54 thoughts on “The People of Sodom

  1. In the Christian Bible, it's suggested in (iirc) Isaiah that the sin of Sodom was inhospitability.Besides, the whole "the sin of Sodom is homosexuality" idea requires one to imagine the following scene:Angel: God, sir, some angels are being raped in Sodom.God: Those bastards. I'm gonna get my smite on!Angel: Very good, sir. (turns to leave)God: Wait a minute… is it heterosexual angel rape?Angel: Yes sir. God: (settles back in his God-throne, unconcerned) Then everything is right in the world. What's on CNN?


  2. LOL!! Yes yes Ozy a thousand times yes! Were the angels actually raped in the Bible? In the Qur'an they got away because they were protected by God and such.


  3. I believe God doesn't let the rapists into the house in the Bible. (Also, Lot offers up his virgin daughters to the mob. Biblical family values!) Still, attempted angel rape is, I am pretty sure, still a sin.


  4. Couldn't have said it any better, sister! How I would have loved to share some of this when I spoke on an interfaith panel at a lgbtq event, months back. Though, I shared the same idea, I don't think I was quite as eloquent as you. ;) I think the message was still recieved so that's all that matters. But you have a gift for writing. Masha'Allah. That's all I really wanted to say. Keep it up! :D


  5. No, it doesn't. The translation from both Yusuf Ali and Shabbir Ahmed translate that verse as "your wives." Yusuf Ali's make the implication by adding (to marry) in parenthesis. I'm guessing they retrieved it from context, considering that sex outside of marriage is forbidden, and clarified it in their translations. He didn't just suggest that they have sex with the women–these were the women to whom they were married, and with whom they must have had children already for the civilization to have even existed with a population.


    1. I agree with Rabia’s point that the Arabic of verse 15:71 actually doesn’t at all mention (or even imply) “your wives.”
      I do agree with Yusuf Ali’s interpretation of it and your elaborate and well-written explanation of it, but I’d merely suggest that with such “controversial” topics, you want to be mindful of the original Arabic text and explain in a footnote-note like statement why you choose the interpretation you’re discussing. This is only to be intellectually honest with your readers, as I doubt many would review the Qur’anic verse in question and might incorrectly assume that this is the only way to read this verse– and it’s not. It’s one way, just like another way is the traditional, popular way.

      As for the topic of homosexuals and Islam, have you read Scott Kugle’s Homosexuality in Islam? You probably have, but if you haven’t, it’s a must-read for all those interested in the topic. It, too, offers a non-traditional viewpoint, a breathtaking approach, really.


      1. P.S. I like that you’re focusing on the rape or forced-sex part of the argument and not the homosexuality of it. I, too, believe that the Qur’an makes it clear that Lot feared that his people were going to come and force themselves on his guests, rather than just be intimately involved with them in a respectful manner.


      2. I didn’t have many readers when this post went up and started the site mostly for my own notes, but I hope that now I’ve been better at explaining in interpretations instead of ranting as though I’m alone. xD And yes I’ve heard of that book! I’ve got it on my list. =) Thanks!


  6. I'd like to expand on what Nahida said. I believe that when we translate between two languages, we attempt to hold on to the actual meaning of the words rather than the literal translation itself. We can never translate perfectly, which is why it is vital to preserve and refer to the original language. In the case of the Quran, especially, because the language is so old, even if we apply to it a modern understanding of Arabic we come short of the meaning. We will not read it today the way the first converts did; to them it must have been much more obvious that when Prophet Lut said, "my daughters" he was not referring to his blood daughters but daughters to whom he was a father through prophethood: the father of a civilization. The way in which ideas are arranged and understood was differently structured. To understand the Qur'an goes beyond the literal and into incorporating all details of it as a whole into each verse.


  7. What about 7:81?" You gratify your lust with men instead of women. Indeed you are a people who are transgressors of all limits!"Just like to take your input :)


  8. That was the verse that said women that is supposed to be interpreted as women to whom they are married. The fact that he would probably not endorse them raping women confirms this, and it is also confirmed by the fact that the men weren't actually gay since they had freely chosen to reproduce. It makes sense that Prophet Lot would then make a statement that alludes to, and you don't even like men!–with but you gratify your lust with them. In addition to disingenuity the keyword of the verse is "gratify." They "gratified" their lust (by raping) and they did it by committing both the sin of rape and the sin of sexual intercourse outside of marriage. If they had simply been attracted to men, even sexually, and had not acted on their attractions outside of marriage, they would not have transgressed these limits.


