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The Strange Elephant in the Room: Struggles, Passions and Hopes

https://stocksnap.io/photo/VJ6AE96VCQBy Waheed Jensen

Ever since I began trying to understand life, one of the crippling realizations about the Muslim communities I reached was this: we tend to bury our problems in a dark hole, dismiss them and hope they will never come back to haunt us. But they often do. We overlook many of our familial, social and cultural issues until they multiply and are about to explode in our faces; at that point we are notorious for pointing fingers and crying over spilled milk. Our room is filled with elephants that we barely have an inch to stand, yet we remain oblivious and hope things will get better.

Allow me today to describe one of those elephants. A strange elephant. Allow me to dissect it and hand it over to you, that you may ponder and hopefully open your heart and mind.

Let me start off by saying these three words: I am gay.

Even though you do not know who I am, and maybe the mere fact that I just came out to you right this instant may offend you, confuse you, or drive you away from reading the remainder of this article. Let me assure you, this is not one of those articles that tries to promote homosexuality or deliver an airbrushed and Islam-oriented version of all those pro-homosexuality arguments. Yes, I am gay and I am Muslim, and I am here to offer you a small glimpse into a journey of struggles, passions and hopes. I do not intend to delve into the story of Prophet Lut and his people, talk about the evolution and progression of the LGBT community during the past century, present arguments for or against same-sex relations, or even try to prove my own opinion. I really hope you can read and reflect, and I pray that this small effort of bringing the picture a little closer to you might make the slightest bit of difference in raising awareness, and hopefully open healthy discussions on the topic.

I wholeheartedly believe, in concordance with Islam and its teachings, that sodomy is a major sin. I am against same-sex marriage and intercourse, and I am not in favor of any progressive movements that attempt to explain Qur’anic verses about People of Lut or sodomy from a modernist or post-modernist approach – in other words, arguments that try to find a leeway and claim that that is a legitimate Islamic perspective. I hope that this will not drive away readers who are excited about the topic but may be uncomfortable with my statements. I have adopted this position after years of introspection, research, counseling and personal prayer, and I am coming forth today to share with you some of those experiences.

Homosexuality has been present in humanity for centuries, and for as long as it has been there, homosexuals have been struggling with themselves, their families and society at large. To me personally, there was always something different. I could feel it in me from a very young age. Something that I could not explain to others, because I thought they would not understand, let alone accept, or maybe because I was too young and immature at the time that I was not entirely sure what ‘it’ was. It crystallized around puberty; when all the raging hormones started kicking in, those tendencies became obvious. And then the real struggle began.

The struggle led to an explosion of questions. “Why am I different? Why am I not like the rest of my friends or family members? Is this even normal? Am I sick?” Not finding the proper answers, I kept on putting these questions aside. “Maybe it’ll go away. Maybe it’s just a phase.” In my case, it never went away and it was not a phase.

With time I learned that this is something abhorred religiously, culturally and socially. So I tried to adapt. “How do I balance between the feelings and tendencies I have with what my religion, culture and social norms dictate?” So I began a journey of self-exploration and interacting with others, learning from religion, media as well as prominent persons, like religious scholars and major social figures. My schemas kept changing and I kept on adapting.

Many of us may be brave enough to rebel against what others seem to ‘dictate’ on us, while others suppress their urges, often hiding their identities from those closest to them, generally out of fear, or maybe because they are not just ready to come out yet. I belong to the latter group. To this date, I have never had the courage to tell my parents or close family members, but I have come out to a close friend of mine a few months ago, and he was extremely supportive Alhamdulillah (all praises to Allah).

One of the most dangerous pitfalls I have personally experienced was thinking that God hated me. He was mad at me. “I must have done something wrong in my life to deserve this ‘punishment’… If God does not accept homosexuality, then why am I a homosexual?” Whether Muslim or not, people struggling in silence can be more prone to deviating to dangerous paths. So you find many struggling homosexuals also dealing with bullying, drinking problems, substance abuse, domestic violence, poor academic performance, career problems, pornography or sex addictions, sexually-transmitted diseases, mood disorders like depression and anxiety, and many other issues.1  I had my own share of bullying, academic problems and mood disorders. Our struggles multiply with time, and many even contemplate suicide.

This is especially true in cases where the individual tries to discuss the issue – often it is just those desires or thoughts that are tackled, not the actual act – with his/her parents or family members who are not receptive to those ideas. If not shown sympathy, care and love, he/she is often shunned, harassed, scorned and sometimes even tortured. A lot of gay men and women are forced into arranged marriages, taken to local Imams to ‘heal them from their calamity and wrath of God’, or even killed.2  Some of them take their own lives by themselves. Others live in constant torment while some flee their homes and families in search for a more welcoming environment. That and many have not even yet engaged in any sexual acts whatsoever.

This is why I, along with many fellow homosexual Muslims, find the Western alternative very striking: it offers acceptance and understanding. Things that we dearly miss in our communities, even though we may realize deep down that there is something terribly wrong, the fact that there is someone who accepts us and fights for us and not against us is incredibly more appealing. When we try to talk to other Muslim seemingly-pious and God-conscious brothers and sisters about our sexuality, and are shunned by their lack of empathy, respect and understanding, would you find it surprising that we take comfort in talking to non-religious people about our struggles in hopes to find an open mind and a loving heart? Ironically, the spirit of Islam is all about empathy, tolerance and understanding, yet the practice of Islam carried out by many Muslims shows the opposite.

