marry a woman and had kids.

  3. Avatar

    Mohamad

    November 13, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Assalam walaikum,

    To my dear sister May Allah reward you and give strength to stay on the deen. Honestly, I don’t know how I would address this issue if a muslim came up to me asking about advice on his/her homosexual tendencies. But I do have one advice/suggestion

    In the last 3rd of the night, wake up, do wudu as perfectly as you can, and pray 2 rakahs with the most possible khusu you are able to have and after the the tasleem. Raise your hand in dua to Allah, say exactly what you would say to a sincere listener whose advice you were seeking. And ask Allah from the bottom of your heart for help and guidance. InshaAllah then you will see the response he gives you. But make sure to have an attentive heart while making dua. You will be also in my dua.

    May Allah subhanahu wata’ala preserve you

    • Avatar

      Reem

      November 13, 2014 at 5:34 PM

      Subhan Allah! Yes! The power of wudu, salah & dua can turn your life around in sha Allah. I think this is the best solution any muslim can suggest to those struggling with whats happening in their lives.

      Each of us are given specific trials based on our strengths & whatever is given to us, surely we can succeed with Allah’s mercy.

      May we all be guided well. Ameen.

      • Avatar

        Ali Adat

        September 5, 2016 at 5:57 AM

        Sorry, I can prove you wrong from Quran. Allah says in the holy quran in Surat Ankaboot ayah45. Prayer doesn’t stop us from doing sins but rather prevent us from doing sins and wrong acts ( You can look for the accurate translation). The desire to have sex with the same sex is considered natural due to scientific reasons. Everyone has the ability to choose the right person according to the rules of Islam and look for Morals and religion with that person.
        There are causes of homosexuality, I advice you to research about it….
        The biggest problem in Muslim Ummah is that no one is ready to accept each other and try to compromise and live happily. Another factor that lead to fail in marriages is lack of consultation and disrespect which takes place between spouses. There are so many married couples in this world with same orientation marriage…. How many of them are happy???
        Me as I gay Muslim, I just need a wife who has absolutely no problem in my sexuality and accept me the way I am…
        Having sex is something and sexual orientation is just nothing but A DESIRE

    • Avatar

      Anonymous

      April 20, 2015 at 7:13 AM

      MashALLAH xcellent advice May ALLAH SWT reward you

  4. Avatar

    Brother

    November 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    I would say dear sister this problem inflicted me where I was attracted only to the thought of men while I myself am one.

    I cried and begged Allah for help. Since then He opened my heart – not to women but to Him – now I never feel this way. I have male friends and my heart desires one day to be with a woman I can love.

    I found the Holy verse from the Quran “Flee to Allah” as a solution to all my troubles. You’re not alone in this. I ask Allah to bestow His love and care your way.
    Sincerely your brother in faith

    • Avatar

      Norlidah Zainal Abidin

      November 21, 2014 at 1:12 PM

      MashaAllah, SubhanaAllah, Alhamdulillah…I am so sympathy for those who affected by this. But I know there is no easy way out, no drugs, no effective advice except by surrender oneself to Allah Be optimistic, steadfast and ask Him exceptionally often, hard, loud and in the end Bismillahi tawakkal tu alallah.

  5. Avatar

    GregAbdul

    November 13, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Thank you sister and may Allah (swt) reward you for taking on modern controversial topics that most of us shy away from. Your knowledge on this shows in your writing. Your gentleness and appeal to the basics of our faith are a blessing to all who read this. I pray Allah continues to guide you and give you more of a voice in matters affecting our community. I pray that instead of the secular and gay Muslims, Allah allows you to have a voice in the secular forums as well. The liberal media racism and prejudice is unbelievable. They regularly start and maintain conversations about Islam and Muslims and, at the same time, refuse to allow actual Muslims to sit down and discuss Islam in their discussions about “what’s wrong with Islam.” I thank Allah for Muslim Matters and for you that I have easy access to intelligent Muslims who discuss Islam in the real world as it is practiced by real Muslims.

  6. Avatar

    Reem

    November 13, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Alhamdulillah this topic is open for understanding. The teenage girl was very brave to share her story. By just reading what she sent made me teary-eyed because somehow I feel the same way, the fear of being shunned despite the eagerness to be better. When you feel a little desperation while others take it lightly and sometimes becomes insulting. Sadly the most common place to find comfort are with those who are unbelievers because most of the muslim teachers we run to think being a muslim automatically exempts us from commiting the acts of homosexuals. I’ve attended bookfairs hoping to find a scholar write about this issue in detail (because Q&A on islamic gatherings could definitely give me an unwanted attention if I asked).. but found none.

    One of the best advice I got from a close friend of mine that still brings me to tears whenever I pray regarding this is the jihad of the self..

    Imam Ali (a) said: One who struggles against himself so as to obey God, in the eyes of God, his station is that of a pious martyr. [Al-Amidi, Ghurar ul Hikam wa Durar ul Kalim, hadith # 3546]

    *pls verify hadith (but im sure it exists)

    • Avatar

      Anisha

      December 19, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Salaam

      This is not related to this topic, rather it is something to do with the fact that you wrote Imam Ali (a). May I ask if this means Imam Ali Alayhis Salam or something else. If it does mean Alayhis Salam, I would just like to point out that the correct thing to say is Radiyallahu Anh (RA) which means may Allah SWT be pleased with him. This is because he is not a prophet, he is a Sahabi and the fourth Khalifa.
      Hope this cleared any misunderstandings and I am sorry if I have misunderstood anything. :)

      • Avatar

        Muslim_Always

        June 25, 2016 at 10:20 PM

        Usually it is the shia methodology to say alayhis salam when they refer to the Imams in their concept of Imamate.

  7. Avatar

    Siraaj Muhammad

    November 13, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    For the 19-year-old sister who wrote in, I hate to say this but the MSA is probably the last place you’ll find help simply because of the age, experience, and maturity of individuals. If I think back to myself when I was 19, I probably would have thought similarly because, as you pointed out, sometimes what is logically consistent isn’t emotionally understood, e.g. if people can advice and support for xyz sinful behavior, why can’t I get the same for what is far less than that, i.e. thoughts and desires that aren’t acted upon? Sometimes you need to walk people through the thought process once for them to have that “aha” moment and then it clicks and they realize it fits consistently within our value system. People can be ignorant, and that ignorance can lead to hurtful statements, but there is also hope in that perhaps other areas of their principles and values can be activated, if you will, when they are essentially hand-held through the thought process.

    You should definitely continue to look for support in the community, but be selective about who you open up to. Elsewhere on this site is a post by Sh Yasir Qadhi about homosexuality and how we speak about it in the community, particularly in public settings where individuals like yourself are struggling and have to quietly bear the burden of people taking jabs at being in situations like your own. In that post, there was a sister who was also struggling, she’s started a support group for individuals like yourself, who are struggling with SSA (same sex attraction) but want to keep away from acting on or further giving in. May Allah (swt) make it easy for you to overcome these issues. I know there are individuals who have found different ways to overcome and lead happy heterosexual lives, and you may also like to read materials from nonMuslims who struggled similarly and were able to find help in overcoming their issues as a complement to the support you can find from Muslims who have banded together to fight this inner struggle.

    Umm Zakiyyah, that person you had a discussion with doesn’t seem to understand much about marriage or fiqh. When I read this statement:

    “In the fiqhi discussions, the nikkah contract at its most basic is one whereby the husband purchases with the mahr access to the wife’s sexual organs usually from one of her male relatives. This is why…”

    I knew they had read some nonsense elsewhere about Islamic marriage contracts and not straight from the sources. The mahr is not given to the woman’s wali / guardian, it’s given to the woman herself. She stipulates the amount, and she herself must be give consent for the marriage to be valid – in other words, she’s a consenting adult in the process. The mahr is a marital gift, nothing more. Otherwise, all “gifts” can be changed into “purchases for access”, irrespective of culture or religion. An expensive engagement ring is roughly the same cost as a typical mahr.

    I’d add the books of fiqh are the wrong place to look for anything other than rulings. I wouldn’t open up a browser page to my state governments website and look up what type of values are important in a marriage between husband and wife, though I might look up prerequisites, rules, and regulations for obtaining a marriage license aka a marriage contract.

    If I want to understand the Islamic perspective, I’d look at how the Prophet (SAW) treated his wives, I’d look at what he’s said about how a man should be with his wife, I’d look in the Qur’an and see the following, which is quoted I think at every single nikaah I’ve attended:

    “And among His Signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He put love and mercy between your hearts. Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” [Sûrah Rûm: 21]

    Finally, you can also turn the idea of “consenting adults” on its head as well more directly – what are their thoughts on incest? Father w/adult daughter, mother w/adult son, father and son, mother and daughter, brother and sister, brother and brother, sister and sister, and extend all these permutations out to uncles, aunts, and throw in incestuous polygamy while you’re at it – are these not plainly disgusting? But they are adults and consenting, and it is being debated in Europe as we speak:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/german-ethics-council-calls-for-incest-between-siblings-to-be-legalised-by-government-9753506.html

    • Avatar

      AhmadB

      November 14, 2014 at 1:47 AM

      Aslam Alaikum Brother Siraj,

      The quote about “nikah” you attributed to Sr. Umm Zakiya is misplaced – Sr. Umm Zakiya was quoting someone who said this to her.

      Wasalam Alaikum

      • Avatar

        Inqiyaad

        November 14, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        Wa ‘alaikum as salaam,
        Ahmad, Siraj did not attribute it to Sr. Umm Zakiya either. Siraaj addressed Sr. Umm Zakiya and then said, “that person you had a discussion with doesn’t seem to understand much about marriage or fiqh. When I read this statement…” He just explained the concept further, which she did not have the liberty to discuss in her article, maybe because of space constraints and priority of relevance to the topic.
        Walhamdulillah

    • Avatar

      cliveey

      February 2, 2016 at 9:08 AM

      Marrying cousins and people with close family connections is quite commonplace within parts of the Pakistani Muslim community and where repeated over several generations has cuased problems. It is not a problem in itself, but only as children result from the marriages that arise.

    • Avatar

      cliveey

      February 2, 2016 at 9:29 AM

      You mention consent! What consent is there when young girls of 11 or 12 are forced into marriage in places like Pakistan? There are young UK girls who go on holiday and find themslevs forced into marriage while abroad back with the wider families. There are even girls who are forcefully abducted. There are even suicides that result from this. There was also a murder when a woman married someone from a slightly diferent branch of Islam. They fled to another town , were pursued and a death resulted. Surely such behaviour that is couple with duress and bullying is far worse than simple acrts of incest. Incest should not be encouraged but it is ultimately their business as long as they do noit hurt others and providing nobody is being taken advantage of.

      • Avatar

        Yasmeen

        February 16, 2016 at 11:44 PM

        Salams, I am a female American Muslim with SSA. Are there any groups with sisters like myself – supporting each other?

      • Avatar

        Straight Struggle

        February 29, 2016 at 4:03 PM

        Assalamu ‘alaikum Sr. Yasmeen,

        There is a support group for Muslims struggling with SSA called Straight Struggle. It is mostly brothers, but there are some sisters as well and all are welcome. They are a group of orthodox, believing Muslims and do not tolerate people coming on there with a “pro-gay” agenda or trying to argue that homosexual behavior can be accepted in Islam. Other than that, the discussions are very free and open. It is a safe space for believing Muslims to find support in their struggle with same-sex desires. You can Google the group and request to be added.

