Can a Muslim Attend a Gay Wedding?

Rainbow over two male intertwined symbols

Recently I have been wondering if attending a same sex-marriage is accepted in Islam. This is a dilemma I never dreamed I’d face, and I am agonizing over the decision. So, I decided to conduct research and talked to my Imam to find out whether a Muslim is allowed to attend a gay wedding.

So, can a Muslim attend a gay wedding? A Muslim believer is not allowed to attend a gay wedding, as same sex marriage is deemed as sinful in Islam. Attending a gay marriage is punishable according to Sharia law and Muslims must therefore refrain from attending same-sex marriages.

Muslim culture believes that all crucial elements of companionship and love, marriage is nothing more than literally a contract between a man and a woman in which the groom provides mahr to the bride in return for exclusive sexual access. It is a contract that makes reproduction and sex legal in the eyes of God and legitimate in the eyes of the society.

Since marriage is based on a contract premised in vaginal intercourse as well as financial obligation between a man and a woman, gay couples cannot engage in any marriage. It is also forbidden for any Muslim believer to be involve by attending or taking part in such a marriage ceremony.

Muslim focus on the actions of the Sharia meaning that the inclinations or the desires of having or attending a gay wedding have no legal substance and is considered haram. The sharia law does not have a position on homosexual desire. Although sharia does not have a distinct position on sexual acts. All sexual contracts between single women and men are forbidden.

Sexual contact apart from vaginal penetration is punishable by the jury’s discretion same applies to attending any form of union between individuals of the same sex. Based on the guidelines by the Quran in the case of vaginal intercourse between unmarried couples is punishable with one hundred lashes.

As stated above sexual expression in Islam is determined through a legal contract that is signed during marriage. It traditionally consists of nikah and concubinage. Any kind of sexual contact beyond such a contract (marriage) is a transgression. Same as becoming a witness or witnessing a contract between couples of the same sexuality.

Procreation is not necessary to legitimize a relationship. The purpose of any marriage is affection, love and harmony as well as peace between the spouses. It is therefore not out of order if many jurists define the purpose of marriage in terms of sexual enjoyment.

In the Sunni Islam the Hanabali and Hanafi jurist understand the word nakaha to mean intercourse. Likewise, in one of the Shi lexicons, the meaning of the word nikah is deemed the same to the word wat, which means sexual intercourse that is sanctioned by a marriage contract.

The Quran addresses directly with sodomy, with the word liwat formulated from Lot along with his family. The Quran recounts the story of Sodom and Gomorrah numerous times condemning the resident’s overall morality, and majorly criticizing its men for going to other men out of sexual desire instead of going to single women.

Sodomy widely considered to be anal sex is forbidden by the consciences of Muslim scholars. In fact Muhammad condemned any anal sex with wives. Muslim scholars set the punishment for anal sex between men as anywhere from relatively light one at the judge’s discretion because sodomy does not lead to illegitimate children.

Based on the fact that marriage is viewed as a legal contract for sexual intercourse, where procreation is not necessarily essential, it would seem that Islam could allow for gay marriage. However, because same sex sexual acts has been addressed by the past jurists in the context of ubnah as well as pederasty, witnessing or having a legal contract for gay couples have never been investigated in Islamic jurisprudence.

In today’s work, neo-traditionalist Muslims believers, who wish to superimpose classical jurist opinions, are taking a condemnatory position from classical juristic manuals and are utilizing them to reject gay couple weddings and no Muslim should take part in such celebrations. Such classical opinions have been occasionally been presented in the form of juristic rules and legal maxims, one of which is applied to witnessing marriage and by extension or analogy to gay couple wedding.

Neo traditionalists refer to verse 23:5-7 as well as the juristic rule, al-aṣl fī al-ʾabḍāʿ al-taḥrīm referring to the default status of accessing female pundeda is prohibition, is seemingly derived from this verse, to prohibit gay marriage. This juristic rule is presented today to show that any sexual activity is prohibited unless it is allowed by primary texts.

However such a representation of the legal maxim is normally not supported from the primary text and is considered not to be a point of consensus, especially because it was formulated on the basis of ijtihād hundreds of years far removed from the message of Islam.

