A Way Beyond the Rainbow

#23 - On the Story of the People of Lut (PBUH)

September 04, 2020 Hashim and Waheed Jensen Season 2 Episode 11
A Way Beyond the Rainbow
#23 - On the Story of the People of Lut (PBUH)
Episode Introduction
Prophet Lut's migration to Sodom
On Pride
How Satan exploits our desires
On the Shade of Allah SWT on the Day of Judgment
"I am of those who detest what you do"
On purity and chastity
"My Lord, save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do"
Who are we like?
"We have been sent to the people of Lot"
On supporting what Allah prohibits
The visit of the three angels
The intoxication of sin
Standing your ground
The destruction of the towns
Our measure of success
Repentance, forgiveness and a clean slate
Ending Remarks
A Way Beyond the Rainbow
#23 - On the Story of the People of Lut (PBUH)
Sep 04, 2020 Season 2 Episode 11
Hashim and Waheed Jensen

In this episode, Hashim and I discuss the story of the people of Lut (PBUH) and reflect on many relevant themes, with a focus on our struggle as men and women experiencing same-sex attractions in this day and age who are committed to staying true to Allah and His deen. We tackle the topics of pride and remorse, the ways in which we may be similar to and different from the people of Lut (PBUH), how chastity is a cornerstone of our faith, and how grounding ourselves in Him and standing our ground for Him SWT is the way to go, inshaAllah.

If we were living in Sodom at that time, who would we be like? Why did God describe the state of the people of Lut (PBUH) as one of blinding intoxication? What are some practical lessons we can learn from this story that can help us in our journey, particularly in our current age? These and other questions are explored in this episode.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, Hashim and I discuss the story of the people of Lut (PBUH) and reflect on many relevant themes, with a focus on our struggle as men and women experiencing same-sex attractions in this day and age who are committed to staying true to Allah and His deen. We tackle the topics of pride and remorse, the ways in which we may be similar to and different from the people of Lut (PBUH), how chastity is a cornerstone of our faith, and how grounding ourselves in Him and standing our ground for Him SWT is the way to go, inshaAllah.

If we were living in Sodom at that time, who would we be like? Why did God describe the state of the people of Lut (PBUH) as one of blinding intoxication? What are some practical lessons we can learn from this story that can help us in our journey, particularly in our current age? These and other questions are explored in this episode.

Waheed  00:38
Assalamu alaikom wa rahmatullahi ta'ala wa barakatuh and welcome to a brand new episode of "A Way Beyond the Rainbow", this podcast series dedicated to Muslims experiencing same-sex attractions who want to live a life true to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and Islam. I'm your host Waheed Jensen, thank you so much for joining me in a new episode. And joining me today as a co-host is my dear friend Hashim. Assalamu alaikom, Hashim!

Hashim  01:00
Wa alaikom assalam, brother Waheed. How are you doing?

Waheed  01:02
I'm good, alhamdulillah. How are you?

Hashim  01:05
I'm good, alhamdulillah. I'm glad to see you again. I missed you and missed talking to you!

Waheed  01:09
Missed you too! I'm glad to have you on board. It's really a pleasure to have you. Last week, we talked about the story of Adam and Eve, peace be upon them, and the story of temptation, what happened to them in terms of being lured and tempted by Satan and the consequences, as well as repentance and going back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And we reflected on the many themes that were included in that story and how they apply to us, in general, to humanity, as well as to individuals who experience SSA like ourselves. Today, we will be going back to history as well, and we will be talking about the story of the people of Lut (PBUH). Now, what I would like to say at the beginning of this episode is that the purpose of this episode is not to talk about the fiqh [legal ruling] behind what's halal and what's haram, per se. We know already that the story of the people of Lut (PBUH), among numerous other pieces of evidence, clearly establishes the prohibition of same-sex behaviors, right? We know this, and we will, inshaAllah, deconstruct this further in later seasons with brother Mobeen Vaid, who has written extensively on this matter in particular. But what Hashim and I today are going to do, inshaAllah, in this episode, is to recite the story, go through it and reflect upon many of the moral lessons that we can derive from the story along the way, particularly when it comes to the states of the heart and the repercussions of the "gay lifestyle". Allah is warning us against following in the footsteps of the people of Lut (PBUH) - why is He warning us? So let us examine this together, inshaAllah.