  8. Avatar

    islamnation

    November 13, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    Thank you for this article. I love the way you phrased one of the problems as “Gay Struggle vs. Gay Agenda.” I think that is a well fitting term and that we must be aware of any agenda and be able to differentiate between both.

  9. Avatar

    umaneesa

    November 13, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Salam alaykum
    My dear sister, Allah knows our innermost feelings. He has not placed a burden on you that you cannot handle. Ma sha Allah you are bigger than your urges, you have reached out as a woman of faith. As men or women of faith, we are not defined by what tempts us, be it power, lust, greed or other worldly distractions. Rather we are defined by the actions and reactions of our hearts and limbs.

    Bravo for reaching out and may we, the ummah, be there for you. Hopefully the advice above is helpful, I have a few points which I have come across on faith based websites, please consider them, if they are relevant to you:
    1. Sometimes we may confuse admiration for attraction, especially as a teenager who is evolving hormonally, one may be trying to identify with people and confusing that with a crush or attraction.
    2. Sometimes we may be longing for an emotional connection we never had and it may be easier for Muslim women to access that from women. Again possibly mistaking it for sexual rather than emotional need to connect i.e. ‘homo-emotional’
    3. We are socialized in many societies that we must be of a certain sexual persuasion. But as mentioned before, we are bigger than our urges and inclinations. We are people of faith and oportunity who can lead their desires and be the ‘ captain of their soul’ rather than lose control and follow our desires.

    Allah knows best

  10. Avatar

    L

    November 13, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    Sexual desire has many shapes and forms; all of them, except for that, within marriage, are clearly forbidden. It has nothing to do with hormones or some scientific explanation. The only way to overcome it is to sincerely seek the guidance of Allah. Consult well known and established scholars – as previously suggested by other commentators – who will assist in providing information on how to desist in giving into your nafs and keeping shaytaan at bay. The sister says she was brought up religiously, so insha Allah she will understand that it’s only shaytaan who is trying to lead her astray and she is definitely better than any shaytaan or
    her nafs.

    • Avatar

      Muslim_Always

      June 25, 2016 at 10:26 PM

      Are you serious? Besides seeking the help of Allah the situation is more complicated than this.

  11. Avatar

    miss anon

    November 13, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    To the lady having this issue, here is a real story of a muslim lady who was a lesbian and got out of it.
    http://rilek1corner.com/2014/05/23/a-letter-to-muslimah-sister-regarding-her-support-for-pinkdotsg2014/

    Just a background story: Pink Dot movement in Singapore is held every year for support of Gays and Lesbians. In their recent move, they purposely put a muslim woman wearing a Hijab in their marketing video advocating support for this movement.

  12. Avatar

    Conviction2Change

    November 13, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    Salam,

    I tried posting a comment here but it didn’t go through due to a “spam detection” (thanks for the warning) so I’m rewriting this.

    My first part of the post was written to MuslimMatters: I thought this was an advice column and this sister would be helped in regards to the issue she is suffering with. Instead, Islam was explained to her and a “gay blogger” was retaliated against. Women like herself probably know the entire Islamic opinion on this because it’s not very difficult and we have to listen to it all the time: the feelings are okay but the actions are not. I think she got that part. Can we, as a Muslim community, please move on and start helping women like this sister and like me cope with our SSA (same sex attractions) rather than continue preaching to us? We would appreciate your understanding. I expect MuslimMatters to be doing a lot more or at least be a little bit more unique. I hope this article was a fluke or a bad apple and not reflective of what this website has become.

    The second part of my post was directed to the 19 year old sister who is asking for help and then didn’t get any.

    Sis, I’m not the best person to help you but I’m someone and when I was 19 like you, I just wanted someone, so I hope this post brings you some level of peace. I am a fighter like you and this path has been long and arduous. When I meet someone else who is struggling like I am, a part of me feels relieved that I’m not alone but another part of me becomes depressed that there’s someone else like me, someone else in pain like me, and for that I just want to say I’m very sorry. I’m sorry for what you’re going through, what you’re feeling, what you’re fighting, for the sake of yourself, your Rabb, your family, your life, your community, for whatever your reasons are. I’m sorry you have to but I’m also so, so, so very proud of you. You are amazing and a beacon of hope for others out there. Thank you for being an inspiration to others that yes, it can be done. It IS possible to have these feelings but to stand up to them for the sake of Allah. May Allah bless you. Ameen.

    Always remember that He loves you. It will be the most important thing. For every time I have doubted His Love for me, I have fallen harder and harder. You, too, will fall. You will fall through the ground. But that’s okay, sis. What matters is that every time you fall, no matter how hard you fall, you do one thing: stay with Allah. Don’t leave Islam. Yes, Islam says that you can’t act on this and feels like there’s no way out of this sick maze we have been born into, but this doesn’t have to be a choice between Islam and your feelings. If you find yourself acting on all this one day, which I pray you never ever do, don’t feel that the solution to the situation is to leave Islam. It’s not. That’s going in the opposite direction. You’re allowed to pray, fast, be a good Muslim woman, but still make mistakes, and if your mistakes have to do with SSA, then so be it. I’m not belittling the test of SSA, but I’m just saying that it is NOT worth you losing your religion over. It is not worth leaving Allah over. He never left you. He never will. Even a woman who has made as many mistakes as I have and fallen as flat on her face as I have, knows that. Allah didn’t leave me, He won’t leave you, He won’t leave any of us. May Allah increase in His Love for you with each passing day. Ameen.

    Now, what to do? I suggest a few things. 1. Get support, 2. Get advice, 3. Get help.

    1. Get Support
    Seek support from extremely trustworthy friends/family who can take that initial shock and then help you by just simply being there for you as you work through this. “Being there” means just being that shoulder to cry on or that person you can talk to as you fight this. You’re going to need a few people like this. Start identifying some for yourself. Also, linked below at the end of this post is a an anonymous online support group called Straight Struggle which initially helped me overcome a lot. It’s just a nice, safe place to go and talk things out with people who get what you’re going through because they, too, are Muslim and struggling with unwanted SSA. (They mostly are men but they’re very understanding people. Give it a try.)

    2. Get Advice
    I know you’re a smart girl and you know the Islamic perspective on all of this, but it’s good to still have religious counsel around to just bounce things off of and get a firmer grounding of your faith. Find a trustworthy shaykh or knowledgeable person who can be there to act as a mentor to you as a Muslimah with a struggle in life. This is much easier said than done but it’s an important aspect of succeeding in this.

    3. Get Help
    You were trying to get help by asking for advice from MuslimMatters but at the end of the day, most sites like these are unequipped to help with what you’re facing. I pray and pray and pray that our Muslim community gets there soon because we need our brothers and sisters there to help us, but until that happens, we need other avenues. With that in mind, I suggest you to purchase a book called “The Heart of Same-Sex Attraction” by Janelle Hallman. The author is a counselor in Colorado who helps women with unwanted SSA alter their lifestyles. Though this book is written for counselors, it was detrimental in helping me better understand myself and why I feel the way I do. Buy it. Read it. Apply it to yourself. But you can’t do this alone. I advise you to go to a website called psychologytoday.com and find a counselor on there for yourself, whether they’re Muslim or not, and start seeing them to get help coping with what you’re going through. Explain to them that you’re a Muslim and you can’t act on this so therefore you need strategies in helping you understand why you’re feeling this and how to move forward with your life so that you can be happy as you are. It is going to be a long, grueling process but you need it. You need to start looking deep inside of yourself to learn how you came to SSA and how you’re going to work on learning to live with it because it likely won’t go away, but you can’t continue to feel depressed about it.

    Lastly, my email address is below. It’s not much but sometimes you just want a person to talk to. If so, I’m here. I don’t check it often but I will try. Sometimes it even just helps to write things out so if nothing else, you can do that. I wish the best for you. You’re going to be okay. I truly believe that. I truly believe you’re going to keep moving, keep succeeding, keep living a happy life. I believe this because I know that Allah wants nothing short of the absolute best for you. You will fall many times getting there, but never doubt it, because you will get there. And when you do, you’ll finally look back and know unflinchingly that it was all worth it.

    Salam,
    Your sister with a conviction to change

    • Avatar

      gina

      November 14, 2014 at 2:18 AM

      This is probably the best and most useful reply of all to our courageous young sister. May Allah SWT make our tests easy as help us get through them safely. Duas.

    • Avatar

      ummabdullaah

      November 14, 2014 at 4:23 AM

      Baarakillaah alaikee Conviction2Change. May Allaah grant you success in your efforts to be better.

      I totally agree with @gina. This is very good advice.

      I believe that some of the best support can come from those in the struggle themselves. Although we are all struggling with some forbidden desire, this issue is very sensitive. It needs a different approach from some other issues we all face in life, at some point and time.

      Besides homosexuality, there’s porn, promiscuity, molestation, just to name a few, related to forbidden sexual desire to which many from the Muslim Ummah engage and struggle in on a daily bases.

      I commend those who are making an effort to be better and not follow up on their desires. Likewise, I condemn those (@ Assem) who stand in the way of that with their misleading notions and rants.

      May Allaah grant me and all of my brothers/sisters in Islam success in our efforts to become better obedient servants of Him.

    • Avatar

      Discreet

      February 16, 2015 at 5:59 PM

      God bless you. I am a guy with SSA and this post made me cry. It feels good knowing that I’m not the only one in the world going through this most painful struggle. Your words are touching and extremely comforting. May God protect you and guide you to Jannah inshallah.

  13. Avatar

    Conviction2Change

    November 13, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    The post isn’t allowing me to submit it without go to spam if I post the link for the support group and my email address, so instead I will post both like this:
    http://groups DOT yahoo DOT com FORWARD SLASH group SLASH StraightStruggle

    My email is conviction2change AT gmail DOT com

  14. Avatar

    bc2116

    November 13, 2014 at 9:53 PM

    People have all kinds of desires that they aren’t permitted to act upon. If the sister had a heterosexual drive while not married, it wold be just as, but probably not more, impermissible to indulge as a homosexual drive. Some people (hopefully not so many Muslims) have a strong desire to shoplift, or to tell untrue stories, or they are abusive and lose their temper. Controlling desire through permissible outlets is part of growing up and part of being Muslim, and there are many positive, functional, tools to accomplish this. In the end, this unlawful urge of the sister’s may drive her to be an even more dedicated servant of Allah ﷻ. Although, the MSA and the Islamic blogosphere may not be where the best help is found (but it’s out there – and I pray the sister will connect with it).

  15. Avatar

    A.S.

    November 13, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    this could have been written by me, the me I was 20 years ago. I used to feel attracted to girls. I don’t really know why. Now looking back, I know some things happened to me that could have made me shift out of one sexual framework (girl attracted to boys) into another…(girl attracted to girls)…including spending time with homosexuals (as friends) and also looking through the eyes of my Dad at other women, noticing how he looked at them and checked them out. We are also forced to look through the eyes of men in general that are the eyes that advertisements and TV and movies all cater to. women are shown as pornography in everything from lingerie ads to music videos. we are forced to see these images of other women whether we want to or not. another reason I got into that framework was by comparing my body to the bodies of the other women around me – always seeing them as better and more perfect and rating myself against them, until it started to result in my being attracted. Today I am a happily married woman.

