General Concepts

Muslims in West told: Forget Halal and Haram, It’s about ‘Equality’

As Friday approached, I was thinking of what topic I should cover in the Jumuah Khutbah. In the end I ended up discussing a basic Islamic concept which should be well known to even a young Muslim but which needed re-enforcing as it was being actively undermined – even by some prominent Muslim voices in the UK.

The UK House of Commons recently voted by 400 votes to 175 to legalise same-sex marriage in Britain. Muslim MPs such as Sadiq Khan, Rushanara Ali, Sajid Javid, and others voted in support of this legislation. At election time, these same MPs (and other politicians) visit Masajids and other Muslim institutions seeking the Muslim vote, yet, here they were voting for same-sex marriage which Islam clearly forbids. Facing a backlash from his Muslim supporters, the Muslim MP, Sadik Khan wrote a blog titled, ‘Why I voted in favour of same-sex marriage’, defending his position. In it, he wrote “I voted in favour of the legislation because I believe that this is fundamentally an issue of equality.” What was new was that some other prominent Muslim commentators also started to argue that Muslims must not oppose same-sex marriage because if we Muslims want to be accepted as equals in British society, we must stand for equality for all types of practices – including same-sex marriage.

So again and again, there were voices in the Muslim community saying we must see this issue through the prism of equality and anti-discrimination.

I remember a friend once saying that the way you change some of the core values of a community over time is to stop public discussion or promotion of their core ideas. So over a long period of time, as those ideas are no longer discussed, people (especially the younger generation) no longer hear them. Further down the line, raising that idea publicly becomes a strange thing and could even become unacceptable. At the moment, ideas like the supporting the jihad of Muslims in Afghanistan as they fight and defend themselves against occupation by Western forces – is an example of this. So UK masajids and some Muslim groups shy away from mentioning this issue because some in the media and government label those who raise this as ‘extremists’ or accuse them of being involved in ‘radicalisation’.

A similar thing started to happen with public opposition to same sex-marriage. However, this time, it is some few and strange voices from within the Muslim community who are telling Muslims to view this issue through the prism of ‘equality’.

Hence, I decided to cover the following points in my khutbah and subsequent video on the issue of same-sex marriage as a way to remind Muslims of the absolute need to hold onto the Islamic criteria of halal and haram and to equip Muslims to argue back rather than be bullied into silence and abandoning the Islamic criteria.

• We come to this issue as Muslims who believe in Allah سبحانه وتعالى, the Qur’an He revealed to Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and that Allah سبحانه وتعالى is All Knowing and hence the One who decides what is right and what is wrong.

• When humans (through parliament) try to legislate right and wrong, we witness contradictions and harmful consequences on society. In the West, adultery was once illegal, now it is legal and glorified in movies, plays and popular culture. Similarly, homosexuality was once illegal, now it is legal, glorified and now there are moves to legalise same-sex marriage. What will be next? Incest? Assisted suicide?

• Islam’s position is clear on the prohibition of same-sex marriage, adultery and other such lifestyles.

• Islam’s laws protect the family and prohibit things that harm family life.

• Muslims should not be apologetic for adhering to the rules of Islam which come from the All Knowing Creator – Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَنْ يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُبِينًا

“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision.”

(Al-Ahzab, 33:36)

Taji Mustafa

Media Representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in Britain