Forum Index Forums ISLAMIC PRACTICES FORUMS ISLAMIC FIQH (UNDERSTANDING) FORUMS Family Affairs Forum Navigating Differences: Clarifying Sexual and Gender Ethics in Islam

Viewing 0 reply threads
  • Author
    • #90095

      Public discourse on sexuality over the past few decades has presented challenges to faith communities. Today, Islamic sexual and gender ethics are at odds with certain recently popular societal views, causing tension for Muslims between their religious beliefs and societal expectations. At the same time, public disapproval of LGBTQ practices, beliefs, and advocacy is increasingly met with charges of intolerance and unwarranted accusations of bigotry. More troubling still, there is an increasing push to promote LGBTQ-centric values among children through legislation and regulations, disregarding parental consent and denying both parents and children the opportunity to express conscientious objection. Such policies subvert the agency of Muslim parents to teach their children their religiously grounded sexual ethics, violate their constitutional right to freely practice their religion, and contribute to an atmosphere of intolerance toward faith communities.

      We are Muslim scholars and preachers representing a diverse range of theological schools. Below is our collective, non-partisan articulation of Islam’s position on sexual and gender ethics. As a religious minority that frequently experiences bigotry and exclusion, we reject the notion that moral disagreement amounts to intolerance or incitement of violence. We affirm our right to express our beliefs while simultaneously recognizing our constitutional obligation to exist peacefully with those whose beliefs differ from ours.

      The Source of Morality for Muslims
      The most essential requirement for accepting Islam is to submit to God completely, voluntarily, and lovingly. God says, “It is not for a believing man or woman—when God and His Messenger decree a matter—to have any other choice in that matter” (Quran, al-Aḥzāb:36). By submitting to God, we declare that only He possesses absolute knowledge and wisdom. Therefore, it follows from this submission that the ultimate source and basis of morality is Divine guidance, not just reason or societal trends.

      Islam enjoys a rich tradition of jurisprudence that allows for diverse perspectives and accommodates various cultural norms. However, particular principles that are explicitly stated in revelation, known to be necessary elements of Islam, and unanimously agreed upon by qualified scholars are deemed immutable and not open to revision by any person or entity, including the highest religious authorities. As God asserts, “And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and justice. None can alter His words, and He is the All-Hearing, the All- Knowing” (Quran, al-An‘ām: 115).

      Islam’s Position on Sexuality and Gender
      By a decree from God, sexual relations are permitted within the bounds of marriage, and marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. In the Quran, God explicitly condemns sexual relations with the same sex (see, e.g., Quran, al-Nisā’: 16, al-A‘rāf: 80–83, and al-Naml: 55–58). Moreover, premarital and extramarital sexual acts are prohibited in Islam. As God explains, “Do not go near fornication. It is truly an immoral deed and a terrible way [to behave]” (Quran, al-Isrā’: 32). These aspects of Islam are unambiguously established in the Quran, the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and a chain of scholarly tradition spanning fourteen centuries. As a result, they have gained the status of religious consensus (ijmā‘) and are recognized as integral components of the faith known to the general body of Muslims.

      God defined humanity as consisting of males and females and declared that He “… created [humans] from a male and a female and made [them] into peoples and tribes so that you may come to know one another” (Quran, al-Ḥujurāt: 13; see also al-Najm: 45). Islam affirms that men and women are spiritually equal before God, even though each has different characteristics and roles. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) referred to women as equivalent counterparts of men. Yet, he (peace be upon him) explicitly condemned imitating the appearance of the opposite gender. Further, God calls on humanity to respect His wisdom in creation (see, e.g., Quran, al-Nisā’: 119). As such, as a general rule, Islam strictly prohibits medical procedures intended to change the sex of healthy individuals, regardless of whether such procedures are termed gender “affirming” or “confirming.” For individuals born with biological ambiguities, such as disorders of sexual development, Islam permits them to seek medical care for corrective reasons.

      Islam distinguishes between feelings, actions, and identity. God holds individuals accountable for their words and actions, not for their involuntary thoughts and feelings. As our Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “God has pardoned Muslims for what they think, as long as they do not speak of or act on it” (Bukhari, 2528). In Islam, the sinful actions of an individual do not and should not dictate his or her identity. As such, it is impermissible for Muslims to take pride in identifying with labels that categorize them by their sins. It is important to note that the stance of Islam on illicit sexual relations goes hand in hand with its protection and promotion of the individual’s right to privacy. Islam prohibits prying into others’ private lives and discourages public disclosure of sexual behavior (see, e.g., Quran, al-Ḥujurāt: 12 and al-Nūr: 19).

      We recognize that some religious groups have reinterpreted or revised religious doctrine to be inclusive of LGBTQ ideology. The Muslim community is not immune to such pressures. Indeed, some have attempted to reinterpret Islamic texts in favor of LGBTQ affirmation. We categorically reject such efforts as theologically indefensible because these aspects of sexual ethics fit within the category of immutable tenets and are therefore not subject to revision.

