In Islam, homosexuality is regarded as a major sin, akin to adultery. In the Islamic faith, sins are classified as minor or major, and there are levels to sins for specific reasons. To gain a better understanding of why homosexuality is viewed as a sin, it is important to delve into the story of Prophet Lot(as).
According to the Quran, Prophet Ibrahim(as) accompanied by his nephew Lot peace be upon him, traveled to the city of Sodom after leaving Egypt. Sodom was a city plagued by wickedness, where the men engaged in sexual relations with other men, forsaking relationships with women. This deviant behavior eventually became known as sodomy, named after the city of Sodom. The acts were openly practiced without any sense of shame.
During this time of rampant immorality and sin, Allah revealed to Prophet Lot(as) that he should admonish the people of Sodom and call upon them to abandon this indecent behavior. However, the people were so deeply entrenched in their immoral habits that they disregarded Lot’s teachings and advice. Despite his earnest warnings about the consequences of Allah’s punishment, they stubbornly refused to listen. In fact, they went as far as threatening to expel Lot from the city if he continued to preach [Quran 26:160-171]:
Prophet Lot(as) was deeply disturbed by the immoral behavior of his people. Their reputation for engaging in indecent acts spread throughout the region, prompting him to make earnest efforts to advise and warn them against such behavior. He passionately conveyed his message, hoping to guide them away from their destructive path. However, as time went on, his mission seemed to fall on deaf ears. The majority of the people remained indifferent and refused to believe, except for a few of his family members who recognized the gravity of the situation.
Tragically, even within his own family, Lot(as) encountered resistance. His wife, in particular, was a disbeliever who not only refrained from engaging in homosexuality but also actively supported and encouraged others to continue their shameful behavior without any sense of remorse. Lot(as) found himself in a state of constant anguish, as there was no refuge for him, whether he was within the confines of his own home or outside seeking solace. Despite the immense hardships he faced, Lot(as) displayed unwavering patience and continued to strive for the well-being of his people.
Nevertheless, as time passed, the people stubbornly persisted in disregarding Lot’s message. They belittled his teachings, undermining his credibility, and daringly challenged his authority [Qur’an 29:29]:
Overwhelmed by a sense of despair, Prophet Lot(as) turned to prayer, seeking refuge in Allah to eliminate the shamefulness. In response, Allah dispatched His messengers, namely Gabriel, Michael, and Israfil, peace be upon them, first appearing before Prophet Ibrahim(as) [Tafsir Al-Qurtubi 11/160]. This gesture was a testament to the respect and honor accorded to Prophet Ibrahim, who was recognized as the father of all prophets. The angels informed Prophet Ibrahim about Allah’s plan to grant him a son and also shared with him the impending punishment from Allah that awaited the people of Lot due to their persistent engagement in immoral and sinful behavior.
Learning about this divine revelation, Prophet Ibrahim peace be upon him grew concerned, particularly about the well-being of Prophet Lot(as). He expressed his worries, fearing that the punishment might also extend to his righteous nephew [Qur’an 11:74-76]:
As the angels concluded their encounter with Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, they proceeded towards the city of Sodom. Upon their arrival, the first person to notice their presence was Lot’s daughter, who happened to be by the river, drawing water into her jug. Astonished by the incomparable beauty of the three men, she hurriedly ran to her father and informed him about the young visitors waiting at the gate. Perplexed, Lot(as) approached these individuals, inquiring about their purpose. However, they evaded his questions, instead requesting his hospitality.
While engaging in conversation, Prophet Lot(as) cautiously addressed the issue of his people’s immoral behavior, striving to persuade the visitors not to spend the night there. Balancing his concerns with the desire to treat them as honored guests, Lot suggested that they wait until nightfall to minimize the risk of being seen by others, ensuring their comfort and safety.
Prophet Lot(as) welcomed his guests into his home, ensuring their arrival went unnoticed by others. However, when Lot’s wife became aware of their presence and observed their unique behavior, she discreetly departed from the house, taking great care not to draw any attention to herself [Qur’an 66:10]:
Instead of fulfilling her role as a supportive spouse, Lot’s wife made a fateful decision. She secretly ventured out to the people of Sodom and began to actively spread the news of the visitors among the townsfolk, all without her husband’s knowledge or consent [Tafsīr Al-Qurtubi 21/102-104]:
“Lut’s wife used to inform others about their guests. And it is mentioned that no wife of a prophet has ever betrayed her husband. This is the consensus among the commentators, as mentioned by Al-Qushayri. Their betrayal was only in terms of faith, as they both were polytheists. Some have said that they were hypocrites. Others have said that their betrayal was in the form of spreading news when Allah revealed something to them, which they disclosed to the polytheists.”
The people of Sodom, having discovered Lot’s guests, immediately confronted him, causing confusion as to who might have informed them. Lot’s wife was nowhere to be found, and her betrayal became evident. Disturbingly, the people began aggressively pounding on Lot’s door. Desperate, Prophet Lot(as) pleaded with them to leave his guests alone and fear the punishment of Allah. He reminded them that they were permitted to seek sexual fulfillment within the confines of their marriages, as ordained by Allah. In that moment, Lot peace be upon him yearned for the power to protect his guests, but he felt helpless, unable to prevent the impending harm. Sensing his distress, the angels, in their guise as young men, reassured and comforted Lot, assuring him that he had nothing to fear. They were angels who would ensure his safety. The banging at the door ceased as the people heard the angels speak, and they departed from Lot’s house, hurling insults at him. The angels cautioned Prophet Lot(as), advising him to leave his home and take his family with him, with the exception of his wife.
