There are a number of passages within both the Koran and Hadiths that address homosexuality (1). Islam goes beyond merely disapproving of homosexuality as Sharia law teaches that homosexuality is a serious form of fornication that is punishable by death.
The Koran (sura 7:80-84) borrows the Biblical story of Sodom and Gemorrah in which God destroys the city due to his anger against the people because of their engagement in lustful carnal acts between men, “For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds…. And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone).” This story finds its presence elsewhere within the Koran as repeated in suras 15:74, 27:58 and 29:40. The Koran thus affirms that homosexual relations are against Allah’s will as Allah created man and woman for each other (26:165-166). Similarly, the Hadiths prove informative. Homosexual activity is punishable by execution (Abu Dawud 4462; al-Tirmidhi, Sunan 1:152 ) via stoning (Abu Dawud 4448), and is cursed by the Prophet Muhammad (Sahih Bukhari 72:774).
It is thus understandable why violence is perpetuated against homosexuals within the Islamic world. In fact, in our modern era certain countries such as Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen punish homosexual activity by death (2). This not only includes homosexual activity but apostasy and drug trafficking, and where not punished by death culprits of homosexual practice will meet a lengthy jail sentence. It was also discovered that homosexuals are sometimes abused in jails by guards and officials under what is termed invasive forensic examinations (3). Such “examinations” are essentially torture or ill-treatment (3).
Beyond the Koran there have been approaches by Muslims for how to deal with those who committed sexual transgressions. For instance, the Prophet Muhammad’s companion and advisor Abu Bakr suggested burning transgressors alive or toppling wall on to them (4). On the other hand, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali ibn Abi Talib, advanced stoning (5) whereas Islamic scholar and imam, Abu Hanifa, proposed a maximum of 39 lashes (6). According to one contemporary imam from Tunisia, Sheikh Khalid Yasin, “God is very straightforward about this – not we Muslims, not subjective, the Sharia is very clear about it, the punishment for homosexuality, bestiality or anything like that is death. We don’t make any excuses about that, it’s not our law – it’s the Koran” (7). Homosexual activity is such a serious sin because it is a direct confrontation to Allah himself.
1. Ali, K. 2006. Sexual Ethics & Islam. p. 90.
2. PDF. Lesbian and Gay Rights in the World. Available.
3. ARC International. United Arab Emirates. Available.
4. Wafer, J, 1997. “Muhammad and Male Homosexuality” in Stephen Murray & Will Roscoe’s Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History and Literature. p. 89–90.
5. Bosworth, C. & van Donzel, E. 1983. The Encyclopaedia of Islam.
6. Atabek, S. 2016. Islamic Law, Homosexuality and the ‘Pulse’ Massacre. Available.
7. Spencer, R. 2016. Tunisian Imam: Homosexuals should be stoned to death. Available.