Saturday, 28 May 2011

Islam and Homosexuality

Assalamu Alaykum.

As much as I love Islam, even before I reverted, I knew there were certain concepts that I was not going to readily agree with. Being the insistent, inquisitive and obstinate teenager that I am, I usually need an explanation of something before I accept it happily. Of course, when I got into Islam, the issue about Homosexuality (and indeed, other LGBT sexualities) never popped into my mind - I was too busy learning how to pronounce words in Arabic!

It's a bitter topic. And it's one I do not want to talk about, as it seems to be a facet of Islam that non-Muslims do not like. However, it is one that we must discuss, rather than placing a taboo on it.
In Islam, it is indeed true, that homosexuality is a sin.
The reason and the punishments for such a sin raise many questions, however.

Most Muslims would look towards the Qur'an, and refer to God punishing (by killing) the people of Lot (alaihi salaam) for committing the sin of homosexuality.
"And We sent Lut when he said to his people: What! do you commit an indecency which any one in the world has not done before you? Most surely you come to males in lust besides females; nay you are an extravagant people... And We rained upon them a rain; consider then what was the end of the guilty." (Surah 7:80-84)
Of the Muslims who refer to this quote, some would say that it means that homosexuality is a sin, therefore homosexuals must be killed just like God killed the people of Lut, pbuh.

Other Muslims may see this Hadith: "Muslim blood can only be spilled for adultery, apostasy and homicide." They may say that this means that homosexuality must not be punishable by death, whereas others will treat homosexual intercourse as adultery, and therefore must be punishable by death.

Muslim scholars differ in opinion too. Some Muslim scholars recommend the death penalty, others recommend whipping, basing their opinions on several hadiths. Other Muslim scholars believe that those hadiths are not genuine, and that only God has the right to punish homosexuals, based on the Qur'an.

But you can see the picture - there is no single, united view. However, I believe that there should be, if we are going to get anywhere; the problem is that there are many schools of Fiqh (religious law), and those schools should get together, and decide on one view - otherwise we'll end up being like Christians with denominations that one can pick and match according to one's views, and, obviously, sexuality.
I don't want that for Islam.
Here is my take on the issue. The first question that popped into my head when I read about the issue is whether it is the state of being homosexual that is the sin, or whether the sin lies in the homosexual intercourse. Yet again, there seems to be no clear-cut definition. Most people seem to conflate one with the other, and it is obvious that there is a difference.

But let's talk about the two possible answers. If, say, the sin lies with the sexual intercourse, then it makes perfect sense. God made humans who could be gay so that they are tested their whole life, and it's an opportunity for their iman, their faith, to grow. Makes sense to me!

However, if the sin lies with being gay, then I have a problem with this reasoning. I read from an article, which does not sound scholarly, that being gay is a choice made by people, and that it is a sin to be gay, because we, as humans, have the free will and ability to choose what we want to think, and who we desire to love.

Well, I can tell you right now - no one ever chooses who they fall in love with. Whether you're gay, straight, bisexual, lesbian or transsexual, no one picks and chooses who they love.

Furthermore, many hundreds of species of animals have been documented to show homosexuality. Animals do not have free will, and so the author of the above argument is clearly wrong. God would not allow someone to be gay, only to say that being gay is a sin - that is similar to the Christian view saying that people are all born with a sin (which is refuted in Islam). There is also plentiful evidence that gay people are born gay, or developed in early childhood, from MRI images, that show a similarity in the brains of gay men, and straight women. Brains don't just change in adulthood, especially something as significant as the brain structure and how it works.

Having friends who are gay, I hate it when I hear Muslims (or somebody who believes that homosexuality is a sin) say that they pity gay people, and that they should be treated with tolerance. I hate it because gay people are just people. People should never be defined for who they love, but rather, their actions.

Pitying gay people shows that those people feel that they stand on a morally higher ground simply because they love the opposite sex. Treating gay people with tolerance shows that those people do not treat people EQUALLY.

When it comes to issues like these where there is a lot of discordance, I believe that we should look to texts that are specifically the word of God, in this case - The Holy Qur'an. I think the Qur'an's references to homosexuality mean that only God should be able to punish gay people, and that we should not punish them, either through death or prison or whipping. I'm sure gay people get enough trouble through prejudice, never mind being dropped off the top of a building and stoned to death.

