Like many other people of faith, I have pondered over same-sex marriage in my heart, and prayed over it.
This week, of course, the eyes of the nation turn to the US Supreme court as it considers a couple of important cases on the topic.

Here is the main reason I support same-sex marriage:
You’ve heard of the Golden Rule?
Here is the Platinum rule:    Don’t be a hypocrite.

If something is precious to you (like, you know, marriage, family), realize that it’s precious to others.  If you want to be able to visit your loved ones in a hospital, or have rights to inheritance, or an equitable divorce, or have society recognize your family as in fact being a family, recognize that these are also important to all of us, including gays and lesbians.

This is the reason that I ultimately came over from the cautious supporting “civil union” side to supporting full marriage.   We don’t want a society in which some people are “kind of” married, sort of married.    We don’t want a two-tiered model of marriage.    We don’t want a two-tiered model of justice.   We don’t want a two-tiered model of citizenship.  A two-tiered justice is not justice, and a two-tiered citizenship is not real citizenship.

I realized that there are some, including many of my own co-religionists who object to homosexuality on religious grounds.   And yes, I have not forgotten that existing interpretations of shari’a so far prohibit same-sex activity.   Fine, that’s our business, our own internal religious conversation.   But we are here talking about the state recognizing a marriage, not a state dictating to religious traditions what they should or should not teach.

So I see it as something similar to selling alcohol in grocery stores.  Muslims shouldn’t drink alcohol.  Fine, that is our right and our choice.  But if others want to sell alcohol, go ahead.  Muslims shouldn’t eat pepperoni, but we don’t keep other people from putting pepperoni and bacon on their pizza.

And do me a favor, and don’t insult my intelligence or yours by talking about slippery slopes to pedophilia, bestiality, or polygamy.   Don’t go all Rick Santorum on me.    We are talking about consenting adults here.    Consenting human adults.

More and more Muslims are speaking out in favor of a holistic conception of justice, one that recognizes that we are all in this together.   We recognize that a threat to justice anywhere–to gays/lesbians–is a threat to justice anywhere–including our own rights.     One brilliant and courageous exa

KME Official Photo 2010

mple is the first Muslim elected to the US Congress, Keith Ellison.    In his speeches, he strongly stands for same-sex marriage rights by stating:

If the person who you happen to love and want to be with happens to be the same gender as you then I say God bless you and go out and be as happy as you can be.

On his official website, Congressman Ellison has come out strongly in favor of marriage equality as part of his overall platform.  He states:

I believe in expanding marriage rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples and to have those marriages recognized by other states and the federal government. I strongly support repealing the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, which actively denies marriage rights and recognition to same-sex couples.

Ultimately, here is what it came down to:  my support for same-sex civil rights is not based on some new theological discovery.    It’s not based on changing poll numbers in America, even though now 56% of Americans now support same-sex marriage.    Somewhere as a Muslim child of Dr. King, I remember Brother Martin teaching us:

coretta scott king and dr. king wikipedia

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

Mrs. Coretta Scott King, in fact, made a number of statements that made it clear she understood that Martin’s holistic conception of justice would have encompassed gay/lesbian rights:

I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people. … But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’
I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.


I could look to another hero, the anti-apartheid, the South African peace activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner:

desmond tutu wikipedia

This is a matter of ordinary justice. We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about — our very skin. It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure, even in our churches and faith groups. …. For me this struggle is a seamless robe. Opposing apartheid was a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination against women is a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a matter of justice.

It is also a matter of love. Every human being is precious. We are all — all of us — part of God’s family. We all must be allowed to love each other with honor. Yet all over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are persecuted. We treat them as pariahs and push them outside our communities. We make them doubt that they too are children of God. This must be nearly the ultimate blasphemy. We blame them for what they are.

No, the reason that I support same-sex marriage is much simpler:  my children go to school with other children who have two mommies.  Over the last few years, I have seen these families show the same love, affection, and attention on their children that my own heterosexual family does.   Love is love.   Family is family, though they come in different shapes.

My children have gay and lesbian friends.    They belong a social club at school that is an alliance of straight, gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual students.    The name of the club is simply G.L.O.W.

Gay, Lesbian, OR Whatever. 

Live and let live.

If it’s important to you to be married and have your love recognized by the state, recognize that it is important to others.

Some would say, as Jesus said:  “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”   [Matthews 7:12.]