Hashim  03:08
Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem. So, our condition kind of gives us a bit of a background as to what was happening in the area and what led up to this encounter between Prophet Lut (PBUH) and his people. Prophet (PBUH) was born and raised by his uncle, and his uncle was Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH). Lut (PBUH) believed in Ibrahim (PBUH)'s message of monotheism, even when everyone around Ibrahim (PBUH) was ridiculing him. We know of the trials and the challenges that Ibrahim (PBUH) went through. So, together, they both traveled across land, they were inviting people to God's Word. During Ibrahim and Lut's migration to Palestine, they received Divine Decree of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala that Lut (PBUH) had then been chosen as a prophet and messenger specifically for the people of Sodom. So, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala instructed Lut (PBUH) to travel to that city. 

Waheed  04:12
I used to think it was actually only that city, but a friend showed me sources that they were more than one city. Historically they’re known as the Canaanite cities, and they were five, aka “Pentapolis” – the largest of which was Sodom, but they also included Gomorrah among others. And they’re located at and around the border between Jordan and Palestine, in what we now refer to as the region of the Dead Sea. But yeah, Sodom was were Prophet Lut (PBUH) lived and it's the setting of the story.

Hashim  04:50
Right. And his aim was obviously then to call the people of that city back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So, another extension of Allah's mercy that, you know, when people are going astray, he's sending messengers to call them back to Him, and to call them back to this Divine love, this peace, this Straight Path to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So, Sodom was a thriving city, and it was visited by many travelers, merchants and businessmen for trade from the surrounding areas. However, at the same time, even though it was thriving, it was also a very corrupt city. There's a lot of criminal activity going on there at the time. So we learn that travelers passing by they were often ambushed, they were robbed of their belongings, and sometimes they were mercilessly murdered. And the most notorious act of evil that we know that was committed by the people or nation of Sodom, as mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, is the fact that they engaged in homosexual acts, and specifically men engaging in sexual relations with men. So, this is kind of the situation that Prophet Lut (PBUH) was coming towards. So, Prophet Lut (PBUH) settled in the city of Sodom, and he began to come up and devise ways to bring his people back into the fold of Islam - Islam as in the submission of our nafs (self) to God. He was well aware that his nation was the most corrupt nation of the time. But we learn from his life that he held firm in his faith. And he was constantly hoping and praying that his people would soon see the error of their ways and come to the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So, when he talks to his people, he says, "My people," he has this deep concern and this deep love and this deep willingness to try and bring them back to their own potential and their own betterment.

Waheed  06:53
Exactly. And so, Allah mentions in two verses in Surat Al-'Ankabut, He says, “And [mention] Lot, when he said to his people, ‘Indeed, you commit such immorality as none in the worlds committed before you. What! Do you come unto men, and cut off the way, and commit in your gatherings reprehensible deeds?’ Yet the answer of his people was but to say, ‘Bring us the punishment of Allah, if you are among the truthful’” (29:28-29). From this description, the practice of sodomy - the term sodomy refers to the name of their city, Sodom - it was the norm amongst this nation, a large part of the population engaged in this act. Not only that, they were also immensely proud of their own conduct, they spoke openly about it and engaged in these behaviors out in the open. And in the verse in Surat Al-'Ankabut, the term "fahisha" or immorality or indecency, in this particular context, it is understood as a specific reference to sexual relations between men. And this is a transgression that is based upon this verse, commentators usually would say that no people had committed on such a wide scale before Lut's people, as for example cited in Ibn Katheer. So, taking that into account, one of the reflections that comes to mind at this point, particularly when we read those verses - it's one thing to be afflicted with a particular trial, and to be secretive about that, and to turn back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala in repentance, even if we keep on falling, like we said in the last episode, we fall, but we get back up, we return to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. No matter how many times we keep on falling, the most important thing is to get back up, make repentance, make amends and go back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and keep on trying. So it's one thing to actually be afflicted with a certain trial and keep on failing, but then getting back up and making tawbah [repentance] and going back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And you know, Muslims, like us in particular, we fall into sin, but we jump right back up, we go back, we make amends, we make tawbah and we move on with our lives. But we also keep this a secret.

Hashim  09:06
It's that kind of deep realization that it's wrong at the end of the day, and that we could do better and we want to do better. 

