Following the publication of our article on Homosexual Marriages we received some letters raising the issue “What is homosexuality?”. Is it a crime, a sin, a mental illness, a behavioral disorder, an inborn abnormality or an alternative lifestyle? We consider this question from prime principles below.
Before dealing with these answers, we need to establish clearly what human behaviour or condition we mean, when we talk about homosexuality. To establish that we need to understand the human reproductive process, usually referred to as “sex”.
The natural human reproductive process consists of a human male injecting seminal fluid discharged from his penis into the vagina of a human female. This leads to fertilization of the eggs within the womb of the female and eventual birth of a human child. This natural reproductive process of the human species determines the physiological and psychological characteristics of men and women, which are different and reflect their roles in this natural reproductive process. Similar differences between sexes exist in other animal species.
One of the characteristics of this reproductive process is that from time to time men and women feel a strong desire to perform this mutual act of reproduction. This is accompanied by strong emotions of attraction to the opposite sex, love, desire to possess or to belong, envy, jealousy, protectiveness. Often people find it difficult to resist or control these desires and emotions. Similar strong emotions are exhibited in relations of parents to their children. Similar emotion or instinct based reproductive process prevails among other animal species.
But, in addition to emotions and instincts, the human species is endowed with reason and will, which allows it to control emotions and instincts. Human behaviour is a complex interaction between instincts, emotions, reason and will. And the human reproductive process is also affected by this complex interaction.
This complex behaviour within each human individual is also affected by the fact that humans live in social groups. And behaviour of the individuals need to be adapted to life within the group. Thus, in all groups there emerges a moral code (formal or informal) which approves of some forms of behaviour and disapproves of other forms. This also applies to the reproductive process. In most human societies from the early times and up to the second half of the 20th century, all forms of sex related behaviour outside of the framework of heterosexual family were strongly disapproved of, and some forms of sex behaviour, and in particular homosexuality even criminalized. Often this was based on religious teachings, which provided the basis of social morality. Thus, in addition to instincts, emotions, reason and will another factor affects human behaviour — morality.
In the 20th century religion‐based morality began to be questioned, and the idea was advanced that homosexuality is not a sin or a crime for which a person is responsible and should be punished, but a “mental illness or personality disorder”, for which a person is not responsible, and from which he should be cured.
And towards the end of the 20th century the idea was promoted that homosexuality is not a “mental illness or personality disorder”, but a normal form of human behaviour — or “alternative life style”.
So what is homosexuality?
It is a behaviour in the course of which a person satisfies his sexual instincts and emotions by interacting with another person of the same sex. Among men this is done by one man using another man's anal passage, mouth, or hand, as if it were a woman's vagina. Homosexual women use their tongues, fingers, or similar objects as a substitute for a male penis. These activities produce sensations and emotions similar to those, experienced during the normal reproductive process. But normal reproductive process it is not. The anal passage is meant for discharge of the products of human digestion, and the mouth for intake of food, not for childbirth, and a finger or tongue cannot make a woman pregnant. This is clearly self‐deception and behaviour contrary to that intended by Nature or its Creator.
So why do people engage in such unnatural behaviour? Are people born that way, or do they choose this form of behaviour consciously and voluntarily?
Although it is normal for people to be born with clearly distinct sexual characteristics, it is possible for people to be born with abnormal sexual characteristics. This is similar to people with other congenital abnormalities, like absent, deformed or additional limbs, Siamese twins, etc. Some people are born with underdeveloped, malformed or missing sexual organs. Sometimes the sexual organs of a child are such that it is not clear whether it is a boy or a girl. Some people have inborn behavioral abnormalities. In some cases these abnormalities can be harmless both to the person and others, like a person with six fingers. Sometimes these abnormalities can present a serious handicap to the person, but not to others, like missing limbs. And sometimes a person with congenital abnormalities can be dangerous to others, like a person with violent uncontrollable behaviour.
Yes, people can be born abnormal, but they are not born homosexual. It is meaningless to call a homosexual a person who by virtue of his birth is neither a man, nor a woman — in fact, such people are called hermaphrodites.
Homosexuality is a behaviour, not a physiological characteristic. It is an abnormal behaviour of normal people. It is a result of lack of correct education, and often of corruption by others.
Unlike animals, Man cannot rely exclusively on his instincts and emotions, his instincts and emotions must be controlled by his reason. This control by reason is not inborn, but develops through a prolonged learning process. Usually this happens in a social setting and starts within the family. Even simple instinctive acts like urination are subject to a lengthy learning process. Unlike animals, people do not urinate wherever they feel the urge, they do it in special places. The same applies to the procreational process (sex).
A human person needs to learn to play correctly his role in the procreational process from early childhood. If by the time a person reaches sexual maturity, he has failed to learn his correct role in the procreational process, he can become a victim of his sexual drives which he will misuse, and this can adversely affect the course of his life and can cause harm to others. Rape, marital problems, child molesting, extramarital sex and homosexuality are results of such failure.