  9. I think it's also important to acknowledge that the men raped visitors particularly to shame them and strip them of their masculinity–and rapists most often do this because they view femininity as a lesser form. I don't believe that when Lot said "lust" he was only referring to sexual lust; people don't rape for sex–they rape for power and vengeance and hate. Prophet Lut was not suggesting, to be clear, that the men rape women instead, but if they are raping to strip men of their masculinity: that is a very particular reason to rape men, and in the situation it's not surprising that it was pointed out.


  10. so it's the lust for dominance/power?it surely is an interesting take at this. I'm not sure how flexible the arabic word "shahwa" can be. I'll certainly look it up though.Thank you for your input :)


  11. Shahwa is used in the Qur'an for food to describe an appetite as well as sex. Well, more acurrately, it's used for both at the same time. But that's already showing quite some flexibility. =)What's also interesting is that every time the Qur'an repeats variations of that line (you lust after men) in the story of Lut, God is quoting Lut, and what Lut had said. God isn't telling us that this was the sin of the people of Sodom, but rather that Lut said it was.


  12. OK. I just went to the dictionary, and ironically, there was only *one* of the meanings which meant sexual lust and in that case, the word "sexual" was added to the phrase: "ashahwa aljinsiyya". All others the word either referred to the lust of power, lust of money, desire to meet someone… which makes sense, because the word goes back to the root of shahiyy, which means delicious/pleasurable, and that can link back to pretty much everything :)


  13. Pingback: ‘PolitiChicks’ talk nonsense about Islam « Thou Winter Wind…

  14. asifshiraz

    I think there are quite a few logical flaws in this article. Some originality as commendable, but its merit is being eroded away in employing those original arguments to spin a particular conclusion, whether or not it follows logically or not. I will only point out one problem (out of the many). If that can be explained, I will go over to the next.

    This article is trying to suggest that engagement in homsexual rape, as opposed to homosexual sex, was the primary sin of these people. So the author starts off with calling them serial rapists, capitalizing the word rape and saying they did it over and over again. The attempt here is to console homosexuals with the idea that as long as they are not committing homosexual rape, consensual homsexual activity is okay in Islam.

    However, the logical premises of this conclusion are very weak owing to following points.

    1. Attempted rape of the angels is only example of rape that we have. Not logically sufficient to conclude that rape was rampant in that soceity. Even if conclude that it was, see point 3 below.

    2. Even if the primary sin was rape (as opposed to consensual sex) then rape applies equally to men and women. If the community was rapist, and like the author stresses, people had wives also, suggesting that straight sexual activity was also going on, then we have no evidence of women being raped anywhere in the quran or the traditions. This again brings the focus back not on rape, but on the orientation of the rape.

    3. Lastly, were the people being raped themselves rapists on other occassions, because if they were, then it really takes away the whole point of rape and makes it merely an extended sexual orgy with occassional forcible encounters. However, if the rape argument is held, then we must have rape victims who themselves were not rapists, and whose should not really have been destroyed becuase they were victims and not transgressors. Since the whole community was destroyed, it is gives credence to the conclusion that everyone engaged in this activity by consent, and only the ‘outsiders’ were attempted to be raped by this community as a whole. Within the community, much before the angels arrived, back to the date where Lot prayed to God to separate him from them, the primary sin was not rape, but consensual homosexual sex.


    1. Rape was rampant in that society, which is precisely how Lot knew that men would attempt to rape the angels: they regularly raped outsiders and visitors. This is a cultural aspect with which he was familiar.

      It is mendacious, irrational, and laughable to assume that women were not raped in such a culture, whether marital rape or otherwise; additionally, the presence of straight sexual activity proves nothing–it does not bring the focus back on the orientation of the rape. It is the reader who makes that shift of focus according to their own heightened awareness and mistrust of homosexuality (that it must somehow be “different” and focus on orientation the same way that a crime committed by a person of color as opposed to a white person should focus on skin color) conditioned by culture rather than objectivity, and most disastrously it is a shift that suggests that God would allow a society with rampant heterosexual rape to remain when it is inarguably an unspeakable sin. Rape is rape–had the story involved heterosexual rape, you would not then jump to conclude that homosexual rape is a lesser evil.

      The whole point of rape is not taken away just because rapists are raped. That is disgusting.

