The authors of this article, Sakeena Sarwath and Ammarah Ishaq, are undergraduate students based in Hyderabad. They exhibit a profound interest in articulating perspectives on controversial global events, aligning them with principles derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah.

In 1868, Karl-Maria Kertbeny sparked a linguistic revolution with his introduction of the terms “homosexual” and “heterosexual” in a letter to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, later publishing them in 1869. These terms gained mainstream acceptance, particularly after Richard von Krafft-Ebing incorporated them into his ground-breaking work, PsychopathiaSexualis (1886). The 20th century saw the emergence of the term “bisexuality” to accommodate individuals whose attractions defied traditional binary classifications.Assigning the origins of homosexuality to genetics implies an inherent, unchangeable aspect, challenging perceptions of choice and lifestyle. Studies show that attitudes toward homosexuality often align with beliefs about its biological underpinnings versus personal choice.These sexual norms reflect a cultural ethos viewing sex primarily as a procreative act ideally reserved for marriage.

The LGBTQ community, while constituting a small segment of the global population, often faces scrutiny regarding the impact of homosexual behaviour on societal structures. Sarantakos, an Australian sociologist in 1996, highlighted differences in outcomes for children raised by heterosexual versus homosexual couples, suggesting advantages for the former in various social and academic realms.Challenges arise from contrasting perspectives within the LGBTQ debate. Health considerations also feature prominently in discussions. The Gay Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) underscores adverse health effects associated with same-sex sexual practices, including heightened risks of sexually transmitted infections, certain cancers, mental health issues, substance abuse, and eating disorders.The study found notable differences in self-reported STI rates across various sexual orientation groups. Heterosexual-WSMW, bisexual-WSM, and bisexual-WSMW reported significantly higher STI rates (58.1%, 51.1%, and 64.1%, respectively) compared to heterosexual-WSM (46.6%). Interestingly, gay-WSMW had the lowest self-reported STI rate (32.0%), although this rate did not significantly differ from heterosexual-WSM.

STI risk factors varied by sexual orientation among females. For instance, 75% of heterosexual-WSM women reported little or no victimisation, contrasting with 60.3% of heterosexual-WSMW, 70.3% of bisexual-WSM, 65.4% of gay-WSMW, and 55.8% of bisexual-WSMW. Additionally, heterosexual-WSM reported fewer sexual partners on average compared to other identity groups and the second lowest prevalence of anal sex, following gay-WSMW.Despite assertions linking negative health outcomes to societal attitudes, evidence from Canada indicates a concerning trend of deteriorating health among LGBTQ individuals, even amid government support for the community.Furthermore, individuals critical of homosexual behaviour often contend that their religious freedoms and freedom of expression are under threat, facing societal pressure and”cancel culture.” These dynamics underscore the complex interplay between social attitudes, health outcomes, and individual rights within the LGBTQ discourse.

In the heart of societal dynamics lies a stark contrast between Western secularism and the theocentric worldview of Muslim-majority societies. The West, in its pursuit of individual happiness, embraced contraceptives and other liberties, while Muslim societies upheld a more restrained approach grounded in moderation and divine harmony.Islam offers a middle path, advocating balance and reason, embracing sexual pleasure within lawful bounds as a divine blessing. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ emphasised the reward for the lawful fulfilment of desires, distinguishing it from sinful indulgence.However, the context of sexual relations is crucial, as it determines the divine blessing and reward associated with it.Rejecting the secular notion of radical autonomy, Muslims uphold the belief in the unseen and the dangers of succumbing to personal whims over divine guidance. The Qur’an warns against forgetting God and worshipping one’s desires instead.In essence, the clash between Western secularism and Islamic principles highlights contrasting perspectives on sexuality, autonomy, and spiritual fulfilment, each rooted in its own cultural and religious ethos.

Same-sex attraction harms the individual’s health as well as society. It is important to deal with the homosexual feelings properly. A variety of ways can help to tackle such feelings, including therapy, praying, developing healthy relationships with others and journaling your thoughts. It is essential to practice self-restraint as it helps one to behave and act according to one’s will and not be driven by emotions. It is important to ponder our belief system and faith and change our perspective towards life and people. Having supportive people around and non-judgemental individuals can act as a huge boost to overcome same-sex attraction. Feelings do not decide who you are, as the beliefs and values make a person who they are.

Adjusting your relationship with God and others and altering your habits are significant factors in overcoming these feelings, which require discipline and dedication. Though the feelings are difficult to control, remember it’s not impossible.

To those people who struggle with homosexual desires, remember that anyone can sin, even if the person is righteous. Despite the level or extent of the sin, every Muslim can be forgiven. As it is mentioned in the Qur’an [Al-Zumar 39:53] “Say: ‘O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

One who practices self-control in devotion and obedience to God is considered brave and courageous. For Muslims who are struggling with homosexual feelings, always remember that the reward is eventually more for people who are tested more.It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.”(Sahih al-Bukhari 5645). It is narrated in Jami` at- Tirmidhi (Hadith 2396, Grade- Hasan) that, “Indeed greater reward comes with greater trial. And Indeed, when Allah loves a people, He subjects them to trials.”

“The greatest jihad (struggle) is to battle your own soul, to fight the evil within yourself” (Sahih Al Jami 1129).We should strive to bring back ourselves and suppress those feelings, and don’t forget that same-sex sexual act is prohibited and that you will be rewarded for striving against your nafs/desires. It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) observed: “Verily Allah forgave my people the evil promptings which arise within their hearts as long as they did not speak about them or did not act upon them.” (Sahih Muslim 127a) Our final purpose is to prioritise devotion to God over our desires and not to sacrifice our faith.

The preceding discussion highlights how contemporary Western liberalism disentangles facets of human experience once bound by nature and religious law: sex, reproduction, and marriage/morality. It also blurs the lines between desire, action, and identity, which should remain distinct. If our desires contravene divine law, they shouldn’t guide our actions or define our identity.Historically, religious morality provided social meaning, norms, and structure, disciplining desires based on divine principles. However, today’s liberal extremism often prioritises subjective desires over all else, sometimes at the expense of tradition. Navigating these complexities requires adherence to the “three Cs”: clarity, compassion, and conviction. Compassion toward those grappling with gender identity or same-sex attraction shouldn’t entail compromising divine principles or misrepresenting Islamic teachings. True compassion involves guiding others toward what pleases the Creator, and upholding ethical standards with confidence and humility. Contemporary LGBT discourse may challenge Islamic teachings on sexual ethics, but these ethics aren’t the problem; they offer a solution desperately needed in today’s world. It’s a Qur’anic imperative to uphold our ethical standards with wisdom and kindness, recognising that Allah knows best who is guided and who has strayed. This is our command, which we’re bound to fulfil with grace and integrity.

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