    • Avatar

      Javed

      November 15, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      Your issues sound like they were more nurture vs. nature! Not everyone will be in a SSA for the same reasons. So its possible that the sister who wrote for help doesnt fit your mold. But nevertheless, you give good advice for someone wanting to get away from SSA to, as a first step, step away from groups that would encourage that behavior.
      One of your other points was about your Dad’s leering upon women as you grew up… I think that might be a reason you picked up from the gay/lesbian groups and not a real reason. That sounds like a revision you might have made to your perceptions of why you came to SSA, and not necessarily a precursor. The number of Uncles in the the community that have a staring problem would have caused almost all the daughters to go in that direction if that was the case.

  16. Avatar

    A.S.

    November 13, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    I believe in the plasticity of the brain. In it being able to be shaped by new thoughts, new pathways, and I believe in the Healing Touch of Allah.
    likewise, I believe there is a real war being waged by Dajjal to make people struggle with sexuality of all kinds – straight, fake (porn), abusive, etc.

  17. Avatar

    A.S.

    November 13, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    I believe sexuality is easily influencible by what is around us. THis means while it is easy to fall into traps, it is also possible to take decisions that will lead you to a place where your desire is less stoked and ignited. You need to take some steps to protect yourself: use wudu, regular duas for protection, and Quran reading (even if done for you by others) to protect yourself and become stronger so that outer influences don’t enter inside you and take over – as happened to me. You need to try to spend time in cleaner environments. .

  18. Avatar

    A.S.

    November 13, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    One sad thing I noticed with MSA people is that even in all-girl settings, girls dress badly once their abayas come off and this is thus not a ‘pure’ atmosphere – but once again, an atmosphere in which the physical and the sexual is being promoted even if inadvertently. (so please, girls out there who pose in sexy poses on fb, while still being hijabi, and girls who exude sexual vibes even while being poster girls of faith, please, think about how you are contributing to a general atmosphere of hyper-sexuality, as opposed to purity and spirituality.)

  19. Avatar

    A.S.

    November 13, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    lastly: there ARE female muslim counselors who work with this kind of issue. may you be guided to one. try to spend time with very modest and pure people in sisterhood and doing worship. and ask Allah to help you. and also, stop tormenting yourself with self-suggestion that you are homosexual and always trying to ‘test’ your reaction to seeing another beautiful woman. just let urself admire her as a creature of God and do not sexualize her and do not sexualize anyone. that kind of looking at people in a sexual way is not allowed anyway, whether man or woman is the target. look at people for their souls. you will be healed this way. REmember that the most important thing is to not do an act of wrongdoing. Even if you feel a certain way – that is fine. God will not punish you for feeling any way. But if you indulge that, if you promote it inside you, and if you act on it…that is where your problems will increase. so ask God to protect you – He will. He promised to answer our prayers, and there is no doubt that He will. And as you struggle, know that you are getting a HUGE reward bigger than that of many a great person. Because you are fighting a true jihad

  20. Avatar

    Hidayat

    November 13, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    to the dear sister who posted the first dilemma :
    I know you are looking for an answer and for someone to turn to. I think that you know and you believe so strongly that Allah subhanahu wa taala never makes any mistake. He created the whole world with not one single flaw. How could He create you with female organs and a male desire???You know deep inside that it is not right and that is why you are questioning your sexual orientation.
    If you want my humble advice, Along with prayers and reading Quran, I want you to listen to Sheikh Yasir Qadhi youtube on the issue. Also listen to Suhaib Web on the same issues. You can listen to them in your own privacy. Lastly sister you also need to see a Muslim therapist, someone who will lead you to understand your inner feelings and reach down to the origins of your dilemma and to heal your spirits.
    May Allah Be with you and help you always.

  21. Avatar

    Assem

    November 13, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    This is absolute BS. You and people like you (unfortunately there are many) choose to believe what your ‘holy book’ says and what you think ‘God’ said and didn’t say or what your ‘prophet’ said or didn’t say. I make the conscious decision to think for myself and not follow a fictitious book and people who suffer from delusions and hallucinations (prophets). What you wrote (and some do the responses here) can be extremely damaging for LGBT people who choose to follow Islam or who come from families that choose to do so.

    If any LGBT people are reading this, please know you are not alone. You are NOT abnormal. You are NOT unnatural. You are NOT sick. What you are is different and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that or wrong with you. Be strong and do not listen to or internalize any of the distorted, irrational, judgemental and ludicrous beliefs / statements you read here or anywhere else.

    • Avatar

      GregAbdul

      November 15, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      this is a Muslim site and Muslims are addressing this. Your post asks the world to pretend we don’t exist. I really perplexed because atheists at one time were a smart quiet group and today that has changed and we are all the time on the net getting loud atheists who talk openly, often and abrasively, while saying things that do not show intelligence. The biggest problem in the world today is Selfish Materialism and as such, selfish secular materialism is the ideology today with least hope of solving this huge global problem. In fact atheism, if anything is a cause of the greed and avarice we see today. These are the traits of people who run away from God. I pray Allah makes every person in the world a better thinker, more conscious of the harm every single one of us causes. You don’t give a suicidal person a gun and lock him in a room. To trick people into abandoning the idea of the God of Abraham, when selfishness and materialism are about to pollute the earth into an unlivable place is a classic example of how a huge, not-so-bright group has drifted into atheism and in their unthinking are not a threat to Islam, but they threaten the earth, because a world full of people who believe that life is only what they can grab and play with before they die is a world rushing towards its own destruction, led by unthinking people greedy people, because people without faith are like cars with brakes: a big accident waiting to happen.

      • Avatar

        Yusuf

        December 24, 2014 at 6:44 AM

        Salaam.
        I’m a heterosexual male who has never experienced any homosexual tendencies. I believe that ‘Selfish Materialism’ is not as bad as the ‘Intolerance’ associated with a large portion of the followers of our faith i.e. Islam. We try to get the world to stop hating Muslims but how can we expect their tolerance when we ourselves isolate people who apparently ‘suffer’ from homosexuality. It is not a disease or a condition. It is their nature to be attracted to the same sex. Live and let be. Allah is the judge. Not fellow muslims. We are here to live our lives while others, hetero- and homosexual alike, live theirs. If we show tolerance maybe the world will show the same to us. Many muslims believe that they have a right to proclaim what is correct or incorrect when it comes to faith. Just remember, that homosexuality is not something new. In the days of the Prophet (saw) things were different. He married Ayesha (RA) when she was just a child. But, at that time it was ok. Now we would call such an act, Paedophilia. We, including myself, would defend this act. If you can say that such an was permitted or ‘fine’ then so too must you show tolerance towards homosexuality. Also, in the past the muslims rode camels and horses so if you wish to stay in the past then say ‘no’ to automobiles.

        • Avatar

          Hanif

          January 14, 2015 at 1:31 AM

          Allah reward those who have had compassionate comments to this post. As a Muslim who happens to be gay too, it gives me hope. Alhamdulillah. Also, thank you Ciaran for your comment. Maybe one day we’ll get a real post on being gay and Muslim. One commentator said something about our Prophet, pbuh, marrying Aisha, ra, when she was a child. We understand that there’s a cultural context to marriage and Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, did not exist outside of his culture. I wish our communities would talk about that more and begin to talk about what we can re-interpret for OUR culture(s). To take homosexuality as an example, we have to stop pretending what scholars like Ibn Taymiyah said way back when is an answer for today.

  22. Avatar

    Umm Abdullaah

    November 14, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullaah,

    Baarakillaah Alaikee, very well written and comprehensive.

    I too, have struggled with understanding how to help and advise gay Muslims. To my surprise, I don’t know why. This article has helped me to realize why, insha’a Allaah.

    Some reasons that came mind or to light for me were, homophobia (being seen as afraid of my brother/sister in Islam), digusted (not being able to imagine myself having such desires), ashamed (Muslims aren’t gay), sad (simply not knowing how to react), etc.

    This article has helped me come to terms with the fact that desires that are forbidden are not just a test for the individual experiencing them, but also for the rest of us and that being a Muslim who is attracted to the same gender is not just a struggle for the, but a struggle for us all.

    As I put things into perspective, I see that treating or dealing with a Muslim that is attracted to the same gender is no different than one attracted to the opposite gender whom they aren’t married to.

    Likewise, my understanding of the following ayah has been expand:

    وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَىْءٍ مِّنَ ٱلْخَوْفِ وَٱلْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ ٱلْأَمْوَٰلِ وَٱلْأَنفُسِ وَٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ

    “And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear (of all types), hunger and loss of property and lives and fruit and give good new to the patient.”

    “…in Islam, we are not held accountable for desiring something sinful. We are held accountable only for acting on something sinful.” This is a mercy from Allaah upon His servant.

    The ‘Gay Struggle’ and the ‘Gay Agenda’ are treated the same by Allaah. They are both forbidden.

    Allaah says,

    وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا۟ ٱلزِّنَىٰٓ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ فَٰحِشَةً وَسَآءَ سَبِيل

    “And do not come near the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a Fahishah [i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin), and an evil way (that lead one to Hell, unless Allaah forgives him/her).”

    كُلُّ ذَٰلِكَ كَانَ سَيِّئُهُۥ عِندَ رَبِّكَ مَكْرُوهًا

    “All the bad aspects of these (Israa”a: 31-37) are hateful to your Lord.”

    We must remember that the Muslims struggling with being gay and the gay non-Muslim have the same Lord, just as Musa reminded Pharaoh, as he was committing a crime in the land.

    فَأْتِيَاهُ فَقُولَآ إِنَّا رَسُولَا رَبِّكَ فَأَرْسِلْ مَعَنَا بَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ وَلَا تُعَذِّبْهُمْ قَدْ جِئْنَٰكَ بِـَٔايَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكَ وَٱلسَّلَٰمُ عَلَىٰ مَنِ ٱتَّبَعَ ٱلْهُدَىٰٓ

    “So go you both to him, and say: Verily, we are Messengers of your Lord, so let the Children of Israel go with us, and torment them not; indeed, we have come with a sign from your Lord! And peace be with him who follows the guidance!”

    So one must follow the guidance from their Lord in order to have peace in life; otherwise, one will be in a constant stressful struggle with one’s desires.

    In conclusion, to my dear brothers and sisters, follow the way of your Lord, which has been laid out in the Qur’aan and Sunnah (in all matters) and you will be successful in dealing with and combating homosexual desires along with other foridden desires, insha’a Allaah.

    May Allaah have mercy on us, shower us with good in this life and in the Here-after and keep us upon the straight path.

  23. Avatar

    nadya

    November 14, 2014 at 12:43 AM

    Hi sister.
    A year ago i was siting with my dad in the living room, and he saw me having the gay flag as a bracelet, but i didnt know that was the gay flag, i just liked it because it was colorful. My dad said to me “you cant be lesbian and wearing hijab” so since that day i stop wearing the bracelet.

