Pinkdot: A Muslim’s View

Pinkdot is an event which celebrates the freedom of LGBT, recently held in Singapore. I’m not sure what their objective is exactly, but as a moderate Muslim, I really disagree with the promotion of LGBT lifestyle.

The issue of LGBT itself is not new, but it seems that many Muslims forget the unanimous view among our spiritually-discerned ulama. Not one of the them said that homosexuality is halal. Not. A. Single. One.

Admittedly, the issue itself is complex. It is imperative that we focus our discussion not on men who may appear feminine and vice versa (there’s a specific hadith on that, by the way). Instead here, we are talking about people who engage in homosexual relationships.

What’s our position?

Homosexuality has been discussed for hundreds of years by the ulama. They concede that some people may develop certain tendencies towards people of the same sex. They even talked about the permissibility of praying behind someone with such tendencies, as Hamza Yusuf clarified:

But nowhere do they say that it is okay to act on those tendencies. In fact, as many others, including Tariq Ramadan (video below) have argued that these feelings represent the personal challenges for these Muslims. Just like someone who have tendencies to be violent, does it make it okay to act violently? Or someone who has the tendency to commit adultery or steal, does it make it okay for them to act on it? Definitely no. This self-improvement is among the focus on their jihad in this world, to gain the pleasure of Allah in the next.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we must excommunicate or totally ostracize the gay Muslims. Instead, we should take the steps to make them understand their religion even more, and create the necessary space for them, as Sherman Jackson argued:

My interpretation of the necessary space here is not one that encourages nor allow homosexual Muslims to engage in sinful acts, but a space for them to interact with true Muslims, those who love Allah and strive to make amends to improve themselves. We need the space so that we can identify and educate our fallen brothers and sisters, so they can get back on their feet .Because without such space, what we are doing it basically alienating them to one corner of society that envelopes them from outreach efforts.

With such a “space,” expert counselors can talk to gay Muslims and make them comprehend the hikmah of Allah’s law.  Spiritual guides can talk to their family and make them supportive of the correct Islamic teachings, instead of something which is heavily influenced by the we-can-do-anything-as-long-as-no-one-gets-hurt hedonism. Thinkers can help develop a plan at the strategic level so that our precious young ones fully follows deen from very early on.

The big(ger) problem

On a wider plane, I personally think that the “popularity” this gay lifestyle is a by-product of globalization, one with very modern-Western-centric influences.

One example is the TV. If we switch our TVs on, and our minds off, then we will unknowingly consume all that rubbish in our own living room. Take for example the drama Glee. Sure, they make for great entertainment, especially if you love singing and dancing. But the garbage that is deemed to be primetime TV is also a great waste of time. More critically, they bring about these unintended “values” that we Muslims are suddenly finding ourselves in its midst. The acceptance of homosexuality is definitely one of them.

Before we know it, our frame of mind is influenced by the premises set in such shows. Thus when we talk about rights, the modern Western definition of rights come up to our mind. Same goes for freedom. Freedom to wear what what the nafs (and billion-dollar fashion industry) wants. Freedom to watch what you want. Freedom to do as you please. Leaving nothing to be sacred.

Methinks, the proliferation of gay personalities on popular TV shows such as Glee, Ellen, How I met Your Mother, and many more TV shows is a contributing factor. At first Muslims might think, “Hey, these gays, they’re not bad people.” Of course they are not. We have nothing against the gays. What we oppose is their action.

But with increasing acceptance of such personalities, common everyday Muslims will find it hard to filter which is good and which is bad; which of their commendable characteristics should be praised (creative, hardworking), and which of their bad characteristics should be condemned. The line simply is blurred when they accept such people as a whole, instead of viewing an individual critically.

Now imagine a 12-year-old Muslim boy watching Glee, and suddenly remembers that he has a boy crush on his class monitor. In my time, those things are considered to be normal, and one grows out of it. In this time, he may very well think that he is “born different” and should “be true to himself” and “not succumb to the pressure of conservative family ideals.” In my time, boy crush means that you try and be best friends with that class monitor. In this time, boy crushes may be honed to be the the foundation of homosexuality.

Similarly, I believe our kids know Ryan Giggs, John Terry, Christiano Ronaldo very well. In addition to their football skills, news exposés also revealed their sexual misconduct (to put it mildly). So just as we tell them that these sportsmen train very hard to get to their peak, we should also be very clear to them that their merit is limited only to soccer, and not anything more. The lines drawn should be decisively clear.

Conclusion

As such, it hurts me to watch this scene (00:12 mark).

I don’t imagine handling such identity issues will be easy, but I pray that the family involved are taking steps in the right direction.

And my parting thoughts to my fellow Muslim brothers who see themselves as part of the homosexual community, please, be with the right company. Be with people who love Allah and His messenger PBUH. Those that pray five times a day, and realize that it trains the nafs. Those that fast often, and know that obedience comes before desire. For, when stepping on Allah’s land, and roofed with Allah’s sky, the least we can do is to make that effort live with Allah’s rules.

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.” Al-Baqarah:286

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  1. #1 by Mr manager on 22 September 2012 - 3:12 am

    You are a horrible person. It hurts you to see an individual who has the courage to live a truthful fufilling life and will bravely face many hardships in the face of prejudice and bigotry like you spew on this so called Muslim blog? It hurt my brain to see you write all of this. If you were to judge every person in the world by the way you described you teach your children, you would be a very lonely jaded individual which you probably already are.

  2. #2 by rohan on 2 December 2012 - 10:15 pm

    thanks for writing this. it helps! i really hope tat ther is help for gay muslims. im stuck here feeling helpless

    • #3 by Raphé P. Soto on 3 December 2012 - 9:01 am

      Wallahi I sincerely pray that Allah makes it easier for ya, Bro. Get close to the mosques and the right people. Have faith and hang in there!

  3. #4 by therealshard on 3 July 2013 - 1:45 am

    this is a year after you wrote your article. pink dot is happening again haha. you phrased many thoughts concisely and beautifully, maasya Allah. i pray that the message of love and understanding, and staying together and guiding one another reaches all muslims and that as an ummah we will be firm in our deen and be sure of our direction, ameen.

    also, an interesting point you could consider: what is a moderate muslim? in a recent discussion with my Ustaz, he said something very interesting – Islam is a ‘moderating’ religion! For example, yes enjoy wealth and this world, but don’t get too carried away. Neither do you have to totally cut yourself off from worldly things. Islam teaches us to be moderate in things, to be reasonable and to have balance :)

    Alhamdulillah for having come across this post, it was a good read. may Allah bless you and may he guide us all, ameen :)

    • #5 by Raphé P. Soto on 22 July 2013 - 12:03 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Brother. May Allah accept our efforts.

  4. #6 by Riaan on 21 July 2013 - 9:36 pm

    Dear sir,

    Good article but I must say this. I am a Muslim and Im gay. And I know this is bad
    Ive been living in fear and have been living so lonely ever since
    In fact, I have been gay since I was 5. I like a boy in class at 5, liked a boy in class at 7 and it went all the way.
    The problem is, I cant accept myself. So how will the society accept me?
    I hate myself most of time, especially with no one to turn to.
    I pray five times and follow all religious guidance but yet, Im still gay

    Sometimes I wish to rather die than lving like this. God, or anyone, help me please?

    • #7 by Raphé P. Soto on 22 July 2013 - 9:40 am

      Salam. I hope you are doing good in this blessed month.

      Brother, doing all the ibadah does not mean that one suddenly stop being gay. Just like we see many people who pray but still commit sins. We all, me included, have our own demons. Solat is just the start. Solat is the fuel for us to find the deep dark demon inside us. Each demon is unique; I don’t think I will ever know how yours is. I think the next step is to surround ourselves with people who really knows about the deen. For example, if we are always on FB, how many imams or ustazs are we acquainted with? These are the people that dish out pearls from our deen on a daily basis. These pearls represent the true knowing of our deen. And the more we have of it, in shaa’ Allah the easier it is for us to tame our dark side.

      In any case, I, and many observant Muslims, accept you as part of the ummah. The thing which we reject is the action.

      Take care, Brother. You can contact me by commenting on the “Contact” page. It will not be published and go straight to my inbox.

      Ramadan kareem!

    • #8 by therealshard on 22 July 2013 - 10:55 am

      Dear brother, you are a complete stranger, but I sincerely pray for you and send love your way. As Raphe said, we all have our demons. I am no wise man but have come across these things which might help you:
      We do not impose on any self any more than it can bear. With Us is a Book that speaks the truth. They will not be wronged. (Surat al-Muminun, 62)

      Surely with hardship there is ease.
      With hardship indeed there is ease.
      (Surah ash-Sharh, 5-6)

      Keep yourself busy with ibadah and slowly but surely learn to accept God’s plan for you. There is a reason and blessing behind everything, so do not despair.
      This is your jihad, and it is not so different from the jihad all of us have to face. We are one ummah and surely you will find love and support.

      Allah is always there for us even when we forget, so always call out to Him. Rasulullah loves his ummah dearly, and even though we might not have met him, know that he loves YOU very much.

      This is a reminder to myself too.
      You are never alone brother; may Allah give you the patience, strength, imaan, consistency, support, motivation and perseverance to overcome your challenges. May He make easy for you your affairs. I will keep you in my prayers; please also pray for us all.

      Much love,
      Your brother in Islam

  5. #9 by Anonymous on 19 May 2014 - 9:12 am

    We suppport the change of the holy book from adam and eve to-adam and steve-ana and eve.we support the lifestyle which leads to the discontinuation of generation.we support AIDS virus. So pls support LGBT

  6. #10 by JIVIDEN on 17 August 2014 - 2:56 am

    It is in fact a fantastic and also handy section of information. I am delighted that you distributed this convenient facts with us. Make sure you stay us knowledgeable like this. We appreciate you revealing.

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