Moreover, the rule, which was understood in the past as the prohibition of accessing of a woman’s private part unless through permitted path of concubinage or marriage cannot be applied to taking part in a marriage that will allow sexual activity between the confines of legal contract which will include gay couples.

Today’s juristic pinions that prohibit gay sex and witnessing of a gay marriage are based on ijtihād, or a derived position, and the rule on which this prohibition lies can be contested on the basis of at least five reasons as follows.

Before attempting to attend such a union, any Muslim believer always consider his or her family beliefs. The position of most Muslim families will not allow anyone to attend such an event. The position of the Quran on homosexual behavior and same sex marriage is id forbidden in any Islamic culture. It is evident that any homosexual union is inconsistent with God’s design for human sexuality as set forth in the holy book. God created male and female.

It is important to note that if a believer decides to attend, his or her decision will have ramifications at various levels. For instance, attending any wedding ceremony is generally comprehended to signify one’s commitment  and support to the union that is being established.

It therefore makes a statement to the marrying couple and the attendees as well as the society at large. And while what will occur in this case will not be actually marriage- that is the joining together of individuals with a unique expression of humanity- nevertheless, it is an effort to normalize a relationship that contravenes the scripture and will ultimately be detrimental to the couples involved.

Even so, there exists numerous considerations at play, foremost among them is the desire of the believer to maintain an ongoing relationship with friends and family members. Given the above and other complex factors to be considered, it is therefore important to talk to an Imam for direction. The Imam will likely be in an ideal position to offer spiritually sound and wise advice to help guide the believer in such a situation.

If the believer wants to protect the relationship with a family member or a friend in order to make sure that the relationship between them is secured. He or she is faced with a dilemma that appears to be practically unsolvable. There exists other ways of looking at such a situation.

Today, our society confuses the concept of love and approval. To a certain degree, most situations render the believers confused. It is important to understand that any believer can overcome the mix-up for what it is and find a way to move beyond it.

There is no doubt that as a Muslim one should place high priority on maintaining and preserving a relationship with your family or friend in question. To achieve this one should find a consistent way of demonstrating and expressing your care for him or her. But one should understand that love and approval are not the same thing.

Ultimately, any believer should stay true to his or her own convictions and leave the outcome in Allah’s hands. Relationships are a two way street, while every believer is responsible for his or her own words, actions and attitudes, one has no control over friends or family members.

By not attending such a function can be an authentic, positive and honest way to show the friend or family that as a believer, you don’t engage in such an act and you always conform to the rules and teachings outlined by Prophet Mohammed and the Quran.

The Khuntha Mushkil and Non-binary Gender

First, the above juristic rule is framed in the context of a binary understanding of gender based on the unthā and dhakar, which respectively denote receptive and non-receptive entities. As such, the rule is sometimes mentioned as the default status of the female pudenda prohibition.

Meaning that nikah is based on the assumption of women passivity, which is stated clearly by numerous jurists reasoning that a man is the one who is supposed to marry and take a concubine and stands over a woman, and a woman is the one to be married or taken as a concubine and does not stand over a man.

Such an understanding of gender allowed the Shāfiʿī as well as other jurists to view mahr as the ‘vulva price’- the payment that is made to have legal access to the wife’s private parts. Basically this juristic rule concerns the legal intercourse through ownership of the female private part. However such a binary understanding of marriage and gender is contested.

The exegete Qurtubi referenced verse 28:68 and 42:50, which states that “He creates what He wills,” ad argue that these texts contain all the variations of intersex individuals. While Qurtubi did not explicitly mention the witnessing or marriage of intersex persons, such a non-binary understanding of gender enabled Ḥanbalī jurist Khiraqi to let the khuntha mushkil marry the gender they are attracted to, as he considered their sexual orientation.

It was assumed to rest on their gender orientation because a disposition towards me would involve a female gender and vice versa, as the most important consideration in such a situation.

Jurists like Khiraqi gave the khuntha mushkil the final authority to determine their gender based on the principle, as indicated by al-Āmidī. He insisted that the authority to determine their gender only on overt and not hidden matters. The jurist allowed such individuals to assume the role of male and female for marriage.

