Why does Islam prohibit homosexuality?

Why is homosexuality prohibited in Islam? A few years ago I had a conversation with a colleague about Islam. He was really interested and agreed with everything I was saying, yet, he just had one major concern. He said,

“Look, almost everything you’ve said so far makes perfect sense. Yet I can’t help but wonder why is your God so bothered about two men that just so happen to love one another?”

Such a question is a norm in today’s modern world. I mean, in a world that prides itself for its struggle to achieve equality and social justice, shouldn’t a man loving a woman be the same as a man loving a man? Shouldn’t all love be considered the same? Why does Islam see a difference? Why is homosexuality prohibited in Islam?

Well, the answer is in fact quite simple and it all comes down to the very definition of Islam in and of itself – and that is submission. Islam by its very essence means to submit to whatever Allah ordains for humanity. No ifs, no buts, no why’s?, no how come, just complete utter submission and servitude to God – and that’s what makes you a Muslim.

Allah says in the Quran:

فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

“But no, by your Lord, they will not truly believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.”

Quran 4:65

You see, even if we don’t understand the wisdom or benefits behind such rulings, we submit, simply because that’s what Allah ordained. Now this, of course, doesn’t prevent us from searching for the wisdom behind such rulings, and in this case, there are many, yet what I am saying is that the fundamental underlying principle of why we follow this ruling, is out of submission to Allah’s law.

And by no means is this submission degrading or shameful by any standard. In fact to the contrary, one should feel confident knowing that His affairs and practices are in accordance with the Creator. After all, who is more suitable to regulate the affairs of humanity & society than the One who created it?

أَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ  

“Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Aware?”

Quran 67:14

So irrespective of social norms, trends or cultural practices, Islamic principles and prohibitions especially those that are clearly mentioned in the Quran and unanimously agreed upon are final – whether it’s homosexuality, interest, gambling, intoxicants, or adultery. Even if the whole world was to disagree and argue that it was for the betterment of society, that it was for equality, as Muslims our obedience and reliance shall remain in Allah alone.

Prophet Lut to His People

In another verse, Lut advised his town:

Of all the creatures in the world, will you approach males, and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? No, you are a people transgressing (all limits)!’

Qur’an 26:165-166

The scholars have also illustrated many worldly consequences of homosexual acts to reinforce its prohibition, including the breakup of the family unit, the spread of disease and going against the natural laws Allah has ordained for His creation.

Nevertheless, even if the whole world was to disagree with this prohibition and argue that such an act was for the betterment of society, that it was for equality, as Muslims our obedience and reliance shall remain in Allah alone.

وَإِن تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ

“And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah. They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying.”

Quran 6:116

So in summary, we can argue and debate the benefits and harms of such an action for years on end, but the fact of the matter remains that we oppose such behavior (prohibit homosexuality) for the very fact that our Lord Allah opposed it.

And this is the essence of what it means to be a Muslim.