Trust me, I understand that it is a difficult topic to open up with others, especially people coming from conservative backgrounds. It is difficult news for you to receive, just as it is difficult for me to handle, let alone share with others. However, the fact that I choose to come out to specific people means that those people are exceptionally special to me. To us. It takes a lot of courage, incredible determination and a full dose of anxiety and fear to even think about coming out to someone, that you can imagine the damage we have to endure when the other person dismisses us or shows no empathy or mercy. It seems like a lot to handle if you ask me.

I remember the first time I decided to come out to someone, I was going through an overwhelming period in my life, yet Alhamdulillah I had some seeds of piety and religiosity inside me. I was around 18, and he was a non-religious psychologist and counselor. I went to an appointment with him, tried to beat around the bush but ultimately came out to him. And he was accepting. Later on, I found out that many struggling homosexuals came to him for advice and counseling. I was hoping that, with the aid of therapy, my orientation would change – this is scientifically known as reparative or conversion therapy; while many studies have been conducted on it and some patients have reported success, a great number of psychiatrists and counselors have reported failure and more harm done to the patients than good. The progress of my visits culminated in him putting forward the idea of accepting who I am and going all the way with it – in other words, experience my entire sexuality without restraints. At that point I was really uncomfortable with his proposal as it was against my Islamic beliefs and my own virtues.

During that same period, I was doing my own reading and researching, trying to find a proper Islamic ‘solution’, crying for help and praying that I be guided to what Allah pleases. One of the most heartwarming responses was given by a psychiatrist who also has profound knowledge of Islamic shari’ah (legal rulings). He was hosted on a TV show, and he was speaking so graciously, so open-mindedly, that his words hit the right chord and I was immediately awe-struck. I cried after finally having found an answer with which my heart felt ease. And that was pure bliss, Alhamdulillah.

The gist of the talk is the following: homosexuality as an orientation is a disorder in one’s fitrah (human nature and disposition). ‘Treatment’ of such a disorder involves therapy, familial and social support, personal discipline and a whole lot of other things. However, this therapy, which is tailored on a case-by-case basis, may or may not work. The mode of therapy is different between individuals, just like every case of homosexuality is different between people. Mind you, the term ‘therapy’ here is used loosely to mean dealing with the issue from different aspects rather than reverting one’s sexual orientation.

If many of us, homosexuals, dive deeper into our childhood and upbringing, we can pinpoint certain events that have taken their toll on us one way or another. Many of us have experienced child abuse, be it sexual, physical or intense emotional abuse that was brutally damaging to our body and soul, or lived in dysfunctional families that ultimately caused a lot of psychological damage.3  I for one had my own share of psychological and sexual abuse as a child from people closest to me, and witnessed intense domestic violence that crippled my mind for a decent period of time. Such events were incredibly powerful that they became ingrained in my psyche and took their toll on my thinking and behavior.

Others have been desensitized to issues related to sexuality and gender roles from a young age, that their perception of masculinity and femininity is quite erroneous. I can recall several stories of struggling homosexuals I know who grew up in homes where one parent was more dominant in their life (e.g. present most of the time while the other was absent, provided greater emotional, psychological and social support while the other did the exact the opposite), such that either parent’s gender became more dominant on their lives and personas, and hence their perception of gender and sexuality deviated from the normal.

It is worth noting, however, that many people grow up in normal environments with no such issues during childhood, yet end up finding themselves attracted to the same gender. So there is no discrete thumb rule or cause as to whether someone will end up identifying as a homosexual or a heterosexual. It is not a simple black or white situation.

In addition to the above, it has been asserted that there are other acquired causes – we are bombarded on a daily basis with sensual and sexually-explicit material, from billboards, magazines and newspaper articles, to online material on social media websites. Sex and sexuality are heavily emphasized in TV shows, readings and discussions, whether openly or not. We have become accustomed to seeing semi-naked and naked bodies, our concepts of beauty, femininity and masculinity have radically evolved over time and we have become desensitized to these matters.4  There is an unbelievable amount of time and resources spent on creating better bodies: muscular, dreamy and good-looking men, and gorgeous women with ‘perfect’ facial and body features. In addition, many of the inter- and intra-gender boundaries have drastically changed over time. Taken together, these matters overwhelm the human mind, and the effects are undoubtedly palpable.

Again, these and countless other events affect people’s heart, mind, body and spirit differently. People struggle to cope in different ways. Some people, like myself and countless others, may eventually find themselves with a specific worldview, having had a culmination of experiences, as well as a specific orientation that may or may not be modifiable. Just like these examples are struggles in and of themselves, homosexual thoughts and tendencies are no less than struggles as well.

