The Minnesota Marriage Amendment Drive slated for Tuesday, November 6, 2012 General Election forces us to think on this matter in ways we are typically not used to.
One, or even the first, question may be: Are we in a secular society meaning that everyone's civil right has to be respected? The answer would be, "Yes, we are in a secular society where there is no state religion and there is no bar on people to practice what they believe."
The second question to be asked could be: Was the Constitution of Medinah among the Muslims, Mushrikhs and Jews a reflection of this civil right or secularity? The answer would be, "Yes, Medinah was governed by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) under such an understanding although no separate group was identified as 'Homosexuals'. However, there could have been homosexuals within each of the three parties who would be managed and regulated by the established rules of the individual community as adjudicated by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)."
The third question may be: Does secularity mean godlessness or is it really an example of inclusiveness so long as rights of others are not curtailed by theft, lying, swindling, cheating, mugging, robbing, assaulting, killing, occupying, harassing, bullying, framing, discriminating, preventing from exercising certain rights such as voting, opening a business and places of worship, owning a business, marrying (man and woman as of now in this discussion) the person of choice, undermining certain decency codes & public disturbance mores, etc? So, the answer would be, "That would appear to be the case. Secularism does not necessarily mean Atheism!"
If such is the case then is this an example of implementation of?
(Yusuf Ali) Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.[2:256]
(Asad) Unto you, your moral law, and unto me, mine !" [109:6]
Now, does this mean that somehow the 1st Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech and Assembly is somewhat curtailed? The answer is, "No. While everybody is free to conduct his/her business in a certain "even" manner as outlined above, it does not mean that those in disagreement are being automatically muzzled. Of course, hate speech, insinuations and innuendos, incitement to prevent, hurt, or abuse others, etc., if proven, may not pass for Free Speech. Thus, while we are not required to support, like, or much less promote others' points of view, we are expected and required to protect the right of others to be different from us within the bounds of Law. Hence, we can continue to educate our young along our separate chosen ways. It may make our task so much harder as parents, but who says good parenting may be achieved via flying in an auto-pilot mode?"
Again, is the current ("advanced") society in the US less god-fearing than it used to be? Definitely! Also, are a vast number of heterosexuals guilty of gross sexual conduct in terms of violating either the rights of the marital partner or of even having a marital partner in the first place while practicing consensual relationship? Absolutely. So, the heterosexuals are not upholding the cherished values of faith and family that they are expected to for a wholesome family and society. If such is the case, what godliness and wholesomeness will be protected by passing the Marriage Amendment Referendum? Of course, it is true that the Homosexuals have a greater freedom to be "immoral" in that they can violate expectations of monogamy more easily than heterosexuals couples since the fear of getting pregnant is absent. However, that is not why the Marriage Amendment has been proposed nor should it be. After all, this aspect of homosexual living is an organic part of this lifestyle.
Furthermore, are some of the benefits of marriage as accorded today by US Law (with respect to tax, health benefits, property ownership, inheritance, visitation rights during health crisis, and rights upon the death of a partner, etc.) foreign to traditional rights connected with marriage. "Yes, of course." That means that if the homosexual community wants those benefits, they should not be denied those under the pretext of protecting marriage. The Civil Society should have made those rights available to otherwise able-bodied, working, tax-paying, license-holding, war-fighting adults. After all, there is the institution of Civil Marriage outside of the Church, Synagogue or Mosque. There is nothing religious about it. It is simply a bureaucratic procedure for keeping track of marital unions. Surely, places of worship are not expected to anoint any homosexual union.
Thus, if godliness and traditional society is on the decline, then the prevention and the solution should be searched for somewhere else like reconsidering what those values are, how are they being interpreted and lived. Just like the plague of Talibanism in certain segments of the Muslim society, we cannot force people to change nor are we expected to do so.