Some would say, as the Prophet Muhammad said:  “Do not do onto others what you dislike for yourself.” 

If that doesn’t work for you, listen to a comedian.   Here is the profound wisdom of Chris Rock:

Gays and Lesbians deserve to be as miserable in marriage as the rest of us.
[Sometimes a profound satire gets to the heart of the matter much faster than a thousand theological reflections do.]


Why should we straight people have all the fun.   Misery loves company.   :-)

Jokes aside, I says:   Be kind.
Don’t be a jerk.

Do not approach your fellow human beings out of fear and anger.
As we were told by the great Sufi saint Yoda:  Fear is the path to the Dark Side.

Family is family, love is love.
Gay, Lesbian, or Whatever.





  1. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment

    Raymond Garlick

    Omid, you truly are a two faced individual. You say that Shari’a does not allow same-sex activity stating that it is none of our business, yet you proclaim that this same activity should be allowed in a country that is none of your business. You also have the gull to say that Muslims do not eat pepperoni but you do not keep others people from eating bacon and pepperoni on our pizza. How nice of you. I assume you are referring to non-Muslim people living here in America that you are allowing to eat such food, because I am sure that it would not be tolerated in a Muslim country.

  2. I agree with Omid. All religions in the world are based on the same principle of love, dignity and human freedom. Even if everybody is not ready for such a change, we can find religious arguments from within these various religious traditions, based on their fundamental principles to support LGBTQIA rights. “Struggle for love” should be our slogan.

  3. This article proves that Mr. Omid is a closeted homosexual. There is absolutely NO ROOM in Islam for homosexuality. It is very clear (see the people of Lot). I would have had more respect for Br. Omid if he had directly come out of the closet rather than this indirect roundabout way as seen in this column. I will make Du’aa for you Brother Omid.

  4. Omid,

    Based upon this logic, would you also accept the right of advocates of incestuous relationships to marry, as long as they were consenting? What about polyamorous, polygamous, polygynous or zoo relationships? If you accept gay marriage surely you should accept every other manifestation of the redefinition of marriage?

  5. Stop generalizing your Islam, my friend. There has always been room in for homosexuality in its history. Your language presents your Islam as a ahistorical monolithic entity that declares, forbids or orders the same thing no matter where and when you live. That’s why both anti-Islamists and Islamists share the same language. But this forgets the rich variety and history of Islamic traditions. Stop talking in metahistorical terms, and find room for everybody in your society and religion based on the higher objectives (maqasid) of Islam and well-being (maslaha) of the community (and world community).

    Brother Yusuf, gay marriage by no means harms the higher objectives (statistically proven in many countries, if not all), thus should be supported. Zoo relationships, pornography, polyamorous, polygamous, polygynous are, at least now, against these objectives (stats can be found easily), and can be challenged consistently on this ground.

    I know not everybody is not ready, but we should be at least be able to discuss this within the abode of Islam. Thus, I appreciate brother Yusuf’s language; but Abu Waqas’ totalizing and dismissive language does not fit to his/her rich, pluralistic tradition, and displays a recent. Remember al-Ash’ari: “the piety of the theoogian is not accusing the opponent of disbelief.” Never suspect Omid’s, or anybody’s good intentions; and like your forefathers be tolerant to interpretations different than yours. May God bless you all.

    • Assalamu Alaykum Dr. Safi,

      I have read through your article and will offer my thoughts, reactions, and points of criticism.

      Firstly, your case is not built on religious grounds. As such, the title is misleading. You state, multiple times through out your article, that your basis for supporting gay-marriages is not grounded in any “new theological”. The reasons you do give are subjective and are linked to your personal experiences (ex. having children who attend school with other children with two mommies). Surely, a scholar of your level should be able to decipher how ridiculously fallacious such contentions are. What is the logical link between having children who go to school with the children of lesbians, and deriving that gay-marriages should be supported? There is none. Zero.

      In addition, you simply mention that there exist Shariah-interpretations that are against gay-marriages. This is a misrepresentation of the reality: the strongest Shariah-stances rooted in 1400 years of continued traditional scholarship (the Four Madhabs) and their associated Usool Al-Fiqh and Fiqhi conclusions, are against gay-marriages. Do you see how different that sounds now? Intellectual honesty is a hallmark of true scholarship. Do your title as “professor of Islamic studies” justice and demonstrate intellectual honesty in your writings.

