Same-Sex Love

Let’s talk about homosexuality, which my previous article does not. I actually don’t like the term “homosexuality,” and I prefer the title of this article, but I’m using the word here because I know you all are searching it when you’re looking for my legal opinions on this website.

No one, not even patriarchal scholars, will dispute that the story of Sodom involves rape. But there are two types of exegetes approaching the recitation: those who read the rape in Sodom as a primary sin, and those who read it as a secondary sin—secondary to the “sin” of same sex relations when projecting their agendas onto the Qur’an. The latter who identify rape in Sodom as a secondary sin are, quite frankly, self-invested and appalling in their implications. Aside from the moral depravity in downplaying how sinful rape is, a Muslim claiming that the story of Sodom is about same-sex relations and not rape is claiming that the Qur’an permits rape as long as it is the rape of women. They are free to state clearly that this is what they mean. They are also free to admit that according to their interpretation, all of the women punished in Sodom were punished because they, too, were commanded not to approach men and instead approach women, rendering their entire interpretation an advocacy of same-sex relationships.

The main verse commonly cited as “evidence” of the Qur’an’s supposed anti-LGBTQ position is 26:165-166 and its refrains (7:81, 29:29), and I want to take a moment to examine it here.

Do you approach males
among the worlds
and abandon what created for you
the God/dess of your spouses?
No! You are a people

The verse is conveyed in an interesting structure. Rather than stating outright that the people of Sodom love/lust men besides women and that this is the transgression, the Qur’an asks a question. “Do you approach men lustfully besides women?” The recitation then proceeds to answer its question in the negative, affirming that the sin is (1) committed by heterosexual men and (2) rape, not homosexuality. This is consistent with the Qur’anic use of “bal”—“no!”: it is always to negate or correct a previously alleged belief. The sentiment in 26:165-166 is posed as a question, not a statement, and answered in the negative: the rapists of Sodom do not lust foreign men; rather, they subjugate them.

In other verses that adopt this question-answer structure, the translation often reads, “but rather/in fact”: And they said, “Our hearts are wrapped.” But, [in fact], Allah has cursed them for their disbelief, so little is it that they believe. 2:88. The distressed proclamation, “No!” (bal) both emphasizes the direness of a situation and negates its misdirection: they may believe their hearts are wrapped, but really they have been cursed. Take the very next instance it happens in the Qur’an: Is it not that every time they took a covenant, a portion of them discarded it? But, [in fact], most of them do not believe. 2:100. They did not take a true covenant because they had not in fact ever believed. It’s interesting then that translators have chosen to do the opposite in verses concerning the activities in Sodom, in which they’ve frequently chosen the affirmative i.e. “indeed.”

A correct translation of 26:165-166 is “Is it that you approach men lustfully besides women? No! But rather, you are a people transgressing.” It is not out of the human emotion of love or lust that Sodom sins. It is out of a greed for power. The answer that the Qur’an provides to its question corrects the belief that the surah is about homosexuality. It is about rape. The question-answer structure of these Qur’anic verses is routinely a mark of compassion from the God/dess, a gesture that S/he would negotiate and consider human complications in worship.

My disciple Misha and I will be co-writing a full exegesis regarding this in June. Until then—

You can claim same-sex love is an abomination all you want, but don’t pretend your bigotry is sourced from the Qur’an. You’ll have to look elsewhere to justify it. And you do. No one who has argued with me has ever successfully been able to stay Qur’an-focused and resist venturing into pseudoscientific articles to find “support.”

7 thoughts on “Same-Sex Love

  1. Pingback: The Rapists of Sodom – the fatal feminist

  2. Shybiker

    Good. Thank you. It’s important for people within religions to make the case as you do. Heathens like me are easily dismissed as non-believers whose opinions don’t matter. Your opinion matters.


  3. Leila

    My dear sister, I find your argument to be faulty. Specifically, in two points.
    I do not claim extensive knowledge of the interpretation of the Quran, neither in Arabic nor in translation; however, what I can confidently claim is that your interpretation of the translated ayat above vastly differs from that of Islamic scholars who are knowledgeable in the linguistics and grammar of the Arabic language. I’m sure you realize how important it is for Islamic scholars to master the Arabic language before making any interpretations of the Quran themselves, as Quranic Arabic, for which the Quran is validly deemed a miracle, is far more complicated for even the average Arabic speaker to comprehend. That said, if any interpretations of the verses should be based on their grammatical structure, it would only be logical this would be in the Arabic language, the grammatical teachings of which extremely differ than that of the English language or any other language.
    The other point I find faulty is that as I’m sure you know, there were several verses addressing the people of Sodom in the Quran, and at least one of them does not address them in question form, but rather directly as a statement by the Prophet Lut (alayhi alsalam) himself. And Allah knows best.
    Last but not least, I feel that it would make little sense if most, if not all, the Islamic scholars throughout history until today who definitely agree that the verses are clear cut in their content—that homosexuality is a great sin in our religion—are wrong and “self-invested and appalling.” Those people are very careful in their interpretations of the Quran, as making faulty interpretations is a sin in and of itself, hence why they seek extensive Islamic studies before they can come up with anything. I suggest that, as I will do myself In Shaa Allah, you do more careful studying and delving into the matter yourself and to refrain from interpreting the verses in your own words so as to avoid falling into this sin.
    May Allah guide us all, In Shaa Allah.


    1. Thank you for writing your thoughts. There is no substance to this comment despite its length, and in fact, it contradicts itself. A person cannot so pedantically state that Arabic is different from English—no one said otherwise—and then proceed to entertain the point about the “question form,” as though it were not just upheld as an example of difference in her argument. I wonder why it is we cannot be honest about for whom we decide to lay down the 101 about language and interpretation like this.

      Your second point (and the only legitimate one) is referring I think to verse 7:81. (I typically don’t bother cite verses for those who can’t be bothered themselves, but I’ll make an exception.) However, 7:80 poses the question, not 7:81, and the question in 7:80 is whether the people of Sodom have committed an immorality unlike any committed before them. To this, the response is yes, “indeed.” Lut then says “the men” as opposed to “men among the worlds” speaking specifically to the men in Sodom lusting after each other’s power and abandoning their spouses: this portion of the story points out the excess sin of adultery. Even this verse uses “bal” to negate lust—this cannot be ignored. We cannot pretend an entire word in the Qur’an does not exist.

      The simple fact is that you, dear sister, are only reciting the basic tenants of translation and interpretation as though I haven’t given them any thought because you disagree with the conclusion. Scholars are certainly self-invested and appalling. I suggest you refrain from fearfully lecturing and discouraging women who are braver than you in their efforts, and I will do the same, inshA Allah.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Umar Faruq

    Really enjoyed your article and I would love to be able to pick your brain some day and have a discussion about Islam in a progressive tone! :)



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s