An-Nisa · Juz 4 · Qur'an Tafseer

Homosexuality in the Light of Surah an-Nisa

The previous discussion was based on the assumptions that both ayaat 15 and 16 relate to the fornication or adultery committed between men and women. However, some commentators of the Qur’an are of the view that ayah 16 refers to homosexual act committed between two males. Ayah 16 is translated as follows, “And those two of you who commit it (immorality), punish them both.”

Here the Arabic words used for “those two of you” is a masculine pronoun which presumes males on both sides. On this basis, these commentators have opined that this ayah relates to two males committing unnatural shameful act i.e. homosexuality. The commentators who take both ayaat as referring to fornication or adultery, refute this argument on the principle that in general usage masculine expressions include feminine also. Be that as it may, the possibility of a reference to homosexuality in this ayah cannot be ruled out. Therefore, it is pertinent here to give some details about the severe prohibition of homosexuality.

Here are some traditions of the Prophet and his Companions on this subject: As narrated by Abu Hurayrah radhiAllahu anha, the Prophet said, “Allah has cursed seven types of his creatures from above the seven heavens. He has cursed one of them thrice, while has cursed the others one time which is enough for them. (About the one whom He has cursed thrice) He has said, ‘Cursed is he who did what the people of Lut did. Cursed is he who did what the people of Lut did. Cursed is he who did what the people of Lut did.” [at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb]

Abu Hurayrah reports that the Prophet said, “Four types of people are cursed, when they begin their day, under the wrath of Allah and when they reach their evenings they are under the rage of Allah.” I asked, “Who are they, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Men who imitate women and women who imitate men and he who goes unto animals and he who goes unto men.”

As narrated by Ibn Abbas, the Prophet said, “If you find someone doing what the people of Lut did, kill both the doer and the one with whom it is done.”

In at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb cited above, Zaki al-Din has said that four caliphs, Abu Bakr, Ali, Abdullah ibn Zubayr and Hisham ibn Abdul Malik had condemned those guilty of sodomy to the fire.  In this connection, he has also related, on the authority of Muhammad ibn Al-Munkadir, an event to the effect that Khalid bin Waleed radhiAllahu anha wrote a letter of Abu Bakr reporting that there was a man in a certain Arabian locality with whom they did what is done with women. Abu Bakr called a meeting of the Companions, Ali being one of them. He said that a sin like that was not committed by any human group except one, and they all knew how Allah dealt with those people. He proposed that the man be condemned to fire. Other Companions concurred and Abu Bakr decreed accordingly.

In the hadith narrations quoted above, the act of the people of Lut has been repeatedly mentioned. The reference is to the people to whom Lut aalyhi sallam was sent as their prophet. Apart from their disbelief in the Divine Message and the Messenger, and their ascribing all sorts of partners to Allah, they were also addicted to this abominably unnatural practice. When the preachings and teachings of Lut had no effect on them, the angels acted as commanded by Allah. They physically lifted the habitations of these people off the ground, flipped them upside down, and threw down the whole thing back on the ground.  

The hadith narrations given above related are to homosexual act. There are other narrations which carry the severest of warnings against indulging in the unnatural act with women:

Ibn Abbas narrates that the Prophet said, “Allah does not look (mercifully) at the man who commits anal intercourse with a man or woman.”

Khuzaimah ibn Thabit says that the Prophet said Allah does not get embarrassed by stating the truth. He said this thrice. Then, he said: Do not go unto women anally.

As for a fixed punishment for this evil act, there is a difference of opinion among Muslim jurists, details of which are available in books of Fiqh. Nevertheless, the nature of such punishments reported by them is as severe as it can be such as burning into fire, bashing under a wall felled over, thrown down from a height, stoning and beheading with a sword.

(Taken from Maaruf-ul-Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani)

One thought on “Homosexuality in the Light of Surah an-Nisa

  1. Thank you so much for this segment. It explains so much about why Abdullah yusuf Ali used the word lewdness in the ayats 15-16 in his English translation. Thus with the quran and hadith homosexuality is mentioned in the quran for both men and women and the punishment of a painful death prescribed by our beautiful prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). And may Allah bless you on bringing more knowledge in the light of the quran. Assalam alaikum.

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