      I don’t doubt that there were indeed rape victims who were not themselves rapists, but what this article doesn’t emphasize is that these were a people who had weaponized sexuality: rapists rape to degrade, to “lower” a man’s status to that of a woman so that the one who is penetrating is perceived as dominant and powerful, classic misogyny. Women are perfectly capable of internalizing patriarchal tendencies and committing such atrocities, acting as agents. It was not a man who had betrayed Lot and announced to the people that there were visitors, but a woman. I don’t doubt women weaponized sex as rape to degrade anyone who was a threat to power, or for any reason. In telling the men that there were visitors when she knew what they would do, she was freely engaging in rape culture, as was the entire community. To not take these factors into account is beyond simplistic. Furthermore, to state that because the whole community was destroyed the sin must have been consensual homosexual sex while simultaneously claiming that there must have rape victims who themselves were not rapists who should not have been destroyed is an inconsistency in the critique, because if that were true women would not have been destroyed with the men.


      1. asifshiraz

        Lets look at the premises again.

        A. Both Men and Women were raped in this soceity.
        B. Rape is a crime equally abhorrent whether homo or hetrosexual.
        C. These people were condemned and punished becuase of this practice of rape.

        If all the above premises are true, it is logical to conclude that censorship should be directed towards rape in general, and not a narrowed down version of rape relating only to rape of men.

        Why then, is the condemnation limited to homosexual rape, as in verse 026.165.

        It is Quran’s choice in this verse to highlight this verse, which make the shift of focus objective, rather than based on cultural preferences.conclusion objective, instead of cultural


        1. Because you’re missing pieces. This does not highlight the atrocity of homosexual rape over heterosexual rape; rather, it addresses the situation in context of the nature of rape that was most rampant, of which women as well as men were agents, and the misogyny it signified. This is consistent with the language of the Qur’an in various places, including a verse in which the association of daughters to God is explicitly forbidden: not to suggest that the association of sons with God is less forbidden, but because it was revealed to a people who worshipped goddesses while simultaneously burying their daughters alive, thus reviling their misogynist hypocrisy. So the men were pursing men, while they had women, not out of a search for intimacy, but to degrade other men in the act and create a culture of oppression. The focus is not the orientation, but the degradation: the rape.


          1. asifshiraz

            This is a good example. The association of sons and daugthers to God is equally forbidden, but only daugthers were mentioned becuase this is what was being practiced. By the same token, in this soceity, rape of men was more common, and so it was mentioned. Do you agree that it was more common than rape of women?

            If yes, then we have to discover the causes of why it was more common. The simple explanation is that these people were preminently homosexual. The alternative explanation you want to give is misogyny. But how does that explain why it happened overwhelmingly with men. If someone hates women, why didn’t they rape women equally as they did men? How does your “misgony is the cause of rape” explain why it was more common with me.


          2. You are still applying a modern perception of sexual identity to an era during which differed in it from our understanding: there was no heterosexuality, there was no understood homosexuality, or bisexuality. These terms are modern confinements: in other words, who you had sex with did not define your identity or even your sexuality (to which sex you’re attracted) like it does in our society today. What’s much more likely is that Lot’s society was similar to Greek society, or even to Elizabethan society, in which people of the same sex would bed with each other but would ultimately marry the opposite sex to establish the familial unit. In such a society sexuality was not a defining part of your identity; rather, masculinity (dominance) and femininity (submission) defined identity and status.

            This fosters a far different mentality than ours: men took male lovers for “serious love” because women are viewed as inferior, only married for children, and men would elevate these relationships over their wives, especially in warfare. Those who dominant are the ones who penetrate. Women exist in an entirely separate sphere, and misogyny further establishes itself amongst men through the perception that the feminine or “submissive” role is inferior–the role of the one who “receives”, a sentiment naturally internalized by women as well (in Lot’s story) and adopted to remove from power or to overpower.

            Your question–“why didn’t they rape women equally as they did men if they hate women”–assumes that their society and culture conditions individuals the way ours does and functions like ours on a dynamic level. Furthermore, there is the additional angle–as evidenced by the statement that they took men while they had women–that they valued men as a sex more than women as a sex in such a society: this does not qualify as a homosexual preference by which a man would genuinely love another man; it qualifies as misogyny. Thus your question also assumes that the referenced verse explicitly mentions having sex with men because of regularity rather than intensity, or the degree of misogyny. The verse I mentioned, forbidding the associations of daughter with God followed by condemnation for burying daughters alive, is not solely focused on regularity but the degree of hypocrisy (they don’t value daughters and yet they associate what they render valueless to God, while taking what they perceive as valuable [sons] for themselves, yet claim to love God.)

            You’ve also conflated two aspects–sexual attraction and violence–in your assertion that (1) if they hated women they would as regularly rape women and that (2) the fact that they rampantly raped men must mean they were preeminently homosexual. These are holding two different standards for rape, based on sex.


