Homosexuality in a Fast-Changing World: What Science and Islam Say?

(Source: ArtStation)

The speed at which the world is traveling today towards the future at times makes us stand in complete awe. But at times we are also too stunned to even realize the changes happening around us that we just go with the flow regardless of the steep dangerous fall that awaits us. The changes in our society, especially relating to homosexuality is of prime concern in terms of the consequences it has on our life. While some people fall into the direct pitfalls of homosexuality most others become sympathetic onlookers only because of their lack of knowledge and misunderstandings about it. Understanding homosexuality becomes inevitable in one’s life.

Until the 1970s homosexuality was considered by psychiatrists around the world to be a mental illness for which the patients had to be treated and cured.[1] However, after the 70s, opinions asserting that homosexuality should be considered a normal state rather as an illness arose. After this, psychiatry declared homosexuality as a normal state found in human beings. This transition in the diagnosis of homosexuality did not take place as a result of scientific studies. Rather it was mainly a change in their views about morality.

In 1988 the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher brought laws to criminalize homosexuality. Later in 2003, a law decriminalizing the public demonstration of homosexuality was passed. By now, politicians and celebrities who used to be strong critics earlier were afraid to criticize homosexuality and other queer identities.

How did things get to a place where a value that humans held for centuries gets abruptly changed and anyone who raises their voice against it gets criminalized?

‘After the Ball How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s’ by Hunter Madsen & Marshall Kirk

In fact, it was all driven by clear-cut agendas. The book titled ‘After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays’, written by two gay activists Hunter Madsen and Marshall Kirk explicitly talks about the agendas of the gay movement. These agendas were perfectly executed and as result homosexuality became accepted in society unlike never before.[2]

 

Is the case of homosexuality scientifically correct?

One of the biggest claims homosexuals make about homosexuality is that it is a product of genetic makeup. “There is no ‘gay gene’ that determines whether someone has same-sex partners,” said Ganna, who is a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as well as the University of Helsinki.[3] So let’s take the case of identical twins whose genes are in fact completely identical. So if one of them is a so-called gay the other should be gay too. But scientific studies show only 10% concordance. This 10% case most probably might be because since one of the twins knows the other twin’s gay lifestyle he too accepts it. However, in truth, there should be 100% concordance rates if homosexuality was a genetic makeup.[4]

Andrea Ganna, PhD

Some claim that homosexuality is a process of evolution. Our genetic codes can change as a part of the natural selection process. However, if our genes had the setting of homosexuality, humans won’t be able to engage in reproductive sex. So evolutionary wise it is a paradox. It is in fact a self-extinction mechanism.

Another claim is that homosexuality is an inbuilt population control mechanism. The problem with this claim is that genes don’t know this. There is no such thing as gene awareness.

One of the contradictory aspects of homosexuality is that people who were earlier homosexual behavior may move to heterosexual behavior and vice versa which is termed gender fluidity. How can this be possible? Because if gay genes were actually present in a human being they can’t be changed.

In fact, what most scientific literature says about homosexuality is that it is a lifestyle choice.

 

Islam’s view on homosexuality

Unlike Islam, those who criticize ‘homosexual feelings or thoughts’ say that it is some kind of disease or that it is unnatural. Islam does not view homosexuality similarly because emotions or desires are not sins themselves, nor do they have any legal consequences.

“A human being is not blamed for what is in his nature. He is only blamed if he acts on it.”  This is what Sufi Al- Junaid said in ‘Hilayat Al-Awliya’ by Abu Naim al-Isfahani.

As humans, It is quite natural to have love towards our role models, friends, and fellow human beings. However, problems arise when this love changes into desire. There is quite a difference between love and desire. Nothing is wrong with loving another man or in a women’s case another woman. Because Islam instructs us to love our prophet Muhammad:

لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ والِدِهِ وَوَلَدِهِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ

“None of you have truly believed (complete sound faith) until I am more beloved to him than his father, his son, and all of humankind.”

(Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 67)

 

And also mutual love between believers is also appreciated as the hadith in which Allah asks on the days of judgment:

 أَيْنَ الْمُتَحَابُّونَ لِجَلَالِي ؟ الْيَوْمَ أُظِلُّهُمْ فِي ظِلِّي يَوْمَ لَا ظِلَّ إِلَّا ظِلِّي

“Where are those who loved each other for the sake of My glory? Today, on a day when there is no shade but Mine, I shall shade them with My shade.”

(Sahih Muslim, 2566)

 

But desire towards another is something else. Quran unambiguously says that desire towards the same gender is prohibited:

إِنَّكُمْ لَتَأْتُونَ ٱلرِّجَالَ شَهْوَةًۭ مِّن دُونِ ٱلنِّسَآءِ ۚ بَلْ أَنتُمْ قَوْمٌۭ مُّسْرِفُونَ

“You approach men with lust instead of women. No, you are people who go beyond the limits.”

(Surah Al- A’raf, Ayah 81)

 

So scripturally and spiritually these two practices are never the same.

There are some people who when they come to know about Islam’s view on homosexuality say that Islam’s stance on homosexuality is homophobic. This is actually a misunderstanding because there is nothing phobic in it. Just because we have some strong impulse or compulsive behavior to do something doesn’t mean those impulses should be legalized. If not so, we will have to legalize rape, pedophilia, murder, and so on since some people have the impulse to engage in such acts.

In the Islamic context, the question arises as to why such impulses were created if it is so wrong? Allah has the names of Jamal (Beauty) and Jalal (Majesty) which are contradictory. He is the one who created cute little babies which shows his Beauty and also exploding galaxies which shows his Majesty.

Everybody has a particular weakness or test that they have to confront or overcome in their lives if they wish to make any spiritual progress.

This weakness or test can be anything. For some people, it might be the wrong kind of sexual orientation. So they have to overcome it by following abstinence in their feelings and constant remembrance of the Almighty.

As mentioned earlier a bad intention is not punishable in Islam only a bad action is.

In reality, as Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad said in one of his lectures, “Islam is not phobic or prejudiced against people who have a homosexual tendency, rather it is standing up for fundamental rules about what it is to be human and helping people who have the wrong kind of inclinations, to work out their own particular paths towards salvation.”[5]

 


References

[1] https://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/history

[2]https://albertmohler.com/2004/06/03/after-the-ball-why-the-homosexual-movement-has-won

[3]https://www.forbes.com/sites/dawnstaceyennis/2019/08/30/the-gay-gene-is-a-myth-but-being-gay-is-natural-say-scientists/?sh=23b1faeb7fa7

[4] https://youtu.be/h2MQkzrxpmM

[5] https://youtu.be/Kss_mbV_DSc

Research Student at WIRAS, also pursuing BBA;LLB at Markaz Law College

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