Homosexuality and Islam

Islamic views on homosexuality are as varied as those of most other major religions and have changed throughout history. Traditionally, Qur'anic verses and hadith have been seen as condemning sexual acts between members of the same sex. The Qur'an cites the story of "people of Lot" (also known as the Sodomites) who were destroyed because they engaged in homosexual acts. The legal punishment for sodomy has varied among juristic schools: some prescribe capital punishment; while other prescribe a milder discretionary punishment. Homosexuality is a crime and forbidden in most Islamic countries, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. In some relatively secular or multi-religious Islamic countries, this is not the case, Algeria, Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey being examples. Despite this, homoerotic themes were present in Muslim poetry and other literature which celebrated male love, and were more common than expressions of attraction to women.

Some liberal Muslims, such as the members of the Al-Fatiha Foundation, accept and consider homosexuality as natural, either regarding these verses as obsolete in the context of modern society, or pointing out that the Qu'ran speaks out against homosexual lust, and is silent on homosexual love. Writer Irshad Manji, a lesbian, has expressed the view that homosexuality is permissible within Islam; however, this remains a minority viewpoint. Within Shi'a Islam, thinkers such as Ayatollah Khomeini have argued for the legality of sex-change operations if a man is homosexual, and feels effeminate.

Islamic law

Homosexuality is traditionally deemed forbidden by Islamic law. The Qur'an, the central text of Islam believed by Muslims to be the revelation of God, is explicit in its condemnation of homosexuality. The Qur'an proclaims Islam as the "religion of nature," and sanctifies and encourages sexual intercourse within marriages. Specific verses include:

And Lut, when he said to his tribe: "Do you commit an obscenity not perpetrated before you by anyone in all the worlds? You come with lust to men instead of women. You are indeed a depraved tribe." The only answer of his tribe was to say: "Expel them from your city! They are people who keep themselves pure!" So We rescued him and his family-except for his wife. She was one of those who stayed behind. We rained down a rain upon them. See the final fate of the evildoers! " - Qur'an, 7:80-84

The people of Lout (Lot) (those who dwelt in the towns of Sodom in Jordan) belied the Messengers. When their brother Lout (Lot) said to them: "Will you not fear Allah and obey Him? "Verily! I am a trustworthy Messenger to you. "So fear Allah, keep your duty to Him, and obey me. "No reward do I ask of you for it (my Message of Islamic Monotheism), my reward is only from the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). "Do you go in unto the males of the 'Alamin (mankind), and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your wives? Nay, you are a trespassing people!" They said: "If you cease not. O Lout (Lot)! Verily, you will be one of those who are driven out!" He said: "I am, indeed, of those who disapprove with severe anger and fury your (this evil) action (of sodomy). "My Lord! Save me and my family from what they do." So We saved him and his family, all, Except an old woman (his wife) among those who remained behind. Then afterward We destroyed the others. And We rained on them a rain (of torment). And how evil was the rain of those who had been warned. Verily, in this is indeed a sign, yet most of them are not believers. And verily! Your Lord, He is indeed the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful. "

- Qur'an 26:159-175

The hadith, which are statements ascribed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, also contain numerous statements about homosexuality. According to one report, Muhammad said that "Doomed by God is who does what Lot's people did." Another report reads: "No man should look at the private parts of another man, and no woman should look at the private parts of another woman, and no two men sleep [in bed] under one cover." One narrative, attributed as part of Muhammad's farewell speech, says that "Whoever has intercourse with a woman and penetrates her rectum, or with a man, or with a boy, will appear on the Last Day stinking worse than a corpse; people will find him unbearable until he enters hell fire, and God will cancel all his good deeds." Many scholars of Shari'a, or Islamic law interpret homosexuality as a punishable offence as well as a sin. There is no specific punishment prescribed, however, and this is usually left to the discretion of the local authorities.


The practice of pederasty in the Middle East seems to have begun, according to surviving records, sometime during the 800s and ended, at least as an open practice, in the mid-19th century. Throughout this era, pederastic relationships, poetry, art and spirituality were found throughout cultures from Moorish Spain to Northern India. The forms of this pederasty ranged from the chaste and spiritual adoration of youths at one extreme, to the violent and forcible use of unwilling boys at other. Sodomy was considered a major sin in Islam. The seeming co-relation of pederasty with the rise of Islam has been commented on by modern historians, who see a link between the love of boys and the protective attitude of Islam towards women, leading to their removal from public life, together with the tendency of Sharia law to accommodate within the domain of "private behavior" inevitable activities, as long as they do not interfere with public order. The topos of "ishq" - passion - which could have as object a beautiful beardless boy as easily as a woman, is prominent in literature.

