The Holy Quran does not say to go out and kill gay people
On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack/ hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States. He was shot and killed by Orlando police after a three-hour standoff. Pulse was hosting Latin Night and most of the victims were Hispanic. It the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history.
Once again Islam was in the lime light for breeding hate against LGBT and prescribing severe punishment against LGBT individuals. Therefore, purpose of this article is to explain Islamic perspective on same sex relations in societies.
There are two sources of law in Islam: the Holy Quran and Hadith. There is a general principal about validity of any Islamic law. If a commandment in certain Hadith is found to contradict the law in the Holy Quran then that Hadith automatically stands null and void. Keeping this basic principal of Islamic law in mind, let’s see what the Holy Quran and Hadith say about relations of LGBT individuals.
It is also important to differentiate between having a different orientation and being a practicing gay/lesbian. There is no law or commandment related to those individuals who may have different orientation but are not indulged in homosexual acts. These individuals have rights, respect, status, privileges and place in society just like any other individual in society. No one; state or individual; is authorized to say, do or take any action against them.
Homosexual acts are considered as SIN by all religious scriptures. Torah says that it is a detestable sin.
“Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin”. (Leviticus 18:22)
New Testament says that such acts are abomination and individuals committing such acts should be put to death:
“If a man also lies with mankind, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13)
The Holy Quran says that committing such acts is exceeding all bounds and transgression. It is an abomination. These statement is testified by following verses of the Holy Quran:
And We sent Lot — when he said to his people, ‘Do you commit an abomination such as no one in the world ever did before you? (7:81)
‘You approach men with lust instead of women. Nay, you are a people who exceed all bounds. (7:82)
‘Do you, of all peoples, approach males ‘And leave your wives whom your Lord has created for you? Nay, you are a people who transgress (26:166-167)
And We sent Lot; he said to his people, ‘You commit an abomination which none among mankind has ever committed before you. ‘Do you indeed come lustfully to men and cut off the highway for travellers? And you commit abomination in your meetings!’ But the only answer of his people was that they said, ‘Bring upon us the punishment of Allah if thou speakest the truth (29:29-30)
Punishment in Quran for individuals who indulge in same sex activities
As described above there is no punishment for those individuals who do not indulge in homosexual acts. It must also be emphasized that there is no mention of killing those who indulge in homosexual acts. However, there is a prescribed punishment for men and women who are found to be guilty of such lewdness publicly. There is a precondition of having four witnesses before the punishment can be given.
For guilty men the punishment is on case to case basis and no punishment after repentance
For guilty men, the Holy Quran says:
And if two men from among you are guilty of it, punish them both. And if they repent and amend, then leave them alone (4:17)
For guilty women the punishment is home confinement:
The punishment for such women is home confinement. There is no corporal punishment prescribed by the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran says:
And those of your women who are guilty of lewdness — call to witness four of you against them; and if they bear witness, then confine them to the houses until death overtake them or Allah open for them a way (4:16)
Ahabith prohibit same sex acts:
Abu Dawud said: From here I remembered this tradition from Mu’ammil and Musa: Beware! No man should lie with another man, no woman should lie with another woman except with one’s child or father. He also mentioned a third which I have forgotten
Following hadith is popularly quoted widely to portray that Islam prescribes the death punishment for same sex acts:
Narrated By Abdullah ibn Abbas : The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done. Abu Dawud 38:4447
For those who base their law on Hadith, let us be reminded that anything in Hadith which contradicts the teaching of the Holy Quran stands null and void.
Why the Holy Quran prescribes punishment:
Open immoral acts harm society and help its propagation. This is another general principal of Islamic law that punishments are generally prescribed for those acts which are likely to harm society at large. Individuals are punished only when 4 witnesses are there.
Video: Islamic Views on Homosexuality (Urdu)
Punishment for Communities/Nations
Apart from individuals, the Holy Quran also warns communities and nations who indulge in such acts. Allah shows His wrath towards them and if they fail to repent, ultimately destroys them. Story of the People of Lot (as) who were openly indulged in such acts is described in the Holy Quran
About People of Lot, Allah says:
We are surely going to bring down on the people of this town a punishment from heaven, for they have been rebellious (29:35)
And We rained upon them a rain. Now see, what was the end of the sinners (7:85)
Then We destroyed the others. And We rained upon them a rain; and evil was the rain for those who were warned. (26:173-174)
And He overthrew the subverted cities of the people of Lot (53:54)
MTA program: Faith Matters
Discussion on Homosexuality: Nature VS Nurture and punishment in the Holy Quran- from 5:30-7:7 minutes:
Acceptance of Homosexuals (from 2:24 -5:15 minute):
A recent study om orientation- Gays are not born this way: