One For The Road

2019 January/February

Do I have to give up being gay or give up being Muslim?

I am a gay Muslim man. My imam says there are no gay Muslims, meaning that a gay person cannot be Muslim. He told me I have to give up being gay or give up being Muslim. Which do I choose? How do I choose?

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Responses are moderated and if published they may be edited for length and clarity; all are published anonymously.

Denver, Colorado

If YOU are gay and YOU are Muslim then your imam is clearly mistaken and YOU are the proof.

Suwanee, Georgia

I don't think you have to pick one. You are both, and free to be both. As you said, A Gay Muslim Man. Your imam needs to learn a lot about Islam, God, Love, and Compassion. To me, you are a true Muslim. You stand up to love and being honest about your compassion about other person, regardless of his gender. We are all born equally. We are our souls/spirits (part of God). We are not our bodies. When you are in love, you look way pass appearance. If you are truly in love, and your motive is moral, you don't need to think twice. If you believe in one God, and believe Mohammad as his last prophet, you are a Muslim. Why you have to give up that belief just because you are honest, loving, and compassionate being. I know you will never give up believing that, so, my brother, you are a True Gay Muslim Man! Congratulations! Be proud of it...much love.

Seattle Washington

Creator/God created all beings.You were created by creator/God. You can't give up your emotional and sexual orientation, you would theoretically be required to not act on them physically. You can follow the precepts of Muslim, and not act on your feelings sexually. Talk with someone knowledgeable about these points.


Hi, thank you for being so brave as to put your question out for others to consider. I want to validate that though I don’t know you, you seem to be thinking deeply about who you are and what your meaning in this world is, and I’d like to share that I find this quality to be one of the finest qualities in human beings anywhere-- regardless of their creed, color, or sexuality.

I am hearing that you feel you should be able to be one thing or the other regarding this matter, and that is sounds like you are wanting help in deciding which aspect of yourself to choose. I would like to reflect that when I hear that, I hear that you are hoping to choose one part of who you are at the expense of another part of yourself. Now, when it comes to parts of the self I can only speak from my own experience, which ultimately may differ from yours. My experience has been that it is only when I have welcomed and gotten to know ALL the parts of who I am as a unique individual that those parts were able to move from hidden enemy to trusted friend, and also ceased causing harm in my life. Parts of the self seem to me to be like little family members all living within a person, and that they all want to find a helping role so that they may contribute, be known and be accepted instead of cast out.

Your imam says that the matter is black-and-white; that by his training and interpretation of the matter, there is no gray area in which to reside. I wonder, when you tune in deeply with the aspect of you that is in union with your spirituality and your God, does the imam’s evaluation of this question resonate within you as absolute truth? Only you can know the answer, and based on my understanding of you as someone who connects deeply with their religion, I would wager that you are capable of feeling what is true to you, be it as a sensation in your body or a knowing in your being, when you communicate directly with God.

Perhaps it would be okay for you to communicate directly with God during prayer. Maybe there are other times of the day that you might feel moved to check in with yourself and your spirituality, or perhaps you can ask for some guidance to come to you in a dream. Do all other aspects of your religion resonate with you? If you can even find one other part of Islam that you question, maybe it is possible that it is okay for you to disagree with the imam on this aspect of your Muslim identity.

Though a man of God, the imam is not God; he is as human as you and I are and therefore, as a man of this earth, perhaps it is possible that he doesn’t hold all the keys or information regarding what God actually wants for you in your life. 

Additionally, what do you feel your purpose to be here on this earth? Have you considered that it might be part of your purpose to help Islam evolve, as God commands all earthly things to evolve, so that humans of specific groups may learn new ways to halt their biases and be more open to the love that is the birthright of us all? Perhaps you are here to help show that someone might be able to be gay and still be a good Muslim. Only you will know what your truth is, and I just want to support you as you move along your journey of fully stepping into your power and finding out what it means to be your unique and beautiful self. Best of luck on your journey toward wholeness!

Oakwood, Illinois

I think the response for him would be this question: Why do I have to choose?

I do not think God/the Infinite would care. The questions God would ask would be: Have you used the talents I bestowed on you? Have you treated others with kindness, compassion, respect? Have you offered a helping hand? Whether they accepted or not is not your problem. Did you learn forgiveness. Did you live this wild wonderful life the best you could? Did you look for ME in everyone?

All the above is very hard to do and usually we need all the time we have to get it done but that is what I think God asks.

Westminster, Colorado

Do not let others define you as they do not walk in your spirit. Your imam is essentially saying you must give up who you are to meet "his" definition of being Muslim. And then the next imam will define it differently and the next and the next. Do not set yourself on this path; only you can define for yourself how to best be a gay Muslim man.

Keaau, Hawaii 

Time to choose a new imam!