My view is that we will all be judged individually on Judgement Day, and there should be no need to punish, especially kill, someone who still has a chance to show, through their actions, that they deserve to be in heaven in the afterlife, especially if they are Muslim.

I am not condoning homosexuality - but I do believe that a unity in Islam's belief in the issues should be realised, and that Muslim homosexuals should be equally treated and helped by brothers and sisters in our ummah to be on the straight path (forgive the pun!).

Allah Hafiz!

PS: Please let me know what you think - post a comment below!

Friday, 27 May 2011


Assalamu Alaykum.

The dear Qur'an asks us,
"Do they not look at the sky above them? How We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it?" (Surah 50:6)

...and so I looked up at the sky, remembered the picture above made by TheSisterWhoSmiles, and wrote:

An all-encompassing blanket rages
tonight. Its silken texture belies
its fury. Sometimes, it stands still, and ponders
the story of life, then falls.
Other times, it wavers - and a quick blow
drags its own life away...
f a d e s
into clearer, azure skies.


Friday, 20 May 2011

A Letter to All Christians Out There...

Dear Christian,

I used to be Christian a long time ago, but as everyone knows, a lot can change in such a small space of time. And so can you too! When you've been in something like Christianity for so long, you begin to see flaws and discrepancies that make you realise that the good in something isn't actually that good at all.

My pet hate with Christianity is that the Bible is written by men (or possibly women!).

We, the human race, are not perfect - it even says that in the Bible. Over time, throughout history, the Bible has been changed: bits have been cut out, bits have been added in, and bits have been rewritten and now, it's been translated in hundreds of languages, and the many different styles of English that we have today. Some Christians take the Bible literally, others pick and choose what they like, interpreting it how they like, disregarding what they like - so called "Burger King Religion," because its followers have their way.

This can only mean one thing. The Bible is inherently flawed, and that what people are following is not necessarily God's word, and basically, they're fitting religion into their lives, not fitting their lives into religion.

"Ask not what religion can do for you - ask what you can do for religion."

If you said to your boss, "I'm going to do things my way, and you're going to have to fit in to my schedule, but I still want to get paid, and I want a two-hour lunch, and I want Monday mornings off." What would your boss say?

Similarly, why are Christians reading the Bible, and applying only some of it to their lives, or if they follow it literally, why are they applying something written by flawed men. Besides, its meaning would be diluted due to the many translations.

In contrast, the Holy Qur'an (in Arabic, of course) has not change since it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, pbuh. Because the Qur'an should only be read in Arabic, its meaning would not change, and so you can apply all of it to your life as the infallible word of God.

Another thing I don't like about Christianity, is the Bible quote:

If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Basically, this is saying, kill anyone who doesn't worship God.
Whereas in the Qur'an, it says:
"There shall be no compulsion in religion." (Surah 2:256)
Of course, Christians would say that this quote should be taken in the context in which it was written. So, does that mean I can completely disregard all the rules that is said in the Bible because they're 2,000 years old?

The fact that the Qur'an specifically disallows killing people, believer or disbeliever also says a lot about Muslims. In the Qur'an, it says that if you kill someone, God will look upon you as though you have killed the whole human race, whereas if you save someone's life, God will look upon you as though you have saved the whole human race. Obviously, the Muslim terrorists extremists have got the completely idea of defending the faith.

Even Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, said that the best way of defending the faith is through words and NOT violent actions. The Qur'an does state that as a last resort, if a Muslim cannot leave a land that is oppressed by non-Muslims and Islamophobes, then BUT ONLY AS A LAST RESORT, can one defend himself. But only to escape persecution. This doesn't mean hijacking a plane and killing INNOCENT people.

The biggest argument against Christianity, paradoxically, is the trinity and Jesus "Christ". The trinity is, as you probably know, the three "sides" of God: God the Father (in heaven), God the Son (Jesus, who also happens to be his son, but also himself - wonder what genes he has?) and God the Holy Spirit (God in spirit form who comes to Christians, and gives them faith, strength, etc.). There is only one God. That is something both Christians and Muslims agree on. But why three sides? God does not need three sides of him to express himself, and surely that would be polytheism? God would not have a son because God is not human - God is God.

The Muslim prophet "Isa," pbuh, is the one that Christians call "Jesus," and it makes sense that he is a prophet, not God. Even the Bible doesn't say that Jesus is God.

But my point is that, if we Muslims and Christians believe in the same God, per se, why can't we just have the standard of the one book with the word from God that is written as God wanted it to be written, and not a book written by people?

