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In the Name of God بسم الله

Jonathan Brown On 'gay Marriage'

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Jonathan Brown gives a good summary of the traditional Islamic perspective on marriage, and why 'gay marriage' would not be possible in Islam. Predictably, the deviants and liberals who call themselves Muslims couldn't resist responding with their usual unscholarly nonsense in the comments.

I’ll be conservative: There is a lot of misinformation about Islam in the media. A religion of some 1.5 billion people around the world, people who wake up every morning to the same hopes and anxieties as Americans, is boiled down to images of barbarity.

I sometimes tell my students that Islam is Judaism Redux — bigger cast, bigger budget. Like Judaism, questions of right and wrong are conceived of more in the idiom of law than in a more abstract sense of principles. Like Judaism, Islamic law (Shariah) has been developed by a clerical class that has always been more scholars than priests. Like Judaism, these Muslim scholars (ulama) have derived the Shariah from a core written revelation, the Quran (analogous to the Torah of Moses), read through the prism of an originally oral scripture, the Prophet Muhammad’s precedent (analogous to the oral Torah inherited by the rabbis), a process added to and influenced by the ulama’s own methods of reasoning, interpretation and their cultural assumptions.

Also like Judaism, the Shariah is first and foremost concerned with questions of proper worship, ritual purity, prohibited or permitted foods, sacred times and sacred places. Only then does it expand to encompass areas like contracts, property, marriage, inheritance, civil and criminal law.

When looking at the issue of gay marriage, two main features of the Shariah are most pertinent. First, the Shariah is law. It is concerned primarily with actions as opposed to emotions or wishes. Second, marriage in the Shariah is not a sacrament. Stripped of all the cultural accretions Muslims have added on, and minus the obviously crucial elements of love and companionship, marriage is nothing more than — literally — a contract between a man and a woman in which the man provides the woman with financial support in return for exclusive sexual access. It’s a contract that makes sex and reproduction legal in the eyes of God and legitimate in the eyes of society. Since marriage is a contract premised on vaginal intercourse and financial obligation between a man and a woman, same-sex couples could not engage in one. They could construct an arrangement for inheritance and shared property that mimicked marriage, but it would not be marriage.

The focus on actions in the Shariah means that desires or inclinations have no legal substance. The Shariah doesn’t have a position on homosexual desire. Indeed, it can be quite normal. Like ancient Athenians, classical Muslim scholars and litterateurs regularly marveled over the beauty of young boys. Heirs to the Greeks, Muslim scholars found it expectable that men would be attracted to young boys or beautiful males, since they manifested the same feminine beauty as women. Many Muslim scholars even prohibited men from gazing at beautiful young boys, and encouraged parents to dress such children in veils when in public.

But the Shariah does have a clear position on sexual acts. All sexual contact between unmarried men and women is forbidden. Sexual contact less than vaginal intercourse is punishable by the judge’s discretion. Based on the Quran, vaginal intercourse between an unmarried couple is punishable with 100 lashes.

The Quran deals explicitly with Sodomy (Liwat, named after Lot and his people). The holy book recounts the story of Sodom several times, condemning its people’s overall immorality, and specifically criticizing its men for “going to men out of desire instead of to women.” Sodomy, understood as anal sex, was thus prohibited by the consensus of Muslim scholars (Muhammad’s condemnation of anal sex with wives added hetero anal sex to this as well). Muslim scholars set the punishment for anal sex between men as anywhere from a relatively light one at the judge’s discretion (since Sodomy could not result in illegitimate children), to the same punishment as fornication (based on analogy to hetero-sex), to execution (based on a command from Muhammad of disputed authenticity).

Because sexual contact between women does not involve penetration with a penis, it never received the same legal categorization as Liwat. Called Sihaq (‘grinding’), it was prohibited under the general rule against sexual contact outside marriage.