When I see married men and women sharing affection, enjoying companionship and raising children, it hurts. A lot. Not the jealous I-hope-they-lose-all-that kind, but the painful realization that this is not something I can ever attain. Because of my situation, my ibtila’ (struggle in life), the idea of marrying someone from the opposite sex is not practical at all or even fair for me or my potential spouse. Many shuyukh advice homosexuals to get married for their tendencies to dissolve; while this may work with a handful of people, a large number of us does not find it physically or mentally plausible. Many of the things other people, including those shuyukh themselves, take for granted – like relationships, marriage and having children – are the exact things we struggle with day in and day out. Personally, and unlike Muslim heterosexuals, I do not have safe and lawful options through which I can channel and fulfill those desires. Therefore, I try my best to remain steadfast and struggle for the sake of Allah. If that is not incredible Jihad, I do not know what counts as such.

While it may seem unfair and even preposterous to some people to keep struggling and not fulfill our desires, especially in this time and age, that is where the beauty lies. Within Islam, we are not held accountable for our thoughts, feelings, desires and tendencies as long as we do not act upon them. There are three ideas worth mentioning here. Firstly, Allah has promised in the Qur’an that He “does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity” [2:286]. Taken in line with Islamic teachings, this means that Allah knows how painful my struggle is and knows that I can handle it. Every time I ponder upon this idea, I am overwhelmed with incredible awe and gratitude. Of all people across centuries, He has chosen specific people for this particular test. Indeed, life is nothing but a few years and the True Life is in the Hereafter, so no matter how agonizing the struggle is, there will be an end to it.

Secondly, there is immense reward and unimaginable blessings, both in this life and the Hereafter, by staying true to God’s decree and struggling for His sake. The more the struggle, the more the rewards insha’ Allah (God willing). Lastly, and just like the popular saying goes, “when God closes one door, He opens another.” So if issues like intimacy and procreation may seem like dead ends for Muslim homosexuals, we find openings in other aspects of life. Many homosexuals across history have been known for incredible gifts in writing, public speaking, music, cinema, scientific discoveries, literature and art.5  Studies have reported that homosexuals exhibit high levels of empathy and compassion compared to heterosexuals.6  Because we have suffered and are constantly struggling, we have big hearts that know no boundaries. If we utilize our God-given gifts wisely and for the greater good, we can do wonders insha’ Allah.

Of course there are Muslim homosexuals and pro-gay rights advocates who adopt a completely different perspective. Some try to balance between their religious duties while keeping in line with their orientation; in other words, they carry out their desires yet remain true to their duties. Others denounce Islamic rules altogether arguing that in modern times, such rules do not apply, hence they call for a reformation in Islamic laws taken for granted as solid foundations of religion. Others are still struggling between balancing Islamic law and their own sexuality, searching for answers that provide them with ultimate satisfaction.

I am in no way trying to prove myself right and others wrong. This article is solely intended to highlight some of the struggles I go through as a Muslim homosexual, and I have taken the liberty at some points to speak on behalf of fellow struggling homosexuals because of our shared tribulations. Whatever your position is on this matter, I respect you and love you as a human being, your desires are legitimate and in no way make you less of a human being. However, based on my beliefs, I do not accept specific actions that you may do which go against Islamic law. And there again, you are no less of a human being and I still respect you as an individual. This falls at the heart of Islam – if someone like me who is struggling with his/her own desires can adopt such a stance, then so can everyone else. Maybe if we focus less on demonizing other people and concentrate more on helping one another, things would start to change for the best.

If you are a homosexual reading this, please know that my heart is with you. I of all people understand the daily struggles you are going through, and I salute your bravery and high spirit. Please remember that Allah is Merciful and Forgiving, no matter how much people tell you otherwise. Stay strong, and if you ever fall into the traps of Shaytan, repent to the Almighty with a pure heart and know that He accepts and welcomes the sincere. Pray to remain steadfast. Fasting is a powerful weapon so try your best to fast regularly. Also, try to do sports and channel your energy in healthy ways. Surround yourself with good company of pious people, and keep daily companionship of His Book. Pursue a higher purpose in life, for you are already on a high track. Trust me, I understand that the struggles may reach excruciating levels – it is at those moments that our inner cores are tested. Make your struggles entirely for His sake, and they will be worth it. You will come out stronger and braver than before. With today’s explosion of sexuality and acceptance of same-sex relations, do not swallow the bait. Keep yourself in company of Him for that is all that ultimately matters.

If you are a heterosexual reading this, and assuming you may be uncomfortable with such a topic, I understand that this may be overwhelming for you at first glance. Take it easy on yourself, and certainly take it easy on others. We all have our own struggles, so let us make this journey we call life a little bit less difficult for one another. Let us shift our focus from pointing out each other’s faults and instead work together for more empathy, compassion and love. There is a difference between respecting someone and accepting his/her actions; the former must be there at all times. If we disagree or have different lifestyles, and certainly if we make mistakes, please do not judge us. Bear with us. Listen to us, be there for us, for if you ever need us we will be there for you.

Even though we may not get the chance to experience what it means to have a spouse, be intimate or even raise a family in this life, I pray that Allah accepts our struggles for His sake and fulfill our desires in the Hereafter. Yes I am a gay Muslim, and I am proud – proud that Allah has chosen me and many other brothers and sisters for this particular struggle in this life. And for that, and for all His countless blessings we say, Alhamdulillah.

