Treatment of Gays Under Islamic Shari’a
Prof. Gabriel Sawma
As we mourn the death of 49 American citizens who were massacred in Orlando by an Islamic extremist terrorist, Omar Mateen, the question that is being raised is whether Islamic sharia calls for the death penalty for gays and lesbians. This article covers the penalties as stated by Islamic law and by modern Islamic states in the Middle East and North African nations.
The Qur’anic Verses
There are four verses in the Quran that are borrowed from the Old Testament in relation to Lot, they are:
“And [remember] Lut (Lot), when he said to his people: “Do you commit the worst sin such as none preceding you has committed in the Alamin [mankind]”. (Quran 7 80)
“Verily, you practice your lusts on men instead of women. Nay, but you are a people transgressing beyond bounds [committing great sins]”. (Quran 7: 81)
“Verily, we are about to bring down on the people of this town a great torment from the sky, because they have been rebellious [against Allah’s command].” (Quran 29: 34)
“And we rained down on them a reain [0f stones]. Then see that was the end of the Murimun [criminals, polytheists and sinners.” (Quran 7: 84)
Hadith is the collection of saying ad deeds that are attributed to Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, written more than two hundred years after his death (d. 632 AD). There are six collections of Hadith in Sunni Islam, they are: (1) al-Bukhari (d. 870 AD), (2) Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 875 AD), (3) Abu Dawood (d. 888 AD), (4) al-Tarmidhi (d. 915), (5) al-Nissa’I (d. 915 AD), and (6) Ibn Maja (d. 886).
The Qur’anic verses mentioned above, represent a general idea about the sexual acts of Lot with his daughters as stated in the Old Testament. The Quran does not give a specific penalty for homosexuals. It was up to the writers of the Hadith to impose penalties on gays and lesbians based on what the Prophet of Islam said.
One saying attributed to the Prophet of Islam reads: “if a man is having sexual relation with another man, both are considered adulterers.” The companions of the Prophet of Islam claimed that the people who imitated Lot should get the death penalty. They reasoned that after the prophet’s saying that “if you find a person who does like what Lot did, kill both of them.”
The companions of the Prophet did not agree on the method of execution. The second Caliph and some of his companions suggested stoning of the adulterers as one method; others called for death by burning.
Penalty of Gays and Lesbians in Modern Islamic Nations
Section 489 of the Penal Code of Morocco imposes a penalty of six months up to three years in jail and monetary compensation of 120 to 1000 Dirham. Tunis: Section 230 of the Penal Code of Tunis imposes a jail penalty of three years. In Algeria, Article 338 imposes a jail penalty from two months up to two years with monetary compensation of 500 to 2000 Dinars.
In Sudan the penalty of flogging is handed down. Article 148 of the penal code states that a gay will get up to 100 lashes and imprisonment of up to five years. In Libya the penalty is up to five years in jail. In Mauritania, article 308 of the penal code imposes the penalty of stoning. In Lebanon, the penalty is up to one year in jail. Article 520 of the Syrian code imposes a penalty of up to three years in jail.
Saudi Arabia applies the strict Islamic interpretation according to the Hadith, which is stoning for a married gay, or 100 lashes and imprisonment for one year to non-married. The same penalties are applied in Yemen.
According to article 354 of the Federal Emirati Law of the UAE, the penalty for committing adulterous gay act against a minor under the age of 14, is death by execution. However, each emirate in the UAE has the right to impose its own penalties in these cases. For example, in Abu Dhabi, the penalty for gay act is 14 years in jail. In Dubai, the penalty is 10 years according to article 177 of the penal code.
In Kuwait, the penalty is 7 years in prison according to article 193. Article 281 of the Qatari penal code, the penalty is 7 years. In Oman, article 223 imposes a jail penalty from 6 moths to three years.
Gabriel Sawma is a lawyer with Middle East background, and a recognized authority on Islamic shari’a (law). Adjunct Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, New Jersey.
· Professor of Middle East Constitutional and Islamic law,
· Expert Consultant on Islamic divorce in US Courts and Canada,
· Expert Consultant on Islamic finance.
Admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association; Associate Member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
Prof. Sawma lectured at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) in New York State and wrote many affidavits to immigration authorities, Federal Courts, and family State Courts in connection with Islamic law of marriage, divorce, custody of children, and abduction of children to Muslim countries.
Testified in many family courts throughout the United States in relation to Islamic family law.
Taught Islamic Finance for MBA program at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Travelled extensively to: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Syria and Palestine.
Wrote many articles on Islamic and Hindu divorce in USA, custody of children in the Middle East and Central Asia; and on abduction of children to Muslim countries;
Speaks, reads and writes several languages including Arabic, English, French, Syriac, and Biblical Aramaic.
Author of the book titled “The Qur’an: Misinterpreted, Mistranslated, and Misread. The Aramaic Language of the Qur’an”.
Tel. (609) 915-2237
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 Lut is a reference to Biblical Lot, Son of Haran and nephew of Abraham in Genesis 11: 27. According to Genesis 19: 17-22, as the cities of the valleys were being destroyed, where Lot and his daughters fled from Zoar, where they had taken refuge, up into the hills of Moab. Dwelling with their father in a cave, through incestuous relations.
 Translation by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan of the Noble Qur’an, King Fahd Complex For the Printing of the Holy Qur’an, Madinah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
 Translation by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali.
 In the Old Testament, the penalty of homosexuals is death by execution.