Originally posted in June 2007
I am not a Muslim but I met a guy who never drinks or wastes any of his time, which I found to be impressive. While talking to him I realized that he was a Muslim and I started studying the religion. The complications lie in the fact that I have feelings towards men. I know it is wrong. I consider it an abomination. I don’t need anyone to tell me how sinful it is. But I can’t help it. I can stay away from committing the act but the feelings are always there. After reading the other questions about gays on the site they do not help me much. I cannot ignore the feelings and get married. I do not feel any attraction towards women. I need some serious help. What is your view on a non-practicing homosexual? The feelings exist but not the acts.
Thank you for your question and I hope my answer pleases Allah and is of benefit. I have divided this answer according to your question.
No One Is Free of Sin
Your question is one of great importance and reminds us, as a community, of our duty to support and assist those who are struggling with sin. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Every son of Adam makes mistakes. But the best of those who make mistakes are those who repent.” (At-Tirmidhi)
In another hadith the Prophet said:
“If you failed to commit sins, then Allah would destroy you and create those who would sin and seek His forgiveness and He would forgive them.” (Muslim)
Thus, it is important to note that every one of us commits sins and falls into error.
The Message of Islam
Islam means submission and peace. Instead of original sin, Islam teaches that the nature of humanity is good. However, humans, since they were created as such, will make mistakes at times and struggle to overcome their lower desires. This is based on each person’s desire to serve or worship.
Instead of preaching that human nature is full of evil, Islam teaches that the nature of humanity is to worship. In the Qur’an we read what means:
“And I (Allah) have not created Jinn and men except to worship Me.” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)
Thus, our true nature is inclined to serve our Lord. However, there are times when that nature can be misdirected to things which are unbecoming of worship. False deities, fame, and success caused many people to slip and fall from the noble station that the Creator has given them. Thus, by submitting to something other than the true Creator and Sustainer of all, people will feel depressed, saddened, and lost.
To make this more clear, could you imagine if the power of the sun and rain were under different political powers? Wouldn’t there be unthinkable madness? Aluding to this the Qur’an says what means:
“If there had been in them any gods except Allah, they would both have certainly been in a state of disorder; therefore glory be to Allah, the Lord of the dominion, above what they attribute (to Him).” (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:22)
Thus, if this is the case with nature, then what is the situation of people who try to serve many gods? What would be the outcome of trying to submit and worship many deities all having different agendas who, in reality, fail to posses the true qualities of the one Creator, the sole Ruler and Sustainer of the universe? The Qur’an says something very nice about this:
“Allah sets forth an example: There is a slave in whom are (several) partners differing with one another, and there is another slave wholly owned by one man. Are the two alike in condition? (All) praise is due to Allah. Nay! most of them do not know.” (Az-Zumar 39:29)
The Path of Submission Is the Key
Islam is a faith which serves as an alarm clock reminding the creation of their true purpose. It helps to focus the heart, discipline the mind, and perfect the morals and actions.
The outcome of such a submission is the dawn of a very special relationship between the Creator and the created. For one cannot develop a true relationship with another until the latter is acknowledged.
Thus, by knowing Allah and submitting to Him alone, one will truly feel the heavy shackles of sin lightened and escape from the dungeon that one’s soul had languished in.
“There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Shaitan and believes in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.” (Al-Baqarah 2:256)
“If one firmly believes in Allah, He will guide his heart.” (At-Taghabun 64:11)
Based on the above, my first advice to you would be to focus on understanding faith in Islam. Faith in Islam is not a mere spiritual exercise, but includes knowing faith, believing in it, and acting upon it.
Faith changes the human being’s entire persona. Its result is a person whose character, actions, and behavior are linked to a divine purpose. Thus, the person gains confidence and realizes the divine purpose behind his or her being.
It is through this faith that three important questions are realized:
- Where have I come from?
- Where am I going?
- What is my purpose in life?
In order to understand this better, think of an organization with no mission statement. With faith you gain your mission statement and realize your purpose. Thus, you are able to build a framework that lays the foundation for a life connected to the Creator.
Thus, every act is done with sincere thought, and every thought is examined and touched by the light of faith. For this reason, you will have come to life. Life has a purpose; the shades of despair and sadness are cast away by the light of faith and happiness.
