If any two men among you are guilty of such [lewdness], punish them both. If they repent and amend, leave them alone. Allah is the Most Forgiving and Most Compassionate. (Inspired by Surah 4: 16)
Muslim brother from the Bronx (New York) told me the following story, to which he says he is a witness: After the Friday prayers, a Muslim man, in tears, addressed the ummah and asked for help. He admitted to being, not only a homosexual, but also a child molester, having performed sexual acts with many boys. Shocked and outraged, several men in the mosque attacked the man and beat him to death. Having no sympathy for the pervert, the police falsified the report and covered up the murder so that no one was charged. Clearly, the attackers broke the command, “If they repent and amend, leave them alone,” and they did not represent God’s mercy and help in a time of repentance and plea for help.
Scholars vary in what type of punishment should be administered in the situation of lewdness by men, but I agree with the scholars who say that verse 16 is a continuation of verse 15 referring to women guilty of lewdness, so the punishment should be the same. The crimes of adultery and fornication are met with the harsh, physical punishment of one hundred lashes, while promiscuity and homosexuality are given a sentence of indefinite house arrest.
I do not think that Surah 4 refers to evil people who simply like to experiment with sexual deviances. Such intentional sin cannot be tolerated. The whole of society has a right to be protected from the moral decadence and dreaded diseases spread by all types of sexual depravity (gay or straight). In the story of Lut (peace upon him) and the infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, men blatantly demanded a homosexual orgy. They had no remorse and no desire to control their lust and lustful behaviour. Ultimately, God completely annihilated the cities, presumably from volcanic eruption, from which spewed sulphuric acid, dust, and ash. During the escape of Lut’s family, his wife turned to gaze upon the city she called home. As a result, she became, as described by the Judaic Bible, as “a pillar of salt.” Perhaps she was poisoned by the volcanic gases and then covered with dust and ash. Her story is a sign that, once God begins leading us on a new venture, we must continue forward and not focus on the past. A person must leave decadence behind and place hope in a healthier future.
Although acts of homosexuality are sinful and unhealthy, a person’s being a homosexual or lesbian is, in itself, either a psychological disorder or a neurological defect. The Qur'an stipulates house arrest for lesbians and homosexuals. Being a homosexual or lesbian is a difficult problem which must be met within a therapeutic setting. A person with a sexually deviant nature must refrain from committing acts of immorality, but it is the responsibility of the faith community to help the person get appropriate clinical services.
Homosexual or lesbian tendencies (as well as promiscuity) can result when a person has been subjected to sexual abuse as a child. A type of sexual concerns distress disorder, the condition may require years of counselling, and drugs can sometimes be used to lower sex drive. Clinical hypnotherapy may produce significant positive results. A Muslim psychiatrist uses the term “gender identity disorder” and recommends “psychotherapy with the goal of helping them to be comfortable with the gender that is consistent with their chromosomes and anatomy.”
Possibly the more common reason for homosexuality is the improper balance of hormones in the womb. Every human embryo begins with a feminine brain. The introduction of male hormones changes the brain to a male pattern. When a boy embryo is exposed to enough male hormones to produce male sex organs, but not enough to fully develop the male brain pattern, his brain may remain feminine. This can result in simply an effeminate heterosexual male or a homosexual. If a girl embryo is exposed to too much male hormone influence, her brain may become male oriented while she physically remains female. She may become a masculine heterosexual woman or a lesbian. Other possible deviations include transvestitism, trans-sexuality, bisexuality, and non-sexuality, and these are all caused by confusion and diffidence about the person’s true sexual identity.
Society should provide reform institutes offering behavioural modification therapy, drug therapy, and other types of intervention appropriate for addressing sexual deviances. Electronic bracelets would allow patients/inmates to be monitored while attending work or school.
Unfortunately, the advocates of “political correctness” try to prevent psychologists, psychiatrists, and scientists from pursuing avenues for treating sexually perverse problems. When the problems are psychological, contra-homosexual therapy can help those whose sexual deviances have developed from psychosocial influences. The gay rights activists, however, want to prevent psychologists and psychiatrists from helping patients succeed in behavioural modification. The activists want the counsellors to help the deviants “accept” their homosexuality and lesbianism as an “alternative lifestyle” and gain a sense of “gay pride.”
Homosexuals and lesbians who have been born with the wrong brain patterns benefit little from contra-homosexual therapy, but many have found freedom from “being trapped in the wrong body” by enduring sex-altering operations and subsequent hormone therapy. Scientists are also discovering ways to detect and adjust hormone abnormalities in the womb so that prenatal homosexuality and lesbianism can be diverted. This type of research and development, however, is met with controversy and aggressive aversion from those who do not want homosexuality labelled as a perversion, disease, or birth defect.
Cruelty and hatred channelled into crimes against homosexuals and lesbians should not be tolerated. Gay bashers also include those who would suppress or even outlaw psychological and medical help to those afflicted with sexual deviances. Political correctness purports those deviances as natural, satisfying, and acceptable lifestyles. Hollywood, it seems, would have us believe that half the people in the world are homosexuals and lesbians; but then, sexual deviants are classified as a protected minority. Homosexuals and lesbians should not have to suffer unfair discrimination, but also employers should not have to fear lawsuits as a result of curbing inappropriate or offensive on-the-job speech or activity (whether by homosexuals or heterosexuals). The perverted mentality supporting “gay rights” is inculcated in public schools beginning as early as kindergarten with books such as Daddy’s Roommate and I Have Two Mommies, and some high schools sponsor gay clubs. Parents should be able to suppress this type of education without being accused of prejudice and “gay bashing.”
Courageous Muslim doctors, counsellors, scientists, and researchers are needed to work in opposition of “political correctness” and treat homosexuality as a dangerous defect rather than an “alternative life-style.” Real gay rights should include the right to modern medical and scientific advances to prevent and cure homosexuality and end the subsequent plagues they bring upon society. God (blessed and exalted is He) offers the answers; it is up to us to seek them.
O God! Grant mercy, healing, and justice to all victims of sexual crimes. / To those trapped by sexual abnormalities, / Grant the courage to get help and the fortitude to resist temptations. / Let the future hold significant advances / Toward wiping out sexual deviances / And their subsequent plagues upon society.
[Linda “iLham” Barto is a writer and illustrator in North Carolina, USA. Her books include Where the Ghost Camel Grins: Muslim Fables for Families of All Faiths, Ramadan Rhapsody: A Daily Celebration, and (to be released soon) The Bible and the Qur’an at the Edge of Renaissance: A Judeo-Christian-Muslim Compass to a World of Peace.]