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.


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



(Non-Existence of) Tackling Homosexuality

During my morning news-surf session, I found the following article from the local Malay news, typos and all:

Satu lagi contoh yang diketengahkan Profsor Abdulaziz ialah isu homoseksual.

‘Sekiranya kita tidak memikirkan tentang komponen etika (dalam Islam), kita sebenarnya telah gagal memahami salah satu mesej penting yang terkandung dalam Al-Quran bahawa manusia dijadikan dengan keupayaan menjadi makhluk yang bermoral.’

Dalam hal ini, beliau berkata masyarakat Islam tidak boleh menutup sebelah mata dan berkata bahawa perkara itu tidak berlaku di dalam masyarakat Islam.

Beliau berkata ada sebahagian ulama yang menghukum golongan tersebut tetapi beliau berpendapat ia tidak sesuai dalam konteks masyarakat Islam yang menjadi sebahagian masyarakat majmuk dalam negara seperti Singapura.

‘Kita menghadapi cabaran dan saya rasa pakar fikah memikul tanggungjawab besar untuk menemukan wadah dngan isu-isu etika dapat dibincangkan. Dan, ini belum lagi kita lakukan. Meskipun ramai ulama akur bahawa nilai-nilai etika merupakan sebahagian daripada Islam, ilmu tersebut sudah tidak diajar lagi di sebarang institusi pengajian dalam dunia Islam,’ kata Profesor Abdulaziz.

I didn’t attend the lecture so I’m commenting based on the news article and not the personal views of the lecturer, whatever that may be.

To a certain extent, I agree with what was being mentioned; the homosexuality issue in Islam should be addressed. Homosexuality is seemingly becoming more obvious. I doubt that nowadays there are individuals in communities which are safe from the I-am-born-gay-and-I-can’t-change-so-please-accept-me nonsense. I do not believe that homosexuality is a predefined condition.

Common sense dictates that this issue does indeed need to be tackled. However, the impression I get from reading the article is the following: problem -> solve problem -> give up -> accept gays by focusing on their positive, ethical, side.

The part where gays should be counselled/treated/etc is somewhat lacking in emphasis. When you have a problem, you deal with it, and don’t give up. Just because something becomes widespread, it should be wholly accepted. Especially if it goes against the core values and principles that one believes in.

Because in the end, everyone has a somewhat positive, ethical, and fondness-for-kittens side. So what if one day incest becomes widespread and the two parties are ‘consenting adults’? Should it they be accepted as a normative form of sexual orientation too?