    I am not the best muslim girl, i met guys in my life so i can start something serious but the past 2 months i feel guys are not nice, they just hurt women and thats it. So in the past 2 months i think i like girls, and i am not sure if i do or not, but i dont like guys anymore. I do dress like a guy, loose jeans, my voice tone change from female to little heavy, my brother treats me like im his younger brother.

    What scares me is that before i convert to islam,
    At the age of 10 to 14 i used to have sexual relation with girls, at the age of 15 i start relations with both but mostly guys.

    Im trying my best to ignore people around me.
    Thx .

  24. Avatar

    Inayah

    November 14, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    Sister this life is temporary…this life is a huge test for every one of us, don’t forget Allah SWT will test you, he tests the ones he loves the most and InshaAllah if you pass it he will shower your life will Barakah n his rahma n make everything in life easy for you. Please don’t doubt your faith we havnt come here for fun n fulfilling our desires we were merely put into earth just to worship our Lord. Fear Allah sister please and sit and do as much dhikr as you can wake up for tahajjud n cry your heart out to Allah to help you and to keep you strong and steadfast upon the deen and to make this struggle easy for you InshaAllah. Will keep you in my duas InshaAllah may Allah swt make it easy for you and help you overcome this situation inshaAllah Ameen

  25. Avatar

    islamic sister

    November 14, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    Ghusl, Wudu, Salah, Fast In Sha Allah your thoughts will change, feelings for sinning will fade. The Shaitaan whispers for u to do wrong. But when u follow this path he will be far away from u.
    Read a book called Shaitaan whispers from the Dawate islami site. Theres a book called Cause of Sin. Theres lots of books May Allah guide u and you become a peraon who helps people with this problem to.

  26. Avatar

    SHERIFDEEN ABDULSALAM

    November 14, 2014 at 6:36 AM

    just be prayerful and tell yourself, i wont bow down for shaitan wises, dont feel depress, always remember that Allah is with you. let me give you my secrete weapon ” I WANT MY EYE TO BE AMONG THOSE EYE THAT THAT WILL SEE ALLAH SUBUHANAWATAHALLAH on the day of ressuration” SO IF YOU WANT TO BE AMONG THEN DO THE RIGHT THING. DONT ALLOW YOUR FEELING TO GET CONTROL OVER YOU, TRY TO BE IN CONTROL. MAY ALLAH SAVE US ALL. ALSO REMEMBER IT IS NOT YOU AND THEM, IT IS YOU AND ALLAH. PLEASE DONT DISAPPOINT YOUR PARENT. LET YOUR PARENT BE PROUD OF YOU.

  27. Pingback: Gay and Muslim? The Advice You Should Have Received | Ify Okoye

  28. Avatar

    The mamá

    November 14, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    It appears that a sister’s personal emails were shared without her consent :(

    I saw a follow up to this piece and read it, both posts have valid points,.

    I had some thoughts and questions as food for thought since I am No one to be answered to and just want to put them out there for all of us

    I did leave a comment and I also wanted to post it here because so many of us (Muslims) have such a Difficult time; it seems, with reading, discussing or entertaining a thought without being rude or at least seeing the others perspective even if we may disagree.

    I posted this as a question to all of us and the person I replied to

    Asalaamu Alaikum thank you for sharing such a deeply personal and taboo subject for most.

    It was very respectful I have some questions

    Being a part of those meetings and groups though-do they actually provide tips on how NOT to act on these sexual/attraction feelings?

    If they do not can they really be of help for a Muslim who would Not want to act on these strong emotions?

    How do you think as a community we (The general Muslim) can be less ostracizing and more respectful while trying to help people cope with these feelings and Not act on them?

    Why is that Muslims with open girlfriends or boyfriends or drinking and drugging Muslims can be forgiven but someone who may not even have acted on their attraction get so cruelly dismissed?

    2 Wrongs a Right do NOT make however we as Muslims treat non-practicing, shirk naAthoobilah and not praying like it’s less of a sin than having “gay feelings” let alone acting on them……

    • Avatar

      A

      November 14, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      you don’t need consent to post an email that was sent to you! She also left the gay bloggers anonymous

      • Avatar

        The mamá

        November 15, 2014 at 12:28 AM

        okay “A”. I didn’t say it was “legally required” it’s an observation, part of quite a few I left. so beside this productive comment, any other feedback on the other stuff I mentioned?

  29. Avatar

    سيد حمزة

    November 14, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    I honestly expected to find something thoughtful and well-informed on the issue, but was quite saddened to find this article both lacking real knowledge of the on-the-ground realities of LGBTQ Muslims and also devoid of any real compassion — the kind the Quran and the prophet warranted. I’m an observant straight Muslim man who has come to know a couple of lesbian Muslimahs closely. Knowing and observing what they go through and how they struggle with themselves, I find this article pedantic, arrogant and entirely unhelpful. Muslim leaders need to figure out a way to address injustices in our community and really enact the Prophet (s.w)’s compassion and vision, without lapsing back to antiquated teachings. Much of our tradition is hetero-normative and patriarchal and that is hardest to admit for us men sometimes, because it caters to our perception of the world and ignores all other possibilities.

    • Avatar

      M. Mahmud

      November 15, 2014 at 1:20 AM

      White-knighting is an annoying phenomenon. I suggest you show some respect to the author and cut down on the arrogance you display.

      There is a consensus that same sex acts are forbidden in this deen. Whoever considers it halal is guilt of kufr unless he is ignorant. The command of Allah for this Ummah lasts until yawm al Qiyamah. The Sunnah of Rasulullah sallahualayhiwasalam has never been and will never be obsolete.

      In any case, I hope you do know, the Sahaba RA agreed that the punishment of the sodomite is death. They only differed on how to execute him. Females who engage in the act are also punished under Shari’ah.

      Of course there is court and due process but it doesn’t change the fact that there are severe punishments for sexual acts in the law of Allah. They have not been abrogated except in the minds of apostates and other disbelievers.

      • Avatar

        conviction2change

        November 16, 2014 at 12:10 AM

        Relax. He’s making a thoughtful observation, not issuing an Islamic fatwa. As a woman who struggles with the same feelings, I find it offensive that the article didn’t address the issue and help that 19 year old young lady find solutions, but rather just point out to her all the proofs why she can’t live that life, when she wasn’t exactly saying she was going to justify it.

    • Avatar

      GregAbdul

      November 15, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      you know, brother you criticized and you did not actually give an solutions. You are openly bashing another Muslim on a Muslim website. Your criticisms are general and without merit. You can look into this sister’s brain to know her knowledge? Yet you claim she lacks compassion. You can see her heart? May Allah guide you to the sunnah.

  30. Avatar

    Wazina

    November 14, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    There is a recent collective reply written to a questioning muslimah which may also be helpful to questioning and struggling lgbtq brothers and sisters: hhttp://www.autostraddle.com/you-need-help-attraction-to-women-and-feeling-like-a-bad-muslim-262479/hhttp://www.autostraddle.com/you-need-help-attraction-to-women-and-feeling-like-a-bad-muslim-262479/

    • Avatar

      Hop

      November 17, 2014 at 6:25 PM

      What does auto straddle have anything to with the Islamic viewpoint of sexuality, let alone homosexuality ? Nothing.

      • Avatar

        Wazina

        November 18, 2014 at 8:25 AM

        Certainly no one website or individuals has the end all and be all perspectives on Islam. Just because you dismiss the perspectives of lgbtq muslimahs does not mean others do. If this is whole conversation is in the context and desire to preserve the meaningful life of another being than all outlets are appropriate to support them.

      • Avatar

        Saliha

        December 8, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        this is just a trend and a fashion these days. It’s not acceptable in the faith to act on these impulses. and it’s wrong to be offering examples of coupling in this manner. If one has this orientation, first of all, how is one really sure it’s not an abnormality that could be diminished or decreased based on circumstances, situations, and relationship to God; secondly, why on earth go public with it? this is not the way we should deal with it. If one has this kind of sexual orientation, stay single, stay chaste, put your energy into other things in life. you don’t have to express sexuality. just like a woman who is straight but never gets married. she should not be expressing her sexuality. sexuality is only expressed in a marriage between a male and a female.

  31. Avatar

    Ibn Adnan Al-Yutaawi

    November 15, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    You do know that Haleh Banani is a contributor to Muslimmatters. It literally says thhat on the very page you linked to.

    • Avatar

      Ibn Adnan Al-Yutaawi

      November 16, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      This was meant for brother ANMB. I don’t know how it got here.

  32. Avatar

    conviction2change

    November 16, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    I keep checking back on this website to see if some kind of helpful response is going to be posted in regards to this topic. There hasn’t been. Instead, I came across an article by Yasir Qadhi on the Muslim belief of aliens. Because that’s so direly important in our lives, right? #addressrealissuesplease #helpus

  33. Avatar

    your-brother-in-faith

    November 16, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    It’s been years for me to keep myself denying about it, until finally I acknowledge myself that I suffer that kind of problem, just like 19 years old girl mentioned above. I’m not going to blame anyone, but I just only want so share you an advice, especially for those who already have children. For you, parents, please raise up your children carefully, watch their interaction with their peers. If you have a son, don’t let them play TOO MUCH with the girls nor play with girl’s toys (doll, etc) (unless you can make sure it’s normal and not harmful to them). If you’re a dad, please take care of your children also, you play an important role to both, your son and your daughter, and it’s not only your wife’s task, but it’s your responsibility also. Please take care of them.. I beg!

    I don’t know, something that I remember is just when I was a toddler, I used to play with my friends, which most of them were girls, I was raised up by someone else that my parent put a trust on her, and I had a closer interaction with my mom far less than my dad. It’s kind of extertal factors that crave me, myself into the one I look on the mirror everyday.

    I’ve been searching for any practical solutions but found none. I’m a muslim, but deep inside I feel like that I’m a hypocrite. I’m 23 years old, but I’m still searching for my true identity. I’m joining my local masjid youth community, but have no one to tell, because I’m afraid they’ll leave me since I’m different. Sometimes, I feel so depressed not knowing what am I supposed to do. I need your prayers and please take care of your children

    • Avatar

      Katiba

      December 1, 2014 at 4:15 PM

      suggestion: read what this woman says. She actually describes how most Muslims in history would deal with their orientation (being non-hetero is not a new phenomenon. It existed before. but it was not proclaimed and people were not prodded by society at large to act upon it) http://julierodgers.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/can-the-gay-be-a-good/

      • Avatar

        Saliha

        December 8, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        great website and this is a really good article to read: http://julierodgers.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/when-the-gay-eclipses-god/
        ”Figuring out what it means to be gay or not gay can steal your joy and rob you of intimacy with the One who probably isn’t freaking out about it quite as much as you are; He probably just wants your heart. I only write about things gay to say The Gay isn’t God, and it should never eclipse our focus on the One who’s worthy of all our affections and all our hours of obsession. Our energy would be well spent just living a story of worship. ”
        and this: ”what if you just kind or bracket these questions for a bit? The world is so big and your life—who you are—is so much bigger than this one conflict.”
        http://julierodgers.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/to-lower-the-volume-on-anxiety/

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  35. Avatar

    Amal Ibrahim

    November 21, 2014 at 1:53 AM

    I would first like to say to the young lady that inspired this discussion and everyone else

    May Allah guide and protect you and keep your feet firm on His path.