Waheed  09:16
Hundred percent. And we also keep that a secret, we don't boast about it. We don't join rallies, and we work on ourselves. We try and purify ourselves. We try to heal ourselves. So that's one part. But it's another thing completely to be so sunken in immorality to the point of boasting about it, being proud of your conduct and "who you are". Does this ring any bells? For sure. We see a lot of this in a lot of gay communities around the world and the gay movement, it's about proudly proclaiming the fact that they engage in this behavior. A lot of them do that. They do it so proudly, and even they proclaim that if you don't celebrate this fact, then you are actually a bigot or a homophobe, or whatever else they might call you. Actually, you and I, Hashim, we were talking about this earlier, the fact that a lot of those parades are called "pride parades". We can understand that a lot of us and a lot of the listeners who themselves experience same-sex attractions and who have been through so much in their lives, our stories are different, but we can all understand pain and trauma and being marginalized and being misunderstood and feeling constant shame, and maybe being bullied, being abused, going through lots of traumas in our lives, and on top of that, being ousted by our own communities, misunderstood, shamed and sent to hell and all sorts of things. So when you find your own community, and you finally feel that you are understood, then you want to actually feel that you belong, and then you want to tell people that you finally found your own place and after being hid in the "closet" for a very long time, you want to finally break those doors open and claim your own space. And so, part of us understands why this is happening, but at the end of the day, you know, another part of us also realizes that that is not the right way to go. Because, again, a lot of what's happening has become boasting about something that is a major sin and an entire lifestyle that crosses red lines and that goes against what Allah wants from us. And again, the idea of pride, you know, we understand that you want to find your own niche and to be happy with who you are, but then again, we recall also the story of Satan and how arrogance and pride were two of his overwhelming qualities that led him to refuse to bow down to Adam, and to refuse God's orders. So, it's not a coincidence that these parades are called "pride parades". And if we look at pride in the Qur'an, it's always negatively portrayed in the Qur'an, specifically, again, going back to Satan's story, for example. And nowadays, we see that those pride parades are about people boasting and being proud of them engaging in this lifestyle and not seeing it as something to be ashamed of or something to be embarrassed about. And if you are embarrassed about this, or if you don't agree with us, then you are an internalized homophobe or you're a bigot, or you're a transphobe or whatever else.

Hashim  12:44
I mean, you're right as in there is that element of it being about proudly engaging in the lifestyle. I mean, you wouldn't have someone at a parade saying, "Yes, I have these attractions, but I don't act on them," because it would be seen as, you know, having internalized homophobia, they'll be told, "No, you shouldn't walk in this parade if that's the attitude that you take towards it." They want people to be there, not only to say, "These are the feelings that I have," but "I'm okay with acting on them, and everyone else should be okay with it as well."

Waheed  13:21
Absolutely. And this reminds us of a verse in Surat Al-Baqarah, "And when it is said to him, "Fear Allah," pride in the sin takes hold of him" (2:206). So, in this particular context, Prophet Lut (PBUH) was asking his people to fear Allah, and the response was basically pride - pride that they're living in a particular way, they have their own lifestyle, and they're doing things that Allah told them not to do. And their response was, we don't care! "Bring us the punishment of Allah if you should be truthful." There is a defiance, there is a level of defiance that these actions are not immoral, right? "We make our own rules. If you don't like it, then that's your problem, not ours." In our Deen, the concept of  المجاهرة بالمعاصي (i.e., being public about one’s sins) is in fact, in and of itself, a major sin. So, when one commits a sin, on its own, a particular sin, that is something. But then, being open about it, being public about it, what one does or what one has already done, is a separate sin on top of that. And it's a serious one, because it normalizes something that is forbidden. It removes the sting and the stigma from it, and in doing so, it indirectly and implicitly invites others to follow suit. And it eases the path for them to do so. One of the major foundations of our religion is to preserve society, to preserve families, and to kind of remove any invitation to sin. So it's not just acting upon or engaging in particular prohibited sexual acts, there is lowering the gaze, avoiding being in a closed space with someone whom you feel attracted to, for example, someone from the opposite gender or whatever, you know, there are laws that kind of prevent the sin from happening at its earliest stages. And we know that there's a concept of prevention being much better than the cure, right? Because we're not just concerned with particular acts, we're also concerned about preventing those particular contexts from emerging. And so, if you have people boasting about sin, then what's going to indirectly happen is that they will entice other people who might be vulnerable to follow suit. And as a result, this is going to lead to a lot of corruption in the community, which we see happening around us, unfortunately. So this actually takes personal sin to a whole new level. And another aspect is when someone tries to reason with them, again, there is often ridicule, and particularly ridicule of any Divine punishment, any warnings, any advice of Divine punishment is going to be ridiculed. Again, Allah says quoting them, "Bring us the punishment of Allah, if you should be of the truthful" (29:29), So that's how they taunted their Prophet (PBUH). This definitely rings lots of bells, right? And so, in Surat Ash-Shu'ara, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says, “The people of Lot denied the messengers. When their brother Lot said to them, ‘Will you not fear Allah? Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger. So fear Allah and obey me. And I do not ask you for it any reward. My reward is only from the Lord of the worlds” (26:160-164). And obviously they ridiculed him, and they didn't obey the Messenger, as we know. 

