Homosexuality Dialogue with Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid

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Respected Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid,
Thanks for your note on the issue.
Indeed, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the ultimate peace maker, in all his dealings with people, there was a central theme: conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturing. Whether it is placing the fallen Aswad stone in its place, caring for the lady who threw trash on him, or praying for the miscreants who threw rocks on him or other instances – there was always goodwill nurturing embedded in his actions.

We are confronting an issue, that did not exist before,
in older societies, the couples would have been killed,
in democracies, religious executioners have no place,
as a society, we have a choice to pretend we don’t know
or we can have a conversation to find solutions.

Most people do not want to deal with the issue or even know about, and that is
fine, but there are some who are concerned and want to find answers. Hence, this
dialogue and it cannot escape the ordinary and the scholars.

I have talked with many a Imams – what will they do here, if a gay couple walks
into the masjid (not that they flaunt, but obvious)and Join for the iftaar. How
would they deal with them? Most of them are not sure, they are having difficulty
with the public and private stance.

Mke Ghouse

Imam Talib’s response:

Thank you. I certainly dont consider discussion disgraceful. Perhaps your comments needed more elucidation as you are now doing. BTW, religious groups and institutiomns are not compelled to conduct same sex marriages under the law. Perhaps another framing might present an opportunity for greater discussion. At any rate, I appreciate the clarification.

Was Salaam
Imam Talib’s original query

Dear Sir

As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum.
This piece of yours on lesbian marriage, and by extension all same-sex marriage, or homosexual relations is disgraceful, but it is your opinion. Your web-site defines the purpose of your organization as:


The role of Muslims is to contribute towards the well being of humanity, to be the conflict mitigaters and goodwill nurturers. To aim for a secure world for every human. Please read the mission statement.

World Muslim Congress and all of the affiliate site links above, are all expressions of different Muslim denominations including Ahmadiyya, Bohra, Ismaili, Shia, Sufi, Sunni, WD Muhammad and others. There is a 1800 member discussion group as well – WorldMuslimCongress@yahoogroups.com”

