Living Out Islam
Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
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Preface and Acknowledgments
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In this teaching about empathy, the Prophet Muhammad succinctly expresses the ideals of Islam. A Muslim should see herself or himself in every believer in order to overcome egoism and reach out to oth-ers with justice and compassion. See, serve, console, and protect oth-ers, he tells us—that is the practical demonstration that one worships ...
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The voices of Muslims who are gay, lesbian, and transgender are rarely heard. Their voices have been silenced in the past. Now if they speak, they are expected to express contrition. Yet they stand up against those who denounce them. The quotes above capture the tenor of the voices of activists who volunteer to run support groups for lesbian, gay, ...
1. Engaging Religious Tradition
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An integral aspect of being a Muslim is protecting the vulnerable and helping the downtrodden. This Islamic teaching is both a spiritual disci-pline and a political imperative. The Qur’an reminds Muslims to remem-ber when you were few and oppressed.1 Muslims revere the prophets who are sent by God with the theological mission to persuade people to ...
2. Challenging Family and Community
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I traveled to South Africa in 2005 to attend an annual conference of lesbian, gay, and transgender Muslims. While there, I attended the Cape Town Jazz Festival where people of all religions, races, and politi-cal persuasions converged, leaving aside their profound divisions over their new nation to celebrate their unique bonds through music. They ...
3. Adapting Religious Politics
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All people yearn not to be judged by their appearance. All religions warn against judging others by what one perceives on the surface. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have taught, “God does not look at your bodies or at your forms, but looks at your hearts and your works.”1 We know intuitively that outward appearance is not the same as inward ...
4. Adjusting Secular Politics
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In the Netherlands, the younger generation expresses itself through rap and hip-hop. These musical genres were taken from America and adapted in Dutch to express the rappers’ protest against uniquely Euro-pean political realities. While the most famous exponents of rap sing in Dutch, they are members of ethnic minorities with Moroccan Dutch ...
5. Forging Minority Alliances
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The cry of “I am truth” will rise, that is me and also is you1These fiery words belong to the Urdu poet and literary hero of Pakistan, Faiz Ahmad Faiz (died 1984). He protested against the injustices of Brit-ish colonial rule, and after independence he railed against the corrup-tion of the Pakistani government, especially its autocratic military rulers. ...
6. Journeying toward Individual Identity
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With these simple but bold words, the Sufi thinker Ibn Arabi sets forth a manifesto of mystical love. His religion is love and he accepts it in what-ever form it may present itself, even if it is unconventional or seem-ingly heretical. As a Sufi, Ibn Arabi (died 1240) argued that Islam is out-wardly a religion of rituals and beliefs but is inwardly a religion of love. ...
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In Islamic thought, the heart is the center of the human being rather than just an organ of the body. It is not merely a muscle to pump blood to all the body’s tissues, but a moral center, the place that connects the spirit and the body. In the heart, faith shines like a light and in the heart intention is formed which guides a person’s thoughts and actions. There are many ...
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Glossary of Terms
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About the Author
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Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle is Associate Professor in the Department of Middle East and South Asian Studies at Emory University. His previous books include Rebel between Spirit and Law: Ahmad Zarruq, Sainthood and Authority in Islam; Sufis and Saints’ Bodies: Mysticism, Corporeality, and Sacred Power in Islam; Sufi Meditation and Contemplation: Time-...
Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2013