Hashim  16:57
This idea of asking them to become more conscious of Allah, more conscious of the repercussions of what they're doing. And this whole idea of becoming God-conscious, taqwa, as in understanding life, death, reason why we're here, reason why God tells us to do things or not do things, and increasing their awareness of the dangers of what they're engaging in, right? So, then, you know, looking at the story, and the response they were giving, if we go back to what we discussed in the last episode, and looking at the ways Satan gets involved in that. So, the way Satan causes mankind to sway away from the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Just like in the initial story with Adam and Eve (peace be upon them), just like what they went through, and like we said previously at the end of the previous episode, us, as extension, being the children of Adam, going through that same trial with Satan as well as the same battle with him. And, you know, whether it's us or even in the example of the people of Lut (PBUH. People of Lut (PBUH) were also children of Adam, they also underwent the same situation with Satan, where he finds a weakness within them, finds something that he can manipulate in them, and uses their lack of determination or their lack of their connection or remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and gets them to go towards that which God has told us not to go towards, right? It's the same sort of steps that he goes through. And you know, as soon as they step away from the Path, as soon as they go down that dark road, it's a downward spiral, like we've mentioned before, losing their mindfulness of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and then beginning to drown in the transgression, because it's, you know, it's addictive, and you go back to it again and again. And we actually mentioned last time from Surat Az-Zukhruf, “And whosoever turns blindly away from the remembrance of the All-Merciful, We assign to him a satan who then becomes his companion” (43:36). This is the just response to the person first turning away from the remembrance of Allah and then going down this dark road. The story of the people of Lut (PBUH) is the only place in the Qur'an that talks about same-sex relations. But the story is obviously repeated multiple times in the Qur'an in many Surahs and verses, so that when we read the Qur'an, we are reminded of this. And we're reminded of it for that same reason that we discussed last week, that these stories get us to not only reflect on the path of the purified ones, the path of those who are righteous and the path of those who have walked the path towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, but also the path of those who have gone astray or away from the shading mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And, you know, again, just like we discussed last week with Satan, this idea of being humble enough for us to ask ourselves, "How are we like the people of Lut (PBUH)?" And that's a hard, hard question. It's not something we want to entertain. For having these feelings, we've been bullied so much in life, "Oh, you're like the people of Lut, etc." We're not doing or coming towards this for the reasons that they did, but we have to look at what seeds there were or what attitudes that they had that perhaps we might in some form also have. We shouldn't be afraid to do things like that (i.e. reflect and ask ourselves). For a lot of people who have unconsciously developed same-sex attractions or same-sex fascination or desire to be drawn towards the same gender, and we've spoken about this, there was a lot of unmet needs or early childhood experiences, situations that we did not have a choice or control over. And we don't really see that sort of explanation given for the reasons of why the people of Lut ended up committing the acts they did, right? Allah told us that they left their women consciously to engage in these homosexual acts, and they became addicted or intoxicated with the lifestyle. On an initial reading of this we kind of think, "Well, that's not talking about me. I haven't willingly left one thing for the other and then got addicted, it didn't start off like that." But, in a sense that, if we go back to talking about Satan and his three-step approach of finding a weakness, tempting us to go towards something that's not what Allah has advised or told us to do, and then us getting hooked or, like in the story of Adam (PBUH), our clothes removed, or ourselves becoming debased as a result. It's the same sort of thing again, Satan has the ability to manipulate our weaknesses and use that to tempt us to venture into the forbidden. Once we do that, once we taste that, it sucks us in, right? If we're not conscious, or if we're not aware, it sucks us in. And perhaps, you know, maybe what started out as a healthy need for same-gender affirmation, for a son to be affirmed by his father or his male peers, something that might have started off as a healthy thing can really quickly become sexualized and embedded. The human body works in that sort of way, dopamine feedback and all these sort of things, right? So, I mean that's just one explanation, I'm sure there are many explanations. But Satan uses our weaknesses of needing comfort, needing connection, whether you're a man or a woman, you want connection with your own gender. SSA or same-sex attractions can develop then because of that, because of needing that deep emotional need being met first. Satan convinces us that the way to achieve these is to approach members of the same sex in a sexual fashion, that's his answer. So just like he said to Adam, you can become an angel, you can become immortal or whatever, perhaps there is a whispering to us to say, "If you want to be close to men, if you want that connection, if you want to be loved, if you want to be affirmed, then here is a way to do it. Go towards them sexually." It's hard in life, you know, when you leave school or leave university and meet people, you know, people have formed their cliques and their groups and