In the name of Allah, the most beneficent and the most merciful.
One of the most fundamental aspects of human nature is the need to satisfy the sexual urge. It is an undeniable part of the human condition and has both constructive as well as destructive potential. Over the course of history, different philosophies and religions have strived to ensure that the sexual urge is satisfied in a manner that is healthy for both the individual and the society. In the last few decades, however, notions of sexual morality and the boundaries of human sexuality have been besieged by a downward spiral of unfettered individual freedom, leading to cultural degeneration and sexual anarchy.
A universally accepted outlet for sexual desire is the institution of marriage. It not only allows the husband and wife to satisfy each other’s sexual drives without promiscuity, it also provides a foundational family unit for raising children and perpetuating the human race. In that sense, it balances the pleasure one draws from sexual intercourse with the responsibilities that ensue from initiating such a relationship. On the other hand, pre-marital and extra-marital sex, pornography, prostitution, pedophilia and all other avenues of sexual expression are considered deviations by most cultures and religious teachings, including Islam. Such sexual freedom without regulations has a profoundly adverse and disruptive impact on society.
The gays and lesbians both go against the natural disposition (fitrah) which Allah has created in mankind – and also in animals – whereby the male is inclined towards the female, and vice versa. Whoever goes against that goes against the natural disposition of mankind, the fitrah.
The spread of homosexuality has caused man diseases which neither the East nor the West can deny exist because of them. Even if the only result of this perversion was AIDS – which attacks the immune system in humans – that would be enough. It also causes the breakup of the family and leads people to give up their work and study because they are preoccupied with these perversions.
Ibn al-Qayyim said: Both of them – fornication and homosexuality – involve immorality that goes against the wisdom of Allah’s creation and commandment. For homosexuality involves innumerable evil and harms, and the one to whom it is done would be better off being killed than having this done to him, because after that he will become so evil and so corrupt that there can be no hope of his being reformed, and all good is lost for him, and he will no longer feel any shame before Allah or before His creation. The semen of the one who did that to him will act as a poison on his body and soul. The scholars differed as to whether the one to whom it is done will ever enter Paradise. There are two opinions which I heard Shaykh al-Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrate.” (al-Jawaab al-Kaafi, p. 115).
Islam has prohibited any acts of sexual deviation that are outside of marriage and considers them to be grave sins. The word Muslim means one who submits, or surrenders, their will to the Will of God. To know which actions are pleasing to God and which will earn His anger are, therefore, foremost in the criteria for how Muslims are supposed to lead their lives. Guarding one’s chastity is considered one of the noblest characteristics of a believer.
"وَالْحَافِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَافِظَاتِ وَالذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا"
“For men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise, for them has God prepared forgiveness and a great reward” (Quran, 33, 35). Committing purely to each other in a marriage and accepting the obligations that come with it are, hence, prerequisites in Islam before one may be sexually gratified.
Engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage, whether it is premarital or extramarital sex, is considered a grave sin in Islam. In both cases, the two individuals engage in an act of profound intimacy without any responsibilities attached. By asserting that sexual relations are not to be regarded in a casual manner, Islam has closed the doors to one-night stands, sex for money and “no strings attached” relationships. After all, sexual deviations may be temporarily gratifying but they have a disruptive effect on not only the individuals involved but also their families, the wider community and society at large. Emotional betrayal, mental illness, family disruption and even violence are the likely outcomes of such deviant behavior. In the long run, such deviations may become so intrinsically accepted in societies that they lead to other abnormalities in the name of freedom and individual happiness, as we are currently seeing in the case of homosexuality. They are also capable of changing the population charts for entire nations, as birth rates fall and terminal illnesses cause early demise.
The problem of sexual perversion among young people is addressed by Islam by taking the following two steps:
The first step is to reduce and weaken the things that may provoke desire in a person. This may be achieved in a number of ways, including the following:
1 – Lowering the gaze and refraining from looking at that which Allah has forbidden. Allah says :
قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُون* وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا
“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.* And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof;”[al-Noor 24:31]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not follow one glance with another, for the first is allowed but not the second.” There are many sources of haraam looking, such as looking directly at young men and thinking about their attractive looks, or looking at pictures in magazines and movies.
3 – Keeping away from bad company. Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ
" O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true (in word and deed)." At-Tawba9:119.
4- Islam prohibits men to imitate women and women to imitate men. Ibn Abbas said: 'The Messenger of Allah(peace be upon him) cursed men who imitate women and women who imitate men.' (Bukhari)
The second step is: To strengthen the factors that will prevent one acting in accordance with one’s desires. This is achieved in a number of ways, including the following:
1 – Strengthening the faith in one’s heart and strengthening one’s relationship with Allah. This may be achieved by remembering Allah a great deal, reading Qur’an, thinking of the names and attributes of Allah, and doing a lot of nafil prayers. Belief strengthens the heart and soul, and it helps one to resist temptation.
2 – Fasting, as taught by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he said: “O young men, whoever among you can afford to, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and in guarding one’s chastity. Whoever cannot afford it, then let him fast, for it will be a shield for him.” This is addressed to young men, but it also includes young women.
3– Seeking help by calling upon Allah and asking Him for help. The Qur’an tells us the lesson to be learned from the story of Yoosuf (peace be upon him):
قَالَ رَبِّ السِّجْنُ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِمَّا يَدْعُونَنِي إِلَيْهِ ۖ وَإِلَّا تَصْرِفْ عَنِّي كَيْدَهُنَّ أَصْبُ إِلَيْهِنَّ وَأَكُن مِّنَ الْجَاهِلِين فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ فَصَرَفَ عَنْهُ كَيْدَهُنَّ ۚ إنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“ He said: ‘O my Lord! Prison is dearer to me than that to which they invite me. Unless You turn away their plot from me, I will feel inclined towards them and be one (of those who commit sin and deserve blame or those who do deeds) of the ignorant* So his Lord answered his invocation and turned away from him their plot. Verily, He is the All‑Hearer, the All‑Knower”[Yoosuf 12:33-34.
However, Islam prohibits everything which arouses one sexually -except what occurs between spouses- for fear that a person would do what is unlawful. The Prophet(peace be upon him) forbade sitting with youth [who have no hair growing on their faces] and looking at them intensely, especially if they are attractive. Abu Hurairah said that the Prophet(peace be upon him)said: 'The son of Adam will commit his due share of fornication. The eyes fornicate and their fornication is looking at prohibited things. The ears fornicate and their fornication is listening to prohibited things. The tongue fornicates and its fornication is speaking to women strangers. The hand fornicates and its fornication is to touch unlawful things. The feet fornicate and their fornication is walking to the prohibited. The heart wishes and desires; thereafter, one may actually fornicate or come close to doing it.' (Muslim)
Finally, in conclusion, Islam provides a divine code for protection of the society as well as the individual from acts of sexual deviation. Through its prohibitions, rulings and recommendations, the sacred union of marriage is further protected, and its importance is emphasized as the essential legal unit which leads to healthy families, communities and nations.