Sheikh Yasir Qadhi response to a question on homosexuality

The following article is an edited transcription of a response that Sh. Yasir Qadhi gave to a question posed to him in a class that he taught recently in London.

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Q: Shaykh, I have unnatural urges and feel attracted to members of the same gender. I don't know what to do about this, can you please give me some advice.

Answer: While this is a very disturbing question to some people, it is something that needs to be mentioned and discussed publicly.

It is possible that some people have urges that are considered abnormal by others. Sometimes, from a religious perspective these urges would indeed be classified as abnormal. But simply having such urges does not justify acting upon them.

In our religion,  the discussion of whether these urges are because of 'Nature' or 'nurture' is really quite irrelevant. And by this I do not mean that we don't have an answer to this question. As Muslims, we believe that the fitrah that Allah created us upon is that, in terms of sexuality at least, opposites attract. But it is possible that some people have corrupted this fitrah themselves, or it has been corrupted by external methods. And it cannot even be ruled out that for some, the change in this fitrah is beyond their control.

But the point  is – and that is why I say the question is irrelevant to the Shar'i ruling –  even if somebody has such urges, it does not justify them acting upon it. Rather, what we can say to those who feel attracted to the same gender is that having such urges and conquering them is a part of the test Allah has given them. Each one of us is tried in different ways, and merely wanting to do an act is not justification enough to carry it out. Imagine if we were to open this door, and legitimize acting upon an urge merely because it existed!

So, the question arises: what does a person who has such feelings do?  As I've said, the fact that you have such feelings doesn't mean you act upon them. If Allah has tested you in this manner, then that is a part of your test and trial, and Allah says in the Qur'an, 'And Allah does not burden a soul with more than it can bear.' The claim that merely having an urge legitimizes it is extremely flimsy.

I say that I'm attracted to women. Does that legitimize going after every woman I'm attracted to? Of course not. We all have our desires and urges and we must all battle them. So if you experience urges that are unnatural, you must battle them, and without doubt Allah will reward you for that.

Another point to realize is that the urge, in and of itself, is not sinful. It is simply a desire, and desires are beyond our control, hence we are not accountable for them. But to allow such feelings to persist without trying to control them is problematic. In any case, the urge in and of itself is not sinful, on the urge is what incurs sin. As long as the desire remains in the realm of feeling, you are not accountable on the Day of Judgment, but the second that this desire is manifested in a physical action, you are liable for all that follows.

Lastly, even if you have acted upon this urge – and we seek Allah's refuge from this – know that this would constitute a sin. Yes, a major sin, and one that most people would be disgusted by, but realize that it is a sin alone and not kufr. Hence, even acting upon it and committing a major sin does not expel you from the fold of Islam. However, to stand up and justify it, or defend it, or write articles claiming that it is Islamic, without a doubt constitutes kufr, and not merely sin.

So, my dear brother who wrote this question – and you are my brother in Islam, even if you have such feelings – I want you to know that I sympathize with you, and I also appreciate your honesty and sincerity. I advise you to seek counseling, and to go to people who will understand your situation and who can direct you in a more specific manner. I understand as well that if you go to many of the typical imams of the masjids, they would not sympathize with your situation at all and would probably make matters worse for you. I understand that you cannot go to such people. But you will find sympathetic ears to listen to your problem, insha'Allah.

And remember that marriage is a solution, so you should seriously consider it. The Prophet Lut 'alayhis salam told his people, “These are my daughters, they are more pure for you.”  Some scholars say that when he said “daughters”, he is also implying the women of the town and not just his own daughters. So he's telling the men of his community who were guilty of this crime to go and marry women, for they are better and purer for them. Marriage is a solution, because sensuality and sexuality is something that can be satisfied – rather it be satisfied – by the opposite gender within the confines of marriage.

Try to repel these urges, do not act upon them, take immediate steps to get married, and throughout all of this, put your trust in Allah and continue making du'a to Him, and I pray that Allah makes your situation easy for you and blesses you in this life and the next.

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