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Islam and homosexuality

Penalties for homosexual activity.
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Treatment of homosexuals in Islamic countries:

According to a pamphlet produced byAl-Fatiha, there is a consensus among Islamic scholars that all humans are naturally heterosexual. Homosexuality is seen by scholars to be a sinful and perverted deviation from the norm. 1

All Islamic schools of thought and jurisprudence consider gay acts to be unlawful. The Companions of Prophet Muhammad held various views concerning suitable punishment. A fatwa cited by states:

"....this led to different views maintained by Muslim Jurists. For example:

bullet In the Hanafi school of thought, the homosexual is punished through harsh beating, and if he/she repeats the act, death penalty is to be applied.

bullet As for the Shafi`i school of thought, the homosexual receives the same punishment of adultery (if he/she is married) or fornication (if not married). This means, that if the homosexual is married, he/she is stoned to death, while if single, he/she is whipped 100 times.

Hence, the Shafi`i compares the punishment applied in the case of homosexuality with that of adultery and fornication, while the Hanafi differentiates between the two acts because in homosexuality, the anus (a place of impurity) may also be involved while in adultery (and fornication), the penis/vagina (which are reproductive parts) are involved.

Some scholars hold the opinion that the homosexual should be thrown from a high building as a punishment for his crime, but other scholars maintain that he should be imprisoned forever until she/he dies. 2

The Hanbalite school of law is "...the most conservative school of Islamic jurisprudence." It is widely followed in the Arab world. Its founder, Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855 CE):

"...argued that human reasoning was not a reliable guide to truth and that the Qur'an and the habitual behavior of Muhammad, literally understood, offered sufficient guidance for later practice. As a result, Hanbalites uniformly urged execution, usually by stoning." 3

Al-Fatiha estimates that 4,000 homosexuals have been executed in Iran since that country's revolution in 1979. Large-scale public executions of homosexuals have also been performed in Afghanistan by the Taliban. 1 The Taliban were divided on the exact method of execution. Some thought that they should be thrown off the highest building in the city; others suggested that they dig a pit beside a wall, put the convicted in the hole, and topple the wall upon them. 3 From various news reports, they settled on the latter technique.

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Books on homosexuality within Islam:

The following books are the result of a search of the book data base for "Islam homosexuality."

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Additional books:

bullet Kecia Ali, "Sexual ethics and Islam: Feminist reflections on Qur'an, Hadith and Jurisprudence," OneWorld, (2006). Read reviews or order this book safely from the online book store


Samar Habib, Ed., "Islam and Homosexuality," 2 volume set, Praeger (2009)  Read reviews or order this book. review:

"Presented in two volumes by Habib (U. of Western Sydney, Australia), this collection contains 20 papers examining a diverse set of issues concerning homosexuality in the Islamic world. The first volume concentrates on the experiences of homosexual minorities across the breadth of the Islamic world and includes comparison of the persecution of homosexuals in Islamic Malaysia and secular China, the impact of 9/11 on gay Muslims in the United States, male homoerotic desire and sociability in medieval Arabic literature, gays in American-occupied Iraq, gay autobiographical writing about the Hajj, the ideological underpinnings of gay advance in Muslim-majority societies as witnessed in online chat rooms, female masculinities and the Malay Muslim community of Singapore, and neo-orthodoxy and the debate on the unlawfulness of same-sex relations in Islam."

"Topics addressed in the second volume include the social construction of religious realities by queer Muslims, synthesizing tradition and modernity in the question of homosexuality in Islam, narratives from diasporic Muslim women on identity and gay liberation, hegemony and hybridity among queer Australian Muslims, queer Turkish organizations in Berlin and the marketing of diversity, and sexualities and the social order in Arab and Muslim communities."

bullet Badruddin Khan, "Sex, Longing & Not Belonging: A Gay Muslim's Quest for Love & Meaning", Bua Luang Publishing Company, (1997). Read reviews or order this book

bullet Scott Kugle, "Homosexuality in Islam: Islamic Reflection on Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims," Oneworld Publications (2010). Read reviews or order this book

bullet Russell Leong, Ed., "American Sexualities; Dimensions of the Gay and Lesbian Experience," Routledge, (1995). Read reviews or order this book

bullet Stephen O. Murray (Editor) & J Will Roscoe (Editor), "Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, & Literature", New York University Press, (1997). Read reviews or order this book

bullet Rakesh Ratti, "A Lotus of Another Color: An Unfolding of the South Asian Gay & Lesbian Experience", Alyson Publ, (1993). Read reviews or order this book

bullet Arno Schmitt & Jehoeda Sofer, Eds., "Sexuality and Eroticism Among Males in Moslem [sic] Societies," Haworth Gay & Lesbian Studies, Haworth Press, (1991). Read reviews or order this book

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References used in the above essay:

  1. Pamphlet by Al-Fatiha at:
  2. "Death fall as punishment for homosexuality," IslamOnline, 2003-JUL-22, at:
  3. Paul Varnell, "Punishing gays under Islam," Chicago Free Press, 2001-OCT-21, at:
  4. Osama Abdullah, "My respond [sic] to the so called 'Houses of Death' to women in Islam," Answering-Christianity, at:

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Copyright 1997 to 2011, by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last update: 2011-MAR--30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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