Tuesday, April 6, 2010

2nd PART الجزء الثاني ---مع الامام محسن هندريك


Muhsin Hendricks is a sheikh who lives in South Africa. In 1998, he found Al-Fitrah, the first queer Muslim organization in his country.

What is Islam's position on homosexuality?

Firstly I need to reiterate that Orthodox Islamic scholars still view Homosexuality and Sodomy as one and the same thing. When Muslims think homosexuality, they think sodomy. So often, Ahaadith and Quranic Aayaat dealing with sodomy will be quoted to support the argument against Homosexuality.

Homosexuality is a state of being and is not necessarily acted out sexually and publicly by every homosexual in an explicit form such as sodomy. So the Islamic viewpoint in terms of Usul-ul-Fiqh and Shariah, on this case is, that if the person has an evil thought (assuming now for a minute that homosexuality is evil), will not be punished until those evil thoughts are put into action.

So there is no basis in Islam for punishing or condemning a person who admits he/she is homosexual. It is when the act of sodomy is committed, with witnesses proving that the actual penetration has taken place (according to some Ullema), then a punishment according to the degree of indecency should be meted out to the parties involved. Also when a homosexual is admitting without witnesses that he was guilty of sodomy, he can also be punished.

One other important fact we need to take cognizance of is that not every heterosexual is a rapist, and not every rapist is a heterosexual. Similarly not every homosexual is a sodomite, and not every sodomite or child molester, is a homosexual.

There is also the other misconception that the punishment for sodomy is more severe in Islam than the punishment for illicit sex committed by heterosexuals.


The Quran says regarding Zina:

"Az-zaniyatu waz zani fajlidu kulla waahidim minhuma mi'ata jalda, wa laa ta'gudkum bihima ra'fatun fee deenillahi in kuntum tu'minuna billahi wal joumil aaghir wal yash-hadu adhaabahuma taa'ifatum minal mu'mineen." Surah 24:2

If two people of opposite sex are guilty of illicit sex, they should both be flogged with 100 stripes and you should not be moved by compassion regarding them, if you call yourself a true believer… and the actual punishment should be executed publicly.


On indecency of a homosexual nature Allah says:

Wal laati ya'teenal faaghishata min nisaa-ikum fastash-hidu alayhinna arba'ata minkum. Fa'in shahidu fa'amsikoo hunna fil buyoot gattaa yatawaffaa hunnal mout au yaj'allillahu lahunna sabeelaa.
Wallathaani ya'tiyaanihaa minkum fa'dhoo humaa fa'in taaba wa oslaha fa'ridhu 'anhumaa . Innallaha kaana tawwaabar raheemaa.


"If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, you must produce four reliable witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, then they should be confine to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.

If two men are guilty of lewdness, both of them should be offended, insulted or injured (not punished as the Yusuf Ali translation has it). (Here the kind of reprimand is not defined.) If they repent and amend, leave them alone, for Allah is oft returning, Most Merciful." Quran 4:15&16


So from these Aayaat it is clear that the punishment for Zina is more severe and defined, than the punishment for sodomy, or homosexual public indecency.


And I stress I am in no way supporting any form of indecency be it of a hetero- or homosexual nature. I am merely pointing this out to show how prejudiced we as Muslims have become of homosexuals, whom we still perceive to be sodomites and how in our bias treatment of homosexuals we have even overlooked Quranic injunctions.



Homosexuality has increased rapidly or is discussed more openly in today's society. What do you ascribe the growth to?

I think it's a fallacy to believe that homosexuals are on the increase. There have always been homosexuals, since time immemorial. It is only now that society is becoming more tolerant of the subject and homosexuals given certain rights in the country's constitution, that there are more homosexuals feeling safe to come out of the closet.

In the first year of my involvement with the gay community I discovered that there is a closeted homosexual in almost every second Muslim household. So if we believe that homosexuality is brought about by a condition (such as a domineering mother and a passive father, too many sisters in the house, a broken family etc.), then there is then we really have to treat the cause of homosexuality and not the homosexual.

On the other hand there is a moral decay of society and the argument is that, because of this, there is an increase to the number of homosexuals. Not true. The decadence of society has affected homosexuals as well as heterosexuals. It has affected homosexuals in the sense that they have become more freely flamboyant and obscene especially around the gay clubs and the gay villages.

It has affected the heterosexual society in that promiscuity, sexually explicit entertainment, pornography and other related indecencies have become a more tolerant one. At least the advantage, I think, homosexuals have in this is that they hardly make illicit children, like heterosexuals, rather they would like to be given the right to adopt them, when heterosexuals through them away.

And finally I don't think that a disturbed family life, or a broken home has much to do with the increase in homosexuals. These kinds of issues, only add to the insecurities that most sensitive homosexuals already have to deal with.


How often are people truly gay vs. merely confused about their sexual orientation?

People are confused about their sexual orientation quite often. I would not be doing so much counseling if they weren't. There are a number of factors to be considered here.

