You can probably tell from the title of this question that the topic I am about to discuss is taboo in Muslim circles, but I assure you I am only presenting the story I am about to present and asking the questions I am about to ask because I truly need advice. I think many Muslims will find the frankness of this letter offensive, so if you do not wish to post it on your site, please feel free. I am a gay Muslim ... an oxymoron at first sight, but it just isn't that simple.
What I mean is that I have been gay since at least the age of 7 (and this was no choice of my own), but because I believe strongly in God and that there is no higher calling than to serve Him, I have chosen to refrain from acting on my homosexual desires since such acts are against the likings of our Lord. Through establishing a close relationship with God, I have been able to suppress these desires to a great extent. They have not vanished, but they have definitely diminished in intensity over the years, by the grace of God. However, I still have some problems. Although I am usually able to cast any related thoughts out of my mind, yet recently Satan seduced me into lewd thoughts and masturbation. This happened twice, and both incidents were followed by highly erotic dreams featuring homosexual fantasies. My first question is, are these dreams a punishment from God for my indulgence in homosexual thoughts? This is what I think is the case, and I have repented, asked for His forgiveness, and have asked Him to help me correct and mend my ways as much as possible. I hope to stay clear of such thoughts as far as possible for as long as I am alive.
The next problem is that I wish to seek psychological treatment/therapy of some sort, but I cannot afford this on my own. I am only in college and my parents manage most of my finances, so even if I could afford it, they would find out sooner or later that I spent my money on something as serious as this. But the problem is not the money; it is my parent's predicted reaction. They are not terribly devout Muslims, but they are conservative enough to condemn anything related to homosexuality. If they found out I was gay, they would probably go insane and disown me or at the very least posit that I consciously opted to be the way I am (which is not at all true) and would probably proceed to get me to somehow "become straight." Should I just wait until I am financially independent and then seek such therapy in private, without letting my parents/family know? I think this is best because I would rather spare my parents the emotional trauma of discovering that their child is a queer, a mistake of Nature. What do you think?
The third problem -- and this is perhaps the most critical -- is my sexual future. Islam allows sexual intercourse only between husband and wife, but I am not sure if I can get married. Yes, I have suppressed my homosexual urges, but as I have written above they are not absent and I am by no means straight. I am therefore considering a life of celibacy, but this, again, is something of which my parents would not approve because they love their son and want to see their "javaan betta" get married to a good Muslim girl. I am truly stuck ... I do not know if I should enter into a marriage with someone I do not truly love in a sexual way (and, let's face it, my future wife would probably want more than just "sisterly" love) or if I should renounce marriage altogether and become celibate, hoping that God will help me live a pious, righteous life nevertheless. Or should I demand a heavy request from God, that He turn me into a straight man before I get married (if I live that long)? I would greatly appreciate whatever advice you can give me.
May Allah bless you,
My dear brother, I commend you for your sincere efforts of trying to tread a path of God's liking and suppressing your strong desires to do the contrary.
I assure you, my dear brother, that if you keep trying your best to stay on the right path, God will never leave your side. He shall always support you and make it more and more easy for you to lead a life, which is in consonance with His likes. However, we must also remember that on the opposite pole, at this period in your journey toward the path of your Lord Satan and his team of workers - among Jinn and men - will also increase all his efforts of luring you into deviating from the right path. In this regard, we should remain aware of the fact that the one of the biggest weapons of Satan is to dishearten man from treading the right path, by highlighting the difficulties involved in the journey and by causing him to lose hope in God's mercy. Under no circumstances, even after committing a mistake, should we lose hope in God's mercy. God loves us much more than even our mother and father. He would never lead us astray, or even allow Satan to force us into deviations, if we are firm in our commitment to lead a life which is in keeping with his likes. How a person should react and call upon God's mercy, after having committed a wrong, is very eloquently portrayed by the following words, which are a part of the supplication taught by the Prophet (pbuh):
[My Lord, were you to be angry with me] I would find no refuge and no protection from your anger, except in your own mercy.
As far as the second point that you have mentioned is concerned, I tend to agree with you that it may not be very prudent on your part to fully inform your parents regarding your problem. However, I would still suggest that you consider requesting them to financially help you in curing 'a' problem (without specifying the details), which is hindering you from living a natural life. Nevertheless, if your parents are persistent on knowing the details, then to get the required financial help from your parents, you may, as a last resort, discuss the issue with them in more detail, emphasizing the point that, insha'Allah, the problem will be completely cured through proper treatment. If, however, you decide on not asking your parents for their financial help, even at the cost of delaying the treatment, then it seems that you would be left with no other option, but to delay your treatment until after you start making a living on your own.
While you keep rolling your options in your mind, trying to decide upon the most suitable alternative, don't forget to pray to the Almighty, with all your heart and mind, to help you in resolving the situation in a manner, which is beneficial for you, from the perspective of the life of this world as well as the hereafter. The Qur'an (Al-Talaaq 65: 2 - 3) promises us:
And whoever fears God [abiding by His limits], He shall provide him a way out of His problems and shall provide for Him through sources, which he could not even have imagined.
I would suggest that you postpone taking a final decision on the third point till after you take expert advice and treatment.
May the merciful Lord guide you to the path of His liking and make it easy upon you to tread that path and bless you with the everlasting bliss of His Jannah.
September 6, 2001