Brief Introduction

[Bo I. Cavefors: Here a summarize of the essay… http://www.gayegypt.com/islam.html

This essay reveal a forgotten history including the amazing saga of the Prophet Muhammad and Zaid Ibn Haritha. A story which has been suppressed in order to justify the persecution of gays in the name of Islam.Zaid was a slave, a wedding gift from Muhammad's wealthy older bride Khadija, so there was no question of adultery under Sharia law. When the Prophet eventually freed Zaid, he proclaimed a formal partnership or union, equivalent to a marriage. Zaid became, in effect, a "male wife" who was equal in status to Khadija.

First with Zaid, and later with Ali, Muhammad formed a bond which was even closer than those of his ten "heterosexual marriages." Love that was tested through extreme adversity and martydom.

It's time for Muslims to wake up. Five hundred years ago the Christian Reformation rejected the doctrine that every word of the Bible came directly from God. Muslims must take the same attitude to the Quran if their faith is to bring any relevance to the Twenty First Century.If scholars were more open minded they would find new freedoms for a reformation in Islamic thinking, especially on the subject of gay relationships and sex. Some Islamic countries would still have gay men stoned to death on the basis of misinterpreted Quranic passages. ALLAH PUNISHES GANG RAPE BUT HE LOVES THE PASSIVE QUEER

- - -
The precise vocabulary of sexuality wasn't invented until centuries later, but these rapists were not doing anything which would mark themselves out as being at all "different" from the norm in terms of sexuality in the Middle East, except in that they were contemplating sexual violence.There is no passage to suggest they were unmarried or rejecting traditional values. The only aspect notable about their words and actions was the threat and use of force against defenceless visitors who would have been forced into passive "queer" sex. But they were the ones Allah defended !
- - -
The Quran has a verse which seems to endorse all types of consensual loving sexuality within a partnership or marriage. The traditional view is that Sura 33:51 applies only to the Prophet's female wives, but that Muhammad took atleast one same-sex partner, would allow the following interpretation “You may have whomever (of your female and male partners) you desire; there is no blame.”The Quran also has several passages which, while not explicitly endorsing gay love, do demonstrate that Muslims were not unafraid to discuss male beauty. The good Muslim could expect a highly charged homoerotic heaven - Sura 52:24 "And there shall wait on them [the Muslim men] young men of their own, as fair as virgin pearls."Sura 76:19 "They shall be attended by boys graced with eternal youth, who will seem like scattered pearls to the beholders."

THE SUNNAH OR LIFE OF MUHAMMAD AS INSPIRATIONHowever, to an extent, the endless argument over the precise interpretation of Quranic text is a white elephant, because the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not choose to follow the Quran word for word. This is lucky for those who pray for world peace since surah 9.5 (the sword verse) has been translated as "Fight and slay the non-believers wherever ye find them and seize them, confine them, and lie in wait for them in every place of ambush".

Like other Muslims, the world's 175 million queer Muslims have to judge passages from the Quran in context and they can also look to other sources including the lifestyle, or Sunnah, of Prophet Muhammad for inspiration. This is an often overlooked reference for how we should lead our lives. Yet in the Quran (33:21) we read that Allah said "You have in the Messenger of Allah, a beautiful example to follow."- - -
I am not suggesting that Muhammad was "gay" or "homosexual" in a our modern sense - neither term had even been invented in Seventh Century Arabia. But the evidence does suggest that the great Prophet, like most of his male contemporaries, had feelings towards men that at some times and in certain particular respects were more intense than his relationships with women.I repeat that I am not saying that there is definite proof he had sex with other men but he does seem to have had several highly intimate associations with men of a much younger age. Though these relationships may have been "platonic", they were also based on that same affection of an older for a younger man for which Plato enthused and which inspired nineteenth century writers to defend "the sex which dare not speak its' name."I recognise that I am not tackling head on some of the passages in the Quran that are alleged to relate to sex between men. Several eminent historians and sociologists have been brave enough to tackle this issue and there is now a considerable amount of academic literature which surrounds this and related topics.However no academics have, to my knowledge, researched directly for evidence of homoerotic inclination and for tolerance of such relationships in early Islam and especially in the lifestyle and teachings of Allah's blessed messenger, Muhammad.