      Our Constitutional Right to Hold Our Views
      We recognize that our moral code conflicts with the goals of LGBTQ proponents. We also acknowledge their constitutional right to live in peace and free from abuse. Nevertheless, we emphasize our God-given and constitutional rights to hold, live by, and promote our religious beliefs in the best manner (Quran, al-Naḥl: 125) without fear of legal reprisal or systematic marginalization. Peaceful coexistence does not necessitate agreement, acceptance, affirmation, promotion, or celebration. We refuse the false choice between succumbing to social pressures to adopt views contrary to our beliefs or facing unfounded charges of bigotry. Such coercive ultimatums undermine prospects for harmonious coexistence.

      We call on policymakers to protect our constitutional right to practice our religious beliefs freely, without fear of harassment, and to oppose any legislation seeking to stifle the religious freedoms of faith communities. Consistent with our claim of non-partisanship, we are committed to working with individuals of all religious and political affiliations to protect the constitutional right of faith communities to live according to their religious convictions and to uphold justice for all.

      To Our Muslim Community
      We urge Muslim public figures to uphold the sanctity of our faith and refrain from making erroneous pronouncements on behalf of Islam. We reject any attempt to attribute positions to Islam concerning sexual and gender ethics that contravene well-established Islamic teachings. To be clear, we cannot overstate the detrimental spiritual consequences for those who intentionally reject, advocate the rejection of, or misrepresent the will of God, as in doing so they endanger their status as believers (Quran, al-An‘ām: 21).

      To those among us who struggle with desires that fall outside the boundaries set by God: know that even the most righteous can commit sins and that every Muslim, no matter how sinful, has the potential to be forgiven. Practicing self-restraint in devotion to God is considered heroic. Its spiritual reward increases proportionally with the level of struggle involved. Our ultimate purpose is to prioritize devotion to God over our desires and not sacrifice our faith. We pray to God to grant us the necessary strength and unwavering commitment to live up to our ideals. May we find inner peace and satisfaction through loving submission, and may God deem us worthy of being counted among the believers, the most honorable of titles.

      For inquiries, please email For religous scholars and Imams who wish to sign this statement, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

      Shaykh Tameem Ahmadi
      Nur Institute

      Shaykh Hatem al-Hajj, PhD
      Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America

      Shaykh Salah al-Sawy, PhD
      Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America

      Shaykh Ammar Alshukry
      AlMaghrib Institute

      Professor Ovamir Anjum, PhD
      Ummatics Institute

      Ustadha Zaynab Ansari
      Tayseer Seminary

      Imam Navaid Aziz
      Islamic Information Society of Calgary

      Shaykh Jamal Badawi, PhD
      Fiqh Council of North America

      Professor Ihsan Bagby, PhD
      Fiqh Council of North America

      Shaykh Nomaan Baig
      Institute of Knowledge

      Shaykh Waleed Basyouni, PhD
      AlMaghrib Institute

      Shaykh Ahmed Billoo
      Institute of Knowledge

      Imam Yaser Birjas
      Valley Ranch Islamic Center

      Professor Jonathan Brown, PhD
      Georgetown University

      Canadian Council of Imams
      Representing 80 Canadian Imams

      Professor Sharif El-Tobgui, PhD
      Boston Islamic Seminary

      Shaykh Alauddin Elbakri

      Shaykh Shadee Elmasry, PhD
      NBIC Safina Society

      Shaykh Mohammad Elshinawy
      Mishkah University

      Imam Tom Facchine
      Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research

      Shaykh Yasir Fahmy
      Prophetic Living

      Shaykh Mohammed Faqih
      Memphis Islamic Center

      Shaykh Yassir Fazzaga
      Memphis Islamic Center

      Shaykha Hanaa Gamal
      Fiqh Council of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston

      Professor Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali, PhD
      Zaytuna College

      Shaykh Suleiman Hani
      AlMaghrib Institute

      Shaykh Asif Hirani, PhD
      Islamic Circle of North America

      Shaykh Omar Husain, PhD

      Shaykh AbdulNasir Jangda
      Qalam Institute

      Shaykh Abdur Rahman Khan
      The Shariah Council of Islamic Circle of North America

      Shaykh Ahmad Kutty

      Ustadha Fatima Lette
      Qalam Institute

      Shaykh Mohammed Amin Kholwadia
      Darul Qasim College

      Shaykh Hamzah Maqbul
      Ribat Institute

      Ustadh AbdelRahman Murphy
      Roots Community

      Shaykha Ieasha Prime
      Barakah Inc. Leadership Institute

      Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, PhD
      Islamic Seminary of America

      Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, PhD
      Al-Maqasid Islamic Seminary

      Imam Jihad Saafir
      Islah LA

      Ustadha Aatifa Shareef, LPC
      Qalam Institute

      Shaykh Muzzamil Siddiqi, PhD
      Fiqh Council of North America

      Imam Syed Soharwardy
      Islamic Supreme Council of Canada

      Shaykh Zulfiqar Ali Shah, PhD
      Fiqh Council of North America

      Shaykh Omar Suleiman, PhD
      Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research