    I would like to advise something which may not be popular with others. First, I think she needs to approach the community again whether that be MSA or a local masjid or whatever. In the same way that we don’t want others to give up on us, we shouldn’t give up on others. I do believe that she should try a different approach. She could write to someone in the community. For one, when you write, people are more likely to “listen” rather than when you are talking and they simply don’t hear what you’re saying. I’d approach it like this:

    As-Salamu Alaikum

    Recently a close friend confided in me that she was struggling with SSA. Because I know her background, I knew that it must have been extremely difficult for her to tell me and I also knew that she must have been desperate for help. Since I didn’t believe I was able to offer her the help she needed, I suggested she attend an MSA meeting. That way she could bring up the subject or approach someone individually about the subject. She didn’t feel comfortable and said she was afraid that she would be judged or shunned in some way. So, I told her that I’d bring it up the next time I went and tell her what happened.

    While I expected that it wouldn’t be an easy subject to bring up, I didn’t expect the response I got. It was unfortunate that when I brought up the subject, instead of getting advice I got insults and ridicule. This was disappointing because it is not from the sunnah to turn someone away when he/she is seeking your help/advice. Also, it forced me to try avoiding my friend because I didn’t know what to tell her.

    So, I am approaching MSA (or whoever) again in hopes of getting a better response. My friend, and perhaps others, believes in Allah and all the tenets of our faith. She, as others, is struggling with a desire she knows to be wrong and alhamdulillah she has not acted on it, but still it exists. She would like to know if there is anyone she can talk to that may be able to help her deal with it and by the Grace of Allah overcome it. If there is no one in MSA who can, perhaps she could be directed toward someone who can.

    Jazakum Allahu Khary
    Wa Salam

    I do not know that such an approach would work, but I would hope that it would. I think it’s important that she be able to approach people in her community who are nearby because there’s only so much self-help books and online forums can do. It is a struggle as other struggles though I believe it may be more difficult today because now we live in a world that wants to force us to accept all kinds of sins no matter how grave.

    As others have said, she must continue to pray, including the last 3rd of the night, make dua, read qur’an, fast and do her best to avoid those things and people that might pull her down. And this is advice for any number of struggles.

    I commend her for seeking out help and I pray that she will continue to do so and not be discouraged by ignorant responses which she is no doubt likely to come across from time to time. Even that is a test. Shaytan wants to pull us away from Allah and discouraging us from seeking help or from trying to do what’s right is one of the ways he uses.

    Again, may Allah guide and protect us all and keep our feet firm on His path such that our actions are only what pleases Him.

  36. Avatar

    RCHOUDH

    November 26, 2014 at 1:30 AM

    This was an very informative post and I pray that the young sister who first posed the question gets the help and encouragement she deserves towards staying upon the Right Path. Also may Allah reward both the author and commenters who’ve already provided such much needed advice and encouragement to the sister here in the article’s comments section. I just wanted to add how disappointing it was to read about the way the sister’s MSA treated her situation in a way that lacked any sort of sensitivity or care. Muslims should be taught the correct manners in giving advice and encouragement towards others, which does not involve name-calling and indifference. Since we know not to make light of a person’s struggles with other issues (such as drug addiction or sexual promiscuity) we should extend the same common courtesy to those of us dealing with this particular issue. Finally I just want to mention how important it for more Muslims to go into counseling and social work. We need more such people in the field who are sensitive to the unique ways Muslims handle personal issues such as these.

  37. Avatar

    Ashley

    November 26, 2014 at 5:49 AM

    I think the biggest takeaway from this issue, not so much this article though, is that we have a real duty not just to other Muslims, but to all people, to treat them justly and fairly.

    We can have our beliefs and opinions on stuff like this and also maintain respect and love for those who are outside of our view. What disturbs me about how many Muslims react to gay and lesbian people isn’t that they believe that homosexuality is sinful, it is that they outcast, hate, and dishonor them.

    Gay and lesbian people are murdered, raped, beaten up, and jailed all over the world. In many places they experience a high rate of poverty, drug abuse, disease, and prostitution. Even in places like America which are supposedly liberal countries you have young people now committing suicide over this stuff. It’s madness!

    We are in a tricky situation as people of faith who, in the orthodox tradition, have a teaching that runs counter to the moral view of homosexuality of the times.

    We shouldn’t change our Scripture, but we should humanize these people. They ARE human. They DO have souls. They DO yearn for God like all creation. When we turn them away, when we do not act with compassion, when we speak without respect, we push them out of a state of Islam, and THAT is a grave sin.

    We all have our opinion. We need to keep them to ourselves and speak with love and humility first and foremost. Sometimes, people don’t need you to give them a quick and easy answer, they just want you to listen, to love, and a nice hug and some cocoa.

    Peace!

  38. Avatar

    Bob

    November 26, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Salam alikom,
    First I would like to thank Brother Yehia who introduced me to this blog.
    I think I can say I am gay Muslim , not proud about being gay. Many would be judgemental – I understand. I have been struggling now for past 20 ys. I came out to 4 of my friends and 2 of them were supportive and one was ok and the fourth I told him about myself as he was so close to me and I did not want to lie to him , he told me he will be supportive however if he feels I have attraction to him he will go away . I had attraction to him and few weeks later I revealed to him about it as I was in a mental state I am seeking repentance from Allah – and wanted to clean up my plate with my friend – his answer was he will pray for me but we can’t be friends as according to him- he is a source of sin. He is 2000 miles away so there is no way to meet him . All I wanted to keep our friendship pure.
    People act as they have no sin and they don’t forgive. If my friend were supportive I would stop seeing other guys , all I wanted is to feel accepted .
    He increased my feeling that I am rejected. If Allah forgives why mankind don’t
    Every Muslim man one who struggles his homosexuality, is really in pain. We are fighting not to be sinful and condemned to hell, instead of cursing us , please keep us in your prayers , we are seeking repentance of Allah.

  39. Avatar

    Bobby

    November 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Arabian Peninsula is more or less a desert with very few rivers and rainy seasons. Farming and forest for food is obviously scares. Not many means for an easy survival. In an environment which is rather hostile to human population growth to maintain the population more birth of babies is obviously required.
    That’s why originally Jews find homosexuality as some acts of union not resulting in babies, then roman (Christens) and finally Muslims. Specially Muslims as they need more men for wars. In case these men indulge in physical acts with each other results in less contact with women which results in missing a chance of getting them pregnant and thus a delay of an year for baby to be born and in finally results in less number of men for war in respective year in future or girl reaching child bearing age late by an year.
    This way acts of homosexuality get annoyed and disapproved. I don’t think it has anything to do with god or sins. Any acts which don’t cause any harm physically or mentally to other human can’t be sinful. So act of homosexuality can be sinful and non-sinful as per circumstances.

  40. Avatar

    Saliha

    December 8, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    for a Muslim, homosexuality is not allowed to be expressed in actions. If one is homosexual, no problem. no one should be making fun of such people or any one else having a hard time or facing challenges. but the thing is that it has become popularized in our culture now – it’s something that people are pushed to pursue. this is wrong. pursue other things in your life, but don’t openly pursue sin. there are many ways to resist sin. if i am an alcoholic, i will always have a tendency – and many have shown that certain people are BORN with that tendency in their genes – to drink. I need to keep away from triggers. Because I know that drinking is a sin. Same with acting out homosexual expression. It is a sin. if you have a tendency towards it, find out how to resist it. stay away from tempting situations where you are likely to fall. If an alcoholic keeps focusing on the alcohol and how he/she can’t do what other normal non alcoholics do, then he/she will be miserable. but if that person accepts how they are and just pursues other shared goals such as Eternal Bliss with God, then they can successfully bracket their issue and move on.

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  42. Avatar

    Ciaran

    December 31, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    You didn’t actually answer the girl’s question or offer her comfort, you just used this as a soapbox for your own opinions on LGBTQ+ people and another blogger. Perhaps you should put aside your personal feelings and think about the feelings of the girl who sent you this question looking for help and comfort.

  43. Avatar

    Ediris

    March 8, 2015 at 3:29 AM

    I believe many of the muslim men nowadays have forgotten one of the many prohibitions of the religion. This is with regards to, looking a young, beardless men. Many people may raise their eyebrows upon hearing this but the reality is a lot of the scholars have warned against this including sheikh salih al-munajjid. The warning of this munkar speaks volumes for itself.

    There is really a huge problem in society I believe, when young Muslims are openly speaking about this. This is a disease which affects some of the Muslim ummah. having such discourse in public will only cause people to become more “open” about their homosexuality and consequently adopting the notion ” homosexuality is permissible”

    • Avatar

      Hue Man

      June 29, 2015 at 2:40 PM

      These discussions must be had so that our families and youth learn how to navigate what is being discussed on a national scale. If we dont teach our children, someone else will.

    • Avatar

      ali

      August 22, 2015 at 10:57 PM

      What an ignorant post, I hope more muslim men and women struggling with this issue speak out and seek help OPENLY, do you realise by hiding and feeling ashamed how much it is taxing them psychologically and robbing them of opportunities?. Its amazing straight people commenting on issues they have no clue about, how would you like it if you were told not to have sex with your wife anymore after the first child is born, to hide your feelings for her and vice versa, pretend you are ok with it, thats what homosexuals are going through, the ones struggling with the trait. I am sure you must have felt such pangs when growing up as a young man and dealing with new found attraction to the opposite gender, you could be open about it, deal with it, talk freely about it to anyone, homosexuals cant do that, and the few who dare to you are telling them literally to shut up.

      • Avatar

        Zain

        December 19, 2015 at 3:57 AM

        Ali, very well said.

        I know this might be too late and I am not really sure how many people are still following this blog, but it is a very interesting subject.

        I find it amusing on how people try to convince you to “shut-up” and pray- really?! Well, let me tell you something.. Islam is about loving God and loving your religion- if you pray just because you need to pray, simply like a robot, do you really think that means you are being a truthful Muslim? What happened to “God, Aza wa jal, knowing what’s inside you and what you hide?”

        Brothers and sisters, God, Aza wa jal, knows your struggle and he choose you to test your patience (Saber)

        Being Gay isn’t anyless from any other disease or struggle, it’s actually a much worst disease than anyone can imagine. Just think about being ill, and how diffecult for you to live a normal life while you are ill and on top of that your internals are going thru a daily struggle because you know you are doing something that will upset our lord. And to top it off, you have to hide it from your family, friends and even your truthful self. Just imagine this image of illness and you tell me how would you feel?

        What drives me crazy, the most, is when people lecture you for the sake of lecturing- well, put your self in their shoes and then judge them or advise them. Islam is about accepting what you are and trying your best to be who you want. If you want to not be gay, that is amazing and am sure God, Aza wa jal will be very proud of you. Just think of his reward at the end. من ترك شيئا لله ، عوضه الله خيرا منه (whoever let go of something for the sake of God, God, Aza wa jal will have the reward for you) not his people, not the sheikh who lectures you. So my advise is before you listen to someone lecturing you, make sure you believe in what you are doing. If the desire to not be gay is coming from the inside, not just a momentum of feeling guilty that will fade away, then do it and don’t let anyone stop you. God will have the reward for you and will make it easy on you inshallah.

