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LGBT Muslims Should Reject Misery Sold As Compassion

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Remember, those that try to destroy your happiness, do so out of jealousy, they are unhappy with their own miserable lives ~ Online meme

The ex-gay movement has been thoroughly discredited with scandal after scandal. Their Muslim counterparts, who identify as being afflicted with same-sex attraction (SSA), have come to concede that people do not choose their sexual orientation and that a cure would be infeasible. However, they wish to perpetuate self-imposed celibacy or sham marriages.

They argue that they won't be bullied into accepting "affirmation," "acceptance," "inclusion" and "diversity." Given such a mindset, LGBT Muslims are better off steering away from those who peddle misery in the name of compassion.

Freedom of choice is a hallmark of Islam. There is no compulsion in religion, judgment is faced alone and scholars are not taken as lords besides Allah. Indeed, we are accountable for our own understanding of the texts. In contrast, the orthodox scholars and their mentally enslaved minions usurp this freedom by foisting their beliefs on fellow Muslims.

Their arguments on homosexuality eventually rest on mindless subservience to medieval legal manuals and life quenching fear of eternal Hell fire. It is this caustic fear that makes them reject an identity based on sexual orientation and the consensus amongst mainstream psychologists and psychiatrists. It also impels them to associate homosexuality with sexual abuse and view it as a test from Allah.

However, for all their fear-based arguments, Allah creates whatsoever He wills and identity in Islam has been based on innate disposition as in the case of the mukhannathun (effeminates). Moreover, something as beautiful as affection for another cannot arise from something as ugly and painful as sexual abuse.

The "permanent celibacy test" argument is unreasonable as it is being backed up by no reasonable argument except "Allah says so." However, Islamic law does not cause suffering and needless suffering is abth (useless). Moreover, tests are often construed to be heavier for those with stronger faiths. This necessitates the question that when did gay people, often viewed contemptuously, become so exalted so as to be severely tested.

In instances of the usual tests, poverty, disasters and disease, the calamity is from external sources and is not inflicted from an interpretation of the Qur'an. Homosexuality stands out as the exception. While calamities are beyond control, it is Allah that alleviates their ill effects. As such, the problem with the "permanent celibacy test" argument is that Allah becomes the source of the calamity and not the comforter.

The test argument rests on interpretation. People may interpret calamities as tests, punishments or simply as natural occurrences. They decide whether to impute such meaning or lack thereof. As such, another problem with the "permanent celibacy test" argument is that it rests on the idea of a petty god. The oppression of celibacy is sold as compassion to avoid eternal Hell fire stoked by a deity whose purpose is sole subjugation. Indeed, the late Pakistani philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi said, "Beware of those who attribute petty instructions to God."

The orthodox scholars and their minions know that they cannot expect Shia, Ahmadi and Ismaili leaders to interpret the Qur'an in the same fashion. The same holds for LGBT inclusive and affirming Muslims.

The orthodox scholars may narrow down to the phrase "approaching men instead of women" to reject same-sex relationships. However, LGBT-affirming Muslims recognize that the context of inhospitality (15:70), highway robbery and evil deeds in public assemblies (29:29), threats of eviction (7:82) and forcible access to guests (11:79) by Lot's people simply does not apply to vulnerable LGBT Muslim youth.

The self-styled "Muslims afflicted with SSA" should understand that self-imposed subjugation is zulm (oppression) for Islamic teachings reject exaggerated rigidity. Such subjugation leads to jealousy when they see LGBT Muslim youth getting increasingly affirmed and accepted by family, friends and Imams. This causes misery for which they alone are responsible.

It is convenient to bastardize religion to address one's low self-esteem by wallowing in self-pity. It is also seductive to aggrandize oneself by the narrative of martyrdom through inner struggle. However, addressing low self-esteem and the associated failure at human relationships requires hard work.

In contrast to poster boys seeking affirmation for their constant anguish, those who actually elect celibacy as a choice do so for themselves and lead their lives quietly and with dignity. They do not feel the need to inflict their personal choice on others by roping in vulnerable youth or through sham marriages. Their choice does not rest on a fear-based morality. Nor do they cry out seeking compassion and pity. Rather, like the Christian sisters serving in war-torn countries, they are strong enough to offer compassion to others without expecting others to follow their path.

For the "permanent celibacy test" poster boys, it is about being selfish by drowning in one's own problems and expecting others to drown with them. Indeed, misery loves company. Such people do not recognize that zuhd (asceticism) is an exercise in self-discipline and not imposed on others.

LGBT Muslims are better off steering away from those who peddle oppression as compassion. After all, Islam is not about mindless submission, but about being in a state of sanctuary.

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