The issue of gay marriage in America is a tough one for Muslims. On one hand, it’s nigh impossible to construct an argument by which sexual contact between men, let alone anal sex, is considered permissible in God’s eyes. On the other hand, attempts to ban the Shariah in the U.S. threaten Muslims’ ability to have their own marriage contracts. Like gays, they want to be able to define marriage free from majoritarian cultural biases. So many Muslims are willing to support the rights of other Americans to shape marriage according to their particular beliefs. Muslims expect their beliefs and relationships to be respected in return.

http://variety.com/2015/voices/opinion/islam-gay-marriage-beliefs-muslim-religion-1201531047/

I commend him for his honesty, although you have to wonder how much longer it will be possible to write such an article, and still be accepted in polite society.

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Salam

 

Are we sure the desire of it is not prohibited in Islam? I understand a child with such feelings not to be condemned, but is rational really that God would put this love and make it legitimate, but not allow any action upon it and fulfillment on it.

 

I think Magic/sorcery takes roots on people from early as children. I remember children showing hate towards God in middle school and all sorts of evil inspire, and Quran emphasizes that Allah rewards wisdom when good doers mature, showing goodness is a trial even as children, even if we are forgiven all our evils as children.

 

Perhaps Allah wants people to resist and change through battle with respect to the unseen. We don't know the whole story of Lut, we are only told certain bits. An important thing in Islam perhaps is recalling the unseen. Perhaps Lut reminded his people of the unseen, the dark enemies, and what they can do to souls through their waswas and spiritual powers, and how Satan can touch souls with uncleanness.

 

Perhaps Lut was sent with not only a message, but divine code on how to spiritual destroy the desire. It couldn't be expected that Lut simply wanted people to ignore their desires but continue desiring it?

 

And what exactly happened to the people of Lut that so much of the population were gay? 

 

I'm not sure if desire is allowed or not, to be kept forever.  With divine help, perhaps it can be done away with.

 

I'm not sure. 

Edited by StrugglingForTheLight
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Salam

 

Are we sure the desire of it is not prohibited in Islam? I understand a child with such feelings not to be condemned, but is rational really that God would put this love and make it legitimate, but not allow any action upon it and fulfillment on it.

 

I think Magic/sorcery takes roots on people from early as children. I remember children showing hate towards God in middle school and all sorts of evil inspire, and Quran emphasizes that Allah rewards wisdom when good doers mature, showing goodness is a trial even as children, even if we are forgiven all our evils as children.

 

Perhaps Allah wants people to resist and change through battle with respect to the unseen. We don't know the whole story of Lut, we are only told certain bits. An important thing in Islam perhaps is recalling the unseen. Perhaps Lut reminded his people of the unseen, the dark enemies, and what they can do to souls through their waswas and spiritual powers, and how Satan can touch souls with uncleanness.

 

Perhaps Lut was sent with not only a message, but divine code on how to spiritual destroy the desire. It couldn't be expected that Lut simply wanted people to ignore their desires but continue desiring it?

 

And what exactly happened to the people of Lut that so much of the population were gay? 

 

I'm not sure if desire is allowed or not, to be kept forever.  With divine help, perhaps it can be done away with.

 

I'm not sure.

I think the point is simply that you aren't punished for desires (in this world or the next), as long as they aren't acted on. Obviously it's not healthy to fixate on these desires, as sooner or later they may lead to sin, but it's a separate issue.

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On the other hand, attempts to ban the Shariah in the U.S. threaten Muslims’ ability to have their own marriage contracts. Like gays, they want to be able to define marriage free from majoritarian cultural biases. So many Muslims are willing to support the rights of other Americans to shape marriage according to their particular beliefs. Muslims expect their beliefs and relationships to be respected in return.

 

These so called academics spin their disinformation rhetoric by quoting from islamic sources to give you the illusion they know Islamic marriages to get your consensus. Then he continues to reinforce a false perception that the muslims in the west have marriage contracts based on Islamic law. This is far from the truth as any "islamic" marriage registered to the STATE is not valid and un-islamic. ( I have explained the reasons many times in my previous posts). Our respected leaders and such academics lead the whole muslim community down the path of ignorance with such double talk and rhetoric and not one of them have explained the real obligations of STATE marriage contracts and it's legal implications to those involved including future children. As for the gay people, it's nothing to do with morality or what is right or wrong, marriage is a tool of the STATE to harvest people even further, it is business as usual and the private companies posing as governments are only looking to tap into a growing market to harvest the gay population and increase the bottom line.