- - -
… (there) was a strong homoerotic element in Muhammad's life as well as those of his Muslim fighters and that there was considerable toleration for those men (eunuchs) whose sexual orientation was exclusively directed towards their own sex. In the early chapters we deal with the evidence regarding Muhammad's own sexuality and later we look more broadly at queer relationships in early Islamic society.
There are four bases for believing that Muhammad may have had homoerotic relationships ( possibly "platonic" ) which were either tolerated or accepted by his contemporaries. This chapter deals with the first.Perhaps the closest of Muhammad's many close male relationships, one which predated Ali's birth, was his love for his own slave Zaid.Khadija, the Prophet's first wife, was already forty and independently wealthy at the time of their marriage and though beloved by the Prophet, was well past her youth. He was some fifteen years her junior. It was moreover Khadija, not Muhammad, who first proposed. The offer came secretly through her trusted slave Maisara and her beloved quickly accepted. It was a marriage to a woman of considerable wealth and influence. A wise decision for it gave him the time, connections and influence he needed to pursue his destiny.And as if the circumstance of the wedding were not unusual enough in itself, Khadija presented Muhammad with a handsome sixteen year old, Zaid, as a wedding gift. These two young men soon became virtually inseparable - something akin to other famous heroic homoerotic relationships such as that of the Greek fighters Achillees and Patroclus.

Zaid had been captured hundreds of miles to the north in or near present day Iraq and had been bought by Khadijah's nephew in the slave-market at Ukaz and later gifted to her.It was some time after Khadijah in turn gifted Zaid to Muhammad that Zaid's family discovered him at Mecca. They approached the Prophet to beg for his return and if necessary to pay whatever ransom he might demand. Clearly they really loved him for they had travelled a long and dangerous route across the Arabian desert to find him.

- - -
…there is another even more astonishing twist to the story of their relationship. When the prophet was in his fifties, Muhammad decided to marry Zaid's wife Zainab bint Jahash. But his decision seems to have been motivated by Zaid's own unhappinness with the marriage and not by any Caligula like obsession with another man's wife. Zaid was always much more close to Muhammad than to his wife Zainab, and had only married her reluctantly.Nevertheless, if it is really true that Muhammad had earlier pronounced Zaid to be his son in front of the Kaaba, he was now marrying his daughter-in-law - an unthinkable scandal even in pre-Islamic Arabia. This would never have been accepted by his followers.A more credible explanation is that Muhammad, in that moment of great emotional turmoil when Zaid had, perhaps against Muhammad's own expectations, chosen him over his own family, decided to make a very public declaration of his love for Zaid. It is probable that he never mentioned the word "son" in the declaration but only that Zaid would be his heir and he Zaid's - in effect announcing that they were just as close as man and wife. Later, however, Muhammad's biographers chose to cover this up by declaring that Muhammad had actually adopted Zaid as his "son."

- - -
It is intriguing that in the Quran ( The Believers 023.005 - 023.006 ) we read that Allah asks men to guard their modesty from all except their wives and their slaves. A sexual relationship with a slave such as Zaid would not have been seen as a sin like adultery as it posed no threat to a marriage. However, we might speculate that once Muhammad declared Zaid as his heir and implicitly freeing him from slavery, then any sexual relationship would have had to have been either terminated or in the unlikely event of it continuing, then it would have had to have been well hidden from wider society.