Minority Juristic Opinions- Unanimity vs. Dissent

Second, even when considering gender binary context, the juristic rule that is used to argument against gay couple marriage has been contested. The Ḥanafī Mufti of Aleppo asserted that there exists individuals who were considered liwāṭ with male slaves. Such sentiments have a precedent in weak Athar texts.

In some cases they have been contested with Caliph Umar on male concubines. His friends maintained that they disputed such acts in the book of God therefore suggesting that they did not consider the understanding of women as completely wrong.

Such opinions are sometimes considered absurd, especially by individuals who find gay couple sexual acts disturbing. These opinions reflect the fact that alternative arguments and opinions exist even on matters that are considered without dissent or unanimous.

Interpretation of verses like 23:5-7 indicates a juristic rule that has been contested over time. The verse has been interpreted to prohibit any sexual activity like masturbation outside marriage as well as concubinage.

Malik suggested that the above verse define the individuals who partake in masturbation as one who has exceeded limits. Other scholars like Shāfiʿī deemed masturbation as a wrong doing. Likewise through exclusive analysis of these verses the act of witnessing a gay couple union is deemed undesirable and prohibited.

The Permissibility of Legal Contracts on Social Transactions

The juristic rule on marriage is not one of prohibition but one of permissibility, because the Holy book refers to marriage as a firm covenant and according to numerous scholars like the Ḥanbalī jurists, there exists no law that prohibits contracts. The normative position on contracts is ibāḥa. It is also essential to note that matrimonial aw falls into the category of social transactions, meaning they are constantly subjected to the changing social conditions.

Such permissibility in Islam exists only on legal contracts for only men and women. There prohibition of legal contract of gay couples can be substantiated on the basis of verse 4:19, which teaches that the contract is based on creating binding responsibilities and rights that are allowed in the eyes of God.

A valid contract is usually supported on the basis of observation that according to many jurists, witnessing a valid marriage between two believers is centered in freedom of consent and choice.

When deriving the prohibition of the witnessing of gay marriage on the basis of verse 23:5-7 as mentioned above, such positions usually are based on immorality of gay marriages sexual activity.

As described above, the Quran condemns the people of Lut. Islam therefore generalizes from the story and condemns all same-sex desire and activities. Not only does the above declaration apply to the people in the story but to all Muslims.

In the absence of mutawātir or saḥīḥ texts, any prohibition on any activity that endorses gay marriages is derived through analogical deduction and alleged ijmāʿ. This position has however led to a few challenges.

Shafīʿī insisted on the primacy of hadith in response to the problematic overuse of consensus and on the other hand, Ibn Hanbal came up with the largest collection of hadith to avoid analogy, as he believed that Muslim scholars made most of their errors during their analogical reasoning.

The simplistic analogy between LGBTQ Muslims and Lut’s people on the basis of shared feature of anal intercourse passes because for any analogy to pass, the most important features shared between the two cases being compared should explicitly show that the analogy is considered valid.

Therefore, Islam takes a prohibitive position on witnessing of gay marriages. It is always considered offensive in Islamic culture to engage in or witness marriage between two individuals of the same sex. Although the above stand can be deemed inconsiderate considering today’s society.

After researching the juristic rule in a search for an express text that allows the witnessing of gay marriages has been problematic because jurist in the past were predominantly against such acts. This principle is still being maintained because it’s explicitly opposed in the Quran. Therefore, the juristic rule that strictly limits marriage between men and women and prohibiting Gay marriage in not maʾlum min al din bil darura.

In conclusion, the issue of attending a gay marriage in America is a tough one for all Muslims. On one hand, it is highly impossible to construct and argument by which witnessing a sexual contract between men, let alone anal sex, is permissible in God’s eyes.

On the other hand attempts to ban the Sharia law in America threatens Muslim’s ability to have their own marriage contracts. Like gays they would love to define marriage free from majoritarian cultural bias. Therefore, numerous Muslims are ready to defend the rights for other individuals to shape marriage to make sure that the marriages are conducted according to their particular beliefs and relationships to be respected in return.

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