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Throughout culture and traditions, religion and homosexuality have been known to be incompatible. Numerous religious scholars of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have often rejected the notion of homosexuality. Principles or beliefs within these religions warrant open discrimination and violate basic human rights towards LGBTQ communities. Out of the three faiths, Islam promulgated the belief of serious consequences and punishments for life on earth and life after death. Islamic scholars also believe that “Homosexuality… [is] a ‘perversion’ of nature” (Zeb).
Hundreds of activists and experts continue to fight for the protection and support of LGBTQ rights. Unfortunately, five countries still exercise the death penalty as a retribution for same-sex relationships. Yet laws based on the Sharia Law note Muslim communities are expected to accept and celebrate multifarious gender identities. A thorough analysis of the Qur’an proves incrimination of homosexuals and segregation against the LGBTQ community cannot be advocated bythe Sharia because of the Qur’an’s, the Islamic sacred book which aims at establishing religious guidelines, recognition of non-heterosexual activity and celebration of human diversity.
Beyond lawful marriage, no other forms of sexual activity are permitted by the Islamic community. The religion only regards traditional heterosexual marriages as the single legitimate sexual contact between consenting men and women. Marriage is perceived as “a partnership with each person complementing the other” meaning in the Islamic tradition wives submit to their husbands because they provide for the family, like a child would follow his father’s commands to behave (Carolan).
However, if relationships between spouses fall outside of customs, severe punishments occur if heterosexual adulterous conduct or premarital relations or behaviors take place. The Qur’an states that individuals who are guilty of adultery are subjected up to 100 lashes. Tradition later prescribed this punishment for singles and determined married adulterers be stoned. Up to 80 lashes can be inflicted to false allegations of adultery (“Islam”). Cases document two women charged for adultery resulting in one stoned to death and the other put on trial for the same cause. Sophia University’s professor, Pavel Pavlovitch, dwells into the early stages of stoning in Islamic culture. He uncovers the story of a “pregnant woman from Juhayna said to have voluntarily confessed to adultery before the Prophet Muhammad” (1). He exposes the evolution of the tradition and seeks for the responsible authoritative party. New York award-winning author and editor, Richard Jerome, explores into Nigerian mother Amina Lawal’s death sentence. A beautiful 31-year-old (type word out) Muslim and mother was committed for adultery after giving birth to her daughter (Jerome). After worldwide recognition by women activists, Lawal’s conviction was overturned by the Sharia Court of Appeals and she now lives as a 47-year-old in freedom. Prophet Mohammed would claim that if these women were married, they would have not been lured into temptation and sin. He and other fellow Muslims supported the idea of expedited marriages to prevent such transgressions from occurring. Islam embraces sexual activities among married heterosexual couples, but brutally condemns the adulterous and those involved in extra-marital affairs.
Homosexuality, another unlawful act, subjects gay Muslim men to tribulation. In the aforementioned paragraph, extra-marital sexual relationships are a “grave offense” and are identified as zina (Hidayatullah). Individuals who deviate from Islamic beliefs and traditions of homosexual activity in marriage, face ruthless criticsm and diregard from fellow Muslims. Not only are they impinged to such ostracization, even in 2019, Islamic countries, like Brunei, still allow homosexuality to be punishable by death by stoning (“U.N. Slams Brunei’s Islamic Laws as Violation of Human Rights”). Such practice originated from Islamic scholars and practicing Muslims who understood homosexual practices as a moral and psychological illness. Generally, the Islamic religion only recognizes marriage as a heterosexual relationship intended for procreation purposes. Clearly, this ideology omits homosexuals in a way that prevents two unmarried men to unite as one entity. Documents from Sunni and Shi’a traditions imply that heterosexual zina is equivalent to that of homosexual intercourse and must rejected. Such prohibition roots from the “‘non?productive’ activity, which negates the purpose of sex” all of which tradition declares as filthy and unholy (Moghissi). References to lesbianism are scarcely discussed in Islamic texts. However, only women who wallow in such pleasure are subjected to similar punishment for bestiality and necrophilia. In which all three circumstances may lead to no legal punishment including the death penalty. Nonetheless, the focus on normalizing or legitimizing heterosexual marriages still fails to suppress the Qur’an’s optimistic view of celebrating sexual diversity as well as acknowledging homosexuality as a legitimate practice in Islam.
Muslims believe that the Qur’an was dictated to the Prophet Mohammed to proclaim Islamic preaching and practices. According to this belief, while other religious scriptures journeyed through human interference, the Qur’an retained free of human intervention therefore establishing its holiness and great divinity without question. Even though the Qur’an serves a guide for Islamic principles and morals, it is not a legal document, therefore should not be considered the law. Surprisingly, the Qur’an barely mentions rigid legal content and occasionally questions the proper direction to take legal action like if cases remain private or be revealed to the public in multiple gaps of versus. Furthermore, the Qur’an itself refrains from using words corresponding to “homosexuality” or “homosexuals.” There are no terms that directly refer to same-sex couples, however there are select words that insinuate homosexual practices. Nonetheless, the sacred book does not approve of death or any fashion of punishment for consensual homosexual activity.
