Q. In your 1999 response to a question, it states that homosexual relationships are forbidden, has there been a change in your position on this?

A. In 1999, we were responding to a question taking into consideration the laws of the land that were in place then. As you may remember, at that time in the United States, to the best of our knowledge, no state had yet legalized same sex union. Our position is that of ensuring that our opinions do not, per Islamic protocol, run counter to the law of the land wherever compatibility is possible. The situation has changed since then with most states now allowing for this, and our examination of the verses of the Qur'an, modern scientific research, as well as the writings of the scholars throughout the ages show that, contrary to what some writers may want to think, Islam has generally had a very liberal approach to the subject of sexuality. In fact, many of the proscriptions in Muslim society were based on imposed colonial edicts, or before that, in situations where there was coercion and abuse rather than consensual love between those deemed able to freely express themselves.

We oppose any strictly sectarian interpretations of religious law given that society is not monolithically religious, and even if we can find one as such, the interpretations of jurists are restricted to their fallible understanding of genetics, science, and even of the shari'ah itself. To this day, sadly, many Muslims who are in positions of legal authority do not seem to understand that research on genetics and other sciences should factor in passing edicts. For this reason, Dr. Taha Al-Alwani and others like him (and we support this idea) feel that the time is past for a single religious authority to give a ruling on certain subjects. The idea is that there should be a group, wherein scholars from the various relevant disciplines can pool their collective knowledge to seek solutions.

Posted November 15, 2020