Sexual ethics, marriage, and sexual autonomy: the landscapes for Muslimat and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Muslims
- 1.5k Downloads
Muslims today are increasingly re-examining gender and human rights in the light of Qur’anic teachings, and these issues crucially intersect in the terrain of sexual autonomy. The Qur’an insists that men and women are spiritually equal, yet dominant interpretations of sexual rights in Islam are not gender symmetrical. This paper asks whether Islam’s depiction of sexuality and marriage allows a space for female, and non-heterosexual, sexual autonomy. It also explores current interpretations of Islam, sexuality and same-sex relationships amongst British Muslims who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered. Large issues are at stake for contemporary Muslims re-examining their institutions and identity. Does marriage remain authoritative when paradigms of sexuality shift, and what does this mean for sexual autonomy in the wider Muslim consciousness?
KeywordsIslamic reform Religious marriage Sexuality Sexual autonomy Queer identity
I am grateful to numerous Imaan members for being so consistently generous with their time. I also wish to acknowledge the anonymous reviewers and Andrew Yip, whose comments proved invaluable. Special thanks are due to all my brothers and sisters in Islam, who share their minds and continue to open mine. The evolution of this work is due entirely to the limitless patience of my partner, and is dedicated to my mother.
- Ali, Y. (2000). The Qur’an: Text, translation and commentary. Elmhurst: Tahrike.Google Scholar
- Ali, K. (2006). Sexual ethics and Islam: Feminist reflections on Qur’an, hadith, and jurisprudence. Oxford: Oneworld Publications.Google Scholar
- Amal, F. (2004). In an interview with Hari, J. ‘Outcast Heroes: the story of gay Muslims,’ online at http://www.johannhari.com/archive/article.php?id=395 (Accessed 15 May 2008).
- An-Na’im, A. A. (1998). In C. Kurzman (Ed.), Liberal Islam: A sourcebook (pp. 222–238). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- ‘Ask the Imam: Online Islamic Q and A with Mufti Ebrahim Desai,’ online at http://www.askimam.org/index.php, (accessed 10 June 2008)
- Barlas, A. (2002). “Believing women” in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal interpretations of the Qur’an. Texas: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
- Bassam, translator for Bint el Nas, ‘Translators note: positive expressions in Arabic,’ online at http://www.bintelnas.org/10muqadeema/transl-eng.html, (accessed 5th September 2008).
- Baudh (2007). ‘Realising sexual rights,’ AIDS Sexuality and Development Programme, online at http://www.ids.ac.uk/ids/bookshop/outputs/RealisingSRids.pdf, (accessed 5 May 2008)
- Bukhari, M. (1987). The translation of the meaning of summarised Sahih Al-Bukhari, (vol. 7) Trans. Muhsin Khan, M, 94, New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan.Google Scholar
- Eickelman, D. F. (2002). Inside the Islamic reformation. In L. Bowen & A. Early (Eds.), Everyday life in the Muslim Middle East (2nd ed., pp. 246–256). Indiana: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Esack, F. (2005). The Qur’an: A users guide. Oxford: Oneworld.Google Scholar
- Kahf, M. (2003). Emails from Scheherazad. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.Google Scholar
- Kugle, S. (2003). In O. Safi (Ed.), Progressive Muslims: On justice, gender, and pluralism. Oxford: Oneworld.Google Scholar
- Malik, F. (2003). Queer sexuality and identity in the Qur’an and hadith. http://www.well.com/user/aquarius/Qurannotes.htm (Last accessed 2nd September 2008).
- McGregor, J. (2005). Is it rape?: On acquaintance rape and taking women’s consent seriously. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
- Mernissi, F. (1991). The veil and the male elite: A feminist interpretation of women’s rights in Islam. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Mernissi, F. (2003). Beyond the veil: Male–female dynamics in Muslim Society. London: Saqi Books.Google Scholar
- Murray, S. O., & Roscoe, W. (Eds.) (1997). Islamic homosexualities: Culture, history and literature. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
- Naz Project (1999). How to reach, hard to teach. London: Naz Project.Google Scholar
- Naz Project (2000). Emerging sexualities. London: Naz Project.Google Scholar
- Nomani, A. (2005). An Islamic bill of rights for women in the bedroom. In S. Adbul-Ghafur (Ed.), Living Islam out loud: American Muslim women speak (pp. 155–156). Massachusetts: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
- Roy, O. (2006). Globalised Islam: The search for a new Ummah (2nd ed.). London: Hurst.Google Scholar
- Saed, K. (2005). On the edge of belonging. In S. Adbul-Ghafur (Ed.), Living Islam out loud: American Muslim women speak (pp. 86–94). Massachusetts: Beacon.Google Scholar
- Safra Project (2002). Identifying the difficulties experienced by Muslim lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in accessing social and legal services. London: Safra Project.Google Scholar
- Schmitt, A., & Sofer, J. (1992). Sexuality and eroticism among males in Moslem societies. New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
- Schulhofer, S. (1998). Unwanted sex: The culture of intimidation and the failure of law. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Wadud, A. (1999). Qur’an and woman: Rereading the sacred text from a woman’s perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Wadud, A. (2006). Inside the gender Jihad: Women’s reform in Islam. Oxford: Oneworld.Google Scholar
- Whitaker, B. (2006a). Unspeakable love: Gay and lesbian life in the Middle East. London: Saqi.Google Scholar
- Whitaker, B. (2006b). ‘What’s wrong with being gay and Muslim?’ The guardian online, online at http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/brian_whitaker/2006/05/whats_wrong_with_being_gay_and.html (last accessed 28 May 2008).
- Yilmaz, I. (2003). Muslim alternative dispute resolution and neo-Itjihad in England. Alternatives, Turkish Journal of International Relations, 2(1), 117–139.Google Scholar
- Yip, A. K. T. (2005a). Religion and the politics of spirituality/sexuality: Reflections on researching British lesbian, gay, and bisexual Christians and Muslims. Fieldwork in Religion, 1(3), 271–289.Google Scholar