          3. asifshiraz

            The absence of an understood terminology around a concept does not imply that the concept never existed. Homosexuality, where a person feels sexually attracted to another of the same gender, is not only a modern phenomena. Even if taking it as a concious sexual identity might be.

            A person in Greek or Elizabethan soceity who felt attracted to men, but took a wife to develop a familial unit and have children, would still be called a homosexual today, even if at that time such identities did not exist.

            What you are saying is that in this soceity, even if a person were not to be a homosexual, in that he did not feel sexual attraction towards other men, but he would still want to take up male sexual partners only because he viewed women as inferior. Can you point me to any evidence which suggests that this was the dominant cultural practice in any soceity?

            In absense of any convincing evidence to establish this, the only reason why people took up more consensual male partners than women, and chose to rape more men instead of women, is that they were predominantly homosexual, i.e. desired sexual gratification from men instead of women.


          4. I never said the concept didn’t exist: I said the construction that having sex with ONLY the sex to which you are attracted, or that having sex with someone of a certain sex defining your entire sexuality, is a concept as novel as marrying for love. I’ve explained clearly why they would rampantly rape men, noted that the verse remarks on degree rather than regularity, and described the nature of weaponizing sex; you insist continuously that it would have anything to do with attraction. It does not, (any more than marriage did.) Otherwise, men taking male lovers because they viewed women as inferior has been referenced in several literary pieces representing their respective societies (Achilles and Patroclus, Antonio and Bassanio, etc.) in which the misogynist construction of the society is apparent in both the literature and evident in the characters involved.

            In fact, misogyny and disgust of women in the gay community is still present. Today the source is less likely to be the hatred of women than the fact that they’ve been oppressed and forced to find women attractive (naturally developing a deep resentment) but I’m surprised you find this so difficult to grasp, especially considering the tendency of homosexual activity (by otherwise straight men) to be most employed in artificially homosocial environments like the army, or prison–so in answer to your question, yes, I can name such a society.

            The Sambia (in New Guinea highlands), after having emerged from incessant tribal warfare, have such hostility and rigid gender roles between the sexes that men refuse to even enter the same quarters as women viewing them as “dirty polluters.” Instead young boys, after reaching the age of five or seven (I can’t remember which), would be forcibly taken from their mothers and initiated into communal mens’ houses. Men lived together as a group in these houes, where women were banned. The boys are taught to never speak to and not even glance at a woman. They are conditioned from an early age to have sex with men, even though they don’t find men sexually attractive. From a young age they fellate older men daily until puberty, and they are told that a healthy consumption of semen is as necessary for growth as breast milk. I won’t go into the details; you get the idea. When a man has sex with his wife solely for the purpose of reproduction, he is always above her, to ensure as little contact with her “polluting” vagina as possible. After they are married, they are no longer allowed to have homosexual sex.


          5. asifshiraz

            Let me recap the conversation.

            Your article takes the position that the primary reason why the Quran condemns the people of sodom was because they were rapists.

            Temporarily taking it at face value, I asked you why men were specifically mentioned.

            You gave the associating sons and daugther’s with God example, to suggest that both were raped, but men were predominantly raped more.

            I asked doesn’t this predominence suggest that the soceity was essentially homosexual. To which you have replied that rape does not occur for sexual inclination, but as a display of power or other pscyhological motivations, giving the example of Sambia.

            Now here is why this is not convincing.

            1. Apart from a very generic assertion that “some non-sexual” reasons must have existed for the people of Sodom to rape men, your theory does not have any detailed about why they would do it, and what reasons can you cite for concluding that. In case of Sambia, we learned that as part of children’s training, they are deliberating put in an homosexual environment, which is also temporary. In case of Sodom, we do not know any details about their culture, so a theory that non-sexual reasons existed for predominence of raping men, is equally good or bad as a sexual theory. In the US e.g. more women are raped then men, and more people are straight then homosexual. This is a clear indication that rape, inspite of its psychologicla aspects of violence and power, definitely has a sexual aspect to it.

            2. Secondly, the Quran has specifically said about the people of Sodom that they took men as “zauj” over women, which throws the whole rape theory out of the window, which relies on a single incident of the people of Sodom wanted to dishonor the Angels. Indeed, that is an excellent setting for them to express their hatred and violence, which naturally could have expressed through an attempted rape, this incident is not a commentary on the rest of the soceity went about, (i.e. raping each other, according to you).