This chapter looks at the second reason we have for thinking that the Prophet Muhammad may have been queer. It is his relationship with young men and in particular his bond with Ali which was arguably the most important in the Prophet's life. It was certainly more intense and longer lasting than any of his ten marriages.The prophet surrounded himself mostly, though there were a few notable exceptions, with young male converts. Indeed, most of them were much younger than him; men in their teens and early twenties. This is intriguing. More mature men would have given his movement much greater respect by virtue of their seniority. But by courting almost exclusively the companionship of younger men Muhammad deepened the suspicions of their parents and elder kinsmen. He also embarrassed and alienated the city elders and even many of his own companions in both Mecca and Yathrib [ Medina ].For instance, late in his life, Muhammad was often seen in the company of Usama ibn Zaid, his former servant's son. Sometimes they even shared a camel together, Usama mounted behind. But Muhammad's companions were astonished when he appointed this teenager ( he was then just eighteen years old ) to head an expedition against Syria in 10AH ( 632AD ). The planned campaign was considered so difficult that only the original muhajirin and ansar were employed and these veteran soldiers were severely critical of the Prophet for placing them under the command of an inexperienced and beardless youth. Muhammad responded that "Your criticism of his leadership is just like your earlier criticism of his father's appointment to command. Yet it was God who gave his father all the qualities necessary to command and he was one of my dearest and closest companions. His son is also someone I love dearly." [ Ibn Kathir ]

- - -
As a decoy Abu Talib's youngest son was also a poor choice. Ali was a strikingly handsome youth who would not easily have been mistaken for the middle aged prophet. He was muscular and broad shouldered with a straight nose and a beautifully formed mouth. The prophet himself confessed that "Looking upon Ali is worship," [ Ibn Asakir on the authority of Caliph Abubakr ] and that "Ali would appear [even] to the dwellers of paradise as a morning star." [Sawai'q muhari'qa.]But let us return to the scene which greeted the assassins. The idea that Ali was lying in Muhammad's bed as a "decoy" seems a little far fetched. Moreover it ignores the fact that Muhammad frequently shared a bed with Ali. As one historian wrote - "He [Muhammad] often made [Ali] sleep by his side, and Ali enjoyed the warmth of Muhammad's body and inhaled the holy fragrance of his breath."Indeed, there is not one of Muhammad's ten wives who continuously shared the same living quarters with the prophet for as long as Ali. From his youth, until the prophet's death, Ali was always living either in the prophet's home or in an adjacent apartment.

- - -
Just after completing what was to be his final pilgrimmage in 632, at a place called Ghadir Khumm on the road between Mecca and Medina, Muhammad addressed an assembled crowd of many thousands. Holding Ali's hand and raising it high, he declared that "Anyone whose Guardian I have been has Ali as his Guardian. Oh God protect anyone who protects him and opose anyone who opposes him. Ali is of me and I am of him," and according to one source [ Ibn Abu Bukayr ] even told his listeners that "No one settles debts on my behalf except myself or Ali." Clearly the Prophet wanted to make everyone aware not only that there was no one he trusted as much as Ali, but that he and Ali were so close spiritually that he thought of Ali and himself as a single spirit occupying two bodies.

- - -
This romantic vision of the past and present is fascinatingly similar to that described a thousand years earlier by Plato when he attempted to explain the origin of homosexuality. In Plato's Symposium the reason for the power of all love, heterosexual and homosexual, is the need to be reunited with one's "other half." At the beginning of mankind each person was composed of two halfs - either male-male, female-female or male-female - until the gods cut them all into two; thereby creating the powerful desire to be reunited, manifesting itself in either heterosexual or homoerotic desire.Though Muhammad adored Ali as his "other half," he did not try to stop his beloved when Ali asked his permission to marry a woman. It's not clear, however, whether Ali's desire to tie the knot was motivated more by his love for his bride to be or his love for Muhammad, for when he finally married, of all the possible partners he might have chosen, he chose Fatima, the Prophet's daughter. The balance of probability is that the marriage was born out of formality rather than infatuation, and was designed as a ritualistic cement for Muhammad's and Ali's long-standing, but still passionate, partnership.

- - -
The third reason we have for supposing that the Prophet Muhammad was queer is the unusual fondness of his uncle Abu Talib [ who never converted to Islam ] for the prophet which seems to have been regarded by others in the Quraish as homoerotic.Though there is no evidence of any physical relationship, Muhammad was more than willing to rely continuously on his Uncle's protection and seems to have held a great and strong affection for him. Nothing surprising in that.But when the Meccan elders challenged Abu Talib, who by virtue of kinship acted as Muhammad's protector, and requested him to relinquish his protection of his nephew who so mocked their religion and practices, they offered him another man "as a son" - who they claimed was the most handsome man of all the Quraish. In other words Mecca's sheikhs who had for years been in daily contact with Abu Talib, himself a senior and respected elder among the Quraish, felt they had a chance of convincing the man to turn a blind eye to his own nephew's assassination in return for the gift of the city's most handsome young man !