      In addition, you haven’t even made an attempt to define the status of your conclusions. When you, as a Muslim, say you ‘support’ gay-marriages are you arguing that a legitimate Islamic jurisprudential case can be made to support your views, or that even if it cannot, you still hold this personal opinion? Why then label your argument as religious, and how do you reconcile the disconnect between your opinions on a matter and its reality from an Islamic perspective (i.e. gay-marriages are haraam)?

      If you are not going to use Islam as a framework for legal thought and ethics, how do you ground morality ontologically? Secular humanism has utterly failed to ground morality ontologically, and as a theist and scholar you should know this. Just watch Sam Harris’ debate with William Lane Craig on the Moral Landscape to see how flimsy non-theistic cases for objective morality are. With this being said, how do you justify your subjective opinions? There is little objective reasoning here.

      The stand point of traditional Islam has never been to offer no way forwards for human begins. However, Islam being the Truth, does not childishly validate our dysfunctional behaviour or failure to align ourselves with the Truth. Rather, we are given a responsibility to WORK to re-align ourselves with the Truth (we were born with fitrah after all) and the resources needed to achieve this. Those who are homosexuals and lesbians are not simply left in the dark, in the same way as those who struggle with agnosticism because they’ve never been exposed to a solid case for Islam, are never left in the dark. Muslims have a responsibility to shoulder extra burdens and responsibilities to ensure that these resources (ex. conceptual tools, spiritual practices, lifestyle changes, holistic environments etc.) are made accessible to others struggling to re-align themselves with Haqq. So, the false dichotomy is in thinking that you either shun homosexuals or you embrace and validate those who practice gay-marriages. Islam is nuanced, precisely because it is the Truth; reality is multifaceted and each circumstance needs to be responded to proportionally to create order and balance. This is Justice.


    • Sorry, I accidentally replied to your comment with my first post. It was addressed to Dr. Safi and not you. Nevertheless, I will address some contentions you raise too as they are important.

      “Stop generalizing your Islam, my friend. There has always been room in for homosexuality in its history.”

      From a jurisprudential standpoint, there is absolutely no place for validating sodomy. Homosexuality, however, is a matter that requires more nuance. What of a homosexual who wages Jihad al-nafs to refrain from committing sodomy? Virtually all traditional Scholars of each Madhab, agree that such an individual reaps rewards for succeeding in passing their trial.

      “Your language…you live.”

      The principles of Islamic jurisprudence (Usool Al-Fiqh)–its foundations–are universal and do not and will not ever change. Logic, one foundation of fiqh, does not change either. Logic is universal. Postmodern feminist rhetoric is not universal, because it is irrational. Applications of Islam may vary depending on contexts, however, the same principles are going to be used to derive the application. This is KEY.

      “…find room for everybody in…(and world community).”

      You are arguing against another person’s philosophical presuppositions and interpretative methodology with your own. You criticize them for lacking nuance, but have yet to establish the validity of yours as well. Even in your reply here, inherent is the presupposition that there are foundational matters that take precedence. Yet, you seem to ignore this when it comes to Usool Al-Fiqh.

      “Brother Yusuf, gay marriage by … thus should be supported.”

      This is a fallacious argument and is unsubstantiated. You have imposed your subjective notion of the ‘higher objective’ without a shred of reference to Islamic scholarship as an objective standard, and are arguing that because YOUR conception of the ‘higher objectives’ isn’t harmed, gay-marriages should be supported. The double-standards in your reasoning are so blatantly obvious, yet you are unaware of them. You have criticized others here for being intolerant of others’ standards, and yet call for your OWN subjectivity to be made the benchmark that defines Islam’s interpretive methodologies (ex. “…therefore it SHOULD be supported!”).

      Gay marriages are not aligned with the gender-functions that Allah has created and ordained, which when followed, result in orderly social interactions and relationships (ex. reproduction, masculine-feminine interplay in the family and society to result in balance as both genders are complementary in function, maintenance of your intended purpose etc.). Many occurrences of homosexuality are also caused due to the emasculation of males under feminist policies and philosophy enforced by the state and popular culture that vilifies manhood, womanhood, gender at large, the family, and it may as well do so for anything else that’s functional. Clearly, this involves much harm esp. from a psycho-spiritual and psycho-moral foundation rooted in Allah’s existence and revealed scripture.