          6. It is not part of the children’s “training” it is from a culture developed after the warfare, from which men are then artificially removed when placed in marriage to establish families. You asked for a society where this happens, and I provided one; have you just decided now that the details in the story of Sodom are not sufficient for this? But I see they are sufficient to be compared to ours.

            It is not accidental that the men wanted to rape the angels to show their hatred and claim dominance, and that this was their chosen method, the root of which is misogyny, as patriarchally inherent in men who rape each other in prison and refer to the victim as their “bitch”. (There’s your own comparison, right at home.) In the days that lapsed I’ve lost interest in this, because I don’t find you have anything new to offer that I haven’t heard, and in fact, your statement that you have not seen victim-blaming happen anywhere with an obscure exception tells me there is a severe lack of understanding between us in regards to reality. Particularly considering that I never gave you “a very generic assertion that ‘some non-sexual reasons’ must have existed” and instead provided straight out and in detail what that reason is, whereas you’ve depended on a conveniently widely accepted and highly generic explanation of rape. From the point of view from which you attest this and your position of insisting that there is a sexual aspect solely because more women are raped in the US (I suppose they’re all women the rapist found sexually attractive then?) is a conspicuous and, to me, a nearly insulting disconnect. I’m uninterested in going over the basics of rape culture and patriarchal perpetuations. I will leave your arguments here, naturally, along with mine, and readers may conclude what interpretation is most acceptable for their personal observance. Thank you for your thoughts.


          7. asifshiraz

            If you want to believe something, no one can stop you from believing it. Most of the people visiting your blog are people looking for an excuse, wanting to accept a certain position and then holding on to whatever little hope you may provide them that such an excuse is possible.

            First of all, there is little difference between culture and cultural training. Secondly, the fact that these people are given regular female spouses after this period of “warfare” indicates that this soceity is still predominantly heterosexual, with a period of homosexuality enforced upon them, not because they hate wome, but because they are afraid to love women too much such that it starts affecting their masculinity and ability to engage in war with complete detachment from them.

            The only thing which this one single example illustrates (as opposed to lots and lots of examples of almost every other soceity in the history of the world) is that under uxtremely unique and somewhat abnormal cultural influence, men may be forced to engage in homosexuality against their will. However, this is more like a child being dragged to a school agains this will, and less of child labour thing where they are forced every day to perform things they don’t want to. Or in other words, I cannot imagine of a situation of rape where the person being raped becomes so much conditioned to accepting it that a short number of years later, he himself becomes the perpetrator. I cannot imagine of a woman or man being raped, and as a result of this rape, be conditioned to become a rapist a few years later. I seriously doubt the cultural conditioning in this soceity is anything compared to the kind of rape which modern day interpretation of the act is.

            Anyways, even if I accept this argument that this non-sexual cultural rape conditioning is possible and something similar must have been operative at Sodom also, then you have absolutely no way of justifying the verse 26:166 in which Sodom’s homosexuality is attributed to their preference of taking man as “consorts” which clearly has an element of preference of one over the other. This distinguishes this soceity fundementally from the Sambia example, because there, they take women as wives afterwards, and the homosexual relation ends.

            If this conversation ends here, I would like any other reason to explain this last part, which deconstructs the whole rape theory.

            As far as the only supportive argument you have about raping the angels is concerned, I would love to see a control experiment conducted in a prison to prove your point. Offer the prisons rapists some girls everytime they try to rape a person, and I will see how much your argument holds. That is exactly what Lot did to prove the point i.e. he offered them to marry his daugthers instead of raping the angels. Secondly, there is reason to believe that these people had hatred and aggression against Lot and everyone associated with him which is again evident from another verse in the Quran 26:167. It is natural for hatred in this case to caus aggressive behaviour like rape. But to take that is a dominant behaviour even among their own selves, is simply a stretch of your imagination simply becuase you desparately want to derive a particular conclusion from this narrative. There is no supporting evidence to indicate that, nor even a theory about why this chould have been the case.

            Lastly, a few words about blaming the victim. I understand how sensitive feminists are about this issue, and if you are so much put off by it that you no longer want to discuss the subject, this is fine. But I will leave a few parting thoughts.

            The whole concept of “blaming” has to be clearly understood and defined. When I say I have never seen a victim being blamed, I say this it is one of the favourite charges of feminists that “men” are not symphatic to the plights of women, and men are insensitive hence they blame women as the victims. I wanted the person saying this to come up with concrete examples so I could refute them in context. The fact is that I have really never seen a many, even a Mullah, who says that the victim is to be punished, or the perpetrator of rape not to be punished. This is the sense in which I refer to being made “responsible” i.e. meting out appropriate punishment, which is soceity’s standard way of ensuring that such behaviour is not repeated. As far as punishment is concerned, I have not seen a single person say that there is no punishment for rape because the victim is to be blamed.

