Homosexuality in Early Islam

We discuss how the act and even lifestyle get punished.

Clarity about what the West is facing is paramount.

This is Part 15 in the sharia series.

This series on Islamic sharia law is written for educators, legislators, city council members, judges, lawyers, journalists, think tank fellows, government bureaucrats, TV and radio talk show hosts, and anyone else who occupies the “check points” in society. They initiate the national dialogue and shape the flow of the conversation. They are the decision and policy makers.

They have heard the critics of sharia and conclude the critics are exaggerating (and maybe sometimes they do). The critics are probably just “Islamophobes.” Islam is a world religion and deserves respect, after all.

Yet the elites also have heard about sharia rulings that cause them to question whether the critics are all wrong, all the time. However, the elites squelch their doubts and tell themselves that Islam is being hijacked by extremists.

An example of such a report that elites may have heard says gays might be executed in the Gaza strip:

Yesterday, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s ambassador to the U.S. wouldn’t say whether homosexuals would be tolerated in a Palestinian state. At the Jerusalem Post, Benjamin Weinthal points out that the death penalty is the price for being gay in the Gaza strip:

The Hamas-controlled Gaza strip has declared homosexuality punishable by death. Hamas cofounder Mahmoud Zahar has said, “You in the West do not live like human beings. You do not even live like animals. You accept homosexuality. And now you criticize us?”

In an April broadcast on Hamas’s Al-Aksa TV, which was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Syrian academic Muhammad Rateb al- Nabulsi said, “Homosexuality involves a filthy place, and does not generate offspring. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of the homosexual. That is why, brothers, homosexuality carries the death penalty.”[1]

What does original Islam say? Can modern Islam cease executing homosexual?

THE QURAN

This section analyzes two Quranic passages. Surprisingly, however, the Quran is unclear on homosexuality is to be punished down here on earth, but not its immorality.

Quran 7:80-84

While living in Mecca before his Hijrah in AD 622, Muhammad does not seem to have decreed an official punishment for homosexuals. However, he frequently told stories about Lot, who lived in Sodom. This passage in Quran 7, representing others in Meccan chapters, was revealed late in Mecca, but scholars are rarely confident about the precise date of Meccan chapters in the Quran.

In any case, this general assessment of Muhammad’s time in Mecca is beyond dispute: he was undergoing strong persecution at the hands of the Meccans, so he was warning them of divine judgments in the past. If Allah wreaked death and destruction on his enemies after he sent messengers to warn them in days of old, then he may judge the Meccans for opposing the best and final prophet – Muhammad.

Quran 7:80-81 and 84 read:

80 We [Allah] sent Lot and he said to his people, ‘How can you practice this outrage? No other people has done so before. 81You lust after men rather than women! You transgress all bounds!’… 84 and We showered upon [the rest of] them a rain [of destruction]. See the fate of the evildoers.[2] (Quran 7:80-81 and 84)

In general terms this passage condemns homosexuality because it “transgress[es] all bounds.”  The punishment for the inhabitants of Sodom was a rainstorm, “We rained upon his people,” which is based on Genesis 18 and 19. Quran 11:82 and 15:74 say dry clay was rained on Sodom. From these Quranic verses and others on Lot and some hadith passages (hadith are the reports of Muhammad’s words and deeds outside of the Quran), legal scholars have come up with punishments for sodomy, which we explore below in the section Classical Law, below.

Other passages describe Lot and the Sodomites, whose main ideas overlap with 7:80-84: Quran 11:77-83; 15:61-77; 26:165-173; 27:54-58; 29:28-30.[3] All of these verses denounce sodomy as a sin and report the destruction of Sodom by the sovereign act of God. The punishments are done by God, not man.

Quran 4:15-16

Quran 4:15-16 has caused much debate over its meaning. We first analyze the historical and literary contexts. Chapter 4, itself titled “Women,” was revealed at different times, but still in the timeframe of AD 625 to 626, in Medina, for Muhammad had already emigrated. He is establishing his Muslim community in the face of opposition and adverse circumstances, though Islam manages to overcome them. Verse 34 fits into the framework of vv. 1-35, which sees the specific establishment of rules for the family.

For instance, in the aftermath of the Battle of Uhud in 625, in which the Muslims lost a lot of men, Muhammad says that orphans should be given their property and not to replace their good things with bad, which means to deal fairly and wisely with their assets (vv. 1-6). Also, he discusses the rules for inheriting property, such as one son having the share equal to two daughters or that a husband should inherent half of his wife’s property, unless they have children, in which case he inherits one-fourth (vv. 11-14).

