Homosexuality: Carnal Inclination

 A common ploy of the devil is to convince people that they cannot avoid sin. So they do not even attempt to refrain from it. However, God promises that the devil can have no lasting power over those who sincerely repent to God

Iblis then said to God, ‘Because You have put me in the wrong, I will lure mankind on earth and put them in the wrong, all except Your devoted servants.’God said, ‘[Devotion] is a straight path to Me:you will have no power over My servants, only over the ones who go astray and follow you. (Quran 15:39-42)

In this regard it was said "....our bodies are given to us in trust from God. One should not use his or her body contrary to the user guide provided by its Maker. Consenting adults also need God's consent."[1]

There is absolutely no ambiguity in the Quranic verses which clearly condemn lustful acts between the same genders.

[7.81] "Indeed, you approach men lustfully (shahwatan) instead of women. Nay, you are a people transgressing beyond bounds (musrifun)"

[27.55] "Why do you approach men with lust (shahwatan) instead of women? Nay you are a people ignorant!"

'Shahwah' means an intense yearning, longing or desire for a thing. It has an intense significance and is normally associated with something which is not commendable. It can be a reference to lust, carnal or gratification of venereal lust. It is also used to denote the kind of intense lust a man would normally have for a woman (3:14)

The Quran recognises no institute of marriage other that of a man and a wife. The Quran is replete with laws and multifaceted guidance to deal with such an institution. It clearly recognises homosexuality as a transgression. That is certainly the Quranic position. 

One can either accept the Quran’s testimony or reject it. There is no coercion in religion.

Whether a particular inclination for a particular individual is 'innate', or otherwise, is mute from a Quranic perspective. Furthermore, unwarranted analogies between humans and the animal kingdom are also mute. God clearly sets out boundaries / limits (hudood) for believers to remain conscious of as human beings.

In a wider context from a Quranic perspective, during our short time on Earth we are granted certain resources, faculties, social connections etc. As each human remains unique, we are also a product of our physiology with certain inherent weaknesses and strengths. Furthermore, while we may think that much of what we possess constitute our strengths, they can also be a source of our challenges and present us with enhanced responsibilities.

Whatever we have been granted innately, or otherwise, they remain natural passages for us to be trailed through.

One's wealth is an immense trial (2:155), our children, spouses and our health are a trial (8:28). One's beauty can be a trial (12:31-34), one’s intellectual faculties can be a trial.

We shall all remain answerable for everything that has been granted to us including our faculties (17:36) which allows us our ability to discern. We can either succumb to our 'inclinations' for nothing but worldly gain and personal gratification, or we can combat them in a manner which makes us grow both spiritually and as better human beings.

[91:7-10] "And a soul (Arabic: Nafsin) and Him Who perfected / proportioned it. And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it. He is indeed successful who causes it to grow (purifies it), and he is indeed  a failure who corrupts it (buries it)"

If we do not possess certain inclinations, then the need to perform 'jihad' (struggle) with ourselves becomes obsolete and its purpose, meaningless. The very need for 'jihad' is to fight our inner self, our negative inclinations.

Humans are often placed into hardship.

[90.4] “Certainly We have created man into toil / struggle hardship (Arabic: kabad)"

For example, anger is a trait and exists to varying degrees in different people. However, God instructs us to suppress it (3:134). How one responds to anger is intricately linked to the degree of their inclination. Only God can judge how far one has struggled to combat it given their abilities whilst remaining fully cognizant of God's guidance.

Holding grudges, inclination to backbite, inclination to be spiteful, to hold back the wealth that has been granted to one (niggard, miser) are all traits (whether acquired or innate) which exist in us to varying degrees. We can either combat them or succumb to them.

Similarly, sexual inclinations between men and women or towards each other also exist to varying degrees. Yet, God propounds multifaceted guidance to keep them within the laws that God has ordained so that one may not transgress into 'Fahisha' (lewdness). The inclination may remain, but our ability to perform 'jihad' potentially keeps it in check.

The greater one’s inclination to do wrong, the greater is their opportunity to perform 'jihad' and seek spiritual growth. This responds to the very purpose of our existence on Earth which is to be tested.

We all have clear choices to make.

[75.36] “Does man think that he will be left aimless / in vain / uncontrolled (without a purpose) (Arabic: Suda(n))?

[29.2] Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, "We believe", and that they will not be tested?”

[47.31] “And We shall try you until We make evident those who strive among you and persevere in patience; and We shall test your affairs”

However, to mould or to reinterpret God's guidance without warrant, with a view to legitimise one's own worldview and bring it into the folds of societal acceptability or permissibility is another matter.

This amounts to nothing but deception and dishonesty. It also does little but props one's own desire against the guidance of God whilst committing gross injustice to God’s revelations.

 [25.43] "Have you seen him who takes his desires (passion, impulse, lust) (Arabic: Hawahu) for his God (Arabic: Illahahu)? Will you then be a protector over him?"[2]

However, it is commendable for the one who is struggling within one’s self from refraining from such sins.

And one who had been afraid of standing before his Lord and had restrained one's self from carnal desires - That one's abode shall indeed be in Paradise. [79:40-41]

Needless to say, a Muslim must  be just in his/her day to day dealings within society and not allow his/her personal prejudices to mistreat people or be inequitable.

O you who believe, stand for God and be witnesses for justice, and let not the hatred towards a people make you avoid being just. Be just, for it is closer to righteousness, and be aware of God. God is expert over what you do. [5:8]

 

And Allah knows best.

 

For Younger Readers

God teaches in the Quran, the holy book of Muslims that:

  • Sex is within Marriage only

  • Marriage is between Men and Women only

  • Same sex relationship is wrong and a sin

  • Muslims must be fair, kind and respectful to all people

 

 



[1] Slight modification from article http://www.zawaj.com/articles/homosexuality_shabir.html , Shabir Aly

[2]  Slightly modified and abbreviated from article http://quransmessage.com/articles/homosexuality%20FM3.htm, Joseph Islam