            However, you are probably taking it in the completely other sense. Where religious people advocate that all men and women in a soceity adhere to certain decent norms of behaviour, not doing around naked or drung e.g. and inviting disaster. This form of “blaming” is part of civilized discourse, e.g. when Senator Ron Paul states that the United States foreign policy is partly to blame for 9/11. This does not mean he, or anyone, is exonnerating Bin laden. It simply means that after years and years of aggressive and skewed foreign policy, the United States “had something like this coming”. And this is not some Muslim saying it. It is their own Senator saying it. Ofcourse I have seen many Muslims say it too. But the context here is not to say “Oh bin laden is innocent its the innocent people working in their offices in 9/11 that are blame for their own deaths”. The context is simply to signify that completely separate from this debate of terrorism, there is need for a debate to analyze the actions and events that Fareed Zakariya only superficially touched in “why do they hate us”.

            Similarly, in case of women, if sometimes it is said that they themselves “invited disaster” by their specific behaviour, which the Quran has itself denounced also, then that is not equivalent to blaming the victim. It is simply discussing a totally different aspect of the whole thing. Ofcourse such discourse should be done in deference to the sensitivities of the victim so as not to offend anyone, but that discourse has its own place. I agree that sometimes it is done very inappropriately, but the intention is never to exonerate the rapist!

            Anyways, I do not expect people frequenting this blog, looking for an excuse to justify homosexual behaviour, to appreciate much of what I have said. So good luck to them. I know a few cool dudes who are gay and single and looking… so ping me if interested! :)


          8. Dear everyone,

            I’m publishing this comment, which is problematic in countless areas (and in manners that violate the comment policy), to amusedly reveal what you might like me have already suspected: a mansplainer wishing to inform you that suprise! he knows better than you who does or doesn’t hate you (regardless of whether they believe your vagina “pollutes”), understands rape culture better than you, compares rape to children being dragged to school, and who casually suggests experiments where women are made available to rapists.

            I apologize to any gay readers for his unnecessary, immature jab at the end (maybe if you were all more “logical” by the standards of logic he set himself and not desperate for an excuse? also, feminists, why you gotta be so over sensitive about rape? geez!) and assure you no more of his comments will be accepted after these violations.


          9. asifshiraz

            Coolred38: Whole idea that the reason of Sodom’s destruction was rape is doubtful, so your comment does not apply that why rape of one gender is more horrible than that of the other. It is not. And as far as blaming the woman for rape, I have not seen it happen anywhere, except in very very specific connotations in which its expression is not that out of the place as that of a lot of other civilized discourse.


  15. Coolred38

    When people discuss the fact that women are raped…we tsk tsk and say oh what a shame etc etc but when we discuss the fact that men are raped as well (if we even discuss it) then a whole new dynamic is added to the conversation. Women are raped and it is almost accepted in society that this will happen (unfortunately) and we can and do discuss it while also condemning it (while also blaming the victim more often than not) but when men are raped we are horrified and I have never ever heard of a man being blamed for his own rape. The rape of man is abnormal and so pointing out in religious text that you rape men when you have wives at home is pointing out just how abnormal the society of Sodom was. The rape of women is expected and accepted (for the most part) so why mention it…the rape of man with such frequency that even angels have to fear for their own safety is clearly not normal and worth mentioning and destroying a city for.


    1. Lola

      I think this is answered in Nahida’s comments, when she talks about the extent of sexism against women that the rape signified. Not just women, but the very representation of women (ie all that women are said to have as qualities like “submission” and femininity) in the act of rape is destroyed.


  16. I can’t resist replying to the last of Asif Shiraz’s comments you let through, Nahida…

    “If you want to believe something, no one can stop you from believing it. Most of the people visiting your blog are people looking for an excuse, wanting to accept a certain position and then holding on to whatever little hope you may provide them that such an excuse is possible.”

    Yes, welcome to human nature. This is a well known cognitive bias. Everyone suffers from it and has to watch out for it, including yourself. When you state a commonly known fact like this it comes across as patronising.

    “Secondly, the fact that these people are given regular female spouses after this period of “warfare” indicates that this soceity is still predominantly heterosexual, with a period of homosexuality enforced upon them, not because they hate wome, but because they are afraid to love women too much such that it starts affecting their masculinity and ability to engage in war with complete detachment from them.”

    You are making assumptions about the Sambian culture without providing any anthropological citations to back them up.

