How do we remove homophobia from the Islamic tradition

How do we remove homophobia from the Islamic tradition


Gay Muslims are told they have to be patient and wait for death because they have no access to sacred sexuality on this planet.

When we talk about the "essence" of our traditions, we always leave something out of the way: historical reality is too complicated for the essence to be truly pure. But sometimes, the only way we can keep things up is if we ignore certain aspects.
Islamic tradition

When we talk about the "essence" of our traditions, we always leave something out of the way: historical reality is too complicated for the essence to be truly pure. But sometimes, the only way we can keep things up is if we ignore certain aspects.

The text of a job about sexual intercourse in Islamic religion, held by a Muslim chaplain at Brown University, has been online for some time now. The main idea seems to be to persuade young Muslims to abstain from sex. Sex is not only regulated by God, says the priest - specifically mentioning capital punishment for adultery - but also profoundly spiritual, his true power being felt only in marriage. If you're not ready to get married, say the job, you're not ready for sex: you have "no choice but to be patient."

If you've ever been to a camp for young Christians, you've heard about sex and abstinence without the Arabic terms or references to Mohammed. Yet, as the biblical discussion of sex and marriage tends to ignore certain things, whenever I hear Muslims talking about the "sanctity and reverence" that "Islamic tradition" gives to sexuality, a few lights are lit up in my head.


First: SCLAVIA

The Qur'an mentions the rape of slaves as a permitted sexual practice. Prior to objections to slavery in the modern age, Muslim thinkers never questioned the alleged right of a slave master to violate his slaves. They simply debated some legal issues, such as what would happen if two men would buy a woman together and then they would both violate it or if a man could violate a slave belonging to another slave.

The second light: THE MARTIAL VIOLENCE

The marriage concept of Islam is an economic transaction: a man agrees to financially support a woman in return for access exclusively to her sexual and reproductive capacities. Following that logic, martial rape has no place, because the husband bought the vagina. Contemporary studies have compared the very way in which marriage and slavery are discussed in Islam.

In addition, the ministry does not mention polygamy, a practice supported by the Qur'an, and the personal example of the Prophet. The job describes sex as the moment when two souls share the most intimate moments, but does not consider marriages involving more than two souls. In this edited presentation of Islamic sexuality, everything that does not relate to the historical moment - in short, everything unrelated to the modern vision of heterogeneous monogamous marriage - disappears.

It may be unpleasant to consider slaves rape, martial rape and polygamy as part of Islamic sex, but they are always present in our sources. Discussion about sexuality in the Islamic tradition should include mutilation of female genitalia. The practice was accepted by al-Ghazali, one of the most important thinkers in our tradition who believed not only that women's circumcision improves sexual intercourse but also helps a woman maintain her appearance. Besides these issues, a more comprehensive definition of "Islamic tradition" includes sexual practices that are not accepted by the Islamic legal tradition. The indisputable presence of homoerotic themes in Muslim mystic poetry and literature shows that Islamic tradition shares a certain space with the queer tradition. The chaplain can take homosexuality out of Islam if he speaks in certain legal or biblical terms, but claiming that there are no queer Muslims or that they have not contributed to Islamic sexuality makes Islamic tradition out of the reality. The Brown service tells heterosexual Muslims that they have to be patient and wait until marriage but tells gay Muslims that they have to be patient and wait for death because they have no access to sacred sexuality on this planet. In fact, because the job does not say anything about gay Muslims, she says they do not exist. Thinking of it, I realize that this job I read at home was held in front of a crowded room. Maybe not everyone identifies themselves as heterosexuals. The chaplain stood in front of a crowd and pretended that some people were not there.

I do not think Islamic tradition is beaten in stone or that we can truly study Islam only through pre-modern texts. As a living tradition, Islam suffers dramatic mutations. Whatever the anti-historical may be the vision of the ministry on Islam and sexuality, it also reflects what the "Islamic tradition" says for many of the Muslims to whom it was addressed. The truth is that the job has appeared in my Facebook feed just because it resonates with the current definition of many Muslims. Some of the comments I've read describe it as progressive and a step forward.

When I complained about a friend's job, he replied that there is no reason why a chaplain would include slavery in the discussion of Islam and sex when addressing a student-based audience because it is not a relevant topic for They. I've been through this, he told me. Even though the Qur'an, the sun and the thinkers who helped shape Islam, treated concubinage as perfectly acceptable, we must take into account the historical context and leave that discussion in the past.


Personally, I agree with that. But when we talked about homosexuality, he said, "Islam is clear about that." He insisted there was no place in Islam to accept homosexual relations. His statement that there is a clear position of Islam on homosexuality and, more importantly, that we have to respect this position contradicts the idea that we can ignore the acceptance of rape in the Qur'an. If we can not place queer Muslims because the Qur'an is so categorical, what gives us the right to wipe out concubinage? How can we say that we have gone through slavery-or that the true intent of the Qur'an and the Prophet, even when explicitly accepting slavery, was to gradually disintegrate it-but can not we speak of homosexual love as well?

To make statements about what Islamic tradition says, we have to become publishers. We have to emphasize that al-Ghazali has given priority to married women's right to sexual satisfaction, while ignoring that he believed in the multiplication of feminine organs. We may forget that al-Ghazali's brother, a poet, mystic and thoughtful thinker, was a lawyer of the erotic contemplation of boys as a spiritual practice. Both inclusion and exclusion are defined by your own needs. When deciding which parts of tradition are useful, we can look at those important texts and figures only from the perspective of our present. It's never just what tradition tells us, because tradition does not say anything until we have interpeted what it says in terms of our time. And every interpretation is a choice.

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