Homosexuality is a person’s inclination towards persons of the same gender. This sexual inclination can be emotional or physical in nature. In pre-modern societies, homosexuality was frequently considered a sexual aberration. This general prejudice cropped up in the respective societies in a manner that was commensurate with the significance of religion in the public sphere. In modern societies, the changed role of religion in the shaping of social and personal life has also brought with it a certain shift in the negative attitude towards homosexuality. In the modern era, some consider it a physical or psychological ailment in need of treatment; others consider it a conscious, sexual decision. There are also those who hold the view that, beyond any medical or psychological connections, the practice of homosexuality constitutes a basic right. This tendency is growing stronger today, and homosexuality is even legalised in some legal systems. In the majority Islamic view, sexuality is connected with creation. The Qur’an states that people were created in pairs from a single being, i.e. with their respective married partner; and that He created many men and women from both (4:1). The sexuality consonant with the order of creation is that practiced between man and woman. For the purpose of creating a person as man or woman is the mutual sexual attraction of the genders and, associated with this, procreation. Islamic sexual ethics arose in keeping with this understanding of Creation. The things that are natural in sexuality form the legal basis for the things that are ethically justifiable. In keeping with this understanding of the law, natural sexuality was confined to the marriage. Under the Muslim view, on the other hand, homosexuality is rejected as a form of sexuality that fails to conform to Creation. It is viewed as an aberration from natural and ethically correct sexuality. In the Qur’an, for instance, Lot’s people are suspected of homosexuality. The men of this people, it is said, had turned towards homosexuality and away from their wives. In the Qur’an, about this decision the question is raised: ‘Do you approach males among the worlds and leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing.’ (26:165–166). This creates a tie between natural disposition and sexual ethics. In the Qur’an, homosexuality is described as one of the reasons for the punishment of Lot’s people (11:74–83, 26:168–175). Because in the Islamic view sexuality is not based upon a decision but is instead a natural circumstance, it is assumed that homosexual inclinations are traceable to a biological, physical or psychological anomaly. A deliberate decision in favour of a homosexual relationship is considered a sin. This does not mean, however, that Islamic societies have a resulting right to exclude or to discriminate against homosexuals.
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