I hope that the worlds turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you… I love you. With all my heart, I love you.”
(V for Vendetta)

  1. Lee, R. (2000). Health care problems of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. Western Journal of Medicine172(6), 403–408. []
  2. Kesvani, H. (2015, April 18). Meet The Gay Muslims Living In Straight Marriages. http://www.buzzfeed.com/husseinkesvani/gay-muslims-in-straight-marriages []
  3. Schneeberger, A. R., Dietl, M. F., Muenzenmaier, K. H., Huber, C. G., & Lang, U. E. (2014). Stressful childhood experiences and health outcomes in sexual minority populations: a systematic review. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology49(9), 1427-1445. []
  4. Qadhi, Y. (2009, April 13). Dealing With Homosexual Urges: Yasir Qadhi to Muslim Student. http://muslimmatters.org/2009/04/13/dealing-with-homosexual-urges/ []
  5. Rictor Norton (compiler), “The Great Queers of History, Part 1: Born before 1800”, 1 May 2004 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/greatgay/greatgay.htm>. []
  6. Salais, D. A., & Fischer, R. B. (1995). Sexual preference and altruism. Journal of Homosexuality28(1-2), 185-196. []

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42 Comments

  • Assalaamu Alaikum,
    Jazakallahu khair an for such a beautifully written article! You truly have opened my eyes and made me understand what Islam is truly all about. The Prophet(SAW) was a man of compassion and I could only imagine him being compassionate towards those who struggle with this hardship. I never knew how hard it was for those who struggle with it. I only hope that as Muslims, we open up to each other and be a source of comfort and support. I will keep you and all those who struggle with this in my duas. I don’t know who you are, but I know you are my brother in Islam, and for opening my eyes, I love you for His sake, and know that I am here for you. BarakAllahu Feek for your bravery and wonderful insight!

    • Wa iyyakom Summer. Such a heartwarming comment, thank you so much for your kind words. Alhamdulillah, this is all through the grace of Allah.
      I definitely hope, as you mentioned, that we open up to each other as Muslims and be a source of comfort and support. This is especially needed during our time. May Allah make our journeys filled with His grace and blessings. Jazakom Allah khairan.

      • Assalaamu Alaikum brother Waheed,
        I would like to give you an article personally if you don’t mind, and it’s actually regarding this matter, I think i have an enough perfect solution for this, please don’t mind, but i really really wanna contact with you (like through facebook) and just to let you know a thing.
        Well, Reading the article you wrote, it seems you’re a genius. 🙂
        anyway, Please contact me if you have time.

        • Wa alaikom assalam Muhammad,
          Thank you for your comment. Sure, I’d be happy to take a look at what you have to share, please click on my name on this comment (it should be in orange) and that should direct you to my Facebook profile. Mind you, it’s only a temporary profile under a pseudonym.

      • Dear brother, your article has made me understand the situation of such people much better. I know someone who is a homosexual and muslim but is away from islam because it prohibits the act of sodomy. this article helped me understand where he is coming from. Hope he didnt find me harsh in our previous conversations. Can I get him to contact you?

  • I could not help reading your article in its entirety even though I was sitting in a tafsir class and learning about stuff that many people don’t have the opportunity to. But subhanAllah! I am blown away by your balanced approach and your eloquence in describing your struggles with so much strength and courage. Especially the paragraph below made me tear up:

    “Allah has promised in the Qur’an that He “does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity” [2:286]. Taken in line with Islamic teachings, this means that Allah knows how painful my struggle is and knows that I can handle it. Every time I ponder upon this idea, I am overwhelmed with incredible awe and gratitude. Of all people across centuries, He has chosen specific people for this particular test. Indeed, life is nothing but a few years and the True Life is in the Hereafter, so no matter how agonizing the struggle is, there will be an end to it.”

    I have had my own struggles but I have NEVER heard or read anyone explain the above ayah from the perspective of gratitude. Being grateful to Allah for such a difficulty?! Man! I feel so ashamed of my status as a “student of knowledge” because I am so far, so so far, from attaining the level of imaan you have been able to attain masha’Allah.

    I am heterosexual but I have gay friends, Muslims and non-Muslims. It has hurt when I have seen my fellow Muslims turn their backs towards their own faith. That was one of the reasons why I even decided to study Islam full time because I don’t want them to leave. I wanted the answers. I want to help. I want to know. Allah forbid, what if it is my own future child who is given this specific test in his/her life? What would I do? How would I enable him/her to keep their faith in God intact? And subhanAllah, even though we haven’t studied the issue of homosexuality formally yet at our seminary, this article will be my basis for my future endeavors insha’Allah.

    I pray that we all can practice the compassion and empathy that is so core to our deen. I come across stories upon stories of the way the Prophet (peace be upon him) dealt with broken people like us. One day I hope to share them with the rest of the world in whatever capacity I can, insha’Allah. But know that if the Prophet (peace be upon him) was around today, he would give you a BIG hug and tell you, “By Allah! You are beloved to Allah and His Messenger” the same way as he consoled an alcoholic sahabi who stopped coming to Rasulallah’s gatherings because he was so ashamed of his sin and being looked down by others.