        Ummrah, yes it could help, but again, before you do anything you have to be truthful to yourself, if there is as much as 1% in you accepting you being gay and wanting to give up, then jus give up because you won’t succeed. Just be truthful and God, Aza wa jal will give you all the tools and power to succeed.

        Make sure to keep this to your self, I know how hard it is and I know how much of a struggle it is, but trust me, keep it for your self (اذا بُلِيتُم فاستتروا) just keep it between you and God and inshallah you will find the light at the end of the tunnle. Don’t let those مستشخيين (people that act to be sheikhs) do disscarage you from being a better person. It takes VERY strong souls to do what you are doing, so don’t give up. Try to do wodo at night, pray to God and just talk to him, cry, let it off your chest- many said it in this forum, God is closer to you than you think. Be truthful, he will help you. He will be proud of you inshallah for trying to be what he wants you to be. Take it one step at a time, we are all humans and we do mistakes and whoever tell you that you are a bad person is indeed a devil themselves. God is your only judge. Believe in his faith and do your best, and leave the rest for him.

        I am not a doctor nor a skiekh. I am a simple, educated (engineer) man who struggled with his sexual identity for many years. I lived in the US for a decade and I lived the Middle East and in the Gulf area, nothing really helped. It’s not about the location or the friends. It’s about you. I try to be a good Muslim and do everything in my power to avoid bad moments, I failed few times and I did commit sins (no I didn’t sleep with men if that what you are thinking) but I did things that I am not happy about, but I stood in Gods hands and knew that he listened to me and I know that he is always there as long as I keep trying. As I said, I failed few times, but I succeeded so many other times. Not because I am smart or educated or rich or bla bla blah. No, because God listened to me and helped successed. You will be amazed how much God loves you, when you are truthful to him. You can pray all day long, but the minte you are truthful to God, that what it counts. Don’t give up, because I know I won’t inshallah. May Allah Aza wa jal guide us all to the right path and I am very proud of everyone that spoke up about this. You fearing God is more important that fearing his creations.

  44. Avatar

    Deborah Aulefer

    May 12, 2015 at 11:25 AM

    Well I speak from a non-religious perspective here. I don’t have an issue with anyone’s sexual orientation. Neither do I have a problem with someone holding a religious belief, as long as they do not act in an intimidating or violent way with that as an excuse. Interesting read, anyhow.

  45. Avatar

    dyna

    May 27, 2015 at 3:47 AM

    Of course, simply desiring something sinful might not held us accountable but if a person willingly desire something inful eventhough he or she know it is wrong, the person must top it and try to channel his or her mind to more positive things.Example, a man who always desire a girlfriend or desire watching pornography must try to stop his desire by finding himself a wife to marry or fasting to control his desire

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  47. Avatar

    Mehreen

    May 11, 2016 at 9:12 AM

    Interesting read.
    I wonder whether anyone helped that girl to reconcile her religious beliefs and her sexuality before make her the subject of their “blog”.

    I also find it extremely offensive that it is so easy for the author to compare homosexuality to beastiality and peadophelia.

    Where does it specify that homosexual intercourse is “more haram” than hetrosexual intercourse? No where. They are both haram. Yet somehow we wouldn’t be so quick to compare a boy and a girl having sex out of wedlock to people having sex with dogs or raping children.

  48. Avatar

    Kenny

    May 15, 2016 at 4:30 AM

    I am a 30 year old male born and raised in a muslim household. A Strict and religious upbringing along with love and compassion is what i grew up with. I was born “abnormal” and from what I have been taught, my sins from a previous life have caused the homosexuality. I am told that an eternity in hell and a horrible life awaits me should i continue on this path.
    A brief outline on my situation:

    1. God created me as a gay man due to my sins.
    2. God stated in the quran that i will be put to death and suffer in hell.
    3. I am not allowed to act on my desires or i will suffer in hell (this is redundant due to 2)
    4. I must repent on my sins even though I will still go to hell
    5. God created me as a gay man who will go to hell but chose to put me on earth beforehand. ????
    6. I am expected to defy god by living a different lifestyle and way than he created me which is a sin in itself.
    7. Praying an emotion away is a nonsensical statement and my love for my male partner is exactly that. I don’t need to have sex with him to love him.
    8. There is as much evidence supporting the hypothesis that a flying spaghetti monster is the almighty as there is the other few thousand deities but im expected to believe in this one.
    9. Study upon study has shown that you cannot change your sexual orientation yet im expected to waste my life trying and trying and praying the gay away.
    10. My family will be devastated, shamed by the community and will have nothing to do with me if i choose to continue being gay (like its a choice).
    11. Beastiality and pedophilia are sexual desires yet my love for my male partner is apparently comparitable.

    In conclusion, you’re dammed if you do and you’re dammed if you don’t so might as well do what makes you happy.

  49. Avatar

    Uncle Bilal

    June 18, 2016 at 1:39 PM

    For those Muslims who are dealing with these matters or those who want to help, direct Muslims to “The Straight Struggle Group on Yahoo. There real help & real conversations can happen with people who know what they are talking about & dealing with.

  50. Avatar

    joe macey

    June 30, 2016 at 2:26 PM

    Very normal now to be gay and Muslim. No problem

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#Culture

Book Review of Revolution by the Book by Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (Formerly known As H Rap Brown)

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Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s magnum opus, Revolution by the Book, is a paradigmatic Islamic liberation theology manifesto. It gives an outline of spiritual cultivation specific to the experience of the marginalized who are advocating for freedom from structural oppression, particularly Black Americans in the context in which Imam Jamil is writing. In his book, Imam Jamil Al-Amin argues that Islamic religious practice, which he refers to as “the Muslim program” provides a successful guide to revolution, specifically for Black Americans who have been marginalized, dehumanized, and oppressed in the United States for over 400 years. This revolution is not to be understood in the context of the masses suddenly rising up and overthrowing the ruling class. Rather, it is a suttle and spiritual revolution of the hearts. Imam Al-Amin argues that only through the revolution of self can a person be able to revolutionize the community around them. He writes that “It is said in Islam that the greatest struggle is the struggle against the evil of self. The struggle against the evil of self is the great Jihad, the foremost holy struggle,” alluding to a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him). The book’s quotations are almost completely from two sources: the Qur’an and ahadith, which are sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Revolution by the Book is adorned with these two sources of Islamic knowledge. It is seldom impossible to find a page of the book without either a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him), or a verse of the Qur’an. Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s book begins with Surah Fatihah, the opening chapter of the Qur’an. Following them come the 10 chapters of the book all deal with a particular aspect of this program. Each chapter begins with a particular set of verses of the Qur’an.

The first chapter, “God Alone” stresses the importance of belief in God in transforming society. Without this belief, society cannot move forward in improving itself. It is followed by a chapter entitled “Born to Worship” which emphasizes the importance of prayer. Thereafter comes a chapter titled “Holy Money” which speaks of the importance of charity, which morphs into a discussion on the sociopolitical imperative of investing one’s money in the community. Then comes “God’s Diet” which speaks of the importance of fasting and eating healthy food. The fifth chapter is titled “Pilgrim’s Progress” and mentions the Hajj, and how Islam connects Muslims to a broader community of brothers and sisters around the world. The book is then followed by a chapter titled “God Natured” which speaks of the importance of the fitrah, or original nature of submission to God that all human beings possess, described in a hadith by the Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him). The book then presents a chapter titled “Turn Right at the Light” which emphasizes the importance of repentance when one commits a sin. Chapter 8, “In Your Family” emphasizes the importance of the nuclear family, and is followed by a chapter titled “Everybody Can Fight But Everybody Can’t Win” which emphasizes the importance of practicing the program and living by an Islamic epistemology, as opposed to ascribing to secular ideologies such as nationalism and Marxism. The book ends with a chapter titled “Finish Lines” which accents how death can come any day for a human being, and how the Muslim must prepare for it, each and every day. The book then culminates with Surah Asr, a three verse chapter of the Qur’an dealing with the importance of time, and making the most of the limited time that man has on Earth. Revolution by the Book serves as a call to action, intended to resurrect the soul of the reader, so that they can ultimately resurrect a broken society. The text reads in the voice of a powerful figure. In order to understand just how powerful of a figure the author is, one must understand both his contributions as both an Imam and leader of American Muslims as Imam Jamil Al-Amin, as well as his contribution to the freedom struggle of Black Americans as H. Rap Brown.

Imam Jamil Al-Amin is a leader within the Dar Al Islam movement, a Sunni Muslim, predominantly Black American, Islamic movement in the United States. Founded in 1962, the Dar Al Islam movement was the single largest Sunni Muslim organization in the United States until Imam Warith Deen Mohammed transitioned his father’s formerly pseudo-Islamic Nation of Islam to Sunni Islam in 1976. The Dar Al Islam movement’s ideology can be seen in the sources that Imam Jamil Al-Amin cites. He uses very few sources outside of the Qur’an and ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad. This is because the Dar Al Islam movement overall did not affiliate itself to any particular madhab, or school of Islamic jurisprudence, nor did it affiliate itself to any Sufi order. However, the organization is distinct from Salafis in the sense that they are not anti-madhabb or anti-Sufism. But one can see the ideology of not following a particular Sufi Shaikh or school of thought in this work of Jamil Al-Amin. Rather, he focuses on preaching to people the Qur’an and authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. This is not necessarily an issue as he is preaching very rudimentary and basic Islamic teachings, and means of purifying oneself in this book.

The title of the book may also seem strange to some. As opposed to a revolutionary manifesto, the book seems to rather be a book on how to change one’s own self and how to restructure society from there. Before his conversion to Islam, Imam Jamil Al-Amin was known as H. Rap Brown, a charismatic and nationally-known leader within the civil rights movement. He would be mentored by now-Congressman John Lewis, who was then Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. At the young age of 23, H. Rap Brown became Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, succeeding Stokely Carmichael. Under Brown’s leadership, SNCC entered into a working relationship with the Black Panther Party. Brown took the nonviolent out of the name of the organization, and renamed it the Student National Coordinating Committee, lamenting that “violence is as American as cherry pie” and that they would “use violence, if necessary” and fight for freedom “by any means necessary.” 

While chairman of SNCC, Brown simultaneously was appointed Minister of Justice of the Black Panther Party. In 1971, Brown was sentenced to 5 years in jail for “inciting a riot”, a crime that many suggest came out of the Cointelpro program that specifically had the goal of “neutralizing” him. It was in jail that chaplains from the Dar Al Islam movement invited him to their weekly Friday prayers. Familiar with Islam because of Malcolm X, H. Rap Brown attended Friday prayers without becoming Muslim. After a few Friday prayers, H. Rap Brown converted to Islam and took the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. Upon leaving jail, Imam Jamil Al-Amin studied the classical Islamic sciences in West Africa, India, and Pakistan. Following that, he became Imam of a community of around 400 Muslims in the West End neighborhood of Atlanta. The title Revolution by the Book comes from Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s credentials as a revolutionary. He is alluding to how he feels that his Islam is the culmination of his revolutionary days in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Black Panther Party, and that he has now finally found a means of making this revolution possible. He says in the prologue of the book that becoming Muslim did not mean a shift from his revolutionary lifestyle. Rather, he says that Islam was a “continuation of a lifestyle” of the struggle for freedom for Black Americans.