    You say the Sambian men don’t “hate” women, but are afraid to “love them too much”, and therefore Nahida’s claims of misogyny are unfounded. You either don’t understand what misogyny means in the context Nahida is using it, or are using a narrower definition.

    It is very common for misogynists to claim that their practices are rooted in love or respect for women. For example, a fundamentalist Christian or Muslim man might claim that he wants his wife to be constantly covered up, or never leave the house, or submit to the will of her father/husband, not because he’s a misogynist but because he loves and respects her too much to let her leave his sight or be exposed to the world. The fact is that by denying her independence and agency he is being misogynistic, regardless of how much loving and respectful language he dresses it up in. Regardless of the motivation of the practice, if it harms women’s rights and lowers their value in society, it can fairly be described as misogynistic. For example, in some cultures female genital mutilation is carried out by women, who claim it is actually good for females.

    As for the Sambians, if they do denigrate women in order to detach themselves for war, they are still practicing a misogynistic tradition. I don’t have a deep knowledge of the Sambian culture and neither do you, but you’re making pseudo-factual statements about their motivations.

    “Or in other words, I cannot imagine of a situation of rape where the person being raped becomes so much conditioned to accepting it that a short number of years later, he himself becomes the perpetrator. I cannot imagine of a woman or man being raped, and as a result of this rape, be conditioned to become a rapist a few years later.”

    In this paragraph you reveal astonishing ignorance. It is well demonstrated that victims of child sexual abuse, for example, have a much higher risk of become sexual abusers themselves in later life. In other words, what you “cannot imagine” is actually a stark reality when the targets of abuse are young enough. In most pre-industrial Middle Eastern societies, boys and girls were considered sexually mature and ready to be married off shortly after the onset of puberty or menarche (in some special cases even younger, e.g. A’isha). Thus it is extremely likely that sexual activity in cities like Lot’s (assuming he’s based on a real historical character) began at ages like 13, which we consider part of childhood, at which stage a child’s personality and sexuality are still developing and are susceptible to moulding by cultural practices. If homosociality and dominance-based homosexual rape were part of the sexual culture, children as young as 13 or even younger would have been participating in it, perhaps as victims when they were younger and abusers when they were older.

    This kind of thing still takes place today. See, for example, the so called “dancing boys” of Afghanistan. Boys who are forcibly taken as orphans or bought from poor families to dress as women, entertain, dance, and sexually satisfy older men. It is inconceivable that all these boys would have grown up to be gay, yet they are at high risk of becoming abusers themselves. The most difficult thing is hearing victims saying things like, “When I grow up I’ll have my own boy, as well as my wife.” The abusers express disgust at women, saying things like, “Women are dirty, stupid etc.” The problem is exacerbated by societies which promote strict gender segregation and male supremacy, and deny women the right to education (e.g. by throwing acid on schoolgirls faces). Together with ideas about females being unclean due to menstruation, it all promotes a society where women are seen as dirty, polluting, intellectually inferior, and so on. It’s not suprising that in such an unhealthy culture, men would prefer the company of each other to an “inferior” being, who is necessary for bearing children and doing labour.

    “This form of “blaming” is part of civilized discourse, e.g. when Senator Ron Paul states that the United States foreign policy is partly to blame for 9/11. This does not mean he, or anyone, is exonnerating Bin laden. It simply means that after years and years of aggressive and skewed foreign policy, the United States “had something like this coming”.”

    BAD example. The US has historically manipulated regimes, toppled democratically elected leaders, redrawn national boundaries, ignored sovereignty rights and killed thousands of people in those countries. This is not comparable to wearing a miniskirt or being drunk. The US has caused actual harm and you know, murdered people. Self defence against violence can be justified.

    A drunk woman in a miniskirt is harming no one and has done nothing to provoke attack. How the hell is a rapist defending himself from her? Where the hell is the equivalence?

    And by the way, many ideas that are part of “civilised discourse” are sheer prejudice.

    “Anyways, I do not expect people frequenting this blog, looking for an excuse to justify homosexual behaviour, to appreciate much of what I have said. ”

    Why, because what you said was condescending, judgemental and unsupported by evidence?

    Because you prefer to scan the Qur’an to find excuses to justify homophobic behaviour? What you find in your holy book says more about your own heart than it does about book.

    I don’t need to justify my homosexuality any more than you need to justify your heterosexuality. And if I were a Muslim, I would trust the reason, compassion and conscience my Creator endowed me with to guide me to the right path, over the hateful inanities spouted by His self-appointed representatives on Earth every day. Luckily, as an atheist, I don’t have to deal with this crap.