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was told in no uncertain terms that he was not a manager of people's affairs and that he will not be responsible if people were thrown into the Hell. He was simply the Warner of Terrible Things to yet pass (the Tribulations of the Fire of the Hell) and the Bearer of the Good News (the Bounties of the Heavens) and that God Alone is the Turner of the Heart. God knows about everything in its minutest detail and that He is the Best of the Judges!
(Yusuf Ali) "Surely, We have sent thee in truth as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner: But of thee no question shall be asked of the Companions of the Blazing Fire." [2:119]
" (Asad) God; has sealed their hearts and their hearing, and over their eyes is a veil; and awesome suffering awaits them." [2:7]
(Yusuf Ali) "O my son!" (said Luqman), "If there be (but) the weight of a mustard-seed and it were (hidden) in a rock, or (anywhere) in the heavens or on earth, Allah will bring it forth: for Allah understands the finest mysteries, (and) is well-acquainted (with them)." [31:16]
(Asad)" Is not God the most just of judges?" [95:8]
A saying of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as recorded in Sahih Al-Muslim:
"Allah Humma, Ya Muqallib Al-Quloob, Thabbit Qalbi 'Alaa Deenik,"
"O Turner of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your Religion."
Surely, the role and responsibility of any serious Muslim since the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) cannot exceed his!
Surely, by continuing to restrict the civil rights of the Homosexuals we cannot hope to prevent or reverse this trend. We have to do our chores as we have been commanded to do, with wisdom and mercy. God will take care of the rest.
Also, indeed we have to live pursuant to certain methodology: (Yusuf Ali) "By Time! Man is in a loss, except the one who believes, does good, urges others toward the Truth and urges others to patiently persist." [103:1-3] Also, "Indeed, Allah commands establishing Justice and Doing Good, and helping of the Kith & Kin, and forbids lewdness and evil."
For the Muslims, and for all believers for that matter, the work is cut out for us and the way to that end is also clear. Most likely it does not pass through supporting the Marriage Amendment referendum - a temporary, unfair solution for a much deeper problem.
Some among the Muslim community have argued that voting against the Amendment is a matter of protecting the Rights of the Minority. Indeed, the Homosexuals are a minority.
Others have argued that Muslims are also a minority and that those who have drafted the Amendment are willing to and have suppressed the Muslims' rights while the Homosexuals have or are willing to defend the rights of the Muslims. This is a political argument. We should not do or not do something to placate one group or the other. We should do what is right and justified.
|[A sample of the relevant section of the Minnesota Ballot for November 6, 2012 is given below.]|
|AMENDMENT 1: RECOGNITION OF MARRIAGE SOLELY BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN|
|Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?|
Now, below are some of the Quranic verses on the topic of Homosexuality. Prophet Lot (PBUH) condemned such behavior as abomination, but he was not the one to punish people for such aberrant behavior. The punishment is with God. Preventing the Amendment is not really facilitating the Homosexual worldview or lifestyle. It is very much part of the existing diversity of the USA.
(Asad) "Verily, with lust you approach men instead of women: nay, but you are people given to excesses!" [7:81]
(Asad) "Keeping yourselves aloof from all the [lawful] spouses whom your Sustainer has created for you? Nay, but you are people who transgress all bounds of what is right!" [26:166]
(Asad) "Must you really approach men with lust instead of women? Nay, but you are people without any awareness (of right and wrong)!" [27:55]
(Asad) "And Lot, [too, was inspired by Us] when he said unto his people: "Verily, you commit abominations such as none in all the world has ever committed before you!"" [29:28]
(Asad) ""Must you indeed approach men [with lust], and thus cut across the way [of nature]? And must you commit these shameful deeds in your open] assemblies?" But his people's only answer was, "Bring down upon us God's chastisement, if thou art a man of truth!" [29:29]
(Asad) "Verily, we shall bring down upon the people of this land a horror from heaven in requital of all their iniquitous doings!" [29:34]
(Asad) "And [so it happened; and] thereof, indeed, We have left a clear sign for people who use their reason." [29:35]
Dr. Shafi A. Khaled is a freelance writer. He teaches and does research in Business & Economics.