As we know, a minority group is always prejudiced and marginalized by a majority group, in almost every situation. And because we're dealing with a sensitive and very personal issue such as sexuality, homosexuals feel it deeply. This creates a lot of instabilities for most homosexuals.

And as if that is not enough, we still have on the other hand, the heterosexual society's insistence that homosexuals need to conform and be reverted to heterosexuality as if they've been all along naturally heterosexual.

Religion also plays a major role in the perception of the self. So if there is the belief that homosexuals are cursed by Allah and condemned to hell, you can well imagine the negative impact this has on the minds homosexual and how dejected they would feel in the assessment of themselves.

I also believe that the insecurities around homosexuals make them more prone to promiscuity, than those homosexuals who've made peace with themselves and their Creator. This acquired promiscuous nature is accompanied with a lot of guilt, self-resentment and disillusionment with love and life.

So, all these factors play a negative and an opposing role in the homosexual's search for true love, understanding and the search for himself.

I would say that the true homosexual is the one who has gone through the processes of discovering his true sexuality, has dealt with the prejudices of society and has made peace with himself and his creator.And this path to me is spiritual and it reminds me of the saying of Nabi Muhammad (s) when he said:

"Man arafa nafsahu, arafa rabbah"

"He who has discovered himself, discovered his creator."

And this is pretty much what my counseling and the support groupsessions are all about, to help the homosexual to find his true self and the purpose for which he was created, in order that he may become more Allah-conscious.

There are homosexuals though that are not truly gay, like the pathological case and as I said previously, this type of homosexual can be helped, not necessarily to become heterosexual, but helped to find his true sexuality, whatever it may be for him.

Muhsin, you say your being homosexual does not mean that you cannot practice Islam. Please explain, given the fact that conventional Islam prohibits it.

As I mentioned previously, homosexuality is a state of being. It does not necessarily flow from it that the person is sexually active. I also mentioned that the act of sodomy (witnessed by four) or willful admittance to the act, is the punishable thing, and not being homosexual. When a sexual act happens in privacy ie: A man having anal sex with his wife, promiscuity amongst heterosexuals or homosexuals, then these matters cannot be judged by a human court of law, simply because there is no evidence. Such a matter is between them and their Creator and does not make the parties involved non-Muslim.

So I am very much of a Muslim when I adhere to the five pillars of Islam and guard against sexual indecency. There are those Muslims who deliberately do not fast, or perform Salaah, thus destroying the very basis of their faith, but they are comfortably accepted as Muslims.

Yet the Nabi (s) said:
" Man taraka salaatahu faqad kafara"
"He who has left his Salaah has become kafir."


I think we need to get our own priorities straight before we go off condemning others, especially those that are different from us.

Allah also says in the Quran:

"La tahkumu wa laa tuhkam"
"Do not judge and you will not be judged."

1 comment:

Tuke said...

I would like to say that the Qur'an does not prohibit homosexuality at all. I noticed you stopped short of declared that statement. But is a fact that it does not prohibit at all.

The condemnation in the case of the qawn Luut is that it deals with the heterosexuals only. This SEPARATION of the SEXUAL IDENTITY can be simply proved that there are no laws or prescriptions of punishment for the homosexuals in the qur'an, whereby zina is specifically for heterosexuals. It is clear that in the qur'an, when Allah wants to be clear about something, indeed he is very clear, such as the laws of punishment, if it is not clear then the study of that issue has to go for the massege and the essence of the qur'an as a whole and true study of the natural world, which is one with the qur'an.
The punishment of the qawm Luut is alignment with all the other punished poeple for simple reason that they all turned away from the path of Allah. Hence, they are not special, except for the clear mention of the word "rijaal", this brings the sexual identity of the HETEROSEXUALS to the centre-piece in the total range of sexual identity available in the god created (natural) world.
For this the qur'an does not go on in detail the punishments that should be aplied against homosexuals, but goes on in detail the punishments that should be aplied if hetrosexuals commit sexual acts outside of marriage. Therefore, the rest, in a consentual adults, and with GENERAL morality and conducts of islam (equal to that of heterosexuals) fall outside of these SPECIFIC laws, but stay one with the GENERAL laws.
While, there is no requirement for homosexuals to marry, the General Iimaan (which is one half of the islamic law, without it the law becomes useless and opressive, opposite of its purpose) gives them the same attitude to relationships to be formed among themsevs. Therefore, the law is proportional to the type of sexuality (the specific and non-specific), whether it is the centre-role in glueing the race and its continuation or whether off the centre and plays role in the multiple dimentions that give support and flexiblity in its survival for continuation, but nevertheless, they are equal in roles that they play in the society.

In order this to work in practis, the muslims have to follow the qur'an (which is cristal clear, and surprisingly simple)with Iimaan. It means, clearing from the mind misconceptions, the hadith (its majority is corupt, and the small amount left needs to be viewed from the point of view of the qur'an and not vice versa), borrowing from the bible and the torah, which is tradition for muslims (unaccepltable!), and purtucular beliefs of "-ism". Simply the QUR'AN ONLY. THE WORD OF ALLAH and NOT THAT OF MAN.