Gay mosques are spreading not only in Canada and the United States but across the globe. There is a need for these mosques because the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transsexual community (LGBT) either does not feel welcomed or is discriminated against at local mosques. Why should there be a need for these types of mosques? Would the Prophet Muhammad endorse or condone this type of treatment against the LGBT community? Is it okay in Islam to discriminate against anyone?
There are too many Muslims that I have talked to that ignorantly state that a person has to be a heterosexual before they can be Muslim. This claim is completely unfounded and utterly false and ignorant. The focus of this article is NOT whether it is moral or immoral to be gay. Rather, the focus is whether a person can be gay and Muslim at the same time. If we want to break this down further, the question becomes, “Is it permissible for Muslims or anyone to discriminate against people for their sexual orientation under the umbrella of Islam?”
We first have to define what a “Muslim” actually is. A Muslim (like any other label like Christian, Jew, or Hindu) is a term that refers to a person who is described as being a “submitter to the will of God”. In other words, it is a person who submits him or herself to God. This term does not specify whether this person who is submitting should be a heterosexual.
Second, we have to see what the basic belief structure is for a “Muslim”. A Muslim believes and follows the religion of Islam, which teaches the Unity and Oneness of God, how to obtain peace within yourself and the world around you, and preparation for the afterlife based on a person’s good deeds and intentions. There are 5 basic pillars of Islam: 1) Declaration of Faith that God is One and the Prophet Muhammad is his Messenger 2) Establishment of Prayer 3) Fasting 4) Alms giving (Zakat) and 5) Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca).
The first pillar of Islam does not state that a person has to be a heterosexual before their declaration of faith. If God really wanted to emphasize heterosexuality, he would have made it the first requirement and the first pillar of Islam, or at least one of the pillars of Islam. In addition, God would have stated everywhere in the Quran that people need to be heterosexuals before they can believe in Him. The traditions of the Prophet Muhammad would have called for discrimination of the gay community. Some claim that there are traditions where the Prophet endorsed this type of discrimination, but these traditions are uncorroborated and completely contrary to his teachings and overall message of peace.
In fact, there is a story that exemplifies the Prophet’s acceptance of all types of people. There are actually many stories, but I will mention this particular one. There was a man who came into the mosque and started urinating on the floor inside the mosque. Everyone around him was upset and did not know what to do. Should they yell at him? Should they kick him out? Should the kill him for such disrespect? Prophet Muhammad stopped people from reacting negatively to this situation and allowed the man to finish urinating first. Prophet Muhammad then proceeded to patiently explain to the man that urinating in the mosque was not acceptable and asked him to not do it. If the Prophet did not discriminate or ban this man, that was urinating on the floor from the mosque, who are we to discriminate against the LGBT community? Who are we to tell homosexuals that they are not allowed to come to the mosque to worship God?
The same type of people that discourage gay people from entering a mosque are usually the same people who say you cannot be a “real” Muslim if you do not wear a headscarf, if you drink, gamble, or smoke. Where do we draw the line and who are we to determine who enters a mosque for the worship of God? No matter what a person is or what they do is separate from their belief and worship of God. A gay person can believe that God is one and in the Prophet Muhammad and his message. His or her sexual orientation does not change or invalidate their belief.
Many “religious” people, including Jews and Christians, say that homosexuality is a sin and that is why gay people should be banned from places of worship. Let’s take that argument into consideration for a moment.
If being gay is a sin that bans a person from places of religious worship and from worshipping God, then it follows that people who sin should be banned from places of worship. This would include people who backbite, hurt others, commit adultery, lie, cheat, steal, pass judgment on others, gossip, are greedy, stingy, bad to their neighbors, and who do not follow their faith perfectly.
If membership or affiliation to a religious group is based on sin, then this would mean that 100% of the human race would be barred from worshipping God or attending a church, mosque, or synagogue.
Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, and Bhuddists need to remember that their mosque, church, synagogue, or temple is not a social club where people hang out to judge others and decide who is worthy enough to worship God. These are places of worship which is open to ALL of mankind and nobody should be barred from entering them.