they have their families and their communities and stuff, and if you don't have that, sometimes, you know, it is hard to engage with other people, and this kind of approaching people in a sexual fashion is a quick way to achieve that connection, right? It's very tempting and, from the outside, it looks like exactly what we want, exactly what we need. And Satan has a way to paint it like that. This happens and we approach it in one way or another, whether we're doing it in private, in our fantasies, whether we're using pornography, whether we're actually interacting with another person, you know, either online or physically in person. It quickly develops into something that we keep returning to, because in some futile way, we think it's addressing that deep need that we had, that deep emotional disconnect. What I'm trying to say is, it's no different from Adam's story, from Satan's point of view that he's targeting Adam's forgetfulness or lack of determination, he is tempting him with what appears good and desirable to him. And then he gets him to approach what is forbidden. So, in that sense, that's the kind of common aspect of where we can say, "Well, okay, how have we got into this, what's happened to us, how are we similar to the people of Lut?" in the sense that they went through the same things with Satan, that same journey: weakness, temptation and falling into sin. So, Lut (PBUH), when he addresses his people and tries to basically get them to wake up and tries to kind of give them a solution for this, he's telling them, "Will you not fear Allah? Will you not be mindful of Allah?" And, you know, just like we said  with Adam (PBUH)'s story about forgetfulness and lack of determination, the answer to that was remembrance and having determination. So, again, Lut (PBUH) was saying that, you know, to reverse the situation mentioned in Surat Az-Zukhruf, "And whosoever turns blindly away from the remembrance of the All-Merciful, We assign to him a satan who then becomes his companion" (43:36) - to reverse that, you look at the root cause, which is turning away from the remembrance of the All-Merciful, and to reverse that, we have to develop taqwa and develop this kind of awareness, mindfulness, or fear of what will happen if we go towards the forbidden. So, just like the story was saying, with children of Adam, it's the same story over and over again, and the solution is the same solution over and over again: mindfulness of Allah, awareness of Allah. Having said that, it's clear that those people who engage in same-sex encounters, they have a whole range of background stories, right? It could be that SSA might have been there with us for as long as we could remember, due to unmet needs, and then they become sexualized, and then the person then willingly chooses to engage in the same-sex experience. But, also at the same time, it could be through people who are, you know, questioning, where they're trying to experiment with their sexuality. It could be because someone is "bisexual" and wants to engage sexually with both sexes. It could be someone who's "straight" or "heterosexual", a man or a woman, with particular fantasies or inclinations or desires to be with another member of the same gender, but they don't identify with the "gay" label. Or it could be as a result of societies nowadays becoming more open, adopting new labels, because it seems as being "hip" or "in". And even nowadays, people are abandoning the idea of labels and just saying, "Okay, we're sexually fluid and what's wrong with two men getting together or two women getting together?" They kind of see these ideas that religion has put forward of sexual intimacy only being between a man and a woman in marriage, they see that as very old-fashioned and antiquated, and how it's liberal and progressive to move beyond that. For us as Muslims, and when I say "Muslim", I mean those who want to not only just believe in Allah, but who want to also submit their life to Allah, that means we have to be aware of Allah's laws, and there are red lines that we don't cross if we want to call ourselves submitters or Muslims or whatever. So, I think what I'm trying to say is, regardless of the various origins or genesis of these desires, that red line is still there. It doesn't matter what's brought us to it. We can't cross this thing, right? It's Satan's plan to tempt us to use our individual contexts or individual situations, and he suggests and does whatever he can to get us to cross over. Everyone is different. Everyone is different. Everyone's journey is different. This is why Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is the Master of the Day of Judgment, not us. He knows why someone has approached this and why someone has got into this situation. Someone who's been sexually abused as a child and ends up in this situation is different from someone who's just kind of, you know, wanting to just, you know, get their kicks or thrills, who doesn't necessarily have any attraction to the same gender. And Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala knows best, right? And He knows our individual situations, He knows what's going on with us. But the answer is the same, we need to turn back to Him and not to this thing to get these needs met. Because everyone's different, and as we've discussed in previous episodes, everyone is rewarded according to the degree of the test that he or she is assigned, and the degree of patience and steadfastness and so on. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala knows best, He knows what's in your heart, He knows what you've been through, He knows how hard you've tried. For some people it might be easy, while for other people, the situation might be completely devastating. Like I said, last week, from brother Sinan's story about how he just felt completely empty. You know, when you're at that stage and you don't have Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, you will reach out for anything, in any form, to get that need met. I'm not excusing the sin, but I'm saying that everyone's situation is different.