“The blind and the seeing are not alike. Nor the darkness and the light, Nor the shade and the heat, neither are the living and the dead alike. Surely Allah makes whom He pleases hear, and you cannot make those hear who are in the graves.” (Fatir 35:19-22)
“Is he who was dead then We raised him to life and made for him a light by which he walks among the people, like him whose likeness is that of one in utter darkness whence he cannot come forth?” (Al-An`am 6:122)
A Loving, Merciful Creator
Since we are bound to fall into error, it is important to remember that our Creator is an understanding and loving Lord. This mercy and understanding are exhibited by the following:
Allah is ready to forgive. One of the great bounties that Allah has bestowed upon His servants is forgiveness for evil thoughts and actions that are not acted upon. When the following verse of Qur’an was sent, the Companions of the Prophet were greatly disturbed.
“If you reveal what’s in your hearts, or hide it, Allah will call you to account.” (Al-Baqarah 2:284)
Finally, they went to the Prophet complaining, “If we are called to account for the whispers of our souls, then we will surely perish!” (Ibn Kathir).
Suddenly, Allah revealed:
“Allah does not burden a soul more than it can bear.” (Al-Baqarah 2:286)
It is one of the great mercies of Allah that we are not called to account for the evil inclinations that appear in our hearts. And, in fact, such evil inclinations if ignored and not acted upon can bear sweet fruit!
Fighting against evil inclinations brings one closer to Allah. Many times we find evil thoughts and ideas coming to our minds. However, if not acted upon, such thoughts can actually be a means of drawing closer to our Lord. The Prophet said:
Whosoever intends to do a good deed but does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it with Himself as ten good deeds, up to seven hundred times, or more than that. But if he intends to do an evil deed and does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it as one single evil deed. (Muslim)
Thus, by fighting oneself and struggling to obey the Creator, one draws nearer to Him. Although this might seem monumental, struggling and striving towards the Divine requires only a sincere heart and obedience to His commands. In a sound hadith, we read that the Prophet said the following:
Allah the Almighty says: “I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself. And if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.” (Al-Bukhari)
Points to Remember
Thus, drawing near to Allah by doing good actions and struggling with oneself brings great spiritual and physical blessings. However, there are a few important points to remember:
Personal responsibility. Keep in mind that all of the above requires work and determination on your part. You are responsible for yourself and must struggle against evil thoughts and desires. I would encourage you to strongly think about submitting to your Creator and learning the correct practices associated with the Islamic faith.
The great Muslim scholar and imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said:
“Unlawful desires are usually associated with ugliness. They leave behind a lingering sensation of pain and guilt. Hence, whenever you are tempted, think about liberating yourself. Think about all the remorse that would accompany the realization of those desires, and then make up your mind. Struggling your way through obedience is not an easy task. It is, however, associated with goodness and soothing pleasures. Whenever you overburden yourself (with unlawful desires) think about how nice it would be to repent and set yourself free. Think about the pleasures that lawful desires will provide and try to make the correct choice. The dilemma you will experience should be reduced by remembering the sweet pleasure and the ultimate happiness that your obedience (to Allah) will provide. Logically, your mind should opt for the more rewarding option and help you to endure the pain of denying yourself the realization of such desires.” (Al-Fawa’id)
It is never enough to struggle alone. The whole community must begin to answer the call of those who are struggling with different issues. Our community is not free of drugs, abuse, and other different types of negative behavior. However, we have not admitted that these problems exist. Thus, we are impotent when it comes to handling such issues.
We must reflect on the statements of the Prophet “Give glad tidings and don’t cause others to flee” (Muslim) and “Whoever removes a difficulty for a person, Allah will remove a difficulty for that person on the Day of Reckoning” (Al-Bukhari).
Muslim imams should be trained in counseling and, better yet, each community should have its own group of professional counselors. We can no longer turn away from the struggling sinner, but must reach out with a sincere hand and walk with our brothers and sisters through the difficulties that they face.
Finally, I pray that you can find a community leader who will be willing to sit with you and assist you through these difficulties. You are not alone and only need a mature community leader who will be willing to accept you and help you overcome your problems.
Please keep in touch.