: Jun 27, 2015

No one – neither secular folks nor religious folks – claims that the legal rulings of any country represent correct ethical values and true morality. The two ar…

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No one – neither secular folks nor religious folks – claims that the legal rulings of any country represent correct ethical values and true morality. The two are separate and distinct.

How many legal verdicts of a country have been considered unethical or immoral at a later date? At one time in America, slavery was legal; discrimination against other skin colors was legal; mass incarcerations against people of a different ethnicity was legal, and the list goes on and on. Even today, there are rulings that are technically legal yet opposed by large segments of the population (for example, abortion). The fact that a court rules something to be legal does not make it ethically valid for a particular faith tradition.

From the perspective of mainstream, normative Islamic law, any type of sexual union outside of marriage is unethical and immoral. This includes pre-marital, extra-marital and same-sex unions. The fact that none of these types of sexual encounters is deemed illegal in a country does not matter to us in terms of religious law: we believe that any Muslim who commits such acts has transgressed Islamic norms and should repent. Committing such an act does not disqualify one from being a Muslim, and his or her affair is with their Lord.

Just as Muslims understand that drinking alcohol is legal in America (and most countries in the world), yet unethical in Islam, so too should they understand that any sexual union outside of the bounds of marriage, as defined by the Shariah, is also unethical, even if legal in some countries. If some people drink alcohol in this land, that is their business, and we are not obliged to stop them, but we will believe that drinking alcohol is harmful to the body and soul, and we will preach this. The same applies for sexual matters as well: there are limits laid down by Islamic law, and we will continue to maintain those limits in our beliefs, and try to maintain them in our personal lives.

American Muslims have easily navigated through the potential conflict between the law of the land and of Islamic law when it comes to issues of alcohol, drugs, and pre- and extra-marital sex. Now, in light of the US Supreme Court’s recent legalization of same-sex unions, they just need to add this latest issue to that list.

Lastly, just as all of us Western Muslims have non-Muslim friends (at college, or work, or our neighbors) who drink and ‘party’, yet we get along fine with them in civil society and benefit from their companionship in our lives, it shouldn’t at all be a stretch to understand that people of alternative sexual orientations as well can be our colleagues and neighbors and classmates, and there is no need at all to be preach hatred against them or discriminate in any fashion or form. In fact, our religion commands us to be ideal role models for all people of all backgrounds.

لكم دينكم ولي دين #

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