      “Zoo relationships, pornography…on this ground.”

      Even gay-porn? Hah. You haven’t offered any substantiation. You also haven’t even established why your moral framework is objective. Thus far, even using the the word ‘harm’ in a moral context, has been entirely relativistic on your part.

      “I know not everybody is not ready, but we should be at least be able to discuss this within the abode of Islam.”

      Yes, but this requires critical thinking and being open to rational scrutiny. Those who argue for gay-marriages, homosexuality, and ultra postmodern interpretations of Islam or anything really, aren’t prepared to do this. This is why you find that they will always dodge specific criticism or spend their time complaining about how their detractors’ arguments make them “feel”. When you put fallacious ideas under the magnifying glass of rational scrutiny–they cannot stand.

      “…pluralistic tradition, and displays a recent.”

      Postmodernism runs through your thoughts here. Islam is NOT compatible with Western postmodernism that is built on utterly irrational thought. It is opposed to logical and universal truths and principles. It is relativistic, unverifiable, and subject to childish whims and desires that require no accountability, because apparently “all paths” lead to truth anyways. Islam has pluralistic elements and nuance, because reality is multi-faceted and requires that context be understood. However, the PRINCIPLES (i.e. Usool Al-Fiqh) that are used to derive diverse applications in each context, are UNIVERSAL and OBJECTIVE.

      Remember al-Ash’ari: “the piety of the theoogian is not accusing the opponent of disbelief.”

      Do not misrepresent Imam Al-Ash’ari’s (may Allah be well pleased with him) statement. It was made in the context of hoping good for your theological and philosophical contemporaries when their are sufficient ambiguities to refrain from delivering swift and well-deserved criticism (and *sometimes* even declaring that they’ve committed kufr).

      “Never suspect Omid’s…you all.”

      Our forefathers were not naive of human nature and psychology. This is why they created far greater order in their personal and communal lives. They understood that dysfunctional beliefs and behaviour is modified via the application of pain, and that functional beliefs and behaviour is reinforced via the application of pleasure. You do not reward bad behaviour and punish good behaviour. You shape behaviour and create order by punishing bad behaviour and rewarding good behaviour. They were also more intelligent than to fall into postmodern nonsense (literally: irrational). Dr. Safi’s contentions here are wrong-headed. Call them ‘personal interpretations’ to avoid upholding the accountability of justifying your views against rational scrutiny all you want, but it cannot change that they are fallacious.

      Finally, don’t purport to speak on behalf of our forefathers.

      Imam Al- Ghazali said, “The Salaf of the Ummah of Sayyiduna Muhammad agreed to condemn people with deviant ideas, and to abandon them and cut relations with them, and to be hard in rebuking them, but to be mild in disagreements of juristic details.” (Mustasfa, Pg. 350)


      • Thanks again for your response. The links to postmodernism and the emasculating feminist movement are striking. Again, if you’re on any social networks, let us know how to find you. جزاك اللهُ خيرًا

  6. Sleepless,

    In all honesty, I do not believe Muslim supporters of SSM would take such a position unless they live in societies where morality is subjective and affected by the ever changing currents of interest groups, activists, mass media, all trying to change the goalposts of what is normal and acceptable. Your opposition to the lifestyles I mentioned would have been the response of the opponents of SSM a decade ago, but times have changed as have attitudes. In a decade or more some of those relationships will inevitably be legalised dependent upon how strong a lobby the advocates of those positions are able to muster. Same same marriage isn’t about changing the law it is about changing an entire institution at the heart of which is the raising of children. I am extremely worried by Muslims overtaken by politically correct bandwagons just as I am with others who use history to justify a lifestyle that a Muslim cannot condone or celebrate.

  7. Sleepless, excellent response to Abu Waqas’ misguided diatribe of hatred that I think is based on an emotional, knee-jerk reaction. Bro. Yusuf, your comments fall under the category of the “what ifs” or the “shadows” without shape or form…and the people will deal with those “unusual” issues as they arise…have a little faith that Allah’s message is heard and understood in many ways you just might not understand by not only LGBT Muslims, but heterosexual Muslims too. As Sleepless stated, your conclusion is metahistorical in perspective and this one-size-fits-all thinking is adverse to Islamic history, whether of Prophet Mohammad’s life as religious and governmental leader, or later Muslim peoples or the development of Islamic theological thought. As Omid stated, do not let fear lead to anger that turns into hatred…don’t Muslims in the West experience enough of that already and then to turn around and do the same to another disenfranchised group…I question that logic.