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What I meant is that perhaps the very attraction to same sex can be done away with, if we seek help from God and are aided by obedient spirits.

 

Perhaps Lut had a program to awaken people to spiritual powers to annul the uncleanness that was afflicted on them from Satan and his forces and root out the very desire.

 

I am not certain - but perhaps - staying in the state of being attracted to the same sex is forbidden in Islam. 

 

 

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What I meant is that perhaps the very attraction to same sex can be done away with, if we seek help from God and are aided by obedient spirits.

 

Perhaps Lut had a program to awaken people to spiritual powers to annul the uncleanness that was afflicted on them from Satan and his forces and root out the very desire.

 

I am not certain - but perhaps - staying in the state of being attracted to the same sex is forbidden in Islam. 

 

 
عِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِنَا عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ عَنْ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنْ سَمَاعَةَ بْنِ مِهْرَانَ عَنْ أَبِي بَصِيرٍ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ لَيَهُمُّ بِالْحَسَنَةِ وَ لَا يَعْمَلُ بِهَا فَتُكْتَبُ لَهُ حَسَنَةٌ وَ إِنْ هُوَ عَمِلَهَا كُتِبَتْ لَهُ عَشْرُ حَسَنَاتٍ وَ إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ لَيَهُمُّ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ أَنْ يَعْمَلَهَا فَلَا يَعْمَلُهَا فَلَا تُكْتَبُ عَلَيْهِ

From Abī Baṣīr from Abī `Abd Allāh (عليه السلام) said: “Verily, the mu’min (believer) intends to do a good (deed), but he does not act by it, then a good (deed) will be written for him. And if he acts upon it, ten good (deeds) will be written for him. If a mu’min intends to do a bad (deed) and act upon it, but if he does not act upon it, there will be nothing written against him”

Source:
1.     Al-Kulaynī, Al-Kāfī, ed. `Alī Akbar al-Ghaffārī, 8 vols., (Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah, 3rd Edition, 1388 AH), vol. 2, pg. 428-429, hadeeth # 2
Grading:
1.     Al-Majlisī said this hadeeth is Muwaththaq (Reliable) 

à Mir’āt Al-`Uqūl, 26 vols., (Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah, 1410 AH), vol. 11, pg. 292

 

http://www.revivingalislam.com/2012/01/mercy-of-Allah-part-3.html

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There is no known way to get rid of the desires, only of the sexual behaviour by repressing the homosexual tendency. Thus you may find many men who exclusively have SSA but are still married to a woman. Don't ask me how it actually works, as I myself don't understand how someone may get excited with a woman.

But factually, the desire is always kept, regardless of being married to a woman.

Islamically it is very complex. It is very hard to approach Islam genuinely or hold any type of self acceptance or pride while having these feelings. And the community don't help either, actually just make it worse.

To consider having SSA haraam would be the last and definitive reason for any gay to stay far away from Islam, to be honest. It is already enough how it is looked down upon in the so called muslim community.

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A response was written by one of these people that spends their lives looking for ways of making Islam more 'LGBT' friendly. May Allah protect us from such people.

 

 


In the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Muslim academic Jonathan Brown argued that Muslims would respect same-sex unions if sharia-based marriages were respected in return.
 
He rejects the case for Muslim same-sex unions for reasons that include the classical definition of marriage, texts on Lot's people and the allied prohibition of anal sex.
 
He uses the static definition of marriage in the sharia as a legal contract, in which the male provides financial support for exclusive access to vaginal intercourse.
 
However, Muslim legal contracts are subject to change as is true with matters related to muamalaat (social transactions). Indeed, not many Muslims are willing to define mahr (dower price) as thamam al bud (vulva price) or restrict the movements of their wives, as was allowed in such legal contracts.
 