- - -
. . . Muhammad generally prefered the company of older widows. It was an odd choice that did not go unnoticed. Aisha herself attempted to solicit an explanation - "O Messenger of God, do you think that if you were to go down into a valley where there was one tree whose fruit had previously been eaten from, and another that had not been eaten from, at which of them would you graze your camel ?" [ Abd Allah ]To which the Prophet responded without much evident forthought "At the one never eaten from."His preference for widows was not just unconventional. By marrying mostly middle-aged women he was also reducing his chances of having a surviving son. So, it is difficult to explain his unusual choice of older marriage partners as politically motivated. The real explanation was probably more simple. The Prophet was more comfortable with their less threatening comanionship.In an extraordinary statement Muhammad once declared "I like women and perfume better than anything else, but the apple of my eye is prayer." By linking women with prayer it seems as if his affection for women can't have been anything other than innocent, and we must assume he knew that his followers also realized this. Otherwise, it would have been scandalous for him to have made such a statement.
There were few laws to protect the individual in sixth century Arabia from assault, theft, abduction or other crimes. Free men depended on their relatives, and slaves on their slave masters for protection.

- - -
The new Islamic society born in Medina was, like the Spartans of ancient Greece, a highly militaristic one. Not only was there a very real threat of attack from the majority of Meccans who still rejected Islam and who were suspicious about Muhammad's long term aims, but the necessities of economic survival also required Muhammad to launch piratic attacks against traders from Mecca and other "unfriendly" tribes.The size of Muhammad's military expeditions were small, generally much smaller than those of his enemies. With hand to hand combat always the crucial aspect of any battle, the loyalty of one's immediate companions was vital. As with the outnumbered Spartans whose army of three hundred gay lovers fought with legendary courage and self-sacrifice against the Persian army at Thermopylae in 480BC, there is considerable evidence that Muhammad's soldiers also fought in pairs. With other Arabian tribal armies this might have meant two brothers fighting together or perhaps a freed man alongside his former master.The battles of early Islam, however, witnessed brother opposing brother, nephew battling uncle ( Ali ibn Abu Talib famously faced his uncle Amr ibn Abd Wudd in a duel during the siege of Medina ) and sometimes slaves fighting their former masters. So, the only real options were bonds built from either deep friendship or love.

- - -
It was an extremely youthful army by any historical standard. Boys could become soldiers once they turned fifteen. The polytheist Meccans were contemptuous of Muhammad's recruits, dismissing them as "young gazelles." The Prophet's young soldiers in turn ridiculed their Meccan opponents as "bald old women like camels bound for sacrifice."Any military man knows that at such a young age attachments with other young men in the face of extreme danger often borders on the homoerotic and almost inevitably on a friendship deeper than that of most marital love. It seems likely that in such circumstances, homoerotic relationships would have been tolerated as an accepted, even indispensable aspect, of a tightly knit military society.While such homoerotic relationships were vital to early Islam's political and military survival, they did not preclude those involved marrying women and setting up a family as soon as the opportunity arose. In fact many such men may have been bisexual or even heterosexual to the extent that they may have prefered women as sexual partners given the freedom to chose. However there is also evidence that individuals who we would now call "gay" and who showed no signs of sexual attraction towards women, also played a significant role in early Islam.

- - -
+ + +


godhelpbritain said...


Gosh, did you write all of that? If so, I am very impressed. I'm wanting to make a video about homosexuality in Islam. My blog is about the Islamification of Britain and the Western world. I would like to know if I could use the images in your article and some of the suggestions you made about Mohammad's sexuality.

Let me know what you think....I can add your url to the video credits.

Bo I. Cavefors said...

...you get the whole article (written by Anonymous...)here: http://www.gayegypt.com/islam.html