If you think that Muslims can make such a contribution by not obeying the clear instructions of the Qur’an and Sunna, and by compromising the integrity of Obedience to Allah, then please remove me from your list. I find it disturbing that Muslims believe that we have to step outside of our religion or compromise it in order to foster the good of humanity. Your comments below are pure personal opinion with no reference to the Primary Sources of Al-Islam. I find them offensive, disgraceful, and mis-guiding.
Do you advocate fornication or adultery or other of the Major Sins? Clearly according to the writings and judgements of Muslim scholars in explanation of the Qur’an and authentic ahadith for centuries, homosexuality (male or female) falls into the legal category of one of the Kabaa’ir (Major Sins), and is directly referred to in the Qur’an as a Fahsha (abomination, moral evil). It’s just another form of zinaa (fornication, adultery)
I refer you to the below:
1) http://muslimcommunityreport.com/2012/06/24/ny-majlis-ash-shura-gay-pride-month-release-on-same-sex-marraige/ 
as well as the evidence cited below. If you reject it, it is your prerogative. Just remove me from your list please, and thank you.
Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid
1350 Avenue of the Americas, 2ndFloor
New York, N.Y. 10019
By Imām Al-Hajj Tālib ‘Abdur-Rashīd, Amīr
الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَاهُمُ اللَّهُ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ
“Those who listen to the Word, and follow the best (meaning) in it: they are the ones whom Allah has guided, and they are the ones endued with understanding”. Q 39:18
On Friday, June 24 2011, in New York, during what has come to be known in America as “Gay Pride Month”, the Equality of Marriage Act legalizing same-sex marriage was passed by the state legislature[1]. This act raised questions both in and of the Muslim community, like “As a world religion, what is the Islamic perspective on homosexuality?” “What is it based upon? “ “How do Muslim leaders view same sex marriage?”  This paper has been written in answer to those questions, and others.
Marriage in the World’s Religions
The world’s religions, including those of the Abrahamic traditions, regard marriage as a sacred covenant between man and woman. As stated in the Biblical text of the Torah (or Old Testament):
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’…and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.
“Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. ( Gen. 2:18, 21-24)
Also, In Malachi 2:14 , it is written “ You ask, ‘Why’? It’s because the Lord is holding you accountable. He watches how you treat the wife you married when you were young. You have broken your promise to her. You did it even though she’s your partner. You promised to stay married to her. And the Lord was a witness to it”.
Then in the Gospels:
“ And He answered and said unto them, “Have you not read, that He that made them at the beginning made them male and female,  and said, `For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh”? Therefore they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” ( Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:7-9)
In the Qur’ān:
There are no references to marriage in the Islamic sacred text or traditions, in any context other than a hetero-sexual one. Allah commands:
‫وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلاَّ تُقْسِطُواْ فِي الْيَتَامَى فَانكِحُواْ مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاء
“ And Marry women of your choice…” (Q 4:3), and
‫حِلُّ لَّهُمْ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ
“ Lawful unto you in marriage are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time…” ( Q 5:5)
In the Sunna (authenticated prophetic tradition) :
          The Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the most excellent exemplar and beautiful pattern of conduct for all Muslims ( Q 33:21) stated clearly:
“…I marry women, therefore he who turns away from my sunna (prophetic tradition) is not of me.” (authenticated by Bukhari and Muslim) and also
“ …Marry women of faith” (authenticated by Bukhari and Muslim and others) and
“When a man whose religious character impresses you proposes marriage to your daughter, give him to her (in matrimony). If you do not, there will be great adversity and corruption on earth. “ (authenticated by Ibn Maajah)
Homosexuality in the World’s Religions including Al-Islam
Notwithstanding the fact that all  human beings of  every faith or none commit sins, homosexuality is specifically condemned in the world’s major religions – especially those of  the Abrahamic faith traditions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Al-Islam is a religion of both faith (and belief) and law. Its two primary sources are the Qur’ān – the sacred scripture revealed to the Prophet Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdullah (peace be upon him), and the prophetic tradition (sunna) itself.  There is nothing ambiguous about how homosexuality is regarded in either of these sources.
Almighty God, Allah identifies  that particular sexual practice  in several different verses of  His Scripture, in no less than 10 sÅ«ras (scriptural books) of the Qur’an [2]which Muslims believe to be the revealed Divine Word. There, homosexuality is clearly identified with  the sinful sexual practice of the people of  Prophet LÅ«t (Lot – peace be upon him). He was a prophet sent to warn his people regarding  their sexual deviance. Qur’anic exegesis, like that of the Bible, identifies them with the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In the Qur’ān, the Divine Legislator calls homosexuality an indecency, obscenity, or immoral excess (fahsha, fahisha ‫فَاحِشَةَ ) – i.e. lewdness borne of desire, passion, or appetite, as in this verse:
وَلُوطًا إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمِهِ أَتَأْتُونَ الْفَاحِشَةَ مَا سَبَقَكُم بِهَا مِنْ أَحَدٍ مِّن الْعَالَمِينَ
“We also (sent) LÅ«t.  He said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you”?  (Q 7:80)