    “I know a few cool dudes who are gay and single and looking… so ping me if interested! :)”

    Why is that religious homophobes always have a few token gay friends they love talking about to show how wonderfully tolerant they are? What self-respecting gay person would want to be friends with you? I assume these friends are imaginary? I doubt you could stand being in the same room as an actual Gay Person ™ let alone being buddies with one.

    But I will definitely ping you when I’m interesting in having a token dim-witted religious fundamentalist friend to show everyone how tolerant I am.


  17. A great blog and love the comments, even the one ignorant contributer showing himself up to be… well other commentators have put it far more eloquently than I’m tempted to be.

    I’d primarily like to add a resource to this conversation which also highlights the different contexts when speaking about same-sex attactions between men and that of between women:

    Will also be posting this discussion on our Twitter @safraproject and Facebook http://on.fb.me/qWctAC accounts
    Fi salaam


  18. Doodles

    Could you please tell me the ayah where anal sex is forbidden? It’s just I’ve always been confused about the prohibition’s Islamic origins. And thanks for the great post!


    1. Anal sex is not explicitly forbidden in the Qur’an. Most people interpret it to be forbidden from 2:222, which appears to forbid all penetration during menstruation without excluding anal penetration, from which it is assumed the latter is always illegal. You might say that doesn’t cut it (does that mean oral penetration is always illegal?) and you would have a decent case, but that’s the origin of the fatwa.


  19. Pingback: Literate Perversions

  20. Dora

    Even if I think what you usually say about women is right, in this I disagree with you… Why Allah created Adam and Eve? Why women and men? They re complementary and this is actually the occidental society that makes us believe that homosexuality is totally normal, as drinking, or whatever and then takes the advantage of the fact it s haram to stigmatize Muslim ,as usual, because they re necessarily homophobic. Personally I m not but I completely disapprove homosexuality. (sorry for my bad English, I’m from France)


    1. Hello Dora. Your English is fine, but you if are more comfortable articulating your arguments in French (safer with these sensitive subjects to express oneself in a language with which she is most familiar) you are free to do so. I would understand you in French as well.

      The Qur’an makes no claim that men and women are complementary, and in fact describes that they are “of similar nature.” Explain, for example, the existence of intersex individuals. The sexes are a spectrum, not a pair of complementary oppositions, and if you read the verses of the Qur’an you will find this model much more compatible with its philosophy than the Western adoption of “opposite sexes.”

      Secondly, in relying on the model that male and female are opposites to argue that homosexuality is abnormal, you are conflating sex with sexuality, which are necessarily two different things.


  21. blank

    Anal sex forbidden:

    1 – It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “The one who has intercourse with his wife in her back passage has disavowed himself of that which was revealed to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).” Narrated by Abu Dawood (3904); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

    2 – It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah (SAW said: “Allaah will not look at a man who has intercourse with a woman in her back passage.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1165); classed as saheeh by Ibn Daqeeq al-‘Eid in al-Ilmaam (2/660) and by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.


  22. Zeena

    Salam! I love this post, it was very enlightening. However my brother is adamant against this argument and presents me with Qur’an verse 7:81. What would your response be?


    1. The verse is referring to the women to whom they are married; to interpret it as referring to any and all women would be starkly contradictory to the rest of the Qur’an that teaches not to lust.


  23. muslimgirl

    hi! i read the article and all the comments but my english isn’t great so my question is what did the women do to get punished? also have i understood it right that men were raping because they wanted power and to degrade others, although they had wives who they had children with they didn’t want them not because they wanted sex with men but because they were hungry for power?
    thank you in advance to anyone who replies


    1. Salaam muslimgirl,

      The women were complacent, and even helped the men engage in this behavior.

      A lesson for us all unquestioningly supporting men in power I think.


  24. ccandelario430

    Well, to be fair, homosexuality was never an issue in mainstream islamic society until the past few decades, so I would assume most muslims have traditionally belived that rape was the main sin of Lot, not consensual sex. In addition, Mohammad himself, according to thee Quran, is said to have specifically chosen what was likely a homosexual man (“one not attracted to women”) to be the servent for his wives and daughters. So I would say it is a non-issue according to the Quran. Lastly, if we look at the modern countries wich follow “Islamic Law”, homosexuality is illegal yet there are only maybe 1 or 2 cases of people actually being prosecuted for such a thing; 10% of the population are likely homosexual, yet only 1 or 2 people every few decades are arrested. Think about that. It seems to me that while there may be laws against homosexuality, most islamic societies today are still indifferent to it.



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