Question: I come to you with a very alarming situation out of desperation. All my life, I’ve been told being gay is haram, and I don’t know what to do anymore. I have been a hafiz for many years, and I am even in the second year of my `alim program, and yet I find that every day I feel the want more and more to leave this religion only because of this one rule. I can’t change how I feel. Islam is the religion of peace, so why can’t I be myself?
Thank you for your question. Dear brother, I am alarmed at your situation, not because of your feelings of homosexuality but because you don’t want to continue believing in this perfect and final religion.
My number one priority is to tell you that your conviction of “La ilaha ila Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah“ is the very meaning of your existence and your salvation in the hereafter. I pray and encourage you never to relinquish the shahada no matter your actions and how you feel about its rulings. Continue to believe that your Lord is one and that He sent Muhammad as His final Messenger until your last breath.
Tackling homosexual feelings is no laughing matter, and you deserve all the support that you can get. Allah has truly favored you by blessing you with complete obedience and keeping you from sinning. That must seem like a mountain to climb, and I pray that Allah grants you even more strength in that vein. Gay feelings are genuine, painful, and much more common than you think. Many religious people are fighting those feelings off as we speak.
I could give you a host of reasons why being gay is wrong, but you may disagree. I could say that humanity cannot proliferate with homosexuality. Allah created men and women as partners to complement each other, create a balance, and that children need parents of both genders. You don’t have to agree with me, and that is all right.
Divine command and wisdom
Muslims (as should Jews and Christians) understand that homosexuality is an enormity in Islam because Allah decreed it. Anyone who stays away from it while being tempted by it will have a magnified reward to compensate for his suffering. Allah sees all and knows all that we do and understands us. He is closer to us than our own jugular veins, and our pain is not lost on Him, Most High. Trust that there will be a judgment and that you should prepare for that day in which there will be no shade other than from Allah’s throne. Recognize the strength that you already have.
What to do
The best thing that I can ask you to do is to discard the thoughts when they come to you. Immediately make dhikr and seek refuge from the Devil (A`udhu billahi min ash Shaytan ar rajeem) and do not allow the thoughts to grow and develop, for that is the final step before a person actualizes them. It would be wise and better for you to restrict certain types of interaction if it arouses you and keep away from anything that might trigger the desire.
Turn to Allah
Pray to Allah that He helps you reconcile these feelings and makes it easy for you to subdue them. I have read stories of men who marry the opposite gender, living a life of multiple identities but end up with a divorce or, even worse, commit adultery. Express your pain through du`a, ask Allah to help you, guide you, and give you the very best outcome. Allah is always there to listen and loves to be asked.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “When half of the night or two-third of it is over. Allah, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends to the lowest heaven and says: ‘Is there any beggar so that he be given? Is there any supplicator so that he be answered? Is there any beggar of forgiveness so that he be forgiven? (And Allah continues it saying) till it is daybreak.‘“ [Muslim]
May Allah reward you for your sincerity and give you the best in this world and the next.
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[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.