Ramadan is a time of reflection for Muslims. It is a time to work on taqwa (consciousness of the Sacred). While the orthodox reduce this to a list of dos and don'ts, it is not as simple as that. This is because there are many who pray and fast and yet engage in unethical conduct to oppress fellow human beings.
Muslim academic Michael Muhammad Knight writes:
"We think submission is applying strict discipline to our worship... It's just not that small to me. ... Allah is too big and open for my deen (religious path) to be small and closed."
For some LGBTQ Muslims cognitive dissonance gets heightened during Ramadan. Their inability to reconcile spirituality and sexuality leads them to temporarily divorce one aspect of their life, which leaves their underlying dilemma unaddressed.
To remain whole requires that they celebrate all facets of their life. But how can they do that when they are constantly barraged by messages that corrode their self-worth.
Undoing this internal damage may require years of working on oneself. But LGBTQ Muslims should not be alone, as Muslims who affirm them increasingly grow in numbers and offer online sanctuaries.
For this Ramadan, various Muslim leaders have come together to affirm thirty aphorisms that allow LGBTQ Muslims to resist a deep-rooted heterosexism that is peddled in the garb of religion.
Dear LGBTQ Muslims,
1) Not even 7000 years of joy can justify seven days of repression ~ Hafez
2) Don't act like the hypocrite, who thinks he can conceal his wiles while loudly quoting the Qur'an ~ Hafez
3) Do not make your present life a nightmare for an elusive Hereafter. The Prophet taught balance.
4) The orthodox clerics have as much power on you as you allow them. If you refuse to acknowledge them they cease to matter.
5) We have the right to be informed by the wisdom of our elders but we have the responsibility to not be circumscribed by their limitations.
6) If all of sharia rests on justice, mercy, welfare and wisdom then prescribing hardships to LGBTQ Muslims is totally unIslamic.
7) We are more than mere existence for we were meant to share intimacy, affection and companionship.
8) Behaviour does not determine orientation, spiritual or sexual. Watching pornography does not make you gay. Ritual praying does not make you non-judgmental.
9) Identity is based on both spirituality and sexuality. We have Muslims, we have khuntha mushkil (indeterminate gender) and we have the intersection of both.
10) LGBTQ concerns rest on intimacy, affection and companionship. The orthodoxy is obsessed with anal intercourse.
11) Without desire we are dead. We should desire to live.
12) The orthodoxy rejects your sexual expression as an abomination but then imbues you with a strong faith and exalts you for being severely tested. When did the abomination become a test?
13) Killing LGBTQ persons is not the polar extreme of affirming them. False equivalencies to uphold the "median" permanent celibacy test lead to the argument ad temperantiam fallacy.
14) Islam does not limit gender to the binary. It affirms the khuntha mushkil (indeterminate gender) and khuntha nafsiyya (psychological intersexuality). It can easily affirm LGBTQ persons.
15) If Allah can be referred to with both masculine and feminine pronouns, then so can transgender people who share that closeness with Allah.
16) The love amongst gays, lesbians, transgender and non-binary couples is holy. It is an intimate expression of human life, one that is closest to Allah.
17) Needless stringency is not piety but abth (useless)
18) Allah did not create us for permanent celibacy tests.
19) LGBTQ Muslims need to prove nothing. The burden of proof is on those who argue for false celibacy tests.
20) Obedience without reflection is unreasonable and unjustified.
21) We accept same-sex unions as we reject concubinage.
22) Replacing the lens of ubna (affliction) in Islamic jurisprudence with sexual orientation enables us to affirm Muslim same-sex unions.
23) The bias of LGBTQ Muslims rests on the genuine human need for intimacy, affection and companionship. The bias of their opponents rests on a deep-rooted heterosexism.
24) We cannot equate the lives of our Muslim youth with a lunatic fringe of humanity called Lot's people.
25) Islam affirms human dignity, compassion and justice, and so it affirms same-sex unions.
26) Many Muslim professionals including the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health reject reparative therapy.
27) Islam should never be fettered by 1400 years of socio-cultural norms.
28) Allah's law is not unreasonable.
29) Allah creates whatsoever He wills.
30) Allah loves us all, every single one of us.
Dear LGBTQ Muslims, you have the present of this life, live it well and make it extraordinary!
Imam Daayiee Abdullah - President and Chair, MECCA Institute
Rev. Jamila Tharp - Unitarian Universalist minister, Muslim spiritual guide, writer and activist
Kelly Wentworth - Secretary - Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), President - MPV Atlanta
Frank Parmir - President - MPV Columbus
Imtiaz Popat - Salaam Vancouver
Dr. Adis Duderija
Dr. Junaid Jahangir
Nabil Ahmad Khan
Gian Marco Visconti
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