Kindness and great advice for a Muslim gay man in distress

I came across the following advice on a blog I follow on Tumblr. It is advice which touches me and strikes me as just so kind, and I want very much to put it here, because it’s a great example of compassion. My fantasy is that every single one of my Muslim relative, friend, colleague, feel the same way as the writer does, and that I know about it, so that I can shake off this awkward feeling that I don’t quite belong with them, that my life is quite separate from them. I think I end up being a bit aloof with them, as some sort of defense mechanism. It makes me sad when I think about it. I don’t know why I’m like that.

The Tumblr blog is Arabswagger. I remember thinking it’s a cute name when I first came across the blog perhaps over a year ago. I also wasn’t expecting more than what I usually come across on Tumblr, which are normally things like beautiful and interesting images, and quotes, frequently artistically and prettily presented. Well, don’t let the name fool you as it did me. The writer does share a lot like the above via posts and reblogs, and these are already very interesting as he covers ‘Arab style’ in so many things like traditional clothing, architecture, poetry, art, calligraphy, fashion, food, interior design, music, etc.

What I really enjoy though are his insight and perspective on a variety of subjects. He takes on questions from anonymous submitters asking his opinion on various aspects of Islam and Arab culture. I also recall ‘questions’ which were really just hostile attacks on him and his blog, but he takes these on with a no-nonsense approach. He doesn’t lash out but neither does he pander or persuade them to change their mind, he just answers them sensibly, with an even tone, and sometimes throws in his wry sense of humour.

Anyway, this is the advice he imparted on this post. Just for the record, unlike the anon asker, I am perfectly fine with being gay. But he’s not, and the advice he got about the need to accept himself and not to be ashamed of himself, well it’s a thing of beauty.

Anonymous asked: Assalamu aleykum; I need a piece of advice from you.. The thing is that I am a muslim man attracted to men, and I feel horrible about myself, it doesn’t matter how much I pray and ask Allah for a change in this lifestyle, I can’t help looking at men in a different way.. I really don’t want this to lead to a more serious problem, So what should I do?

Waleikum Al Salam. My brother, before anything I want you to understand that you have nothing to be ashamed of, there is nothing “mentally” deranged about you or even perverted, you are feeling something natural that even the Prophet(S) identified could be a desire in the heart of every man or woman towards their own gender. You aren’t going to change this lifestyle or your mentality, but I need you to understand how to handle it or how to channel it.

As much as I can berate you with the “sinfulness” of Homosexuality, I don’t feel someone in your position wants to have more salt on the wound.

Everything in life can be categorized as Forbidden or Allowed, and this is characterized by the general positive or negative effects that this act has. Although one person may “sin” and not reap any general negative effects on themselves, Islam is a collective guide to mankind and it is not a circumstantial message to every individual, only God judges one by their circumstance and is merciful upon them in that manner. That being said, when individuals compare Heterosexual sex to Homosexual sex, one must understand that one is only Haram outside the realm of marriage, whereas sodomy is Haram as an act itself, whether between men or women.

I need you to accept that this is a part of who you are, not something to be ashamed of, but rather to understand that this is the very challenge God has put upon you to avoid, and as much as this might seem “unfair” that this is your challenge, I often think that this can actually be a gateway to heaven for you and the reason God could bestow his utmost mercy because you withheld this desire for him.

Every individual is given this type of Challenge or Balaa’, no one has it easier than another person, and if they have it harder, in the greater picture of Existence, God loves you in a manner he chooses to cleanse you through these challenges. Some individuals are sex addicts, some love the consumption of alcohol, and many often are actually lazy to pray or wish to avoid it, which I feel is the biggest challenge God can give to a person.

I really would like to pray that you can be strong in this realm, and please try to channel your energies towards the good. May the peace and blessings be upon you.

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Image, not related to post, from arabswagger.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

And, I just have to include another one here, from this post:

Anonymous asked: what do you think of the gays or trans people?

This is written so offensively.

I don’t have a generalizing opinion on any group of people because I don’t view individuals through their subscriptions to a lifestyle, religious identity or even gender identity; I treat people like how they should be treated: with dignity and respect.

What a guy, the man behind Arabswagger. I admire him.

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