In accordance with Allah’s command, the destruction of Sodom unfolded. A powerful earthquake shook the entire city, causing it to crumble and collapse in a single cataclysmic event. The skies unleashed a torrent of stones that rained upon the doomed city, obliterating everything in its path. Tragically, among those who perished was Lot’s wife, succumbing to the divine punishment that befell the sinful inhabitants of Sodom [Qur’an 15:51:77]:
The story of Lot(as) serves as a powerful reminder of the severity of the punishment that Allah unleashed upon the people of Sodom. It is crucial for us to grasp that manipulating the interpretation of the Quran to suit our personal desires is unacceptable. As Muslims, we understand our time here on earth is limited, swiftly passing by as if it were merely a day or two. We strive diligently to devote ourselves to preparing for the Hereafter, seeking our place in Jannah. Should we succumb to temptation, we humbly seek refuge in Allah and turn to Him in repentance, knowing that He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful [Qur’an 47:31]:
Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad(ﷺ) also addressed the issue of homosexuality, making it unequivocally clear that such behavior is deemed unacceptable within the framework of Islam [Sahih Muslim 338a and Sahih Bukhari 5886]:
In this hadith, the Prophet(ﷺ) forbade men from looking at the ‘awrah of other men, and likewise, women from looking at the ‘awrah of other women. This contains two commands: the command to cover the ‘awrah and the command to lower the gaze. Allah has pardoned the unintentional first glance that falls upon what is prohibited, given the need for distinguishing the path, movement, and walking. The prohibition of looking and directly engaging with the ‘awrah occurs when there is no necessity. However, if there is a legitimate need, such as in the case of medical treatment or similar situations, then looking is permissible, provided it is done to the extent of the need and without any lustful intent.
Furthermore, the prohibition applies to individuals who are not spouses. As for spouses, each of them has the right to see the ‘awrah of their partner in its entirety. The prohibition is stricter when it comes to men looking at the ‘awrah of women, and vice versa.
The Prophet(ﷺ) also forbade one man to be alone with another man under a single garment, and likewise, one woman to be alone with another woman under a single garment. This means that they should not be in a state where their bodies are uncovered, in direct contact, with no covering in between. The essence of the prohibition is to prevent any physical contact between their ‘awrahs, and touching them is prohibited just like looking at them, but it is even more strongly forbidden due to the greater harm it can cause.
The prohibition specifically mentions men with men and women with women because some might mistakenly think that being alone in such situations allows them to look and reveal their ‘awrahs
The Prophet(ﷺ) cursed those who seek to deviate from the natural disposition (fitrah) that Allah has created for them. This includes men trying to resemble women or women trying to resemble men. Such acts are considered sinful and deserving of condemnation. They lead to being deprived of Allah’s mercy. Therefore, it is not appropriate for men to resemble women in their clothing, adornments, manners, and actions that are specifically attributed to women. Likewise, it is not permissible for women to resemble men in matters that are specifically attributed to men.
Those who have been influenced by Western liberal ideas may argue that the verses of the Qur’an that explicitly condemn homosexuality are instead referring to adultery or rape. However, this assertion is not supported by any reputable classical or contemporary scholars, and it lacks logical coherence. To illustrate this point, let us examine the following verse from [Qur’an 7:81]:
If we accept the argument that this verse is referring to rape, it would imply that the verse is instructing men not to rape other men, but rather to engage in sexual violence against women. The same interpretation would apply to adultery. The message of the verse is clear and straightforward. It explicitly states that engaging in same-sex relations is considered a transgression. The verse does not mention rape or adultery. It addresses the act of men lusting after men and engaging in sexual intercourse with them. This understanding aligns with the interpretation of classical and contemporary scholars and reflects the consistent teachings of the Quran on this matter.
The interpretation of these verses regarding same-sex relations is one of consensus among scholars and is based on the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Deviating from this consensus and asserting that what is prohibited is permissible goes against the principles of Islamic jurisprudence and can be considered a form of disbelief (kufr). The situation becomes even more concerning when someone not only rejects the clear meaning of these verses but also openly advocates for such behavior. Publicly promoting sinful acts poses a significant threat to the Muslim community (Ummah) and necessitates corrective action. It is crucial to address this issue publicly in order to uphold the principles and values of Islam. Persisting in such behavior after being advised against it would again amount to a violation of Islamic principles and could be considered an act of disbelief (kufr). It is imperative to prioritize the well-being and integrity of the Ummah by promoting righteousness and discouraging actions that go against the teachings of Islam.
As Muslims, we have a responsibility to adhere to the teachings of Islam and maintain our commitment to its principles. This includes rejecting homosexuality and not engaging in its promotion or endorsement. We should also refrain from supporting laws in countries that promote or impose it, regardless of whether it is considered a “constitutional right” or not. Our faith takes precedence over any man-made laws, and we should never compromise our religion for the sake of non-believers (kuffar). It is important to prioritize our devotion to Allah and uphold the values and teachings of Islam in all aspects of our lives, and الله اعلم.