Islamic Views on the LGBTQ Muslims
In today’s society, the LGBTQ community has come a very long way, but still is facing many struggles. The term LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or in some cases it can also stand for questioning. For many years, same-sex marriage has been a very controversial hot topic. The law on same-sex marriage was passed on June 26, 2015. Although the law has been passed some individuals are still against the LGBTQ society. Some individuals are still refusing to accept or having a difficult time accepting the members of the LGBTQ society. The LGBTQ community has faced many struggles within their society, relationships, and workspace on a daily basis. A huge challenge the LGBTQ community faces is within their own religions. When you think of gay marriage the first religion that jumps in your mind is Catholicism on gay marriage. Rarely ever does the Islamic views on LGBTQ issues come to mind.
Islam is one of the second largest religions in the world after Christianity. Controversy had split the Muslims between the Sunni and the Shi’a. The Sunnis are the majority of Muslims. Islam is known as an Abrahamic religion, therefore it shares a thread of Christianity and Judaism. Abraham was the first believer in the one true God and it was Abraham who built the Kaaba, a place of peace. The prophet is Muhammad born around 570 AD, he is known as the messenger of God. He is known as the final prophet and he had received the revelations from God. Muhammad got the revelation of the Qur’an, which is known as the holy sacred text. The Qur’an is the literal word of God which was memorized by Muhammad and there are a total of 114 Surahs. The Qur’an teaches the oneness of God, that there is no trinity only one God, the prophecy is real, Muslims should believe in an afterlife, and so on, Another source the Muslims follow is the Sunnah which is the way of life through Muhammad. Hadith is the reports that were collected by Muhammad’s companions. These are all to be studied by people who are faithful to the Islamic religion and also scholars. The main belief is that there is only one God and no other and the messenger is Muhammad, this is known as the Shahadah which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The most essential teachings of Islam that relate to the worship practice of Muslims is the Five Pillars of Islam. The first pillar is Shahadah, which is where Muslims need to declare their faith by saying “There is no God but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” The next pillar is Salat, the daily prayer. Muslims need to pray five times a day. The whole purpose is to always think about God and make time for him in your everyday life. Zakat is next meaning almsgiving, almsgiving is to give a portion of the money to the community. For example, you can give money to the Mosque or you can help the poor. Sawm is the fasting through the month of Ramadan. Finally, Hajj which is the pilgrimage to Mecca. The goal for Muslims is to be able to make this pilgrimage once in their lifetime. If they are physically unable to make it or cannot afford to go they are able to donate some money and allow another person to go.
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In both the Muslim faith and LGBTQ community there is stereotyping. Stereotypes are all built upon opinions individuals create and hear on from others. Some are perceptions made on first-time encounters or just an image. Media has the biggest impact on peoples perceptions. Parents, peers, and educators all have a huge impact on the perceptions made as well. For example, if a child hears a negative comment a parent has to say on couples on the LGBTQ community their thoughts are already tainted on this whole topic. The first opinion they make if they see a couple from the LGBTQ community will be something negative. Some individuals would associate the term gay as something that was considered bad which led to the stereotype of why many individuals today are afraid to admit who they are or want to be. Some are so afraid their family will turn away due to their residual perception of the term gay or LGBTQ. Many members of the LGBTQ society have been harassed. Muslims are strongly stereotyped as well. Due to the unfortunate events of September 11 2001, many Muslims have had to deal with being harassed. A portion of the world had believed they were at fault and mistakenly viewed them incorrectly when they were innocent. Many individuals made assumptions on the Islamic religion and added unreal beliefs. Many Americans did not support the Muslims after the tragic events and treated them very hostile. Women were heavily harassed for the way they dressed. Many Americans felt as though it was odd for them to be so covered and there had been many incidents where they took inappropriate action. Muslims and LGBTQ members have been victims of stereotyping for many years.
LGBTQ Muslims were rarely welcomed into the mosques. The Human Rights Campaign Website says “Cultural norms and traditional readings of sacred texts often uphold a heteronormative binary of gender identification and sexual orientation that doesn’t allow for the range of identities present in today’s society. However, according to a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Center, more than half (52%) of American Muslims agreed that “society should approve of homosexuality.” Homosexuality in the Middle East is very restricted. LGBTQ members in the Middle East can be punished by death in about six of the countries that make up the Middle East. In around ten of the countries being a member of the LGBTQ community is illegal. Many Islamic scholars in the West have been looking deeper into the LGBTQ relationships and if whether or not condemning LGBTQ members is a misinterpretation. Although LGBTQ has not been accepted in the Middle East, there has been growth on this controversy in other areas. For example, there is The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity retreat in Pennsylvania and many more opportunities for the LGBTQ Muslims. In around the year 1988, gender reassignment surgery was acceptable in Islamic laws. The issue after the surgery was rejection. Many Muslims who went through with the gender reassignment surgery suffered rejection socially and culturally. Many transgenders suffered from being physically and verbally abused and found it to be very difficult finding a place where they could find peace. Only very few imams perform same-sex marriage due to there being no central convening authority allowing LGBTQ members to make a choice. There is as well very few LGBTQ imams who are still able to play a role in the leadership of their community.
Places of worship should be places where you can find peace and love in Gods presence. A mosque should not be a place where the LGBTQ Muslims have to feel alone and not accepted, they should as well feel accepted. Any temple at all should accept their LGBTQ religious followers. Just because an LGBTQ Muslim chooses to have same-sex marriage does not mean they do not have the right to pray and worship without being judged by their own faithful followers. In the United States, there is a statistic explaining that around half of the American Muslims think homosexuality should be approved, but it seems as though the Middle East is not so fond on changing their ways and accepting LGBTQ Muslims due to them still allowing individuals to get consequences. Although there is still some overall controversy on the Islamic views of the Muslim LGBTQ community it is still quite questionable on whether to not they are accepted.