    EVERYONE belongs in the gathering of God and I am inspired that your faith in Him is so strong. May Allah give us all the same taufiq. Ameen.

    • God bless you Sidra for your comment.
      We are all on the path towards the Almighty, and as a student of knowledge you are already on a high path so please keep us in your prayers whenever possible.
      I am grateful to know that this article serves as a starting point for you to delve into the issues of homosexuality within an Islamic framework. This really overwhelms me with happiness and awe. I would love to write more, share more and spread the word to Muslims, homosexuals or heterosexuals, about or struggles, passions and hopes. Your words have given me a push to do just that. We need more compassion, empathy and support for one another. We have a lot of work to do nowadays. May Allah make us beacons for good, and may He give us strength and determination to remain steadfast on His path. Amen.

      • Salam brother,

        I just revisited this article because I recommended it to a friend. Didn’t realize that you had commented back on my comment. It’s been a while but I want to again thank you for opening your heart to the world and letting some of us ignorant fools in.

        Please keep writing. Your perspective is unique where you’ve found peace in obedience to God and don’t deny the clear message. You choose to traverse through the difficulty of your test without calling the religion out. That’s very unique. Your submission and faith in God are both very overwhelming and inspiring. So please, write more and write again!

        Sendings lots of warm thoughts and duas your way this night as I admire your strength from far away, without ever have had met you.

  • Salam,
    Jazak Allah Khair for writing this article. I’ve been hoping for a long time that someone would write it and you did an amazing job. I know how it is to feel different from others and not knowing what to do about it or who to talk to. May Allah grant peace to hearts of anyone going through such times and make things easy for our brothers and sisters.

    (I’m not very good with explaining my point of view so bare with me). I always had this idea. You mentioned how it is impractical for you to marry the opposite gender. But it is possible to form a close and deep relationship with people who you are not sexually attracted to, like you know, enjoying their company, have the same values etc. And as long as the other person knows how you feel and is OK with it. I mean, you know, for instance, a gay can get married to a lesbian. It might work out because they will understand each others struggle, and they can work on the solution together. It is also possible for a lot of people to have a close relationship with the gender they are attracted to without getting into anything sexual.

    These are things that we as a community should totally get together and discuss, but, as you mentioned, the community does not even want to acknowledge that this is even an issue. But things are changing, and I am sure sometime soon they will start discussing these things more openly, InshaAllah.

    • Wa alaikom assalam,
      Wa iyyakom my sibling. Amen to your duaas.
      The examples you mentioned are indeed worth discussing as a community, but first there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of raising awareness on the topic, getting people to look at it from a lens of compassion and empathy rather than hate and disgust. The struggle of Muslim homosexuals is real and has always been there, and it is amplified during these times in particular.
      This is only a first step on a long journey to get to a place where we can all work together and support one another. Insha’Allah we will get there some day. I believe that through this forum, many stereotypes can be removed and the bigger picture be presented for open-minded and moderate Muslims like you to start making a difference in people’s lives insha’Allah.

  • Assalamu Aleikoum,

    Thank you for writing this article. It was eye-opening and sincere. I truly hope fellow muslims will read your article and realize that it is time to show more compassion, empathy and support to those struggling with homosexuality. It is a test, a jihad like all other life challenges. I truly admire your trust in Allah and your firm belief.

    I hope you gain closeness to Allah in this life and hope all your prayers are answered.
    Ameen

    • Wa alaikom assalam Asma,
      Thank you for taking the time to read the article. I truly hope so too. Amen.
      May Allah bring us all closer to Him and make us of the righteous, steadfast and patient. Jazakom Allah khairan.

  • Assalamu alaikum,
    Jazakallahu khair for writing such an honest and heartfelt article about something that truly needs to be talked about. This is EXACTLY how i have felt about homosexuality and many other topics Muslims shy away from discussing. You accept this as a test from Allah (I see it as one of the hardest tests given to mankind) and you are fighting to stay true to what Islam commands.
    I am not gay, but I truly feel for you and all of my brothers and sisters who have to struggle day in and day out, most of the time without support. I am with Summer in saying that I am here for you and I truly hope Allah grants you His love and support in this life and complete bliss in the next life.
    “Maybe if we focus less on demonizing other people and concentrate more on helping one another, things would start to change for the best.” This is something I wish everyone would reflect deeply upon. Some of the things we need help with the most will never be told to even the closest of friends and family because of the fear of backlash from those we love the most. Everyone has a different test and the tests that leave you feeling isolated and alone have the potential to be the greatest and most blessed tests of all because they can bring you closer to Allah. It is a blessing that Allah didn’t give you an ordinary test, because an ordinary test may not give you the advantage of becoming one of Allah’s most beloved servants who truly struggle for His cause.
    Again, thank you for writing this article. Insha’Allah it spreads and becomes a hope and a help to the people suffering in silence.

    • Wa alaikom assalam Raya,
      Wa iyyakom. Thank you for your wonderful comment. Your words are incredibly heartwarming. Indeed, such tests bring us closer to God and remind us that He Almighty is with us at every moment. We hope that He accepts all our struggles for His sake. As mentioned before, we all need to work together to support those suffering in silence, be more empathic and be there for others. We never know what others are going through until we open up to one another. It takes a lot of courage to unveil our most intimate and dark thoughts and feelings, but it’s well worth it when a noble cause is put in mind. I also hope this article spreads around, I am more than willing to keep writing and raising awareness of this matter. If there are any specific topics that you or anyone feels relevant and worth sharing under this matter, please mention them anytime. Jazakom Allah khairan.