We now come to the two target verses. M.A.S. Abdel Haleem’s translation reads:

15 If any of your women commit a lewd act, call four witnesses from among you, then, if they testify to their guilt, keep the women at home until death comes to them or until God gives them another way out. 16 If two men commit a lewd act, punish them both; if they repent and mend their ways, leave them alone – God is always ready to accept repentance from those who do evil out of ignorance and soon afterwards repent: these are the ones God will forgive. (Quran 4:15-16)

Does v. 15 refer to male-female sexual sin or to lesbianism? Does v. 16 refer to male-male sex? Commentators are divided. However, Abdel Haleem’s translation of v. 16 says that if two men commit a lewd act, implying homosexuality, they are to be punished. But they can be forgiven if they repent soon afterwards. There is nothing about flogging or stoning them.

This translation by Hilali and Khan, two ultraconservatives and funded by the Saudi royal family, adds parenthetical glosses implied in the Arabic, but not original to it:

15 And those of your women who commit illegal sexual intercourse, take evidence of four witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them (i.e. women) to houses until death comes to them or Allah ordains for them some (other way). 16 And the two persons (man and woman) among you commit illegal sexual intercourse, hurt them both.[4]… (Quran 4:15-16)

As to the women who commit illegal sexual intercourse, this translation of v. 15 reads the same way as Abdel Haleem’s. Are they committing the sin with men or with women? But this translation interprets v. 16 as the act occurring between a man and a woman.

To conclude this section, the Quran does not prescribe a clear way of dealing with homosexuality for human authorities down here on earth. The Quran condemns it in the stories about Lot, which were told during the Meccan period. In the Medinan period, Quran 4:15-16, the only reference that seems to come close to dealing with this sin, is so ambiguous that Muslim scholars cannot reach a consensus on its meaning.

THE HADITH

The hadith are the reports of Muhammad’s words and actions outside of the Quran. Three reliable hadith collectors and editors examined here are Bukhari (d. 870), Abu Dawud (d. 875), and Tirmidhi (d. 892), who was a student of Bukhari. The Quran and the hadith are the foundations for later legal rulings. See the article in the series, titled What Is Sharia? for more information about the hadith.

In the matter of homosexuality, the Quran is unclear, so the hadith has to guide Islam.

It is believed that when Muhammad uttered a curse against someone, it is so significant and powerful that it may carry eternal damnation – or at least it puts its recipient outside of the Muslim community, which hangs hell over his head (see Quran 9:30). Muhammad cursed effeminate men and masculine women in this hadith edited by Bukhari and narrated by Ibn Abbas, Muhammad’s cousin and highly reliable transmitter of hadith:

Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet cursed effeminate men and those women who assume the similitude (manners) of men. He also said said: “Turn them out of your houses.” He turned such and such a person out, and Umar [a principal companion of Muhammad and second caliph] also turned out such and such person.[5]

Thus, effeminate men and masculine women are cursed and driven out of the early Muslim community. These men may not be homosexuals, but may have lost their sex drive or desire for women.

The same rejection happened when Muhammad heard an effeminate man talking about capturing a man’s daughter, who was fat, for an arranged marriage, when the Muslim army was trying or about to try to conquer the city of Ta’if in AD 630. The prophet replied:

Narrated Um Salama: The Prophet came to me while there was an effeminate man sitting with me, and I heard him (i.e. the effeminate man) saying to ‘Abdullah bin Abi Umaiya, “O ‘Abdullah! See if Allah should make you conquer Ta’if [town near Mecca] tomorrow, then take the daughter of Ghailan (in marriage) as (she is so beautiful and fat that) she shows four folds of flesh when facing you, and eight when she turns her back.” The Prophet then said, “These (effeminate men) should never enter upon you (O women!).” Ibn Juraij said, “That effeminate man was called Hit.”[6]

The next two hadith come from the Sunan Abu Dawud, named after its editor and is another reliable collection of hadith. This one says that Muhammad ordered execution for anyone doing what Lot’s people did:

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas: The Prophet… said: If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.[7]

An unmarried man who commits sodomy should be stoned to death:

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas: If a man who is not married is seized committing sodomy, he will be stoned to death.[8]

Thus, those two passages in Sunan Abu Dawud go further than merely rejecting and banishing homosexuals or sexual sinners, as we saw in Bukhari’s collection. Rather, they say that Muhammad and the early Muslim community commanded their execution.

