As Muslims, we realise that we are born with a purpose. A realisation that we live for a common goal, earning God’s pleasure by living true to ourselves, and positively with the world around us.
We are born knowing that God exists, but we also come to realise over time that we are also born queer. This can be a difficult journey, but the more we learn and experience, we allow ourselves to be proud of both sides of our identity.
The time is now to be proud of who we are. Proud of being people of faith, and proud of being unique personalities, ours to dictate in our space and time.
It’s time to have the conversation about queer people and their struggles and goals in life, as people of faith, and how existing organisations need to open their doors and minds to the ongoing issues in our community.
Pride gives us strength in ourselves and together.
Come out and live true, God willing.
As we come to the end of Pride month, it’s key to reflect on what Islam says about pride. Traditionally the word has been associated with the story of creation, and how Iblees singled himself out by not fulfilling God’s command of bowing down to Adam.
It was this act of defiance that has allowed the word Pride to come associated with negative connotations amongst religious circles; this certainly does not help the queer cause!
Pride in this sense, is when one acts in a way that belittles others, disregarding others based on invalid judgement, or a misconception. This can for queer Muslim people come from either outside the queer community from other Muslims that refuse to acknowledge the queer struggle, or even from within the queer community, that views queer Muslims as an inferior part of the spectrum.
We can take this traditional view of Pride, and use it to our queer advantage, recognising the same negative characteristic within our communities and working towards a common goal.
“Do not regard any good deed insignificant, even meeting your brother with a cheerful face.”
Positivity brings more positivity. Attitude dictates your outcome. Surround yourself with people that bring out a side of you that views the world with happiness and optimism. And don’t forget to smile!
The path to self acceptance is marred with doubt and questioning. Am I going to be rejected? Why does it seem like I am paving a path separate from others?
And ultimately, is Allah accepting and happy with me?
Many queer people feel as though their life choices make them choose to either live a life of sin, or work through traditional concepts of queer existence and associated negativity. Whichever part of the journey you are on, something that we can all benefit from is a specific prayer for the last part of Ramadhan.
“O Allah, You are the Remover of sin, You love to remove sin, so remove my sins”
By acknowledging this attribute, it allows us to realise that regardless of how we choose to live our lives, Allah is accepting and ready to accept. Use this prayer this Ramadan and feel yourself increasing in your own self acceptance.
In every prayer we constantly ask for guidance to God’s path.
The path of our soul’s testifying to God’s existence.
The path of those who are favoured.
The path to salvation.
God says, that by following other than the right way, our community becomes separated and disunited. In exploring our queer identity, we are often searching for guidance, looking for role models of courage and success, and finding others who we can deem as allies, allowing us to unite for a common cause.
Seeks God’s guidance when exploring your path, as any path towards finding yourself, will lead you to finding God, and ultimately being those who are rightly guided.
Ramadhan is a blessed time of the year, when Muslims seek to reconnect with their faith. It is a time that many choose to cleanse their finances, by paying a small yet significant amount to those in need. Obviously in doing this, you wouldn’t expect anything in return, with money going to those who would struggle otherwise.
In realising this, we accept the concept of continuing similar selfless acts within our lives. Some are simple and close to effortless, but the result can have an equally positive effect.
A smile from one to another.
Removing something harmful from a road.
Even planting a seed!
All of these have the potential to benefit others, and if done with the right intention, will lead to us fulfilling a very basic human act, righteousness towards each other.
Heaven is described as a place of ultimate contentment, where people will exist in a state of peace with themselves and God.
When asking for heaven, we are told to ask for Al-Firdaus, the highest part closest to God, rather than just asking for heaven itself. The wisdom of this is to constantly be in a frame of mind of seeking and wanting the best.
Living a queer existence forces you to choose between accepting a status-quo, non-progressive, passively phobic stance, for a true, positive, and forward thinking life. Never accept anything less than what you deserve, and what will allow you to live a life real to your truth.
Always strive for the best. Always strive for Al Firdaus.
Be true to yourself and live your best life.
The way to live modern life is to realise and then actualise what you yourself want from your life. To be true to yourself means to act in accordance with who you are and what you believe.
If you know and love yourself you will find it effortless to be true to yourself.
As difficult as it may seem at first, have the courage to accept yourself as you really are, not as as someone else thinks you should be. Do not take action or pretend to be someone else for the sake of gaining acceptance. This is the path of sincerity towards oneself.
As people of faith, we strive for sincerity towards God, showing our devotion and love. This devotion leads to a personal spiritual connection which in turn strengthens our sense of identity and purpose.
Many of us live filled with waves of shame and guilt, led by our experiences of navigating living queer life, in a traditionally hard-line faith.
This can at times come coupled with blame. Blame on yourself for going against the expected norm, on those around you for not realising the struggle, and then to God, which can lead to a distance from faith. “I am what my servant thinks of me”. The way we think of and want our God to be is ultimately what will determine our relationship. By knowing of God as a queer-positive, gender accepting being, and channeling that into our prayer and faith, we are able to balance and enhance both our queer and faith aspects of our lives.
Expect good things. Expect your prayers to be answered. Have faith. God is on your side.
Ramadan is a time of reflection and introspection for Muslims around the world. One of the main aspects of the month is to fast the daylight hours, making the choice to abstain from what would usually be allowed.
God mentions in the Quran, that the reason we fast is to highlight and enhance a quality known as Taqwa within us.
Taqwa refers to an inner consciousness of God, and by perfecting this, one can hope to gain a closer relationship with their Maker.
The constant reminder that your usual daily routine has been disrupted, allows you to think more broadly about life and existence in general, and how God fits in within this. By putting God at the forefront of our thoughts and actions, it allows us to streamline our choices, enabling us to enhance Taqwa, God consciousness, within us.