  8. Is there room for LGBT Muslims? Why yes there is. I encourage readers to take a look at this work – Sexual diversity in Islam. This is adapted from the chapter “Sexuality, Diversity, and Ethics in the Agenda of Progressive Muslims” by Dr. Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle in Progressive Muslims (edited by Dr. Omid Safi) and adapted by Tynan Power.

  9. I see the point of brother Yusuf, and appreciate his reference to raising children, but we should not forget two facts: 1. We are living in a world of poverty, and many children grow up without families, or in bad conditions in certain parts of the world. I am sure that growing in a gay family will be better than growing in the street, freezing, eating trash, and open to abuse. Adoption is the best remedy for our perennial social problems, and same sex marriage (SSM) is a blessing from this perspective. 2. There is also evidence that SSMs are even more successful than traditional families in raising good children. I am sure that many of us would prefer to grow in a SSM family instead of a problematic traditional family, in which the unhealthy environment is sometimes quite evident. Don’t fear: bad parents are officially monitored everywhere, and SSM’s will not be exempted of course.

    Homosexuality is an ever-present historical fact, and the only difference is its degree of being oppressed. We should stop oppressing its manifestations for healthier societies. If gay marriage is too much for the specific country where you live, I’ll understand it, but find other ways for struggle for them. There are still many other rights of LGBTQAI that are violated. A central message of Islam is quite clear: stand against the tyrant, struggle for the oppressed no matter who they are. Go for the jihad for love!

  10. What would Muhammad do?

    “And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.” Quran 5:48


    Quran 7:81 is very precise and clear for ALL to read and understand: “Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people.”


    “It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah. But those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.” Quran 3:7

    Free will:

    “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong…” Quran 2:256


    My Creator, Allah (s.w.t.) blessed me with some knowledge and understanding of the dilemmas some of us have come to face in this world. As such, I am obliged to share and pass on this knowledge and understanding. Remember, a person can be as guilty for his inaction as he can be for his actions. At the same time, I also refer the readers to the quote: “you can lead the horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”

    I am not here to judge anyone, nor to personally attack anyone. Again, remember, when you point a finger at another, you will have three pointing back at you and your thumb pointing up reminding you that Allah (s.w.t.) is hearing, seeing and knows everything.

    I have made my submissions by quoting verses from the Quran which speak for themselves. They are clear, precise and easy to understand.

    To my Muslim fellows, do not impose Islam upon others – Quran 2:256

    To those who are LGBT, do not force others to accept your views.

    To both, present your views and let the individuals decide for themselves what is right or wrong. Who knows who is right and who is wrong?

    “Allah sends astray whom He wills and He guides on the Straight Path whom He wills.” 6:39

    May Allah (s.w.t.) guide us ALL to the straight path. Ameen! :-)

  11. A) What would Muhammad do?

    1) Follow the middle path [in this case between celibacy and promiscuity]

    2) Facilitate, do not cause difficulties or cause people to reject the faith

    3) What act is better than prayer, fasting and charity? Keeping good relations between people.

    4) You will not enter paradise until you have faith; and you will not complete your faith till you love one another.

    5) People are God’s children and those dearest to God are the one’s who treat His children kindly

    6) The best of people is one from whom good accrues to humanity.

    B) The Qur’an indeed asks its readers to reflect, it is a book for those who think.

    It is such that We clarify the revelations to a people who think. Qur’an 10:24

    C) Quoting verses out of context is done by extremists like OBL.

    Eg: 5:51 O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends …

    D) Verse 7:81 has to be viewed in it’s context. See Kugle, Hendricks, Habib, Menyawi, Al Haj et al for details on how the people of Lut abused travellers.

    E) LGBT are not forcing others to accept their views. Others are refusing the LGBT their God given human rights to basic necessities of life, which includes a discrimination free environment.

  12. Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve keep in mind your stuff previous to and you’re simply extremely magnificent. I actually like what you’ve bought here, really like what you are stating and the way in which in which you assert it. You’re making it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I can’t wait to learn much more from you. That is really a great site.