The manifestations of pederastic attraction vary. At one extreme they are indeed of a chaste nature, incorporated into Islamic mysticism (see Sufism) as a meditation known in Arabic as ''Nazar ill'al-murd, "contemplation of the beardless," or Shahed-bazi, "witness play" in Persian. This is seen as an act of worship intended to help one ascend to the absolute beauty that is God through the relative beauty that is a boy. Modern Sufi thought asserts that this contemplation uses imaginal yoga to transmute erotic desire into spiritual consciousness. However, in a tradition from the Arabian nights'', Muhammad was said to have warned his followers against staring at youth because of their beauty: "Do not gaze at beardless youth, for they have eyes more tempting than the huris."

Legal status in modern Islamic nations

Homosexuality is a crime and forbidden in most Islamic countries, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. In some relatively secular or multi-religious Islamic countries, this is not the case, Albania, Indonesia and Turkey being examples. However, the governments of Albania, Indonesia, and Turkey are presidential representative democratic republics and are not Islamic Republics, like in the case of Iran.

Same-sex intercourse officially carries the death penalty in several Muslim nations: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Sudan, and Yemen. Homosexuality and Islam - ReligionFacts It formerly carried the death penalty in Afghanistan under the Taliban. The legal situation in the United Arab Emirates is unclear. In many Muslim nations, such as Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria and the Maldives, homosexuality is punished with jail time, fines, or corporal punishment. In some Muslim-majority nations, such as Turkey, Jordan, Indonesia or Mali, same-sex intercourse is not specifically forbidden by law. In Egypt, openly gay men have been prosecuted under general public morality laws. (See Cairo 52.) On the other hand, homosexuality, while not legal, is tolerated to some extent in Lebanon, which has a significantly large Christian minority, and has been legal in Turkey for decades.

In Saudi Arabia, the maximum punishment for homosexuality is public execution, but the government will use other punishments-e.g., fines, jail time, and whipping-as alternatives, unless it feels that homosexuals are challenging state authority by engaging in LGBT social movements.Is Beheading Really the Punishment for Homosexuality in Saudi Arabia? Iran is perhaps the nation to execute the largest number of its citizens for homosexuality. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, the Iranian government has executed more than 4,000 people charged with homosexual acts. In Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, homosexuality went from a capital crime to one that it punished with fines and prison sentence.

Most international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, condemn laws that make homosexual relations between consenting adults a crime. Since 1994, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has also ruled that such laws violated the right to privacy guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. However, most Muslim nations (except for Turkey, which has been ruled by secular law since 1923 and recently has modernized its laws in order to meet the requirements of entry to the European Union) insist that such laws are necessary to preserve Islamic morality and virtue. Of the nations with a majority of Muslim inhabitants, only Lebanon has an internal effort to legalize homosexuality.Helem