Waheed  31:52
And actually, we know there's a famous hadith sahih by the Prophet (PBUH) about the seven types of people who will be granted the shade of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala on the Day of Judgment, on the Day on which there is no shade but His Shade, subhanahu wa ta'ala, and one of those categories of people is a man who was tempted by a woman of high status and beauty, and he says, "I fear Allah!" He refuses to commit the sin, because he has a fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And as we know the very famous story of Prophet Yusuf (PBUH), a living example of that person who was tempted by someone, by a woman who had high status and beauty. He could have easily slipped, but he refused, because he feared Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we touched upon his story in episode 17. So, again, this refers to any human being who is tempted to commit any indecent sexual act, when there's a huge push to go down that road, but that person refuses for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, be that a man or a woman. And we all know that this is a very, very hard thing to do. And if we're going to extrapolate that, we can easily apply it to men and women who experience same-sex attractions, I mean, you can easily put a man who experiences SSA who has zero interest in women and a woman is trying to seduce him and he's like, "I don't even care!" I mean, that's very easy, but if it were -  

Hashim  33:25
That's not even a trial for him.. 

Waheed  33:26
Exactly! That's like, whatever, a daily thing! But like, if it were a man, then that would be a different situation, right? So it can be taken to mean, if a man is called to sin by another man, or a woman is called to sin by another woman, and we're talking about individuals who experience same-sex attractions and who are put in that tempting situation, and they say, "I refuse, because I fear Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala." We can also argue that, just like a "heterosexual" man wouldn't normally have desires for the same sex, and a "homosexual" man wouldn't entertain the idea of having sex with a woman, normally, even if they were called to it by a woman of high status and beauty. And the same applies also to a "homosexual" woman who is tempted by a man, and so on, so forth. So the idea, in general, we can just understand this portion of the hadith to mean any person who is tempted by someone to whom that person feels attracted and feels desires and there is a potential for something to happen. This perfectly applies to us, men and women experiencing SSA. We are tempted to act out by our own same-sex desires, but we refrain from doing that for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. I just wanted to put this out there, as a side note. May Allah shade us under His Shade on the Day in which there is no shade, but His Shade, inshaAllah.

Hashim  34:51
Ameen. InshaAllah. You're right as in the story of Yusuf (PBUH), the idea that he would have desired but he didn't, because he had this awareness of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And this theme of going through the Qur'an, wake up and have awareness of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala to kind of protect us. It doesn't mean that we won't be tried or we won't feel desires and all these sort of things, but what protects us and what keeps us on our goal or keeps us on our path, which is what we're here for, to get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, first you know, being aware of Him and being conscious of Him all the time. I think what you've mentioned is this idea that it's not specifically about a situation, right? So we take the idea of Yusuf (PBUH) and we talk about chastity in that situation, it's not specifically for someone living, you know, with his master's wife, for example, it's a general idea of chastity of being tempted, right? So why not then extend that further, not just for opposite-sex attractions in situations, but if this is our particular nature or particular desires, then it will also apply to same-sex attractions as well in those situations. 

Waheed  36:13
Absolutely. And so, going back to the story of Lut (PBUH), as we know, he broached the matter of same-sex relations with his people, and informed them that it was indeed an immoral practice. And what we are focusing here on is the practice itself, the act. So, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat Ash-Shu'ara', quoting Prophet Lut (PBUH), "“Do you approach males among the worlds and leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing." They said, "If you do not desist, O Lot, you will surely be of those evicted." He said, "Indeed, I am of those who detest what you do”" (26:165-168). And again, underline "what you DO", not what you FEEL. 