The Mishkhat al-Masabih, a compendium that brings together other hadith collections, records the authentic hadith editor Timidhi saying:

“Ikrima reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas that God’s messenger [Muhammad] said: ‘If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it and the one to whom it is done.’”[9]

In the same hadith compendium are found the punishments of being burned to death and having heavy objects thrown on the guilty homosexuals:

Ibn Abbas and Abu Huraira reported God’s messenger as saying, “Accursed is he who does what Lot’s people did.” In a version… on the authority of Ibn Abbas it says that Ali [Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law] had two people burned and that Abu Bakr [Muhammad’s chief companion and first caliph] had a wall thrown down on them.[10]

To conclude this section, these hadith demonstrate that sexual nonconformists (effeminate men and masculine women) and homosexuals are not only unwelcome in the Islamic community, and that is a religion’s prerogative. But they must also be criminally punished, as religious and civil law mix. The hadith punishments range from rejection and banishment to execution by methods, such as being stoning, burned alive, or thrown off a high point.

CLASSICAL SHARIA LAW

Islamic judges and legal scholars base their legal opinions and rulings on the Quran and the hadith. For more information about sharia law, see the article in the series, titled What Is Sharia?

Shafi’i legal scholar Ahmad Ibn Naqib al-Misri’s (d. 1368) law book, Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, says that the punishment of stoning the homosexual must be imposed, provided that he or she has reached puberty, is sane, and committed the act voluntarily,

The legal penalty is obligatorily imposed upon anyone who fornicates or commits sodomy (A: provided it is legally established)… when they: (a) reached puberty; (b) are sane; (c) and commit the act voluntarily; no matter whether the person is a Muslim, non-Muslim subject of the Islamic state, or someone who has left Islam. If the offender is someone with the capacity to remain chaste, then he or she is stoned to death . . .  someone with the capacity to remain chaste meaning anyone who has had sexual intercourse (A: at least once) with their spouse in a valid marriage, and is free, of age, and sane. A person is not considered to have the capacity to remain chaste if he or she has only had intercourse in a marriage that is invalid, or is prepubescent at the time of marital intercourse, or is someone insane at the time of marital intercourse who subsequently regains their sanity prior to committing adultery. If the offender is not someone with the capacity to remain chaste, then the penalty consists of being scourged… one hundred stripes and banished to a distance of at least 81 km. / 50 mi. for one year.[11]

Misri again writes:

In more than one place in the Holy Koran [Quran], Allah recounts to us the story of Lot’s people, and how He destroyed them for their wicked practice. There is consensus among both Muslims and the followers of all other religions that sodomy is an enormity. It is even viler and uglier than adultery. Allah Most High says: “Do you approach the males of humanity, leaving the wives Allah has created for you? But you are a people who transgress” (Koran 26:165-66). The Prophet … said: (1) “Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him.” (2) “May Allah curse him who does what Lot’s people did.” (3) “Lesbianism by women is adultery between them.”[12]

We saw in the previous article on adultery that the traditions and classical law impose the death penalty by stoning for adultery.

He continues:

… The Prophet … cursed effeminate men and masculine women … The Prophet … cursed men who wear women’s clothing and women who wear men’.[13]

However, later developments in the Shafi school go in different directions on the issue of punishing homosexuals as criminals. A brief law book says that sodomy is equivalent to zina (illicit sex), which according to Quran 24:2, is punishable by one hundred stripes.

A punishment for zina (adultery, fornication or rape) is of two kinds: of mere indulgence, and of other than mere indulgence. In the case of mere indulgence in zina crimes, the punishment is stoning, and in other than mere indulgence in it is one hundred stripes and a year of externment [exile] on a distant journey. In mere indulgence, there are four conditions: majority; intelligence; freedom, and penetration of the penis into the vagina of a woman… without having a right of coition or nikah (without one being able to allege any cause of error). The punishment of a slave or a boy slave is half of that of a free man. The commission of sodomy or bestiality is an act which is equivalent to zina, and the one who committed penetration to a place other than in a woman’s vagina, as in the thighs, should be punished by tazir [discretionary] punishment.[14]

A footnote says that “in sodomy hudd [a prescribed punishment] is imposed according to the author [of the present law book] but the accepted view is for ta’zir [discretionary] punishment.”[15] So the punishment ranges from stoning, possibly down to flogging, according to the judge’s opinion.