Why have the trinity of God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit? God is all-powerful: he does not need to be three things at once to fill his duty.

Why follow a religion which commands you to kill those who do not believe? Why?

So if you have seen these "flaws" in Christianity, and think that Islam is a better way of life and will lead you onto the straight path, or if you're just interested in learning more, then read about Islam! I'm sure you'll find a lot of sense in Islam, and so explore, discover and search for the truth, just like I did, my dear Christian.

I hope that God leads you onto the straight path. :) If you take one step towards ALLAH he will take two steps towards you, and if you walk towards Him he will run towards you.

So SPRINT towards Him! ;)

Yours in faith,

Nasir Al-Din

PS: If you are Muslim, do pass this letter onto your Christian friends! :) Allah Hafiz!

Saturday, 14 May 2011


Assalamu Alaykum.
With the pressure of exams building up, and arguments with parents sparking off every now and then, each day becomes such a struggle. It becomes harder to worship Allah swt, and to thank him for the good things in life, when every day feels like there are only bad things. Then I read this story. I hope you find something from it:

Abdullah would say Alhamdulillah to everything that would happen to him, whether good or bad. One day, while hunting, the King accidently shot his finger and Abdullah responded with his normal, "Alhamdulillah." This upset the King he jailed Abdullah to which Abdullah again responded "Alhamdulillah." Soon thereafter, the King went out hunting again by himself. He strayed into tribal enemy grounds and was captured. The tribe was about to sacrifice him before they realized he was missing a finger. Knowing well that they should not sacrifice an incomplete human being, they released the King. Ecstatic, the King knew that his misfiring the other day saved his life. He went back home and freed Abdullah. Afterwards, he asked Abdullah, “I understand now why the loss of my finger was something worth saying "Alhamdulillah" over, but why did you say it when I jailed you?” Abdullah responded, “Had I been with you that one day instead of in jail, I would have been sacrificed, since I have all of my fingers!"
Bad things never really happen. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "The affair of the believer is amazing! The whole of his life is beneficial, and that is only in the case of the believer. When good times come to him, he is thankful and it is good for him, and when bad times befall him, he is patient and it is also good for him." We can all learn from our bad times, and at the same time, because of our perseverance amidst suffering, our sins will be forgiven insha'Allah.
Allah, subhanahu wa ta'aala, says in the Qur'an “But it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not” (The Holy Qur'an, 2:216). Therefore, Brothers and Sisters, always be optimistic and respond with "Alhamdulillah" and remember that everything happens with you is for GOOD. It's About sabr (patience) and sukr (gratitude). Remember, always smile and say Alhamdulillah.

So right now, say Alhamdullilah and SMILE! It's a sunnah! ;D

Prophet Muhammad, sal allahu alaihi wa salaam, said: "And your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, your removing of stones, thorns, and bones from people's paths is charity, and your guiding a man gone astray in the world is charity for you."

Wherever you are, whether you're suffering or not, remember, Allah knows.

Allah Hafiz!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Birthday and Bin Laden?!

Assalamu Alaykum.

The picture above was made by TheSisterWhoSmiles, jazaakAllahu kheir for the Birthday messages and the presents!

I know this is a bit late, but it was my birthday on 2nd May, the same day that Bin Laden died. I remember waking up to a bright morning in England, my eyes blinded by the light. And then I received a text from a (Muslim) friend saying that Bin Laden had died. So I googled. Obviously, the news of his death was plastered everywhere. Somehow, it seemed a bit surreal to me, so I jumped out of bed, and asked my parents... who were laughing and joking about his death.

Just a bit morbid? I mean... "Happy Bin Laden Death Day"?!

Since I don't know many Muslims, I'm not sure whether to take his death as a cause for celebration. Is it haraam to "celebrate" someone's death, terrorist or not?

From my perspective, it's good that he's dead. He gives the 99% of hardworking, good Muslims a bad name. His leadership led to the death of many. In the Holy Qur'an, it says "If anyone has murdered a human being, it is as if he has slain the entire human race." It's good to know that Allah swt will judge him, and the rest of us, accordingly.

However, I don't think people should be overjoyed by his death. To me, it seems a bit harsh that people are partying about his death but I am not condoning his actions.

Anyway, I had a good birthday, and somehow managed to stay away from alcohol! Alhamdulillah! At least I woke up to a morning with one less threat to the world.