      Ustadh Amjad Tarsin
      Al-Maqasid Islamic Seminary

      Shaykh Saad Tasleem
      AlMaghrib Institute

      Shaykh Mustafa Umar
      California Islamic University

      Ustadh Mobeen Vaid

      Shaykh Abdullah Waheed
      Miftaah Institute

      Mufti Abdul Rahman Waheed
      Miftaah Institute

      Imam Siraj Wahhaj
      Al-Taqwa Mosque (Brooklyn, NY)

      Shaykh Dawud Walid

      Shaykha Aysha Wazwaz, PhD
      Gems of Light Institute

      Imam Suhaib Webb
      Institute of Sacred Sciences

      Shaykh Tahir Wyatt, PhD
      United Muslim Masjid

      Shaykha Haifaa Younis, MD
      Jannah Institute

      Shaykh Jamaal Zarabozo

      Shaykh Abu Zayd, PhD
      Quran Literacy Institute

      Shaykh Furhan Zubairi
      Institute of Knowledge

      Signatures Added On May 24, 2023
      Imam Qutaibah Abbasi
      DeSoto House of Peace Mosque

      Shaykh Taha Abdul-Basser

      Imam Yusuf Abdulle
      Islamic Association of North America

      Imam AbdurRahman Ahmad
      Islamic Center of New England.

      Shaykh Tanweer Ahmed
      Hillside Islamic Center

      Shaykh Abdullah Al-Mahmudi
      Muslim Unity Center

      Imam Mowlid Ali
      As-Sadique Islamic Center

      Shaykh Umer Ansari
      Northside Islamic Center of San Antonio

      Imam Akram Baioumy

      Imam Nadim Bashir
      East Plano Islamic Center

      Imam Kemal Cecunjanin

      Shaykh Ismaeel Chartier
      Sunna Institute

      Sheikh Aqib Choudhury

      Shaykh Chad Earl
      Islamic Center of Maryland

      Imam John Ederer
      Muslim Community Center of Charlotte

      Imam Ismail Fenni
      Yusuf Mosque

      Ustadh Ayman Hammous, PhD
      Executive director of Muslim American Society (MAS)

      Shaykh Ikramul Haq
      Masjid Al-Islam (Rhode Island)

      Shaykh Abdullah Hatia
      Halton Islamic Association

      Imam Mohamed Herbert
      Legacy International High School

      Ustadh Iyad Hilal
      Alarqam Institute

      Imam Ibrahim Hindy

      Ustadh Shakiel Humayun
      NYC Muslim Center

      Shaykh Noman Hussain
      Oasis Chicago

      Professor Muzammil Hussain, PhD

      Shaykh Osama Ibrahim
      Islamic Society of Palm Springs

      Professor Seema Imam, EdD

      Shaykh Auda Jasser, PhD
      Muslim Association of Canada

      Shaykh AbdulRazzak Junaid
      Islamic Center of Nashville

      Imam Umar Kabiruddin
      Al Salaam Academy

      Shaykh Zubair Kahir
      Al hikmah Institute

      Imam Abdirahman Kariye
      Dar Al Farooq Center

      Imam Musleh Khan
      Islamic Institute of Toronto

      Shaykh Zaid Khan
      Institute of Knowledge

      Imam Salah Mahmoud
      Islamic Center of Frisco

      Shaykh Mamdouh Mahmoud, PhD
      Islamic society of greater Houston

      Imam Fuad Mohamed
      Muslim American Society (Bay Area)

      Shaykh Rihabi Mohamed Rihabi, PhD

      Shaykh Ahmed Mohamed, PhD
      Islamic Society of Central Jersey

      Mufti Wahaajuddin Mohammed
      Tawheed Center

      Sheikh Uzair Mohsin
      Islamic Association of Collin County

      Shaykh Suhail Mulla
      Islamic Society of West Valley

      Shaykh Abdullah Mullanee
      Lubab Academy

      Imam Irshad Osman
      Danforth Islamic Centre

      Mufti Nayef Patel
      Masjid Arqam

      Chaplain Tricia Pethic
      Muslim Prisoner Project

      Shaykh Usman Qamar
      Wijhah Initiative

      Imam Shakeel Rahman
      Islamic Center of Burlington

      Imam Hamid Raza
      Al-Ansar Center

      Ustadh Zuhair Shaath
      Chino Valley Islamic Center

      Imam Farhan Siddiqi
      Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center

      Shaykh Khalil Skafi
      Sunni Muslim

      Shaykh Mikaeel Ahmed Smith
      Qalam Institute

      Ustadh Ahmed Soboh
      Islamic Shura Council of Southern California

      Ustadh Fahad Tasleem
      Sapience Institute

      Shaykh Suhel Teli
      Darul Uloom New York

      Shaykh Azfar Uddin
      Islamic Foundation North

      Shaykh Osman Umarji, PhD
      Yaqeen Institute

      Shaykh Ibad Wali
      Sacred Knowledge Inc.

      Institutions are listed for identification purposes only.

Viewing 0 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Scroll to Top