  13. Wonderful article! Below is a link to an article on an exciting act of solidarity from the flipside readers will appreciate. A “Queer” art collective in the San Francisco Bay Area altered Pam Geller’s “That’s my jihad” Islamophobic hate ads that were posted on San Francisco MUNI buses. One altered ad reads, “I’m Pam Geller and I fund anti-Muslim hate speech. I’m obsessed and must struggle to stop. That’s my jihad.”

  14. As someone who identifies himself as gay, I’m so happy that there are people like yourself who aim to stand for justice for all, not only because of the trend towards progress but because it’s in your conscience. Personally, I was disenfranchised (permanently) from religion due to the resistant voices of both my former Catholic church and Christian community. But it is refreshing to know that there are people who stand up for what’s right, even though you may only be one of a relatively few in your religious community. Thank you for your words of wisdom, and also for the extra boost I needed to keep on with the fight for my equal rights, both as an American and a human being.

  15. I have a question. How does a religious argument not cite a single verse from the Qur’an about the topic? Your citing of just that one quote from the Prophet Muhammad (while ignoring all his other quotes on the topic of homosexuality) seems to imply that Islamic texts are silent about this matter.

    Maybe I need to cite some verses of the Qur’an that are rather clear on this:

    And [remember] Lut [Lot], when he said to his people: Do you commit the worst sin such as none preceding you has committed in the worlds [of humankind and jinn]? [7:80]

    Of all the creatures in the world, will you approach males, and leave those whom your Lord has created for you to be your mates? Nay, you are a people transgressing [all limits]. [26:165-166]

    Verily, you practice sodomy with men, and rob the wayfarer and practice abomination in your meetings. [29:29]

    The Qur’an is very clear that the act itself is what is considered a transgression.

    Why do you ignore these verses? How is it a religious argument in solidarity while discarding all the religious texts talking about the very topic you claim to support based on religious grounds?

  16. We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you?
    For ye practise your lusts on men in preference to women: “Ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.”
    And his people gave no answer but this: they said, “Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!”
    But we saved him and his family, except his wife: she was of those who legged behind. And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): Then see what was the end of those who indulged in sin and crime! (Surat al-Araf: 80-84)

    “It is not befitting for a believing man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any option about their decision.” (Surat al-Ahzaab: 33:36)

    Salam Alaykum,

    The Qu’ran is precise and clear to Muslims on matters from which the people dispute about. Once Allah has decreed something as unlawful, it is not the place of a Muslim, male or female, to try to argue against it. We may not have to take part in same sex marriages, but that doesn’t mean we should be supporting it. Allah gave all humans free will, so we do not have the right to tell people (Homosexuals, Promiscuous, Non-Muslims, Etc.) how to live their lives, but that certainly doesn’t mean that we should support a social issue that Allah has deemed as sinful.

    It might be viewed as an injustice in this society, in this life, by people who more than likely do not follow Islam, but it is not an injustice in the after life. Allah would not lie to us or make us out to be oppressing people. Do not twist your region to please the unbelieving people, for this is a test from Allah to see your conviction to what he has ordained. Allah wants us to enjoin in what is good and forbid what is bad, at least to ourselves, and to our Muslim brothers and sisters who are are also following the deen.


    • Diana, Abdelrahman, and others,
      These are unfortunate literal readings of the Qur’an. If you apply this approach consistently, then you will see how devastating consequences it will have. E.g. you should be also OK with cutting the hand of a thief; are you ready to defend it? Darb to your spouse would be also fine–please defend it as well to remain consistent with this literalist approach. God would be sitting on a throne, God would have two hands, ambush [makr], etc… You read the verses you please allegorically, and read them literally if you please. Pre-modern, male-dominant tafsir tradition mostly followed this line. You should revise this arbitrary, patriarchal interpretive approach with one that emphasizes justice and equality, the two fundamental messages that embody the spirit of the Qur’an, and fits into agreed contemporary ethical standards. We have ijma’ that people should not be punished unjustly, right? Then let no LGBTQIA person suffer just because they are so! Many of these people are suffering around the world, and violently killed in some places, e.g. some countries in Africa; don’t you see the violation of basic human rights that are supposed to be guaranteed by our religion?