  • Dear brother, thank you so much for sharing the journey you are on. I truly respect and admire you.

    Recently, I keep running into evidence upon evidence that *every person I meet is dealing with their assigned challenge in life, and my own personal trial is meant specifically for me. It *is difficult. I have to remember that it is difficult enough to keep my heart soft and tears flow and to elevate me the maximum possible degrees via the most beautiful sabr that *I am capable of. Alh. As a Muslim, I strive to be a reliable companion for my friends, one with whom all community members should be able to find compassion, empathy, and comfort.

    May Allah strengthen our imaan and tawwakul and accept all of our efforts, ameen.

    • Thank you for your kind words and amen to your duaas.
      Indeed, as you mentioned, EVERY person is dealing with his/her share of trials and tribulations. And what you are doing in terms of being a reliable companion to your friends and community is brilliant. We definitely need more people like you who practice enough compassion and empathy with people, so keep up the spirit my friend. May Allah give us strength and determination to keep on going, for His sake. Jazakom Allah khairan.

  • Subhanallah. May Allah accept from you and eases all your struggles and stress, Ameen. Thank you so much for sharing it. You truly have lifted my iman.

    Hetrosexual marrige doesn’t automatically means no stuggle; a lot of hetrosexual maried couple I personally know struggle when it comes to intimacy they they somehow try to work it out. When you said, “Because of my situation, my ibtila’ (struggle in life), the idea of marrying someone from the opposite sex is not practical at all or even fair for me or my potential spouse.” I couldn’t help myself thinking that why not getting married for an honest and a good companionship? And with the person [opposite sex of course] who is your compatible in every way and may be is in similar situation like you and understand you? You never know what good things happen with time.

    • Jazakom Allah khairan for your comment and amen to your duaas.
      Many homosexuals find it very difficult to contemplate marriage, and many gay men and women who happened to get married (with opposite sex, be it a forced marriage or not) report multiple issues when it comes to intimacy, procreation, or a lifetime commitment. Your idea is worth entertaining nevertheless. I think it has potential, but it can be tricky if not examined well enough for such a union to be successful. There are a lot of layers to be unfolded and critically examined by both partners.

  • Dear Waheed,
    Your words . “I must have done something wrong in my life to deserve this ‘punishment’… If God does not accept homosexuality, then why am I a homosexual?”,, welled up my eyes,thinkng how difficult it must have been for you in those struggling years, but it was nothing but ur steadfastness, your faith and more importanly your CONNECT with Allah, that made you come to terms with it,, your story is a BI G INSPIRATION for all of us, , after years of personal trauma of accepting yourself for being who your are, , UR FAITH AND CONNECT with Allah only resestablishes the fact that indeed, what you said is true, , HE has chosen you, UR SPECIAL TO BE CHOSEN to go through such struggle in life,, !..

    You are a gifted writer, you are successful in ur field, you are blessed by Him not just for these achievemnts, , but for being that SPECIAL person whom Allah chooses to test and REWARDS him constantly for his patience and perseverence. May Allah bless you in this world and hereafter.
    Aameen.

    • Jazakom Allah khairan for your kind and heartwarming words.
      Indeed it is difficult at times, but it is all part of the struggle which we hope Allah accepts for His sake. I am sure there are tons of stories of inspiration out there waiting to unfold each and every day. Just open your heart and you’ll discover wonders.
      We all have our struggles in this life, and sometimes we may lose our connection with Allah at moments of weakness. I pray that He keeps us patient and steadfast to endure and succeed in this life and the Hereafter. Amen.

  • Salaam my brother.
    What a beautiful, brave, poignant piece of your heart you have shared with us. You are truly blessed with a gift of writing; of communicating. Please continue to use it to open our eyes to the struggles of gay Muslims. So many are hateful because they do not understand. May God continue to give you courage, light and a heart full of peace, Amin.

    • Wa alaikom assalam Lara,
      Thank you very much for your kind words and amen to your duaas.
      Insha’Allah I plan on writing and sharing more stories with the world. There is a lot that has to be modified and added to current Islamic discourse to shed light on these issues and bring people closer to the bigger picture. If you have any particular points you would like raised or shared, please feel free to suggest them anytime. It would be my pleasure to delve deeper into them. Our communities have to crack open such discussions in a healthy and supportive atmosphere. We are done hiding behind our finger and shying away from elephants in the room. Jazakom Allah khairan.

  • Salaam bro – Thanks so much for writing this article. Though I have had gay classmates (friends I should say) at the high school (though I didn’t find out til later to be honest) and then at the college level (don’t think I was friends explicitly with any though), I’ve never personal met a gay Muslim, but I feel with this piece, all of us have met you to a great degree. I admire your strength , I’m 34 and single – so that struggle is real for sure 🙂 – and you are surely an example for Muslims as a whole to really embody the many central basic and essential tenets that many don’t practice, as you alluded to.