The people of Lot are themselves described in the Qur’an as musrifuun (i.e. “people transgressing bounds”, or “steeped in sin” , Q 7:81, 51:32 ) , mujrimuun (i.e. “sinners, committers of moral offenses”, Q 15:58),  ‘aaduun (i.e.” transgressors” Q 26:166), qauma saui  faasiqiin (i.e. “ a rebellious, morally depraved people” Q 21:74), and qaumun tajhaluun (i.e. “a people ignorant of moral law” and the consequences of its transgression,Q 27:55)
Further, the homosexual practices of the people of Lot are called an abomination (su’, or khubth as in these two verses :
‫وَجَاءهُ قَوْمُهُ يُهْرَعُونَ إِلَيْهِ وَمِن قَبْلُ كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ
“And his (Lot’s) people came rushing towards him, and they had long been in the habit of practicing abominations….” (Q 11:78), and
وَلُوطًا آتَيْنَاهُ حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْقَرْيَةِ الَّتِي كَانَت تَّعْمَلُ الْخَبَائِثَ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمَ سَوْءٍ فَاسِقِينَ
“ And to Lot, too, We gave Judgment and Knowledge, and We saved him from the town wherein abominations were practiced. Truly they were a people given to evil; a rebellious people”. (Q 21:74)
The above two Arabic words (su’, or khubth )  are synonymous with the Hebrew word toebah (‫תּוֹעֵבָה) , defined in Jewish Law as “Abomination of the highest degree; originally that which offends the religious sense of a people[3]”.
The word  appears in the Torah in specific reference to homosexuality:
‫וְאֶת-זָכָר–לֹא תִשְׁכַּב, מִשְׁכְּבֵי אִשָּׁה:  תּוֹעֵבָה, הִוא.
“ Thou shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination (toebah) ”. (Leviticus 18:22)
Although there are Christians who, in the name of Pauline doctrine exempt themselves from the injunctions of Torah (or so-called Old Testament) Law, the fact is that Jesus, the Son of Mary (peace be upon him) is reported to have stated in the Gospels:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. ”  (Mathew 5:17)
Lastly, the Prophet Muhammad May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated in an authenticated sacred tradition:
“Verily, the most fearful of that which I fear for my people is the behavior of the people of Lot.” (authenticated by Tirmithi and Ibn Maajah)
There are those in the Muslim community who believe that the lewdness and abomination of the People of Lot is not homosexuality. “After all” they posit, “Allah speaks of fahishain the Qur’an in a context other than that of the People of Lot.” That is true, as He calls all fornication and adultery a fahisha, as in
وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الزِّنَى إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاء سَبِيلاً
“ And do not commit fornication (or adultery) for, behold, it is an abomination and an evil way” (Q 17:32)
However there can be no doubt about the particular fahishaof the People of Lot (peace be upon him), as Almighty God, Allah (Glory be to Him) clearly states in His Book:
وَلُوطًا إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمِهِ أَتَأْتُونَ الْفَاحِشَةَ مَا سَبَقَكُم بِهَا مِنْ أَحَدٍ مِّن الْعَالَمِينَ
 â€œ We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: “Do you commit lewdness (fahisha) such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? “ (Q  7:80)
إِنَّكُمْ لَتَأْتُونَ الرِّجَالَ شَهْوَةً مِّن دُونِ النِّسَاء بَلْ أَنتُمْ قَوْمٌ مُّسْرِفُونَ
 ( “For you practice your lusts on men in preference to women : you are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.[4]”  (Q 7:81)
The second verse above is an exegetical elucidation (tafsir) on the meaning of the first one.
And what about women?  Does this discussion extend to them as well? Of course ! Almighty God , Allah does not differentiate as to righteousness or unrighteousness, based upon gender.  As He states regarding obedience and its reward:
إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالصَّادِقَاتِ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّابِرَاتِ وَالْخَاشِعِينَ وَالْخَاشِعَاتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَاتِ وَالصَّائِمِينَ وَالصَّائِمَاتِ وَالْحَافِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَافِظَاتِ وَالذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
“ For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise,- for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward” . ( Q 33:35) and also,
وَلِكُلٍّ دَرَجَاتٌ مِّمَّا عَمِلُواْ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ
“ To all are degrees (or ranks) according to their deeds: for thy Lord is not unmindful of anything that they do” . ( Q 6:132), and
وَعَدَ اللّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَمَسَاكِنَ طَيِّبَةً فِي جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ وَرِضْوَانٌ مِّنَ اللّهِ أَكْبَرُ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
“ Allah has promised to Believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah. That is the supreme felicity”. (Q 9:72)
Then conversely,
الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ بَعْضُهُم مِّن بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمُنكَرِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَقْبِضُونَ أَيْدِيَهُمْ نَسُواْ اللّهَ فَنَسِيَهُمْ إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“ The Hypocrites, men and women, (have an understanding) with each other: They enjoin evil, and forbid what is just, and are close with their hands. They have forgotten Allah. so He has forgotten them. Verily the Hypocrites are rebellious and perverse” . (Q 9:67) ,or
وَعَدَ الله الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتِ وَالْكُفَّارَ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا هِيَ حَسْبُهُمْ وَلَعَنَهُمُاللّهُ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّقِيمٌ
“ Allah has promised the Hypocrites men and women, and the rejecters, of Faith, the fire of Hell: Therein shall they dwell: Sufficient is it for them: for them is the curse of Allah, and an enduring punishment”. (Q 9:68), or