Allah Hafiz!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Assalamu Alaykum.

Pork. Don't ask me why I like it - one of those things that tempt me from becoming a good Muslim. Sometimes, I awaken to the succulent smell of bacon in the morning. At school, the sizzle of the pork sausages being cooked tickle my taste buds. In the evening, pork meatballs with the spaghetti. I'm surrounded by it. And I can't help but eat it sometimes, albeit with an "astaghfirullah" afterwards.

Why is pork SO GOOD?!

That pork is haraam is one of the "rules" that I stumbled over before reaching the light of Islam. I often wonder why pork is haraam, but then I read an article about how pigs eat their own faeces and that they're generally dirty creatures. I suppose we wouldn't want the level of cholesterol and saturated fat in pork, not to mention possible salmonella scares, food poisoning, etc.

The only problem with it being haraam is it makes Islam difficult to "sell" or to introduce to non-believers who think that because Islam has this rule, it is suddenly "stupid", when, really, it has a good reason for it. If the body is clean, then so is the soul, this is why we make wudu before we pray.

I'm glad that God knows what is best for us. May Allah swt keep me away from pork temptation. Allah Hafiz!

Sunday, 1 May 2011


Assalamu Alaykum.

Before I converted, I found it really stupid that Muslims pray 5 times a day. In Christianity, you pretty much only pray if you felt like it, and of course during Sunday mass (which many Christians do not attend anyway). In Catholicism, you pray during mass, confession, pray the rosary every night, pray the Angelus three times a day, pray before meals, pray after meals, etc. But I hated it. Praying was a drag. Here's an example of a Catholic prayer and I'll explain why it was a drag:

"Bless these Thy gifts, O Lord, which we are about to receive. Through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen."

This was what I had to say at Catholic school before every lunch. If one didn't say it, you were deemed as "evil" or whatever. But why would you ask the Lord to bless the food? Most people just mumble their way through it with their eyes fixated on the vegetarian lasagne that they have, and probably a fork in their hand too. The Muslim equivalent is WAY better:

"Bismillahi wa 'ala baraka-tillah. (With Allah's name and upon the blessings granted by Allah (do we eat)."

This makes much more sense. It is a dedication to Allah swt that we do things in his life for Him, through him, and it reminds us that all His blessings are from Him only. The Catholic equivalent is somewhat flawed. "Through Christ our Lord we pray." Through Christ? So you have to pray through Christ, to get to Lord, but Christ is also your Lord anyway? Makes no sense. But hey, that's another topic. See my thoughts on Christianity.

What I really wanted to talk about is the importance of prayer (I suppose this is to remind myself that I need to keep praying, otherwise I'm missing them, and I'm sinning).

The second Pillar of Islam is Salah. Because it is obligatory, it means that every time you miss the five times of praying, it is a sin. If you were a Muslim, you may think that just being a Muslim and believing in God is enough to get you into jannah? Hardly. Only Christians think that believing in Christ is enough.

A Muslim, by definition from the Arabic, is one who submits oneself to Allah, or one who seeks wholeness. Something like that. I'm not an expert, so don't take my word for it. ;) Allah wills us to pray five times a day in order to commit ourselves to him, to seek wholeness and to submit ourselves to Him, and Him only. Prayers are there to remind us that everything Good comes from Him.

One of the major reasons for praying is that it is a way to ask for forgiveness. Praying five times a day is likened to taking a bath. But it just so happens that we sin all the time, and so we need to take a bath, otherwise we'd start stinking, wouldn't we? :') I suppose that's why wudu is obligatory before praying too! Another important reason is to strengthen our relationship with Allah, and act as a way of communicating to him, especially to thank him. The prayers are a way of bringing to mind once again what our purpose is on this world. Prayer strengthens eman (faith), our relationship with Allah and our dependence on Him.

Imagine this. The Day of Judgement comes. The world is turned upside down, and you are suddenly at the front of the queue to speak to God, and tell Him your life story. He asks, "Why didn't you pray five times a day?" What will you say then?

This quote from Muhammad Ali made me realise how important praying really is:

"I don't smoke but I keep a match box in my pocket. Every time my heart slips towards sin, I light a match and place my palm over it. I then say to myself, oh Ali, you can't even bear this heat, then how will you bear the unbearable heat of Hell-fire?"

May we all remember to pray and give thanks to our Lord. Allah Hafiz!