In a section called Stoning, in which the crimes that deserve that punishment are laid out, Malik (d. 795), a founder of a major school of law and also a reliable hadith collector and editor, decrees straightforwardly:

“Malik related to me that he asked Ibn Shihab about someone who committed sodomy. Ibn Shihab said, ‘He is to be stoned, whether or not he is muhsan” [legally married].[16]

To sum up this section, the schools of law have variations.[17] A less severe punishment than stoning, such as flogging, is meted out according to the judge’s discretion. But sometimes the punishment is execution by stoning.

It seems, then, that some of these schools have softened the example of their prophet and his companions in the hadith. They ordered death by stoning, being thrown off a high point, or toppling a dilapidated building on the criminals.

CAN MODERN ISLAM BE REFORMED?

For our purposes, a reformist calls for the reform of Islam, while a traditionalist believes Islam, revealed in the Quran and presented in the authentic hadith, is fine the way it and defends it. Usually, religious leaders are selected in this section, but sometimes a Muslim who is in the public eye or a study is included too.

We look at two opinions in this section: one by an ultraconservative, the other by a liberal organization.

Traditional Perspective

Sayyid Qutb was a godfather of modern Islamist movements who was executed in 1966 because he was accused of advocating the overthrow of the Egyptian government.

In a section titled First Step Towards Eradicating Sexual Immorality (wrongly implying that eradication is possible in the first place; see his next section, A Perfectly Moral Society), he agrees that the two women are committing lewd acts with men in Quran 4:15 – that is, he does not say that they are lesbians. However, the two men who commit lewd acts are homosexuals in v. 16.[18]

In the previous article in this series on stoning adulterers and flogging fornicators, recall that Quran 24:2 orders judges to carry out flogging for zina (illicit sex), which jurists say applies to fornicators (adulterers get stoned).” Qutb says that this verse abrogates or cancels Quran 4:15-16.

All this suggests that this [vv. 15-16] is not a final ruling, bur an interim verdict that takes into account certain circumstances in society. A different verdict which would be more permanent was, then, to be expected. This took place when the verdict and the punishment were changed to those outlined in Surah [Chapter] 24 and in the Sunnah [traditions eventually written in the hadith].[19]

Qutb’s reasoning seems to say that if zina gets punished with flogging (24:2), then so should homosexuality, at a minimum.

Next, Qutb explains the punishment imposed on homosexuality and the ultimate purpose of Islam’s severe logic about “sexual crimes.” After quoting vv. 15-16, he writes:

Islam defines here its method, which aims at the cleansing and purification of society. In the first instance, it chooses to isolate those women who commit adultery from the rest of the community, once their guilt is proven. It also chooses to inflict physical punishment on those men who are sexually perverted, without specifying the type of punishment or its nature. At a later stage, Islam chose to mete out the same punishment to such men and women, which is flogging as explained in Surah [Chapter] 24 … stoning to death as explained by the Sunnah [traditions eventually written in the hadith]. The ultimate aim of either punishment is to protect society and to guard its honor and morality.[20]

So the purpose of the harsh punishment of stoning is the “cleansing and purification” of society and “to protect society and to guard its honor and morality.”

This is religious utopianism, pure and simple. The problem is that its advocates search far and wide to pass the “perfect” laws to purify all imperfections. But when people continue in their imperfections, utopians turn up the heat and pass even stronger laws against sinners. They are in fact called criminals and are punished as such.

The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) is a team of religious scholars, most of whom have their doctorates in Islamic law or other Islamic subjects. They are qualified to write fatwas (religious rulings or opinions). The site uses the write-in Question and Answer format.

A reader asks:

What is the ruling of Islam pertaining to homosexuality whether among males or females for those who study Islam and want to be Muslims?

The team of scholars replies:

According the basics of Islam, The legal sexual relationship is to be between a man and his wife; in which all forms of pleasure are permissible for them except for having anal sex, as it is not permissible due to Allah`s saying: {who abstain from sex; except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess, for (in their case) they are free from blame} [Quran 23:1-7]. And Allah has said, {Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah, and know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter)} [Quran 2:223].

That means; it is permissible for one to have sexual intercourse with one`s wife in her vagina in whatever manner he wishes, whether from behind or from the front, as long as it is in the very tube.

We should teach that for whoever wants to embrace Islam to consequently, recognize and be committed to it, in order to be a Muslim.

However, if he/she commits any violation – out of one`s weakness – in the future, they will find that the way to repentance will always be available. Whoever repents sincerely, Allah will accept his/her repentance. And whoever insists on one`s sin, his/her case is referred to Allah the Great and Almighty; as it is up to Him either to punish or forgive them.[21]

Surprisingly, the AMJA scholars express forgiveness after repentance for sexual transgressions, even persistent ones. Equally surprising, the scholars give no warning about Allah’s wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah in the Quran, which indicates his punishment in the afterlife. Maybe these scholars from this one answer should be placed in the moderate section.