الزَّانِي لَا يَنكِحُ إلَّا زَانِيَةً أَوْ مُشْرِكَةً وَالزَّانِيَةُ لَا يَنكِحُهَا إِلَّا زَانٍ أَوْ مُشْرِكٌ وَحُرِّمَ ذَلِكَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“ Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry any but a woman similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever: nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman: to the Believers such a thing is forbidden” (Q 24:3)
The Sunna (Prophetic Tradition) on Homosexuality[5]
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) clarified the link between the forbidden sex of the People of Lot (peace be upon him), and those who follow their way, with his authenticated statements:
“May Allah curse him who engages in bestiality, and may Allah curse him who performs the action of the People of Lot” [6], as well as
“Allah will not look at a man who has intercourse with a man or a woman through the anus”[7], and
“ A woman is prohibited from having body contact with another woman, and likewise a man is prohibited from having body contact with another man” [8] , likewise
“If a man approaches another man (sexually), then they are both fornicators” [9] , and
“Lesbianism between females is zina ( i.e. fornication, adultery) between them [10].
As previously stated, these are clear, unambiguous statements, as the Prophet (pbuh) said :
“Allah is not ashamed of the truth…”[11]
American Civil Marriage
In Western lands characterized by separation of Church and state, there exists two major aspects of  marriage – one religious and the other civil. American law also incorporates both elements. The phenomena known as “civil marriage”, wherein (as stated in the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996) , marriage is defined as “…a legal union between one man and one woman”, relegates the matter of acceptance or rejection of same sex marriages  to the American states. In the Empire State of New York, as in five other states , same sex civil unions are now deemed permissible from a constitutional point of view – falling under a redefinition of the sacred institution of marriage based upon a religious standard. 
Civil marriage is one wherein the marriage ceremony is performed by a government or civil official . The wedding takes place without any religious affiliation, and meets the legal requirements of the locale where the ceremony occurs.
The Struggle For Same Sex Marriage Under Civil Law
Federal law does not extend a full and identical measure of civil rights to same sex civil unions as traditional heterosexual marriages. Thus, several years ago homosexuals in American society  took up the legitimization of same sex marriage as a civil rights issue . Since American civil law has its own legal realm of marital authority separate from religion but equal to it , same sex marriage advocates posited that this realm could and should encompass a non-traditional (homosexual) standard as well as a traditional (heterosexual)one.
Following this logic,  some American Muslim lawyers and jurists might feel compelled to uphold the legitimization of same sex civil marriage, seeing it as a constitutional imperative. Perhaps that is so according to the standards of a civil religion in which the U.S. Constitution is the “scripture”. As people of faith and religious leaders, we are not so bound[12].
The Moral Obligation Of Muslims To Make decisions for the Public Welfare
The Sacred Law of Al-Islam calls for decisions to be made in the Public Interest, for the better welfare of human society. The great classical jurists used different terms to describe that interest. Hanafis call it  Istihsaan (equitable preference to find a just solution). Imam Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) called it or Masaalih Al-Mursalah (public benefit or welfare) . Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (May Allah be pleased with him) called it  Istislaah (“seeking the best solution for the general interest”)[13].
The obligation of Muslims to uphold our moral principles is not negated by our minority religious status in a predominantly non-Muslim society, as evidenced by the Medinan model under the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah has said:
‫هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاء عَلَى النَّاسِ
“ It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and you be witnesses for mankind…” (Q 22:78)
‫كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“You are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it would be best for them. Among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors”. (Q 3:110)
Based upon this premise of societal responsibility of the believers, it is our position that Muslims should support the passage of civil laws that fulfill the objectives of Sacred Law, and guard the public welfare. Laws contributing to the stability of family and society , and the upholding of public morality according to the standards of Sacred Law,  fall into that category.
The Moral Obligation Of Muslims To Voice Our Opposition To That Which Allah Opposes
It has been suggested by some Muslims that even though we , as a community of faith, may be morally opposed to homosexuality, and the legitimization of it as a life-style in American society through the passage of laws such as the Equality of Marriage Act, we should not  publicly voice our opposition to such legitimization for a variety of reasons, including  political utility. The consensus of the Majlis Ash-Shura of NY is one of disagreement with that view for the following reasons:
1)      PROPHETIC TRADITION: Al-Islam is a way of life predicated upon the speaking of divinely revealed, prophetically articulated truths, even when to do so might be unpopular.
As Allah (Glory be to Him) states in His Scripture of His Prophets (peace be upon them all):
وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاء الزَّكَاةِ وَكَانُوا لَنَا عَابِدِينَ
“ And We made them leaders, guiding (men) by Our Command, and We sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practice regular charity; and they constantly served Us (and Us only)” Q 21:73

