What does Islamic Law say about homosexuality?

What does Islamic Law say about homosexuality? June 13, 2016


The events of the recent shootings in Orlando leave many questions. Among them are the interpretations of Islamic Law. Was the shooter acting in accordance with Islamic Law? Could such an act really be condoned by the religion of Islam?

Our faculty, Amany Shalaby, who holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Islamic Studies from Islamic College of Advancing Studies and a Master’s degree in Comparative Philosophy of Religions from the Islamic College of Advancing Studies at Middlesex University in London, offers the following explanation of Islamic law on homosexuality.

“After the sad event in Orlando, it is worth mentioning that the Hanafi school [one of four Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence] held that homosexuality does not merit any capital punishment. Other schools of thoughts had argued that homosexuality mounts to adultery which according to Islamic Law (Shari`ah) does not require punishment unless there were four witnesses testifying of seeing the intercourse act itself which can rarely happen.

Modern scholars, like Scott Kugle argue for a different interpretation of the Lot narrative focusing not on the sexual act but on the infidelity of the tribe.

“Do you come to the males from among the creatures, and leave your wives whom your Lord has created for you? Nay, you are a people exceeding limits.” Qur’an (26/165, 166)

Notice that the ayah mentions leaving “your wives” which implies that these men were married and so they were cheating on their wives and abandoning them. When they saw angels in the images of handsome men visiting Prophet Lot (as), they demanded to get them forcibly or in other words they wanted to rape them. They used to commit robbery and sexual assault which demanded stopping them by force.

Also notice the phrase “among the creatures” which may imply that they were doing sexual acts with animals which can also be considered abuse or rape; for the animal has no say in the matter.

Notice that Allah never asked Prophet Lot to punish them but it was Allah Himself who put a stop to their abuse.

If Allah has granted the right for people to worship Him or not affirming that “Let there be no compulsion in religion” would not He grant people the right to choose other matters as long as they do not harm any other creature?

This is not to say you have to believe that homosexuality is permitted; for everyone is free to believe what they want but it means not to discriminate or harm those who have different beliefs.

May Allah bestow His Mercy on humanity.”

Salaam and Blessings,


I’m just coming out of a weekend retreat, and I am just hearing of the recent events. I hope to have more for you soon.

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