Muslim Matters: His take on the issue and the many comments it has generated.
I disagree with the advice to get married and that the proliferation of sexually charged images is a reason behind the supposed increase in the number of lesbians and gays. The get married solution could work if I could marry a partner of my choosing, most likely a woman, in more than just a few jurisdictions. I and many others I know knew that we were different and liked those of the same sex in childhood when the hottest images we saw were is Disney movies and cartoons.
My own comments:
I’m a Muslim woman that struggles with same sex attractions and in my experience, you cannot talk about these issues safely with anyone in the Muslim community other than those with the same tendencies. This is a double-edged sword, the ability to talk openly and honestly with someone who understands and the social support is invaluable but there is also the added risk of mutual attraction.
For some marriage is a realistic option, for others it is not. Celibacy is an option, but a difficult one. Others give in to their desires.
One thing, I would like to mention is that much of information available about homosexuality from Muslim sources, denigrates and/or alienates Muslims with same sex attractions from their faith. It is this attitude and stigma, which prevents many from coming forward to seek out help and may lead them to turn to non-Muslim sources or to leave their faith completely.
Beside expressions of sympathy, one real way to help those of us dealing with this issue is to stand up to such hateful and harmful talk about people with such attractions, your brothers and sisters. Shaykh Yasir is to be commended for speaking about the issue with such sensitivity in his article, yet I personally have heard him make stridently anti-gay remarks in class and it is precisely these remarks and attitudes, which cause immeasurable harm to our Muslim brothers and sisters and may alienate them from their faith. Don’t think of us as the other, we are right here, reading Muslim Matters, attending AlMaghrib seminars, memorizing Quran, learning Arabic, fasting, trying to improve ourselves and learn our deen, praying next to you, etc.
Separating out the Islamic viewpoint from our own personal biases is important and choosing our words carefully to avoid inadvertently harming other Muslims is also important. More than expressing sympathy for people with same sex attractions, stand up to the hate speech and bigotry and vitriol from the minbars and from friends and families against Muslims that struggle with their sexuality.
To his credit Yasir Qadhi responded:
You’re absolutely right, I have at times allowed such feelings to show in crude jokes. Jazak Allah for pointing this out and I will try my best to ensure this does not happen again. Also, please take it as your duty to correct such attitudes (via private comments) and, at least from my side, it will be taken very positively.
And later in response to some other comments I wrote the following:
the commentator clearly seems to be upset because you had made anti-gay remarks (in other words, pro-Islam remarks). No where did he/she say that he/she was upset because you ridiculed people who were struggling to rid themselves of homosexuals thoughts.
I intended to avoid this discussion since the atmosphere seems to have become hostile, which is generally why I have found such discussions are to be avoided with many Muslims particularly those whose minds are unable to grasp the reality of the situation at hand, namely, that there are Muslims who struggle with this trial, who see it as a trial, who struggle mostly alone for the sake of Allah to hold onto their faith and fight against the inclinations of their nafs in a community unable or unwillingly to assist them with anything other than condemnations and crude jokes.
But since my comments were referenced I thought I would offer a clarification. I do not have any problem with someone giving the Islamic viewpoint on such matters with proofs from the Quran and Sunnah but I do take exception to comments which demean and insult and only serve to harm those we believe that we can safely demonize are “the other”.
The inability to speak about this struggle with other Muslims or receive any support for this struggle has an isolating effect on the individual. Struggling with this issue as a Muslim is difficult, struggling alone is also difficult, understanding that this struggle falls outside of Islamic normative values and having this struggle belittled, demeaned, and made fun of not only by your peers, your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters but also those in positions of authority or people of knowledge that you learn from and respect also has an isolating effect, can lead to feelings of alienation from one’s faith, and makes a difficult situation unnecessarily even more difficult.
Perhaps, you can understand that? Or maybe not.