We believe that Muslims should uphold this tradition in all matters.
2)      ETHICAL OBLIGATION AS BELIEVERS: As Almighty God, Allah states:
وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ (3:104)
“ Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain success.”
(Q 3:104)
The successful community in the above verse is defined as the one that commands Al-Ma’ruf [14]and forbids Al-Munkar[15] .There is no doubt that based upon the standard of our beliefs, homosexuality is munkar. Thus as Muslims we believe that we are obligated to condemn it, not enable its legitimization.
 Again, as the Almighty states,
4)   وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاء عَلَى النَّاسِ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
“And strive in His cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion.    It is the religious creed of your father Abraham. It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and you be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protector – the Best to protect and the Best to help”!
(Q 22:78)
The great Qur’anic exegete Ibn Kathir wrote that that the meaning of Allah’s statement “…that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and you be witnesses for mankind”  is  â€œ Thus We have made you a just and fair nation, the best of nations, and all other nations will testify to your justice. On the Day of Resurrection you will be ‘witnesses over mankind’ , because on that Day all the nations will acknowledge its leadership and its precedence over all others. Therefore, on the Day of Resurrection the testimony of the members of this community will be accepted as proof that the Messengers conveyed the Message of their Lord to them, and the Messenger will testify that he conveyed the Message to them” . This is a divine mandate applicable to all Muslims globally.
Specifically in our context as American citizens, People of faith in our society express a variety of opinions based upon their beliefs. In controversial matters, some choose to take public stances and manifest the courage of their convictions, articulating their beliefs with wisdom and clarity. As Americans should not Muslims do the same? Are we less than our fellow citizens?
We believe that we must trust in Allah and  not be hesitant or afraid to stand upon our beliefs, as others do with theirs. For centuries, Islam and Muslims have continued to exist and grow in American society, through assertion and firmness – not hesitancy or fear. We are equal to our fellow citizens, and have both a right and an obligation not only to hold our beliefs and opinions, but to express them.
Additionally, we believe that Muslims should  heed Allah’s admonition:
ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ
“ Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance”. (Q 16:125)
In this matter, we remember the statement of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):
“Whoever sees an evil, then he should change it with his hand. If he is unable, he should change it with his tongue. If he is unable to do that, then he must do so with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.”[16]
Some Muslims may choose, in the light of certain societal evils, to remain silent for reasons of their own. But they should not expect that all Muslims and Muslim leaders will do the same.
Opinion Of The Imams Of The Majlis On Same Sex Marriage
Currently, the Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York, is a growing coalition of 39 Muslim congregations and organizations. Fundamentally, as stated in our constitution, we base our evaluation of what is good or bad for the public welfare of the society in which we live, on the sacred sources of Islam. We do not believe that any legislation which contradicts these two sources can be in the best interest of humanity, even if it serves special interest groups within that society.
Thus, as Muslims our consensus is that  the passage of the Equality of Marriage Act is in direct contradiction to both the Law of Almighty God, and prophetic sacred tradition. We see the passage of such an act in NY State as being of no greater moral utility than one legitimizing fornication or adultery or usury. In Islam all immoral acts are condemned.
We concur with the recent statement of the Catholic Bishops of NY State – ” We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.  Our society must regain what it appears to have lost – a true understanding of the meaning and the place of marriage, as revealed by God, grounded in nature, and respected by America’s foundational principles”
Opinion Of Other Imams
Nonetheless, we recognize that the Muslim community is not monolithic.