    I hope your words travel far and wide (I’ll do my part and tweet it) and that there is more understanding between fellow Muslims.

    Peace be upon you.

    -Br. Anees

    • Wa alaikom assalam Anees,
      Thank you for your kind words brother, I really appreciate them. As you said, I do hope my words travel far, and inshaAllah we all get to work together to spread a message of tolerance, understanding and empathy. Jazak Allah khairan.

  • MashaAllah – beautiful article… I don’t know what I would do without having the ability to have the relationship with my spouse. It is a big struggle, something many don’t pass. I remember what it was like before being able to be married and you have to deal with this for the rest of your life. As I was reading your article it reminded me of my son’s situation who has type 1 diabetes (since age 5) and his struggle every day is at every meal and snack. Though it is a different type of struggle, it is amazing to me how Allah (swt) chooses what to test people with in their everyday life and how much the rest of us take His blessings for granted.

    May Allah (swt) grant you ease and steadfastness on the sirat.

    Talha

    • Indeed, Allah chooses different struggles for different people. I hope your son will manage his illness and learn how to live with it inshaAllah. May Allah grant us all ease and steadfastness. Amen.

  • Dear Br. Waved, Usalamoalaikum. Jazak’Allah Khair for this. I have rarely been so moved as I have by the poignant nature of the faith, belief, and, ‘purity of hope’, that comes out through your words.

    I’m stunned as to how this has opened my eyes to some dawning realizations; that only Allah (SWT) knows what is really the truth of things, that we do not know Allah’s plan, nor the immensity of His Mercy, nor who He will forgive and who He won’t.

    We must have a constant realization of what this life’s tests are for everyone; and in doing so, show compassion, empathy, and understanding. Life is not black and white, and there are people who love Allah (SWT) no matter what.

    You have my gratitude, as well as my du’a.

    • Wa alaikom assalam Zafar,
      Thank you very much for your kind and uplifting words. Indeed as you mentioned, only Allah knows the reality of things and what lies ahead, and hence there is a need for more understanding, tolerance and empathy. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to touch your heart, I hope to continue to do so through writing and reaching out to people inshaAllah.
      Jazak Allah khairan for your support and thoughtfulness.

  • Assalam alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatahu! May Allah Subhana wa Taala raise you to the highest levels of Jannah for your struggles and patience Ameen. And may He guide you to peace. Always. With His words, His Books, with ibadah. May we all be guided as such Ameen.

    • Waalaikom assalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,
      Ameen and jazaki Allah khairan for your duaas. May Allah hold us steadfast and grant us His grace and acceptance.

    • Wa alaikom assalam Ariza,
      It took a lot of work. After slipping into depression and going through a lot of ups and downs, one ultimately reaches the point where he/she has to make a choice: I can either keep spiraling down, or I can try my best and work to make things better. After all, doing my best is all I can do, right? With A LOT of duaas and prayer, and a lot of catching up and hard work, things paid off. There’s no magic formula really. What works for someone may or may not work for another. But I’d definitely say that having absolute faith in Allah, turning towards Him constantly for support and strength, doing one’s best in terms of managing time and studies, as well as establishing a good support system of friends and family to keep one’s priorities in check are all important. I hope that answers your question!

    • Well strictly speaking, it is not a choice. Of course there are cases where people choose to experiment or transgress by choice, but that’s not the main case discussed in the article. Is it an illness? I wouldn’t call it that.. It’s not a disease per se, because there’s not a potential ‘cure’ if you will. And an illness implies an ailment, or a condition that is causing harm to the person. It’s not that either unless the person acts upon such desires.
      It’s a state of being. An accumulation of factors in some cases, in other cases it just happens. In the article I shed light on some of these ideas in detail, I hope you had the chance to check them out.

  • May Allah reward you abundantly for your efforts to do right and abide by His commandments and make you always successful in this. I found your article very eloquently and honestly written. You write:

    “When I see married men and women sharing affection, enjoying companionship and raising children, it hurts. A lot. Not the jealous I-hope-they-lose-all-that kind, but the painful realization that this is not something I can ever attain.”

    You are praying to Allah, so pray for the best of outcomes. He is indeed Ya Rahman, Ya Raheem and He is also All-Powerful, and as He tells us in Surah al Baqarah, He hears and responds to our duas:

    “And when My servants question you concerning Me, then surely I am near. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he cries unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright.” (2:186)

    So do not say that the kind of relationship you see a man and woman enjoying together is something you can NEVER attain. Don’t expect anything from anyone except from Allah. Also always have good expectations from Him. I am sure that whatever Allah gives you will be the best for you as long as you try to adhere to what is right. Prophet Muhammad said, “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (Muslim) And when it comes to our duas being answered, the Prophet is reported as saying: “There is no Muslim who offers supplication in which there is no sin or severing of ties of kinship, but Allah will give him one of three things in return for it: either what he asked for will be hastened for him, or (reward) will be stored up for him in the Hereafter or an equivalent evil will be diverted from him.” (Ahmad)

    Shaytan sometimes plays with our minds. Please don’t think that Allah hates you and has thus “punished” you with same-sex attraction. Allah is Just, Merciful, the Forgiver and the acceptor of repentance. Ultimately Allah knows everything, and some things belong to the realm of the Al-ghaib, the Unknown. He alone knows why certain things happen and why certain things are ultimately allowed to happen. His mercy is evident in so many ways – as one shaykh said recently, He created food in the form of fruit on branches etc, but He could have made it floating in the river out of reach. So do not ever let one thing that you cannot understand shake your faith in Him and His mercy.