In Europe and the Americas, where the social morality in the past was based on the Christian religion, the sex role training was performed by treating sex as a forbidden subject, but girls were expected to follow in the footsteps of their mothers, while boys of their fathers. Sex began at marriage. Sex outside of marriage was condemned, and homosexuality was a crime. Because sex was a taboo, and people were ignorant of anything relating to sex until they were married, young people who developed early or stayed unmarried for a long time were vulnerable to sexual misbehaviour, and could get involved in extramarital sex, or homosexual practices. This lead to some social scandals.
With the religious morality in Europe and the Americas being abandoned in the 20th century, which lead to spread of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, sex education was introduced in European and American schools. This, however, was conducted by people, who having liberated themselves from the restrictions of the morality of the past, have failed to develop an understanding of the role of the reproductive process in human life. The sex lessons were mostly concerned with prevention of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, and ignored the psychological, emotional and social aspects of sex. The approach was “safe sex” — “enjoy yourself, but use a condom or a pill”. Homosexuality was safe from the point of view of unwanted pregnancies and children were encouraged to “discover their sexual orientation” experimentally. The issue of “safe sex” did not arise in respect of homosexuals until the epidemic of AIDS broke out. Again the answer was “play safe — use a condom”.
One of the characteristics of sex is, that having tried it once, people want more — it becomes addictive. People also develop emotional dependence on their partners. It is not unknown for professional prostitutes to use this feature of sex to lead their “clients” to financial destitution. This is also true of “gay” sex. Once a male is subjected to anal sex, he often develops a behavioral dependency. In the past, when homosexuality was criminalized, this was often used to blackmail people in public life and for recruitment of spies during the Cold War.
Sex related activities are not restricted to sexual cravings and sensations in the course of the reproductive act, they have a continuous effect on general behaviour and life of the person. It affects thinking, dreams, attitude to life, manners, view of oneself. A man can start dreaming of being a woman, or imagining himself as one. People can develop cravings to inflict pain on their sexual partners, or to suffer pain being inflicted by their partners on themselves. Some people develop desire to drink other people's urine, or to be urinated or defecated upon. Failure to control sexual urges can lead to mental disorders, drug addiction, and alcoholism. Thus failure to control ones' sexual life, and to correctly fulfill one's role in the reproductive process can be seen as a disease of the soul.
People who fail to control their sex behaviour usually seek to satisfy their unnatural cravings by involving other people. Often their victims are children, or vulnerable young people. It is common for people having control of young people to corrupt them by sodomization. There were many cases of such practices in Britain and the US — in boarding schools, orphanages, and penal institutions. The present scandals involving Catholic priests in the US and Britain are examples of this.
As the number of homosexuals in Europe and America grew, politicians saw them as a new “constituency” — this became known as “chasing the gay vote”. Some politicians themselves are “gay”. Homosexuality became a kind of “political” movement. There even is a “gay culture”, “gay press”, etc. Thus, homosexuality came to be seen as an alternative, fashionable, and often preferred lifestyle.
This is clearly not a “mental illness or personality disorder” as it was thought of in the earlier part of the 20th century. Homosexuality is a form of social behaviour, which is caused by failure of governments to educate the people on the correct use of their reproductive process.
Leaving aside the issue of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, homosexuality corrupts human nature. Like drug addicts, smokers, and alcoholics, homosexuals think that they are enjoying themselves. And, like drug addicts, smokers, and alcoholics, homosexuals pay for this enjoyment by corrupting their body and soul. The life style of some pop stars dominated by homosexuality, drugs and alcohol is an example of this phenomenon. But the Social Establishment presents such pop stars as role models for young people. A man who has been sodomized will have difficulties in living a normal married life, will become dependent on male “partners”, and will waste his life in his unnatural pursuits. This unnatural life style will deprive him from normal psychological development and will prevent him from the enjoyment of normal life.
This is why homosexuality was condemned as sin by Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. The prophets understood the need to educate the people in the correct use of the gift of human reproduction. The Qur'an contains many passages explaining the human reproductive process.
By failing to educate the people about the correct use of sex, personal hygiene and family building, governments fail in their duty before the people. This leads to moral decay of the society.
The passages of the Qur'an on the correct use of sex, personal hygiene and family building can provide today's parents and educators with guidance on the correct upbringing of the future generations.
But what about the present day homosexuals? Can they find their way to normal life?
Their position is similar to that of people suffering from other forms of addictive behaviour: drugs, alcohol and tobacco. A person suffering from addictive behaviour needs to perform the following steps:
Such struggle against harmful urges (the jihad of the soul) can be difficult and can continue throughout one's life. But winning this struggle brings great rewards — a healthy, satisfying and productive life.