One imam , speaking at an out-of-state gathering publicly asserted that transgender folk have always been a part of human society, and that Islamic sacred law (i.e. the Shari’a) has always recognized their rights to inheritance. He stated  that Islamic jurists in the past wrestled with the question of whether a transgender person  should receive their inheritance according to a male or female calculation. He then argued that on the basis of the inheritance principle, the Muslim community needs to begin a dialogue on recognizing the transgender/homosexual  community’s right to form families. [17]
Another [18]stated “Marriages that were considered ‘legitimate’ within ‘another’ legal tradition—even if such unions were deemed ‘unlawful’ in the Islamic legal position were ‘not’ nullified when the people who practiced them were citizens of the Islamic State. This was also true even when such unions were, in some instances, ‘incestuous’, as the early fourth AH/tenth CE-century Imam Abu Bakr al-Khallal documented. ” He did not state whether or not Muslims should take that single action as sufficient legitimization for a communal acceptance of  same sex marriage.
Undoubtedly there are Muslims who agree with those or similar opinions [19]. We do not. 
On Religious Exemption To The Equality Of Marriage Act.
The Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan NY recognizes that both the federal Constitution and New York state law protect the right of refusal by religious persons and institutions to marry anyone against their beliefs.  Thus, we applaud the  insistence of  several elected officials during recent deliberation upon the Equality of Marriage Act , that language be included in the law that affirms the right of religious refusal.
Same sex marriage is now law in NY State, and many people, including several elected officials, are happy. Like us, many other citizens and some officials are not. We are firmly against a redefinition of marriage that makes lawful what Almighty God , Allah has made unlawful. We see that as profaning the sacred nature of marriage. In the values of Al-Islam, marriage is lawful and permissible. Homosexuality is not.
What Can People Of Faith Do Now That The Law Has Been Passed?
It  would seem that just as the Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) was powerless to stop the transgressions of homosexuals in the society in which he and they lived, so are we Muslims and other people of faith politically powerless to do the same – at least in New York and a few other states .  As people of faith we have no choice but to say to those dancing in the streets in celebration of their sociopolitical victory – “To you be your way of life, and to us, ours”.
Although each of the world’s religions has its own distinctive features insofar as marriage is concerned, their commonality lies in their insistence upon it as a sacred union between male and female, man and woman. Therefore, we encourage Muslims in the various states of the U.S.A. to work in concert with  other people of faith, to prevent duplication of New York’s unique  legislation.
Allah commands us in our relationships with each other:
‫وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الْبرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلاَ تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
“…Help you one another in righteousness and piety, but don’t help  one another in sin and ill will …” (Q 5:2)
Should this not be the case with our fellow citizens as well? As Muslims, we believe so. We also believe that we should strive to be good neighbors. However all Muslims must realize that it does not make us good neighbors or citizens to compromise our beliefs, nor to seek to mute voices espousing prophetic values from within our community. We must hold to our beliefs and values as a religious minority in American society, dedicate our  lives to non-violent jihad[20] and psycho-spiritual hijra[21] , as defined in the statements of Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him):
“The most excellent jihad is that of one who strives against (the evil temptations of) his soul and his desires for the sake of Allah, Most Great and Glorious”[22] , and
“ The best immigrant is the one who migrates from what Allah has prohibited. And the best Jihad is that of the one who strives against his own desires for the sake of Allah, Most Great and Glorious.” [23]
We say that Muslims should stand by ourtraditional beliefs insofar as the Islamic definition of marriage is concerned. We must  continue working in American society for legal acceptance of our sacred traditions, even as others have done the same. Instead of just complaining, we should study how various groups have strategically won battles in the war of ideas, fought  in the arena of public opinion[24].
