Thoughts on the Path

What is Queer Jihad? []
by Sulayman X

February 22, 2001

Assalamu alaykum,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

There has always been much confusion on the phrase "Queer Jihad" and I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about it.

Firstly, "queer" is a word used to denote all those who are not necessarily heterosexual. It is also a word currently being reclaimed by the "gay community". Both these bits are important: we need to use language that includes everyone (i.e., gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered, and anyone else who doesn't fit the heterosexual mold -- like it or not, "queer" is basically the only word in English that includes all these categories of people), and we need to define ourselves, rather than allowing others to do so.

The word "jihad", in its proper sense, means the struggle with one's nafs, and in a general sense, the struggle to become a good person, to perfectly submit to the will of Allah in our lives, to lead a spiritual life, to put our feet on the spiritual path. Only in a secondary sense does it "holy war".

Putting these two words together -- Queer Jihad -- simply means the struggle that queer people face in trying to reconcile their sexuality with their spirituality.

Make no bones about it: it is a struggle. It requires honesty, standing up for what you know to be the truth, refusing to take on board the myth and misinformation about homosexuality, and refusing to be swept away by the "gay community" -- by a life of promiscuity, alcohol, drugs, a life in which your sexuality becomes what you are, and not simply a component of who you are.

If you think I'm fighting for "gay rights", for the right to be promiscuous, for the right to ignore the spiritual and lose oneself in the physical, you are mistaken. This is not what I'm about; this is not what "queer jihad" means.  I am fighting for the right of any queer person, Muslim or otherwise, to participate in their faith communities, to persue a spiritual path, to be accepted and treated with dignity and respect. I am fighting for a seat at the banquet of life. I am fighting for a future in which young queer people can be honest about themselves, a future in which they can live with integrity and be free from fear. I am fighting for the right of a gay person to love, honor and cherish another gay person, and to spend their lives together, contributing to society rather than being shamed into silenc

Until next time, peace and prayers-
Sulayman X

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