Brown argues that "inclinations" have no legal import in the sharia. However, the emphasis on inner constitution over external genitalia allowed past jurists to sanction marriages of the khuntha mushkil (intersex persons) to cissgender persons. This framework of khuntha nafsiyya (psychological intersexuality) is not limited to correction of gender and is broad enough to include the LGBT.
 
Brown argues that the Qur'an expressly deals with sodomy through the verses on Lot's people. He references the phrase "approaching men with desire instead of women" and invokes consensus on the prohibition of anal sex.
 
However, in contrast to an atomistic view of the verses, a holistic, linguistic and contextual analysis presents a completely different viewpoint. Verse 29:29 mentions highway robbery and verse 15:70 alludes to inhospitality.
 
Superimposing these verses onto the LGBT leads to unreasonable comparisons with Lot's people. How many same-sex couples are observed to forbid their neighbours from entertaining travelers or ambush their homes to access their guests?
 
Classical jurists were clear that the active partner approached the receptive partner out of a superfluous desire that would have been satisfied with females. They viewed the receptive partners as suffering from ubnah, a disease of the anus. While such opinions eventually became normative, they emerged from sources extraneous to Islamic texts, from Hellenistic medical models.
 
It is in this context, jurists read the phrase "approaching men with desire instead of women" to opine that men should not approach other men, who in general are not receptive to such advances, instead of women partial to such overtures.
 
However, the language of the text on general categories allows for exceptions such as the khuntha mushkil and the LGBT. Ignoring such exceptions, leads to the unreasonable conclusion that gay men should pursue women. Thus, making these verses about the LGBT and about the anachronistic issue of same-sex unions seems like an irrelevant exercise in hermeneutical gymnastics.
 
Given the obsession with anal sex, it is forgotten that these verses were meant to comfort the Prophet in Mecca. Exegetical literature mentions that like Lot, he did not have surviving male offspring and his daughters were married to disbelievers. Like Lot's people, the Meccans prohibited the Prophet from outsiders lest he forged alliances. Eventually, just as Sodom was turned upside down, so too was the Meccan social order where the oppressors slid down the social scale and the poor Muslims rose in prominence.
 
There exists no ijma (consensus) on anal sex, as scholars opined that there exists no textual proof for or against the act. This allowed minority Maliki and Shii jurists to hold permissive views on anal sex. Some jurists even used the phrase malakat aymanukum (ownership of the right hand) to include male slaves.
 
Given textual weakness, some scholars resort to extra-textual reasoning to prohibit the act. Such reasoning includes noxiousness and harm to the wife, as it is assumed that pleasure accrues only to the husband.
 
However, morality is not based on our capacity for disgust and pleasure due to the prostate gland renders the harm argument void. Finally, even if anal sex is deemed prohibited, the case for same-sex unions does not hinge on a single sexual act.
 
Brown conflates LGBT concerns with pederasty by stating the prohibition on gazing male youth. He also mentions the range of classical punishments for sodomy. However, several jurists have argued for the decriminalization of homosexuality for reasons that include the weakness of texts, flawed analogy with zina (fornication) and the opinion that secular harms of some sins are inconsequential.
 
In short, the tradition focused on anal sex in the context of pederasty, disease and superfluous desire and on legal contracts based on subordination. However, the extra-textual medical model has shifted from ubnah to that of sexual orientation. Likewise, legal contracts are based on life partners instead of subordinates.
 
Same-sex relationships do not seem to fall under the category of qubh (evil), which is defined through injustice, oppression and falsehood. Thus, if the benefits of marriage that include intimacy, companionship and mawadda (affection) can be realized for sterile couples, khuntha mushkil and elderly women, then there does not seem a reasonable justification to prevent LGBT Muslims from accessing the same.
 
According to Behnam Sadeghi, legal inertia in Islamic jurisprudence is not necessarily broken through textual reasoning, as long as jurists believe that the law is tolerable. However, change comes about even at the expense of the literal text by various juristic devices through changes in societal conditions and attitudes.
 