[1] A mere five days before the date calculated by scientists as the 5, 134thanniversary of the June 29, 3123 B.C.
destruction of the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, as depicted in the year 2010 on The Science Channel.
See  http: //discussions. godandscience.org/viewtopic. php?f=6&t=34226
[2]11:70, 74, 89, 15:59-61, 22:43, 26:90, 27: 54-58, 37:136-8, 38:13, 50:13, 51: 32, 54:33-39
[4] See fahsha or fahisha “anything foul or abominable beyond measure”, pp. 233-4, Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Qur’an, Toshihiko Izutsu (2002) London: McGill-Queen’s University Press
[5] Muslim apologists for homosexuality often equivocate (play word games), asserting that there is no specific word in the Qur’an for this or that (like homosexuality) – and ignoring the Prophet Muhammad’s elucidation (peace be upon him) on Allah’s Words that do appear in His Book, inspite of the fact that after the Qur’an itself, the 2nd major source of elucidation on the meaning of Allah’s Words in the Qur’an are those of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). As he (peace be upon him) stated on the authority of Abu Rafi’ (May Allah be pleased with him):
“Never do I wish to see any of you reclining on his couch, and whenever an injunction from my instructions concerning that which I have commanded him or prohibited him comes to him, he says, ‘I don’t know. What we find in the Book of Allah, we shall follow.” (authenticated bu Imam Ahmad, At-Tirmithi, Ibn Maajah, and Abu Dawud)
Other prophetic narrations authenticated by Abu Dawud (May Allah be pleased with him) contain the words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) “ …Surely what the Messenger of Allah has prohibited is like what Allah has prohibited”, and “ Does any of you reclining on his couch consider and think that Allah does not make anything unlawful except what is in this Qur’an? Beware! By Allah, I have certainly enjoined and given admonition and prohibition and I have prohibited from you things which are as numerous as in the Qur’an, or more numerous…”
Interesting enough, the modern Arabic word for homosexuality is “liwāt” (after LÅ«t or Lot) see The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Arabic,  or The Arabic-English Dictionary complied by Maan Z. Madina, or others
[6] Narrated by Ibn Abbas, see The Forbiddance of Homosexuality, by Al Hafith Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Al- Hussain Al Ajuree, translated by Mustafa George DeBerry
[7] Narrated by Ibn Abbas, and authenticated bu At-Tirmithi
[8] Narrated by Abu Musa Al-‘Ashari, see Al-Ajuri, above
[9] Narrated by ‘Ikrimah from Waathilah bin Al Asqah, see Al-Ajuri ,above
[10] Narrated by Abu Hurairah, see Al-Ajuri,  above
[11] Narrated by Khuzaima bin Thābit, and authenticated by Ahmad, At-Tirmithi, Ibn Mājah, and Dārmī
[12] Whether or not one supports such  legal conclusions, they are at least based upon an understanding and interpretation of law, as opposed to appeals to emotion (as if the Sacred Law of the Creator is bound by the hawa or feelings  of the creation),  or claimed scientific theories of genetic causality for homosexuality. Even now in the 21st century (2011) , such claims  have not proven conclusive. Activists have successfully waged a campaign for rights on a legal or socio-political basis – not claims based upon science. Such claims are currently refuted by a minority of mental health professionals who either view homosexuality as a treatable clinical condition akin to an obsessive-compulsive-addictive disorder, or “ a combination of social, biological, and psychological factors” (known in the mental health field as the biopsychosocial model).
These last two analytical  models present the following questions: “If homosexuality is a disorder, then is it enabled or eliminated by legitimization of it as an open life-style?” Further, “If its’ causalities are plural, then is the biological or genetic factor (anomaly?)  increased or exacerbated, or diminished, by social or psychological factors?”
In 1973 arguments both for and against the idea of homosexuality as a pathology were presented before the American Psychiatric Association. Listening to homosexual men’s anguished, frustrated personal narratives of treatment undergone for their “condition”, and having made the judgment that there was no conclusive scientific evidence that homosexuality was a disorder, the association omitted homosexuality as a diagnostic category, eliminating it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).