Homosexuality laws in Muslim countries

CountryLaws against homosexualityPenaltySame-sex UnionsLaws against discriminationAdoptionComments
Afghanistan??NoNo?? - Unsure if homosexuality is a crime or not since the country is undergoing a period of relative chaos due to the continuing battles between NATO forces and the resurgent Taliban, but the death penalty (imposed under the Taliban) is no longer enforced. The Penal Code from 1976 in force, stipulates long imprisonment for adultery and pederasty. and LGBT rights in Afghanistan.
AlbaniaNo--NoNoSee LGBT rights in Albania.
AlgeriaYesFine - 3 years-NoNoSee LGBT rights in Algeria.
AzerbaijanNo--NoNoSee LGBT rights in Azerbaijan.
BahrainMale onlyFine - 10 years-NoNoSee LGBT rights in Bahrain.
BangladeshYes10 years - Life-NoNo- LGBT rights in Bangladesh.
Bosnia-HerzegovinaNo--YesNoAD in Gender Equality Act since 2003. See LGBT rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina
BruneiYesFine - 10 years-NoNo-
Burkina FasoNo--NoNoSee LGBT rights in Burkina Faso.
ChadNo--NoNoSee LGBT rights in Chad.
ComorosNo--NoNoSee LGBT rights in Comoros.
Côte d'IvoireNo--NoNo-
DjiboutiYes10 - 12 years-NoNoSee LGBT rights in Djibouti.
EgyptNo*-NoNoNo and LGBT rights in Egypt.
EritreaYes3 - 10 years-NoNo-
GuineaYes6 months - 3 years-NoNo-
Guinea BissauYesLabour camps-NoNoPage 17 of
IndonesiaNo*--NoNo*In 2002, the Aceh province was given the right to instate Islamic sharia by laws by the national parliament. Such law only applies to Muslims, and for example the city of Palembang in Southern Sumatra has introduced jail and hefty fines, for homosexual sex and in 2003, a proposal to nationally criminalize homosexuality failed. See LGBT rights in Indonesia.
IranYesFor men:Prison - Death. Situation unclear with women-NoNoSex reassignemnt surgery have been given official government support as a means to treat gender identity disorder. Law in Iran, in general, is not formally in order and is often abused by government officials. For many years there were no official executions for homosexuality, although some retain teenagers Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni executed for this and not for rape. See LGBT rights in Iran.
IraqNo*--NoNo*No provisions of the current Iraqi criminal code deal with homosexuality. The U.S. occupation restored the criminal code back to its original 1969 edition. Before 2003, the criminal code was amended in 2001 to include the death penalty for homosexuality. However currently, death squads are operating in the country killing gays. and LGBT rights in Iraq.
JordanNo*--NoNo*While not a crime, reports have shown that LGBT people can be victims of vigilante "honour killings". See LGBT rights in Jordan.
KazakhstanNo--NoNoSee LGBT rights in Kazakhstan.
LebanonMale OnlyFine - 1 year-NoNoA small public growing campaign exists to legalize homosexual relations between consenting adults in private. See LGBT rights in Lebanon.
MalaysiaYesFine - 20 years-NoNoFormer Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was himself jailed for homosexuality, has called for their repeal. Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad recently confirmed that the accusation he made to Anwar regarding the homosexuality of Anwar was wrong. Marina Mahathir, the daughter of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, has called for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, during Mahathir's term as Prime Minister, he warned gay ministers in foreign countries not to bring along their partners while visiting the nation. . See LGBT rights in Malaysia.
MaldivesMale onlyFine - 10 years-NoNo-
MaliNo--NoNoSee LGBT rights in Mali.
MoroccoYes6 months - 3 years-NoNoSee LGBT rights in Morocco.
NigerNo--NoNoSee LGBT rights in Niger.
NigeriaYes*5 - 14 years/Death-NoNo*Areas under Sharia have instituted death for men and women. Any content, avocating groups or associations, support, talking to, marriage, etc regarding GLBT persons can land you in jail for at least four years . See LGBT rights in Nigeria.
OmanYesFine - 3 years-NoNo-
PakistanYes*2 years - Life-NoNo*The law applies to both men and women and LGBT rights in Pakistan.
QatarYesFine - 5 years-NoNo-
Saudi ArabiaYesDeath-NoNoJail time, fines or whipping may be used in lieu of the death penalty. See LGBT rights in Saudi Arabia
SenegalYes1 month - 5 years-NoNo-
Sierra LeoneYesLife-Yes*No*The Anti-Corruption Commission stated in a press release that in a bid to attract competent and qualified staff, they operate a transparent recruitment policy, which even forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
SomaliaYes*3 months - 3 years/Death-NoNo*Areas under Sharia have instituted death for men and women.
SudanYes5 years - Death-NoNo-
SyriaYesFine - 3 years-NoNoSee LGBT rights in Syria.
TanzaniaYesFine - 25 years-NoNoIn Zanzibar male homosexual acts are punished with up to 25 years imprisonment or fine. Lesbian acts are punished with up 7 years imprisonment or fine. See LGBT rights in Tanzania.
The GambiaYesFine - 14 years-NoNo-
TunisiaYesFine - 3 years-NoNoSee LGBT rights in Tunisia.
TurkeyNo--NoNoSee LGBT rights in Turkey.
TurkmenistanMale onlyFine - 2 years-NoNo-
United Arab EmiratesYesUnknown - Death-NoNoSee LGBT rights in United Arab Emirates.
UzbekistanMale only*Fine* - 3 years*-NoNo*"Besoqolbozlik" (Only applies to anal sex), page 43 of .
YemenYesFlogging - Death-NoNo-

LGBT movements within Islam

Some liberal Muslims, such as the members of the Al-Fatiha Foundation, accept and consider homosexuality as natural, either regarding these verses as obsolete in the context of modern society, or pointing out that the Qu'ran speaks out against homosexual lust, and is silent on homosexual love. However, this position remains highly controversial even amongst liberal movements within Islam, and is considered beyond the pale by mainstream Islam. The Imaan is a social support group for Muslim LGBT people and their families in the UK.

There are also a number of Islamic ex-gay groups. The StraightWay Foundation is a UK based ex-gay organization which works with homosexual Muslims to eliminate their same-sex attractions and convert them to heterosexuality. Al-Tawbah is an internet based ex-gay group, and The Straight Struggle is an ex-gay blog for Muslims.

In addition to the aforementioned groups, Muslim writers like Irshad Manji express the view that homosexuality is permissible within Islam; however, this remains a minority viewpoint. Within Shi'a Islam, thinkers such as Ayatollah Khomeini have argued for the legality of sex-change operations if a man is homosexual, and feels effeminate. BBC NEWS | Programmes | Newsnight | Iran's sex-change operations Khomeini's original fatwa has since been reconfirmed by the current Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and is also supported by many other Iranian clerics.The law remains in force in Iran, where the state will pay a portion of the cost for a sex-change operation. However, many Muslims in Iran did not and still do not view Khomeini's words or actions positively. Many, in fact, despised him and his rule.

See also




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This article is based on "Homosexuality and Islam" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Homosexuality+and+Islam&action=history