For change to happen, straight Muslim allies will have to come out of the closet for their LGBT family and friends. They will have to shun false marriages of their straight children to closeted LGBT Muslims. They will also have to reject the prescription of permanent celibacy, which is foreign to the tradition except for a temporary duration.
 
We have to treat people as human beings, instead of making saints or sinners out of them. We cannot be paralyzed by Muslim leaders, who uphold static constructs and reduce human beings to mere hawwa (urges).
 

The first principles of raf al harj (removal of harm), adl (justice) and ird (human dignity) compel us to support Muslim same-sex unions.

 

 

Dr. Brown responded with:

 


I wanted to address specific points in Junaid’s article responding to my original article in Variety. Many of his points about the need to find ways to deal with same sex relationships are valid and deserve reflection. I would only contest what I think are his highly tenuous or inaccurate arguments regarding the Islamic legal tradition.
 
First, yes, marriage in Islam is a contract. But, unlike other contracts, the default assumption is not permissibility. Rather, in issues of sex the assumption is that a type of sexual relationship is prohibited unless some evidence exists from Islam’s scriptures that it’s permitted. There is no evidence that a marriage contract between two people of the same gender was ever allowed.
 
This brings us to your point about the marriages of khuntha mushkils, which you define as intersex persons. Muslim scholars have never acknowledged someone who is both male and female at once. A khuntha mushkil is someone whose true sex simply cannot be known by any natural indicator. Their marriage to another person would be valid, but the moment that khuntha’s gender became known the marriage would automatically become invalid if the spouse were the same sex. Furthermore, a person who is biologically male but had the sexual desire for or engaged in sex with another male would already have demonstrated far too much biological evidence (desire, functioning sexual organ, etc.) of their gender for them to be classified as khuntha mushkil. If someone identifies as one gender, having desire for that same gender doesn’t make that person a psychological khuntha mushkil. From the Islamic legal perspective, the only constructive way to accommodate such a situation within the confines of the law would be to conclude that they needed sex reassignment, as explained in Ayatollah Khomeini’s famous ruling allowing sex changes in Iran.
 
On the issue of some Muslim scholars allowing hetero anal sex, I think you misrepresented the evidence here. The vast heritage of Islamic legal thought often features aberrant or anomalous rulings. Sometimes these are created by mistakes in transmission or misquoting. This is the case with the Maliki school of law, where the founder supposedly allowed men to have anal sex with their wives. But the founder recanted this position when the evidence for it proved unreliable (see Khalili, Kitab al-Irshad, 23; Waki’, Akhbar al-Qudat, 516). In the case of Shiite law, going back to the 13th century and until today, the positions of Shiite jurists on hetero anal sex range from prohibition, to permissible but extremely disliked, to permissible but extremely disliked but only if the wife agrees. This is hardly an endorsement, and, in any case, Shiite jurists do not extend any of this permissibility to homosexual situations.
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There is no known way to get rid of the desires, only of the sexual behaviour by repressing the homosexual tendency

What happened to Lut's people that the vast majority were inclining to it? Can that be natural? Almost a whole population becomes inclined to homosexual acts? 

 

Surely this was an uncleanness they were afflicted with. Prophet Lut and his family, with except of his wife, were people who sought to purify society. Surely ignoring sexual impulses was not the simple aim of Prophet Lut but to restore them into pure heterosexual desire as indicated when he offered his daughters "this is more pure for you". 

 

Obviously this was not simply an issue of unlawful sex, but an issue, of what is purer as a human. 

 

Naturally, the act is an expression of the inward state. The inward state of the heart is what is unclean, otherwise the outward act itself would have no uncleanness, where it not that this desire was unclean.

 

This seems to be the logical stance if we are to interpret the act as unclean. It makes no sense for the desire to be clean, and the acting on to be unclean. What is logical is both are from unclean forces.

 

Also majority of humanity is blind towards the malakut. The Quran however says "will they not look towards the malakut".

 

Perhaps this is similar,  this desire afflicted from unclean forces and rooted in the hearts by unclean means, can be rooted out.

 

It makes no sense that a whole population simply was genetically inclined to homosexuals. This was obviously something that happened from the unseen forces of Iblis.

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