However, in Iran, three men were hanged for gay sex.

Three men were executed in Iran on Sunday for having gay sex, according to Iran Human Rights, an organization that monitors state news there.

The group noted in a blog post today that the state-run Iranian news agency, ISNA, reports that three people who were hanged had been convicted of sodomy and other crimes such as robbery. A Sharia judge is allowed to decide how to kill any man who violates the anti-sodomy article of the law.

IHR says the men were identified in the report only by initials: “M.T.”, “T.T.” and M. Ch.”

IHR spokesman Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said these were “rare cases” in which the Iranian government had put someone to death explicitly for homosexual acts. “Iranian authorities normally present such cases as rape,” Amiry-Moghaddam said in a statement.

So far, IHR is the only group reporting these deaths.

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once famously told a reporter during a news conference that, ”In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have it.”[22]

Reformist Perspective

The website Muslims for Progressive Values says its members and supporters advocate gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, transgendered, and queer rights.

LGBTQ Rights: We endorse the human and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) individuals. We support full equality and inclusion of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, in society and in the Muslim community. We affirm our commitment to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.[23]

Though this statement may be tolerant, nowhere do they use the Quran or the traditions (hadith) to justify their position.

Melogy Moezzi is an attorney and activist and the Executive Director of the interfaith non-profit organization, 100 People of Faith. She writes in favor of gay rights.

First, as Muslims, I’m sure you know that it is your religious duty to pursue peace and justice and that there is no sin worse than oppressing another human being. So, no matter your personal theological opinion or your interpretation of the Biblical story of Lot, it is incumbent upon you to resist oppression, and in doing so, to protect those who happen to be most vulnerable to it in any given time or place.

Second, if we, as Muslims, expect our rights to be respected around the world, then we too must respect the rights of other minority groups. This includes the LGBT community. As Muslims, we know what it’s like to live in a world that can be hostile and discriminatory. Therefore, we have an even greater obligation to create the least hostile and discriminatory planet we can.

Let’s face it, there are alarmingly large numbers of people out there who are convinced that Islam is the devil incarnate, that we Muslims are out to conquer and destroy the world, and that Islam is both “wrong” and “immoral.” I know that these people exist because they love sending me emails. That said, I vehemently disagree with all of them, and I thank God that their hatred and bigotry hold no weight in any American court of law. So too, intolerance and homophobia should hold no more legal weight than any of my pen pal’s vicious Islamophobia.

Finally, the LGBT Muslim community, along with their many heterosexual allies such as myself, will not let bigots and homophobes define our religion for us or for the rest of the world.

We have scholars and imams in our ranks, and we refuse to be considered “less Muslim” because of our sexual orientation, gender identity or our choice to acknowledge that such distinctions are in fact God-given.[24]

Can Moezzi get the traditionalists to come to her side?

At the Imaan website that supports LGBTQI, they write one segment in a Question and Answer format:

Q: What does the Qur’an say about Homosexuality: Isn’t it a sin?

A: The Qur’an says little about homosexuality and many claims are made about the content of the Qur’an that do not necessarily stand scrutiny.[25]

So it seems this Imaan post uses the silence of the Quran on homosexuality to its advantage.

To sum up this section on modern Islam, in a few years these excerpts will appear outdated (except Qutb who is still popular). But the point still remains: though the traditionalists outnumber the reformists, there is something of a debate going on in Islam. However, it is difficult to find Muslims who favor gay rights. The reason is clear. Traditionalists have a firmer basis in the original and authoritative Islamic texts. Would traditional Muslims dare leave them behind?

CONCLUSION

Traditional Muslims do not leave old sharia laws back in the past. If they did, then the entire series about it would not be necessary.

The Quran’s silence on earthly, legal punishments of homosexuality as a capital crime is a rare instance when this absence benefits society – or does not harm homosexuals.

Gays, lesbians, and other sexual nonconformists should not be persecuted by the public or prosecuted by the courts. And they should not be imprisoned, flogged or executed. They are not “criminals.”

The problem with religious utopianism that intends to remove all imperfections – even private misbehavior – is that this utopian zeal becomes oppressive of our freedoms. And when our freedom is restricted, our quality of life goes down the drain. Ironically, religious and secular utopians have damaged societies by their thousand and one rules, even though they sincerely believe they are helping society.

