23 February, 2011

Gay Muslim Marriages:BBC News Item Reactions !

The BBC website carried a news item on Sunday February 20, 2011 about British gay Muslims joining the global foray for equality and licensing of gay marriages.This has resulted in mixed reactions considering the fact that gay marriages is considered particularly offensive under Islamic law.The BBC article carried the experiences of a British Gay couple "Sarah" and "Asra' who conducted  'a Nikah' ( a Muslim Matrimonial Contract) officiated by a fellow lesbian friend knowledgeable in Quran . The couple alleged that you
"don't really have to have an official Imam, but you need someone who is knowledgeable enough about the Qur'an to do it"

In response to the Article the blog "Eye on Gay Muslims"  carried an Article entitled "The Fallacy of Gay 'Islamic Marriages' " objecting to some of the issues  the article may seem to be promoting.The article states:
Their so-called “nikah” is in fact fundamentally different from an actual nikah performed for a man and woman.One of the essential conditions of a nikah is that the two people be marriageable to one another. A member of the same sex is not, in the Qur’anic paradigm, a marriageable partner. That is even if we don’t point out that homosexual relations are a sinful abomination.

This pair even state that they gave each other a “dowry”. In a nikah, the dowry (mahr, i.e. marriage gift) is strictly from the man to the woman. So how can they invent this ruling then claim it’s the same as a normal nikah?
The writer then proceeds to posit several rhetorical questions that i hereby reproduce including:
  • One of the essential items of a marriage contract is the mahr (dowry) paid by the man to the woman. Who pays whom in one of your imagined ‘gay marriages’?
  • A man may not marry his sister or mother. Can he marry his brother or father? Provide us some scriptural backing.
  • A Muslim man may – if the law of the land permits – marry up to four women. Would you suggest the same for each man, resulting in a big complex web of men all married with each other?
  • A man has the full obligation to provide for his wife and children, while the woman’s money is her own right to spend or keep as she wishes. What system will you devise into Islamic law for two men?
  • In the eventuality of divorce, there is a difference between the procedure by the husband as compared to the wife. Which of the ‘gays’ gets the right to pronounce talaq?
I must say that i  was interested in this article for one, because i have not previously read of such an ambitious move within the Muslim religion.Two, the fact that this article and the people concerned are resident in Britain it posits the question ,could this development have been contributed to by the recent widespread  acceptance of homosexuality within  Christendom Churches in the Western World? Would such an article and perhaps the behaviour be tolerated in traditionally Muslim lands? Finally ,i am interested in the reactions of the general Muslim fraternity  and the intellectual discourses that may attach to the topic especially with regards to changes in religious ideologies.

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