Imam Jamil Al-Amin writes that:

It became evident that to accomplish the things we had talked about in the struggle, you need a practice. Allah says He does not change the condition of people until they change was is in themselves. That is what Islam does, and it points out right from wrong. It points out truth from falsehood.

He continues on to say that:

It is criminal that in, in the 1900’s, we still approach struggle…sloganeering saying, “by any means necessary,” as if that’s a program. Or “we shall overcome,” as if that’s a program. Slogans are not programs. We must define the means which will bring about change. This can be found in…[what] Allah has brought for us in the Qur’an and in the example of the Prophet. Our revolution must be according to what Almighty God revealed…Successful struggle requires a Divine program. Allah has provided that program.

The remainder of the book outlines the ingredients for successful struggle. Imam Jamil Al-Amin claims that the most important aspect of revolution is belief in God. Without this, none of the other objectives such as prayer, fasting, charity, repentance, and pilgrimage to Mecca can be actualized and implemented. He also goes on to argue a divine command morality. If a person does not have belief in God, they lack an objective morality to base their lifestyle on. As a result, they fall into a subjective morality that makes it very easy for them to stumble and constantly reinterpret their values in accordance to their whims and desires when faced with pressure to compromise their values. To successfully mount a revolution, a person needs to be solidly grounded and not constantly reinterpreting what is right and wrong. Such an action could jeopardize the struggle and place the one engaging in the revolution in danger of selling out his or her values. Divine command morality serves as an anchor for the person revolutionizing society. This is why Imam Jamil Al-Amin believes that Imaan, or faith in God is the single most important ingredient to successful struggle. It is also interesting to note that the Arabic word “imaan” which means faith comes from “Amaan”, a root word that means safety or security. Through faith, believers are strongly anchored and have safety and protection from being misled by their whims and desires.

Imam Jamil Al-Amin writes that:

Iman is an essential ingredient to success, for a fearful, doubtful person is unable to struggle; he gives up easily, submits to every oppressor, compromises his integrity, acquiesces in injustice, and accepts enslavement. In contrast, a person who has taqwa, God-consciousness, fears only the Ruler of the Universe, Almighty Allah; he perseveres against the greatest of challenges, maintains his integrity, resists injustice, refuses enslavement, and fights oppression without regard to man-made standards.

Next, Imam Jamil Al-Amin claims that the most important aspect of this struggle is prayer. He says that prayer is the center of the community. He quotes the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad that prayer is what separates a believer form a disbeliever. He also quotes verse 11 of Surah Raad which states that “God does not change the condition of people until they change was is in themselves.” This is the most quoted verse of the Qur’an in his entire book, emphasizing the change in self that is required for the revolution that SNCC and the Black Panther Party imagined. He asserts that prayer is the key to this change, and that prayer is also what binds his mosque together.

Imam Jamil Al-Amin writes that:

Any building is just an edifice. The mosque is built to make prayer. Prayer is the key to the community, not buildings…Prayer is a practice, a program, that begins to make you aware, that makes you conscious of the Creator; it makes you fear Allah, and that brings about within you a transformation, a change that is necessary to throw off that whole system that you have become accustomed to. It is the beginning of a revolution in you which expands to other aspects of you reality.

Following his emphasis on prayer as the foundation of successful Islamic practice, Imam Jamil emphasizes other very important aspects of Islam, cemented with verses from the Qur’an and ahadith. Aside from just emphasizing the religious obligation of the action, Imam Jamil Al-Amin connects the idea to a sociopolitical imperative. It is not just his goal to explain to the reader why the action is religiously mandated. But he also seeks to connect it to why it is important for the social resurrection of the community in which a person resides. For example, he presents many hadith and the verses of Qur’an on the importance of charity. But beyond that, he connects the idea to the spiritual and social resurrection of Black Americans. 

Charity — you cannot have an effective social struggle, a successful movement, if you don’t have charity. You cannot have a successful revolution if people don’t have charity, if you are not willing to sacrifice. Sacrifice deals with giving, with sharing those things that Allah places in your trust? 

Beyond just laying out religious obligations, Imam Jamil Al-Amin points out many flaws in modern society, particularly those of materialism and corporatism. In his view, modernity is filled with many diseases that have deprived people of who they really are. People just go around consuming food, drugs, and entertainment, and are unable to cultivate their souls, or even ponder the fact that they have one. He writes about how society is devoid of values and how Americans have become a people who just go from one holiday to another without contemplating their existence. Americans have become a people not just intoxicated by drugs. More prominently, they have been intoxicated by holidays and entertainment.

We talk about intoxicants. We reduce the problem to cocaine and crack. But indeed, it is more than cocaine and crack. In fact, the problem is not crack and cocaine, the problem is that we live in a society that has made a virtue out of being high. This society arouses within you desires and passions that make you seek to escape reality by being high. Everything is geared toward keeping you in a state of euphoria. One holiday follows the next: Christmas to New Years, to Easter, to Mother’s Day, to Father’s Day, to the NBA playoffs, to the Superbowl, to championship fights, to Olympics. Everything keeps you high. Everything is geared towards keeping you away from encountering reality, everything is geared to keep you from remembering God.

He advises parents on the dangers of this corporatism also. Imam Jamil writes that: 

Your child must stop eating what the media sells; the television, radio, comics, magazines, recordings, etc. You must help them control their lives; you must take control of your children’s lives away from their enemy. You strive hard to teach your children right, then you turn the television on and allow everything that is against your religion, against your Lord, to be propagated in your house. You lock your doors and windows then turn on the TV.

One weakness in this text comes with regard to who Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s audience is. One review referred to it as “A valuable text for new Muslims and an excellent introduction to the fundamental teachings of Islam for non-Muslims.” So perhaps it is a text aimed at introducing non-Muslims to Islam, while also allowing Muslims to review the basic teachings through the context of his unique life experience. But which non-Muslims is he specifically speaking to? Is he speaking to Black revolutionaries who are not yet Muslim? He could be speaking to past colleagues of his from SNCC and the Black Panther Party. Is he making the case to them that Islamic practice presents a necessary program for them to actualize what they want in regard to this revolution?  Is that the purpose of this book? Or is he is referring to Islam as the continuation of the struggle in a rhetorical way. He is saying to his people that they do not need to wage revolution through protests and the ballot box. Rather, by the practice of Islam, each and every person transforming themselves will transform society. After all, society is merely the summation of a bunch of individuals. If all parts of the whole have revolutionized themselves, the whole too should revolutionize itself.

I also question if it weakens Islam or sells the deen short to present it as a means of good revolutionary praxis as opposed to salvation. The objective of Islam is to get close to God, not to restructure society. But establishing justice and ridding the world of this oppression is a result that comes from closeness to God. One begins a Muslim out of belief in God, and out of realization that the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is the messenger of God, the last of prophets, and the greatest human being to ever walk this Earth. It is obvious that Imam Jamil Al-Amin understands. He emphasizes that the self must be transformed before anything else and that it is important to be aware of one’s close proximity to death. I wonder if maintaining the notion of a revolutionary self is to essentially say to those from his past days in the freedom struggle that he has not changed as a person. The H. Rap Brown who asserted that “violence is as American as cherry pie” has discovered what real revolution is all about—the greater jihad against the nafs. It is a sign that he has not committed some sort of political apostasy towards the freedom struggle, or cultural apostasy towards Black people. Rather, he has discovered that this materialism and lack of spiritual ethic guiding the freedom struggle can be purified and best applied when put into Islamic guidelines. 

For Muslims, this is an especially important text. It reminds them to fulfill the basic obligations of their religion and the evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah for fulfilling these basic obligations. It also connects to a figure who is seldom forgotten. Many know of Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, but few know of the Imam Jamil Al-Amin. In addition, the Dar Al Islam movement which he was a leader in provides a model for dawah and Islamic institution building. But moreover, Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s book exemplifies to the reader that purification of the self does not have to take place in a vacuum of political quietism. Rather, in purifying themselves, the reader too can purify the community around them. Revolution by the Book is a seminal text representing a seminal figure.

Both Imam Jamil Al-Amin and his manifesto will be etched in the American Muslim imagination for years to come as symbols for purification of self, and the purification of society, insha Allah. 

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Convert Story: To Ask Or Not to Ask, That is the Question

covery islam story
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“How did you convert to Islam” is a question that is commonly asked to those who convert to Islam. While the short answer to this question is, “I said shahada”, the long (and more detailed) answer is one that is commonly expected.

It is important to acknowledge that the majority of “born Muslims” who ask this question do such out of good intentions. For this reason, I wrote this piece out of a place of love and not out of a place of judgment or hatred. While it is important for “born Muslims” to be mindful of how they ask this question, it is equally important for converts to not hold ill will towards born Muslims who ask this question. Due to the fact that Islamophobia is rampant in both the media and political discourse, many “born Muslims” are naturally shocked and emotional when they meet people who accept Islam. Some “born Muslims” have also had limited interactions with converts and therefore, to them, it is not only shocking for them to meet converts, but they are genuinely unaware of certain etiquettes when it comes to asking a convert for his or her story.

In this piece, I am going to write about a pet peeve that is shared among many Muslim converts. While I cannot speak for every single convert, I can say that based on innumerable conversations I have had with fellow converts, there is one thing most of us agree on and it is this; it is rude to ask a convert about his or her conversion story when you haven’t built a relationship with the convert. This piece will explain why many converts consider such a question to be intrusive. The purpose of this article is to better educate the “born Muslim” community on how they can do a better job in support of converts to Islam. In this piece, I will break down the reasons why this question can come off as intrusive if it isn’t asked in a proper manner. I will also include personal anecdotes to support my position.

I would like to conclude by saying that I do not discourage “born Muslims” from asking this question entirely, rather I am merely arguing that this question should be asked with the best of adab.

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:  “Part of a person’s being a good Muslim is leaving alone that which does not concern him.” (Tirmidhi) For this reason, such a question should be asked for purpose and it should be done with the best of manners. This is supported by the fact that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “I have been sent to perfect good character.” (Al Muwatta)

Note: For the sake of avoiding confusion, the term “born Muslim” is defined as anyone who was brought up in a Muslim household.

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is to ask about the person’s personal relationship with God

Within the context of a friendship, it is generally understood that friends will share personal details with each other. However, it is also generally understood that it is rude to ask people you just met personal questions. To ask a new acquaintance a personal question in most cases comes off as intrusive. This is especially the case in which you ask a person about his or her relationship with God.

For example, there are women who do not wear hijab. Even if we do (for a moment) ignore the Islamic ruling concerning hijab, we should all agree that a woman’s reason for wearing (or not wearing) hijab is a personal matter that is between said woman and God. If one was to ask a woman who doesn’t wear hijab why she doesn’t wear it, that would be intrusive because such a question would involve interrogating said woman about her relationship with God.

