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Homosexuality in its wide meaning is usually used to refer to romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. From this definition, it encompasses a lot of issues ranging from mere feeling, behavioural display to real sex. At any level of these behaviours, Islam taken its legal position as to come in this piece. In Islamic terminology, homosexuality is alternatively referred to in different ways. It is sometimes called al-fahsha' (an obscene act), shudhudh jinsi (sexual abnormality), or 'amal qawm Lut (behavior of the People of Lut).




Islam is very explicit in its prohibition of homosexual acts. It is stated categorically in the pages of the Glorious Qur'an, just as it is in the sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, in trying to explain more and shed further light on this matter with humanly comprehendible reasons, Islamic scholars usually cited some reasons for condemning homosexuality. Some of these reasons are:




  • It clashes with the "natural" order in which God created human beings.
  • It brings destruction of the family and the institutions of marriage.
  • It leads people to ignore God's guidance in other areas of life.




These are just human trials to bring closer to man and make clearer to him why this act or behavior is prohibited by Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him). And no matter what the case may be, whether explained in different terms and languages by scholars or not, it does not and can never change the position of the Islamic jurisprudence in this case.




The Qur'an shares stories which are meant to teach people valuable lessons. The Qur'an tells the story of the people of Lut (Lot), which is similar to the story as shared in the Old Testament of the Bible. It is about an entire nation which was destroyed by God due to their obscene sexual behavior. In fact, history has it that they were the very first human beings to practice such activities as a way of life or known openly.




Allah says in the Qur'an: {And (remember) Lut (Lot), when he said to his people: "Do you commit lewdness such as none preceding you has committed among the Jinn and Mankind?" Verily, you practice your lusts on men instead of women. Nay, but you are a people transgressing beyond bounds} [al-A'raf: 80-81]




In another place, Lut advised them { (Is it) Of all the creatures in the world, will you approach males, and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, you are a people transgressing (all limits)!} [Ash-Shu'ara:165-166].




He said: {And (remember) Lut (Lot), when he said to his people: "You commit al-Fahisha (sodomy) which none has preceded you in committing it among mankind and Jinn. Verily, you practice sodomy with men and rob the wayfarer (travelers) and practice al-Munkar (disbelief and polytheism and every kind of evil wicked deed) in your meetings!" But his people gave no answer except that they said: "Bring Allah's Torment upon us if you are one of the truthful."} [al-'Ankabut: 28-29]




Punishment for Homosexual Behavior




Muslims generally believe that homosexuality stems from conditioning or exposure, and that a person who feels homosexual urges should strive to change. It is a challenge and struggle to overcome, just as others face in their own various lives and in different ways. In Islam, there is no legal judgment against people who feel homosexual impulses but do not act upon them. This is the same for any other feeling. In fact, the Prophet (peace be upon him) in one of his ahadith told us that Allah does not hold us responsible for feelings we do not act upon.




In many Muslim countries, acting upon homosexual feelings -- the behavior itself -- is condemned and subject to legal punishment. The specific punishment varies drastically amongst Jurists. It ranges from jail time or flogging, to the death penalty and even variation too in the manner of killing. In Islam, it is only the very grave crimes that attract capital punishments for they normally affect the entire society negatively. Some Jurists view homosexuality in that light and thus, capital punishment is upheld in such environment.




Arrest and punishment for homosexual crimes, however, are not frequently carried out. Islam also places a strong emphasis on an individual's right to privacy. If a "crime" is not carried out in the public sphere, it is largely overlooked as being a matter between the individual and God. Before any punishment is carried out on the homosexual or a culprit of any crime of such magnitude, there are due processes followed. There must be at least four witnesses to bear witness in the court of law. And their witnesses must be on individual encounter, i.e. everyone saw with his eyes and not that they were told. This, if found as prescribed, makes it clear that the act must have been committed, one way or the other, openly or publicly.




It is crystal clear that Islam abhors and prohibits homosexuality. If carried out by anyone in the hidden, it is an act between them and Allah. But if done openly and witnesses available to that, then they are prosecuted and if found guilty are punished accordingly.


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