He just wants you to repent

Lately, the stories about Muslims that have been making their way into the LA Times have been testing the limits of the comfort zone, and of course there is nothing wrong with that. A couple months ago, there was a story about Muslim teens in America exploring a punk rock lifestyle, and today there is a feature article about a Muslim woman, Aliyah,  who is a lesbian. I found the most interesting part of the article to be the following quote:

‘It firmly states in the Koran: ‘Ye without faults will be replaced. But those that commit sin, repent,’ ” says Aliyah, sitting on a shaded patch of grass in Manhattan’s Union Square one afternoon. It is her day off as a security guard. Since returning to New York in September 2007, she has been living meagerly.

“Allah doesn’t want you to be perfect,” she continues, pulling on blades of grass. “He doesn’t want you to be without faults, he doesn’t want you to be without sin, he just wants you to repent. And if you are without sin, you will be replaced by someone who commits sin.

But is homosexuality a sin?

Aliyah knows the story of the city of Lot in the Koran, which is often pointed to as an argument against homosexuality. “It’s the whole story about the city being destroyed because they were gay,” she says. It is the same text as the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, which has been used to condemn homosexuality in Christianity and Judaism.

“I am living an upright life. I try to be charitable,” she says. “But who decides what is sin and what is not? It’s not for man to decide.”

I know that there is consensus regarding the sin of homosexuality in Islam, so I’m not even going to go there…it’s not a matter that “man has decided,” rather it’s a matter that man has interpreted from knowledgeable reading of the Qur’aan.

The idea that “Allah doesn’t want us to be perfect” is what I take umbrage to. There is a difference between what Allah wants and what Allah expects…I would say that He wants us to be as close to perfect as we can, but does not expect us to be so. Had He expected that, He would have stopped creating once the angels were in place. No, He expects us to strive for perfection, and repent when we fail…not fail so that we can repent. I never realized there could be disagreement about something so simple, but we all learn something from one another.

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2 Responses to He just wants you to repent

  1. Nisa says:

    Assalaamu ‘alaikum sis

    I read both articles and am left feeling quite disturbed. The youth are growing up with no real guidance or direction in life. Who or what is to blame? We too have been raised in the West yet alhamdulillah the temptations that beckon around us have so far had no effect..

    Is it all down to tarbiyyah and how the parents direct their children from the cradle on up?

    I feel sad, truly and only make dua that the condition of the ummah is on an upward climb rather than the other way around..

    Wassalaamu ‘alaikum

  2. Wa ‘AlaykumusSalaam sis Nisa,
    Yes, the articles were quite disturbing, and I am really at quite a loss as to why. In today’s article, they described the young woman’s background as being fairly well-directed: she was raised by her aunt, whose husband was an imam, so I must imagine there was quite a bit of Islamic discourse.

    Perhaps another missing link is how much do parents pay attention to their childrens’ thought processes, and how much do they attempt to understand the very real conflicts their children feel. In the end though, each child grows to be an adult who is responsible for their own misunderstandings.

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