      We can debate whether their marriage should be allowed or not–and the answers will diverge depending on the specific locations and countries that have different customs [‘urf]. In my case, Muslims in the US should support gay marriages in accordance with the ethical ijma’ and ‘urf here. Other places might differ, and I see it. But at least we all Muslims around the world should unite in the spirit of the Qur’an that nobody should suffer unjustly. Be on the side of the oppressed [mazlum], not the oppressor [zalim]. Don’t be the oppressor who recites cut-paste verses–this is violence to the spirit and the higher intentions of the Qur’an. Islamophobes apply this strategy, fundamentalists apply this strategy. The power of traditional Islam is its capacity of flexibility to go beyond these reductive literal readings for the sake of preserving universal goods (and diverse local applications to achieve them) in the ethical spirit of the Qur’an.

  17. I live in central Europe. In my country there is very intolerance society, but it change quite fast. But I see a lot of intolerance. I’m conservative catholic which is against abortion, drug use and cigarettes because this is in my opinion the civilization of death and this is very bad sin. But I support gay marriage because some people were born like this. I am not immoral human who smoke cigarettes near the nonsmokers and children. I think it is real sin not homosexuality and all independent thinking people should fight with this(smoking tobacco in public area). I wrote quite often comments that I support gay marriage and adoption but some people called me nonbeliever, an atheist.or agnostic. And this is real intolerance because some fascist called you nonbeliever, because you support lgbt rights. I live in Poland. What do you think is the person should be so ultra as atheist to support all heart marriage equality. I say no! He should only have his independent way of thinking.

  18. its because of stupid ass so called muslims like you who is probably working against Islam that muslims dont move forward. Take your stupid ass opinion and shove it up your ass because if someone is affected by this in a bad way and people become influenced by your opinion, youll have a lot more going up your ass on judgement day sicko.

  19. Yorkshire Lass

    Professor Safi,

    Please accept my most sincere thanks for your wonderfully written article. As a Christian who strongly supports equal marriage for many of the reasons you have explained, you’ve put into words so eloquently what I have been struggling to explain to other Christians. Many do not see why it matters to me so much (I am a heterosexual married woman), but it matters to me for so many reasons – and for the same reasons that I, as a white person, campaign for racial equality – because no-one has equality when not everyone has equality, and becuase my faith commands me to defend the rights of those who need defending. That is not a polite suggestion – it is a command.

    Your article has inspired me to write a bible study in support of equality, and I wanted to thank you for that.

    May God richly bless you and your family.

  20. Yorkshire Lass

    Oh, and for the intellectually challenged who are commenting that the author must have secret homosexual tendencies to support equal rights, I support animal rights. That does not mean that I am secretly a giraffe.

    It’s called empathy. Go look it up – you might learn something.

  21. Brittany Lute

    I think many readers, particularly the Muslim readers, are missing the point to Dr. Safi’s article. He is not arguing whether homosexuality is a sin or not from a theological perspective.Any adherent to any of the Abrahamic religions should be familiar with the story of the prophet Lot(a). As practicing Muslims, we have a responsibility to ensure justice, dignity,and safety for all members of society. If using Islam as a framework for legal and ethical issues, then one could acknowledge that the nature of Islam is democratic and allows for pluralism. Furthermore, the prophet Muhammad left the courts of non- Muslims intact and thereby not subjecting people with different beliefs to Islamic(sharia) law. Unlike Christianity, Islam does single out homosexuality as a greater sin than fornication, prostitution, drinking alcohol,or eating pork. Practicing Muslims should be avoiding all of these things. There is no outcry to make alcohol illegal or ban all pork products from supermarkets…

    • Brittany Lute

      There is no call to a formal legal battle against women or men who commit fornication. By denying the prophet’s message of pluralism one is doing Islam a great disservice. Furthermore, as believers, who are we to say where God’s (Allah’s) mercy ends. Although there are a series of rules for us to live by, by limiting Islam to some black and white list of rules would be shortsighted. The Prophet Muhammad(sav) made sure that we knew about that.

      Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A prostitute saw a dog lolling around a well on a hot day and hanging his tongue from thirst. She drew some water for it in her shoe, so Allah forgave her.”
      Source: Sahih Muslim 2245

      We as humans are made up of more than our sins. To assume we know the limits to our Creator’s mercy would be to err greatly. God(Allah) is merciful to those who show mercy.

      • Brittany Lute

        Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy upon you. The womb is derived from the Most Merciful, thus whoever keeps relations with his family then Allah will keep relations with him, and whoever abandons his family then Allah will abandon him.”

        Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1924

        Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to At-Tirmidhi

        It is also important to point out that it says “to those on earth” without any other qualifiers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.