Other countries, the U.K. for instance, have made similar decisions as recently as 1992. These are medical decisions motivated by a desire to eliminate what has been called “…  the negative consequences of defining same sex attraction as a mental illness and designing treatments to eradicate it…as a warning against the use of mental health services to change aspects of human behavior that are disapproved of on social, political, moral, or religious grounds”.  See Healing Homosexuality, Joseph Nicolosi (1993) New Jersey: Jason Aronson Inc. pg viii, and Treatments of homosexuality in Britain since the 1950s—an oral history: the experience of patients, Glenn Smith, research fellow, Annie Bartlett, senior lecturr2, Michael King, professor of primary care  BMJ Publishing Group,  â€œhttp://www.bmj.com/content/328/7437/427.full
[13] See Sharī’ah: The Islamic Law, ‘Abdur Rahman I. Doi (1994) London: Taha Publishers, pp. 81-83
[14] i.e. Right according to the Will of Almighty God, Allah. The opposite of munkar
[15] i.e. Wrong according to the Will of Allah, and the opposite of Ma’ruf. For an extensive elucidation on the meaning of the two words, see Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Qur’an, Toshihiko Izutsu (2002) London: McGill-Queen’s University Press
[16] Authenticated by Imam Muslim
[17] Imam Faisal Abdur-Rauf as reported by activist El-Hajj Mauri Saalakhan
[18]  Shaykh Abdallah Adhami, of New York City
[19] In an essay published in 2003 entitled “Sexuality, Diversity and Ethics in the Agenda of Progressive Muslims”, Scott Siraj Al-Haqq Kugle states “ It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the Qur’an accepts the existence of diversity in sexuality and sexuality orientation.” See Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism (2003)Oxford: Oneworld Publications. Such claims by Muslim homosexuals and their apologists are , simply put, attempts to make halal  (lawful according to Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him) what Allah has clearly declared haraam (unlawful according to Allah and His Messenger – peace be upon him). Kugle drones  on above about the joys of sex , without applying to it Allah’s designations of halal or haraam, as with all human actions.
[20] Linguistically, jihad means “to strive one’s utmost In word and action”. See: An-Nihaayah fi Ghareeb Al-Hadith, by Ibn-Atheer (1?319), and Al-Mibaah Al-Muneer (1/112)
[21] Hijra – flight, migration
[22] See ahadith narrated by Ibn ‘Amr, collected by At-Tabarani in Al-Kabir, and Mishkat Al-Masabih, and Abu Tharr, collected by Ad-Daylami, Abu Nu’aym, and Ibn An-Najjar
[23] Narrated by Ibn Al Amr, and authenticated by Bukhari, Abu Dawud, and At-Tabarani
[24] The passage of the Equality of Marriage Act constitutes a victory in a battle of ideas for the hearts and minds of people, in a public relations war openly declared in America as far back as 1975, as evidenced by the following quotes:
“What the homosexual wants, and here he is neither willing to compromise nor morally required to compromise, is acceptance of homosexuality as a way of life fully on par with heterosexuality.” Barbara Gittings, “Gays on the March”, 1975 TIME magazine
 â€œWe are no longer seeking just a right to privacy and a protection from wrong, we also have a right – as heterosexual Americans already have – to see government and society affirm our lives.” Jeff Levi, National Press Club, Washington, D.C. 1987   
   â€œWe can undermine the moral authority of homophobic churches by portraying them as antiquated backwaters, badly out of step with the times. . .Against the mighty pull of institutional religion, one must set up the mightier draw of science and public opinion. . .Such an unholy alliance has  worked well against churches before on such topics as divorce and abortion.” Marshall K. Kirk and Erastes Pill “The Overhauling of Straight America”, 1987
 â€œThe agenda of homosexual activists is basically to change America from what they perceive as looking down on homosexual behavior, to the affirmation of and societal acceptance of homosexual behavior.  Thus propagandistic advertising can depict all opponents of the gay movement as homophobic bigots who are not Christian and the propaganda can further show them [homosexuals] as being criticized, hated and shunned. . .” Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen “After the Ball” 1989
 â€œA middle ground might be to fight for same sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, to demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society’s moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution.” Michelangelo Signorile, OUT Magazine, 1994
For Greater detail see Appendix C “The Global Agenda of the Homosexuals”, The Forbiddance of Homosexuality, Al Hafith Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Al- Hussain Al Ajuree, translated by Mustafa George DeBerry (2010) Wilkes Barre, Pa. Masjid Tawheed Publications

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