    The Prophet said: “The slave will receive a response so long as his dua does not involve sin or severing of family ties, and so long as he is not hasty.” It was said, “What does being hasty mean?” He said: “When he says, ‘I made dua and I made dua, and I have not seen any response,’ and he gets frustrated and stops making dua.” (al-Bukahari, and Muslim)

    May Allah make me and you and all of us steadfast on the straight path. Ameen. I recommend all of us frequently making this dua from the Qur’an, which I read it is beneficial to recite after every salah:

    Our Lord! (they say), Let not our hearts deviate now after You have guided us, but grant us mercy from Your own Presence; for You are the Grantor of bounties without measure [3:8]

    Rabbana la tuzigh quloobana ba’da idh hadaytana wa hab lana milladunka rahmah innaka antal Wahhab

    • Assalamu alaikom sister Sara,
      Jazakom Allah khairan for your comment, and AMEN to your wonderful duaas. Indeed, one should never lose hope in Allah, and we should always try our best to remain in His company.

      “Our Lord! (they say), Let not our hearts deviate now after You have guided us, but grant us mercy from Your own Presence; for You are the Grantor of bounties without measure [3:8]”. Spot on!

      Barak Allah bikum..

  • Dear Brother Waheed, may Allah reward you tremendously for being so courageous and steadfast. You are true example of a believer who trusts in His Lord. I pray that Allah grants you tranquility in this life, and the highest level of Jannah in the next life.

    I work as a counsellor for SeekersHub Answers, and would appreciate your help. I am starting to receive questions on Muslims struggling with same-sex attraction, and I would value your feedback. Would it be possible for us to start an email conversation about this? Jazakallah khayr.

    • Dear Sister Raidah,
      Jazakom Allah khairan for your kind and supportive words and prayers. Likewise for all os us inshaAllah.
      I would love to help in any way. Feel free to contact me via: waheedjensen (at) gmail (dot) com.
      Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help our fellow brothers and sisters.

  • Salaam … i have just read this piece from fb and had to find the original source to comment. I really do believe things happen for a reason, I am practising muslim and over the last few weeks i have been really struggling over this issue of me being muslim and gay, to the point where my heart is actually hurting and today i stumbled on this article.I am so thankful for your words Waheed, it may have just stopped me from doing something very stupid in the future. I honestly had a little cry whilst reading this. Apologies for the super late comment and thanks again.

  • With recent events this article is a breath of fresh air! Very well written, backed by years of research and personal soul searching! Although heterosexual myself, I have gay friends some of which are Muslims, who unfortunately either completely disconnect from deen or as you say look for loopholes in Quran/Hadith teachings to carry out their desires! On the other hand my heterosexual friends look down upon homosexuals as the worst kind of people that carry out the worst kind of sin and even discriminate against me for being tolerant/friends with homosexuals. What you have written in this article is exactly what I try to explain to both my homo and heterosexual friends, but can not always find the right words. Homosexuals need to realise this is a great test from Allah swt, and to have such an intense test that will last their entire life – SubhanAllah! can you imagine the reward for being able to control these urges for you whole life! Heterosexuals need be more open that just as hetero fornication, drinking alcohol etc homosexuality is a major sin and (unless you claim its not) it does take you out the fold of Islam. Being more open and tolerant will help so many gays get the support they need without falling in the arms of those that encourage them to act out their desires. I will keep this article bookmarked so I can share it whenever I have this debate with anyone again. I want to commend you for coming out and sharing your experience; this article will help so many lives. Alhumdulilah, you are on the right and high path, may Allah keep you steadfast. Ameen

    • Assalamu alaikom Naeem!
      Thank you for your comment and kind words. As you mentioned, some people with same-sex attractions try to find loopholes in Islamic discourse or leave religion altogether, may Allah keep us steadfast, and indeed there’s a lot of discrimination and hate towards us from people with opposite-sex attractions. I do hope this humble endeavor would bring the picture closer to the latter ones, hopefully paving the way for a better dialogue in the Muslim community on this issue in particular.
      I am not sure if this is true (forgive me for my limited knowledge in fiqh), but I’ve been reading this a lot and people claim that homosexuality (as in the act itself) takes one out of the fold of Islam as you’ve alluded in your comment. I mean, sure it is a huge sin with punitive consequences, but let’s not confuse the gravity of it with kufr/shirk/overt actions that take the person out of the fold of Islam. Professor Tareq Ramadan beautifully puts it, “This I have continued to affirm, and gone further still: a person who pronounces the attestation of Islamic faith becomes a Muslim; if that person engages in homosexual practices, no one has the right to drive him or her out of Islam.” So please keep this in mind because this is quite a common belief among Muslims that is simply not correct. May Allah guide us all to the righteous path and keep us steadfast. Amen.

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