Practices and beliefs that do not harm us materially or physically should be tolerated, however much we may dislike them personally and consider them morally sinful.[26]

This article first appeared at Jihad Watch on August 28, 2012, but has been updated here.

Articles in the Series

More Punishments:

[1] John McCormack, “Would Gays Be Punished in Palestinian State?” weeklystandard.com, September 14, 2011.

[2] M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, the Quran, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford UP, 2010). The first word in brackets is mine; the others are his. Unless otherwise noted, all translations of the Quran in this article are from his.

[3] If the readers would like to see all these verses in various translations, they may go to the website quranbrowser.com and type in the references.

[4] Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan, The Noble Quran, Riyadh: Darussalam, 2002. This translation is also available at quranbrowser.com.

[5] Bukhari, Punishments of Disbelievers, 8.82.820 (see Dress, 7.72.774). The bracketed insertion is mine.  8.6834 vol. 7 nos. 5885. The hadith are searchable online at the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, under the aegis of the University of Southern California.

[6] Idem, Military Expeditions, 5.59.613 (cf. Marriage, 5.62.162 and Dress 7.72.775). The parenthetical insertions are the translator’s, my bracketed insertion.  vol. 5, no. 4324; see vol. 7, nos. 5235 and 5887.

[7] Sunan Abu Dawud, Prescribed Punishments, 38.4447.

[8] Ibid. 38.4448.

[9 Mishkat al-Masabih, Prescribed Punishments, trans. James Robson, vol. 2, (Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, reprinted 1999), 763, my insertion in brackets.

[10] Ibid. Prescribed Punishments, vol. 2, p. 765, my insertions in brackets.

[11] Ahmad Ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, rev. ed. trans. Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Beltsville, Maryland: Amana, 1994), 610. The legal scholar labeled “A” is Sheikh Abd al-Wakil Durubi (b. 1914).

[12] Ibid. 664-65.

[13] Ibid. 672. This ruling is in the section titled “Enormity,” meaning “immoderate, monstrous, outrageous … great wickedness … a grave offense against order, right, or decency” (Webster’s Dictionary).

[14] Abu Shujah Ifsahani, A Sunni Shafi Law Code, trans. Anwar Ahmed Qadri (Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1984), 118. The bracketed insertion is mine; the translator’s are in parentheses. Ifsahani d. 500 (1106 A.D.).

[15] Ibid. note 5, my bracketed insertions..

[16] Malik, Al-Muwatta of Imam Malik ibn Anas: The First Formation of Islamic Law, rev. trans. Aisha Bewley, Inverness, Scotland: Madina Press, 1989, 2001), p. 346 (41.1.11). The bracketed insertion is mine. This law book is also available at the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement.

[17] Sayyid A’La Abul Maududi (d. 1979) was an Indo-Pakistani who worked hard at establishing sharia law in Pakistan through his Jamaat-i-Islami political party. He can be considered an ultraconservative traditionalist. He discusses schools of law and reaches the general conclusion that punishment for homosexuality is severe. (The Meaning of the Quran, 4th ed., vol. 2, trans. Ch. Muhammad Akbar, ed. A. A. Kamal, [Lahore, Pakistan: Islamic Publications, 2003], 52, note 68 (commentary on Quran 7:80-84). His translation and commentary are available online at englishtafsir.com.

[18] Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Qur’an, vol. 3, trans. Adil Salahi and Ashur Shamis (Markfield: Islamic Foundation, 2001), 67-72.

[19] Ibid. 69.

[20] Ibid. 68.

[21] AMJA Permanent Fatwa Committee, “The Ruling on Homosexuality,” Question ID or fatwa no. 21822. The insertions in brackets are mine.

[22] Lucas Grindley, “Rights Group Reports 3 Hanged in Iran for Gay Sex,” avocate.com, September 5, 2011.

[23] Muslims for Progressive Values, “Our Principles.”

[24] Melody Moezzi, “Melody Moezzi: A Muslim asks: Why are Islamic States reluctant to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights?” Al-Arabiyah News, english.alarabiya.net, July 11, 2011.

[25] Imaan: LGBTQI Support Group, “Islam and Sexuality” page. They then have a FAQ sheet available, here. Irshad Manji has a list of websites that support gays and lesbians irshadmanji.com.

[26] This series does not contrast Islam and Christianity. But readers may be curious about it. If so, they may click on an earlier version of this article, which has a section (scroll down) on how Biblical Christianity treats the topic of homosexuality.

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