The criminal offense and death by stoning due to homosexual activity begun by the Prophet Lot. Lot was a prophet of God and a guardian of two wealthy ancient cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, and first gained recognition in the first book of the Bible. These two cities planted seeds of corruption and sin such as homosexual prostitution but convientely provided a location for travelers to rest. One night, Lot was visited by Sodomites who were on a search for men they had previously met. The prophet wanted to protect his guests and offered the men his two virgin daughters in exchange. The men were enraged and broke down the door after which the messengers of God blinded them. The Sodomites were shattered by God leaving Lot and his family, excluding his wife, behind. She was one of the people who turned around and consequently turned into a pillar of salt, despite Allah’s command. In the Bible, Leviticus reveals that homosexuality is a heinous act, even though it is not specifically mentioned in the Old or New Testament. However, Lot’s parable in the Bible does not necessarily pertain to the interdiction of homosexuality, rather it alludes to those who plunge into strong libido. On the other hand, the primary focus of the Qur’an was to illustrate the violent rape and victimization of men. The Sodomite men ridiculed Lot and defied God’s authority. These men are acknowledged as those who opposed God’s word through idolatry, supremacy, immorality, and greed. Despite having wives, the men persisted to rape and abuse Lot’s guests (Hurvitz and Karesh). Their deplorable actions and intentions symbolized their desires for worldly gains. Although the Sodomites participated in homosexual activity, it is unjust to compare modern consensual non-heterosexual activities to the parable. Naturally, judges who favored the death penalty for homosexual acts expressed that Prophet Lot was sent by Allah to abolish all male anal penetration or liwat. The term liwat was coined referring to the behavior of the Sodomon men, in spite of never being in the Qur’an but a term used in the Sharia (Omar 222). The parable of Lot initiated the brutal punishments for those within the LGBT community.
The Qur’an treasures human diversity. In countless instances, diversity is depicted in the Qur’an as an indication and proof of God’s authority and power. The scripture points out the differences between varying ethnic groups, tribes, racial and linguistic characteristics. Therefore questioning or challenging the wonders of Earth amounts to doubting the presence of Allah, which contradicts the Qur’an’s teaching of faith. The sacred book makes a bold statement about embracing human diversity which includes differing sexual orientation preferences supported by the S?ra An-N?r verse 84 , “And say to the female believers to cast down their beholdings, and preserve their private parts, and not display their adornment except such as is outward, and let them fix [literally: strike] closely their veils over their bosoms, and not display their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or what their right hands possess, or [male] followers, men without desire [literally: without being endowed with ‘sexual’ desire] or young children who have not yet attained knowledge of women’s privacies, and they should not strike their legs [i.e., stamp their feet] so that whatever adornment they hide may be known. And repent to Allah altogether, (O) you believers, that possibly you would prosper” (“Analysis of the Reflection of Tajalli Verse in the Persian Mystical Texts to the End of the Seventh Century” ). Furthermore, the Sharia Law actively encourages diverse peoples and recognizes the rights of homosexuals. In a society where labels and rules are enforced, it is possible that even some instances are not clearly addressed. For example in the S?ra An-N?r, it asks women to lower their gaze as a sign of modesty and be instructed on what apparel can be shown for men who desire which proves that there are men who have no longing for women. By definition, these men include homosexuals, men who no sexual drive, and barren men. Hence, acknowledging that men with different sexualities should be recognized and valued in the Islamic community. The Qur’an and sections of Sharia advocate human diversity, specifically towards men with non-heterosexual attributes.
Homosexaulity receives the most notorious condemnation by Muslims against the three powerful monotheistic religions. It is deemed as crime and punishable by death in many Middle Eastern countries. A possible reason as to why this population is marginalized is due to the stigma surrounding the nature of homosexuality. In Arabic, “homosexual” can be translated to “the people of Lot,” which signficantly suggests the act of violating societal customs beginning the anti-homosexual interpretations of Quranic texts. Additionally, citizens of Middle Eastern nations associate non-heterosexuals behaviors as a “problem” created by Westerns (Zeb). Thereby certifying that there is a difference between Eastern and Western beliefs and cultures. Giving Easterners a sense of superiority for rejecting such Western influences. However, there seems to be no evidence that the Qur’an advocates for such motives and actions such as death by stoning. Also, the sacred text omits using the exact terms “homosexuals” or “homosexuality” but alludes to such circumstances. According to the Islamic faith, it is wrong to add or eliminate teachings from the Word of God. Whatever the motive to heighten the war on sexuality, Islamic nations must analyze and understand the importance of human and sexual diversity as written in the Qur’an. The fight for gay rights in the Middle East will be a long and ardours battle, but through the practice of love and awarness of human rights will is when we will achieve peace.
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