Another example concerns a married couple. If one was to meet a married person for the first time, it can be considered rude to ask said person about his or her relationship with his or her spouse.

When one asks a convert about his or her choice to convert, one is literally asking said convert about his or her relationship with God.

I am not saying that it is wrong in all cases to ask such a question. However, one should be mindful of the fact that because this is a personal question, one should have at least have built some form of a friendship with said person before asking.

convert friendship hugs

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is another way of asking, “Why do you believe in Islam?”

Many people identify to a faith tradition because it was part of their upbringing. If you were to ask a person who was born Muslim, “why are you Muslim?” you might hear said Muslim respond with, “I am Muslim because I was raised Muslim” and you wouldn’t hear a detailed answer beyond this.

In most cases, a convert to Islam (or any other religion) did such after research and critical thinking. To convert to a new religion involves not only deep thinking but a willingness to step into the unknown.

I have on many occasions told my story to people. In most cases I will ask the person “why do you believe in Islam?” I am then disappointed when I find out that the only reason the person is Muslim is due to upbringing. While I am not saying that said person’s faith is invalid or less than mine, a person who only identifies with a religion due to upbringing is a person who didn’t engage in critical thinking.

Any relationship should be built upon equality and mutual benefit. If I as a convert am able to provide a well thought out answer as to why I believe in Islam, I expect a well thought out answer to the same question from the person who initially asked me.

Again, while I am not saying it is wrong in all cases to ask, a born Muslim should ask himself or herself “why do I believe in Islam?” In my opinion, there are many who are born into Muslim families who don’t truly believe until later in their lives. Those Muslims in my opinion (and mine alone) are similar to converts.

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is to ask the convert to perform labor.

In some cases, “born Muslims” expect converts to tell their stories. I can remember a few incidents in which I have been asked to tell my story and I politely declined. In response, the person became angry. This to me is a symptom of entitlement. Nobody is entitled to know anything about anyone else (aside from people with whom one has a natural relationship with).

In addition, one should be cognizant of the fact that converts typically get asked this question repeatedly. Thus after a significant amount of time, a convert is prone to get tired of repeating the same question over again repeatedly. Naturally, it can become exhausting eventually.

While I do not believe it is wrong to ask this question in all cases, one should not ask this question to a convert from a place of entitlement. I can think of cases where I have been asked this question by “born Muslims” and when I have refused to provide an answer, they have gotten angry at me. This is entitlement.

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is to ask the convert to explain his or her personal life.

Backbiting is one of the worst sins in Islam. Another major sin is to disrespect one’s parents. Thus we can conclude that backbiting about one’s parents is a huge sin.

This is evidenced by the fact that Allah has said (ﷻ) “We have enjoined on humankind kindness to parents.” (Quran 29:8)

A typical follow-up question to “Why did you convert?” is “How did your parents react?” This in many cases puts the convert in a position where one may feel pressured to mention some negative details about his or her parents. In Islam, parents are to be respected, even if they aren’t Muslim.

Before asking a convert this question, one should be mindful of not putting unnecessary pressure on the convert to commit this injustice.

convert friendship

Cases when it is appropriate to ask

However, I do maintain a firm belief that in any true friendship, things will be shared. I don’t think it is wrong in itself to ask a convert about his or her story provided that there already exists a relationship where personal information can be shared. It is highly suggested to hang out with the person first and then ask the convert for his or her story.

As a personal rule of mine, unless I have hung out with the person one on one at least once (or a few times in group gatherings) I don’t tell any born Muslims my conversion story. Naturally, I only share personal details with people I consider to be a friend. If I would hang out with the person, I consider that person to be a friend.

The reason I am also hesitant to share my story with just anyone who asks me is because I can think of countless cases of when I have shared my story to people I have never seen or heard from again. I choose to exert my agency to share personal details of my life to people who I consider to be part of my life. While many Muslims are happy when people convert, many Muslims also fail to provide any form of support for said convert after conversion. I have seen too many cases of when a person recites shahadah, people pull their phones out to record it, but very few will give the convert his or her number. I genuinely believe that many “born Muslims” fail to see the big picture in this regard.

Before asking a convert for his or her story, you should ask yourself if you are comfortable sharing personal details of your life to that person. If you are not comfortable sharing personal details of your life to that person, there is nothing wrong with that. However, you shouldn’t expect the convert to share personal details if you aren’t comfortable sharing personal details. Even if you have built a close friendship with someone, you still aren’t expected to share every detail of your life to someone. Even if you consider a convert to be a close friend, you should still respect a convert’s wishes to not share his or her story.

Conclusion

While I have addressed concerns about the tendency of “born Muslims” to ask converts about their journeys, I want to acknowledge that most people have good intentions. In Islam, the natural state of any person is one of righteousness.

I firmly believe that a friendship that isn’t built on trust and the sharing of personal information isn’t a genuine friendship. Therefore the key term in this context is “friend”. If you wish to ask a convert his or her story, please make sure the following conditions are met:

  1. You are already friends with the convert to a point where asking a convert about his or her relationship with God isn’t an intrusive question. Ask yourself, “Are we close enough where we can share other personal details of our lives with each other?”
  2. You have a well thought out reason as to why you believe in Islam.
  3. You don’t feel entitled to know about the convert’s journey and that you will allow the convert to choose not to share such information if the convert doesn’t wish to.
  4. You don’t probe into the convert’s relationships with other people.
  5. You aren’t just asking the question to somehow feel validated about your belief in Islam.
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Rebuilding Self-Love  in the Face of Trauma

touch trauma
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“…there is beauty in breaking” – Amir Sulaiman

Words fell softly from her lips as tears streamed down her face. A young woman, newly married, had reached out to me via social media to ask a question about how to reconnect with her body after trauma. Receiving intimacy and sex-related questions from Muslim women all over the world is a large part of my work.  But there was something about this particular questioner that struck me in a very deep place. I intimately knew her pain as a survivor. Not long after taking my shahada, I was the victim of sexual assault. The amount of trauma I suffered is indescribable. But rather than pulling me away from the faith, I relied heavily on the deen to pull me through one of the darkest periods of my life.

After trauma, rather than pulling away from the faith, I relied heavily on the deen to pull me through one of the darkest periods of my life. Click To Tweet

Healing after trauma took action, not only faith. For years, I struggled with the ability to connect with my body and to understand how to properly process emotions.  Intimacy, of all kinds, was a challenge for me. Reclaiming agency over my own body and establishing my right to pleasure led me down a life-changing path that has led to me now assisting other women in understanding and owning sexuality from a sacred perspective. My trauma broke me but it also showed me new ways to heal.

But getting back to pleasure really requires coming back to a sense of oneness and power within one’s self. It means owning your narrative and rebuilding the parts which have been broken. @TheVillageAuntieClick To Tweet

Re-engaging with sexual pleasure after trauma can be very difficult, especially for Muslim women who have been taught their whole lives to vigorously guard their bodies and not discuss sex. Talk of intimacy is still seen as taboo and, worse yet, the ability to report sexual assault and abuse remains a very difficult task for many women, regardless of faith.

But getting back to pleasure really requires coming back to a sense of oneness and power within one’s self. It means owning your narrative and rebuilding the parts which have been broken.

I have developed a five-step plan for helping women to navigate the heartbreaking process of reclaiming the body and opening one’s self to pleasure.

[*This plan is not to be used in place of mental health care (cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR, trauma-informed somatic practice, etc.) but is meant to supplement intervention from a trusted licensed mental health provider.]

  1. Practice mindful forgiveness. This is not meant to be directed toward the abuser. Mindful forgiveness after trauma focuses on a need to forgive one’s self for the range of self-directed emotions that can be detrimental in the aftermath of sexual trauma. Sometimes women blame themselves when abuse takes place. This internalized oppression requires forgiveness because a victim should never assume blame for the heinous acts of others. Forgiving ourselves for any negative self-talk and asking Allah to grant His indelible mercy is a key foundation for the development of a healing path. It took years after my assault for me to understand the ways in which I had wounded myself with disparaging internal scripts. When I increased my level of istighfar and asked Allah to excuse all the instances where I doubted myself and harmed my spirit in the process, I was able to finally uncover long-hidden emotions and set about the work of true healing and reconciliation with my body.

    rights of women in Islam

  2. Seek knowledge about one’s own body and its rights. When I became a Muslim 21 years ago, I had no idea that Islam was such a sex-positive religion. The Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is full of instances where he demonstrated the beauty and importance of sex as a form of marital bonding as well as an act of worship. Scouring books of fiqh, I learned the rights of women in Islam which affirmed that we are not human possessions meant to be tilled; women have undeniable rights to pleasure and protection of our most sacred human parts. Understanding that Islam is a guide for all areas of life can give a sense of comfort and provide a pathway to explore the sacredness of sexuality. This is key, especially for women who have been abused by men of faith or who have been victims of spiritual manipulation for carnal gain. Also, learning about the female anatomy, how the brain is an integral part of harnessing pleasure, and ways to use the mind to develop an internal sense of pleasure can also be extremely helpful in re-igniting one’s love of self.

  3. Activate the sensuality of everyday life.  There is a misunderstanding of the role of sensuality in pleasure. Sex is the physical joining of bodies. Sensuality, however, is a conscious internal awareness of pleasurable stimuli. It does not involve engaging with another person. This is key because many trauma sufferers may find physical human touch triggering.  Recognizing the sensual aspects of daily life requires the mindful perception of things that titillate or arouse. It can be as simple as the feel of a particular fabric against the skin, the smell of the air after a heavy rain, a sound that evokes sensual memories, a scent that conjures an arousing mood. Why is this important? Sex is not the sole route to pleasure. For women, pleasure is largely dependent upon a spiritual or mental connection within the body. By engaging in self-motivated pleasurable sensations, this can assist women in realizing the power and control that we have over our physical vessels. Muslim couple healing reciting Quran

  4. Be easy with yourself. In the Qur’an, Allah reminds us “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (2:153)  During the process of reclaiming one’s power, there will undoubtedly be times of anger, grief, sorrow, and resentment. These are human emotions and are quite reasonable given the magnitude of trauma’s effect on the heart. Be patient with yourself. Channel love and support during times of difficulty. Do not neglect your healing journey because of a setback. It is important to practice patience with one’s self and utilize prayer as a stabilizing force. Allah is Al Wali, our greatest Protector, and Supporter. During times of emotional despair, rather than directing our energy inward, we can learn to release these emotions through dua and remembrance. Trauma is not a fundamental characteristic of who you have become. Reclaiming your narrative means understanding that you have the power to create a different story with a powerful ending. Give yourself the time and space to rewrite your script.

    Allah is Al Wali, our greatest Protector, and Supporter. During times of emotional despair, rather than directing our energy inward, we can learn to release these emotions through dua and remembrance.Click To Tweethealing from trauma

  5. Find your circle. Healing is not a solitary act. Sometimes it requires the love and support of others. Do you have a circle of support? Who are the people in your circle? And if you don’t have one, how can you create one? When I was at my lowest, my circle was there to remind me of who I was and how far I had come. They were the ones with whom I could be my most authentic self. One of the ways in which we can heal trauma is by seeking human connection. Select your circle carefully and lean on them during times of need. The healing power of your personally curated community can be transformative and life-changing.

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