Hashim  37:00
I think that's a really important thing to look at, because the words in the Qur'an are really important. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala puts them there, every single word there is for a reason, right? So, Lut (PBUH) is saying, "Indeed, I am of those who detest what you do." So, just like you said, he's talking about the deed, right? So many times we hear, you know, "Homosexuality is a sin," or "Islam hates homosexuals," etc. If we adopt that kind of narrative, or if we say those words, we're not really being true to what the Qur'an says and how Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala terms things, right? He doesn't say things in terms of people's core or their desires. Lut (PBUH) is not saying, "I detest you," because, remember, he cared for his people. He's not saying, "I detest what you're feeling inside you or your desires," to the extent that it's involuntary, he's saying "I detest your act, this approach that you're doing, these steps that you're going through to approach people of the same gender." So, again, it's focusing on the action, and I think we need to perhaps learn from that as communities, you know, when we're having these discussions as well, that we focus on discussing acts and not discussing or putting "halal/haram" on these constructed ideas of identity and things like that. Let's remain true to the way Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has put it. Islam has social teachings and laws about how societies should be conducted, and there are laws against public acts of indecency and promotion or encouragement of zina [fornication/adultery], for the reasons that we mentioned before. Notice how the people of Lut say to him, "If you do not desist, O Lot, you will surely be of those evicted," so they say, "Look, stop telling us this, otherwise, we're going to kick you all out." And what is his answer? He says it again, "I detest what you do." He doesn't back down. He goes, "No, I'm going to stand by my guns, and I'm going to be true to my mission and my faith in God to say that 'I detest this act that you are doing'." We live in a time where people are so afraid to talk about this topic, right? Like, in my mosque, if they do a topic on homosexuality, they're like, "I'm sorry, we're not going to record it, we're not going to put it on a public platform, because we're afraid of being accused of being discriminating, afraid of being accused of being "homophobic", etc." But if we remain true to the elements of our religion, we shouldn't be embarrassed about it. We shouldn't be embarrassed to say, you know, "Islam does not allow these acts." And if we stop saying these things - we're told that we need to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. We can't stop doing these things. Because we just then dilute the religion down to, you know, "Hi Waheed, my name is Hashim, I have an Arabic name, I'm brown, I say 'assalamu alaikom' and 'Eid Mubarak', I wear dishdasha [thawb, long garment]." But Islam is more than that, right? It's a whole way of life. And if we stop talking about these things and abandon these things, what's going to happen? We're just going to be culturally Muslims rather than submitting Muslims, right? So, this idea of social teachings in Islam saying, you know, don't promote or encourage zina, don't allow public acts of indecency.. They're for our safety and our succes. Imagine how different our lives would be, you know, regardless of whether you have SSA or not, imagine how different our lives and society would be if people had never come across pornography, right? Islam says that sexual intimacy should only be between a husband and a wife; therefore, pornography would never exist. No one would've taken a photo or video of anyone doing anything, no one would have seen that image or entertained that idea. In fact, you know, pornography itself was illegal all over the world, including the West until sort of the late 1960s when we had the advent of the sexual revolution. Imagine if no one had ever talked about these things of two people being intimate together, like would many people have then necessarily ended up where they are now, if they hadn't entertained the concept or been introduced to the ideas? Yes, you're right, they may have had a fascination or be drawn towards the same gender. I'm not saying that that wouldn't be there, but this idea of then taking that forward and doing things perhaps wouldn't have gone as far as it had, unless that kind of idea or that normalization of it had been implanted in people's brains and in society. Islam teaches us these things to keep us safe and to stop things from getting out of hand. This whole idea of "prevention is better than cure," right? 

Waheed  42:34
Going back to what Prophet Lut was telling his people, so he was telling them that he detests what they do, he does not approve of their actions. And obviously the people of Lut became angry at him, at his speech and what he was telling them not to do. And so they began to discuss amongst each other, and they were planning to drive him away from the city. And Allah says in Surat Al-A'raf, “Yet the response of his people was but to say, ‘Evict them from your city! Indeed, they are men who keep themselves pure’” (7:82). And I want to stop at this verse, because every time I read that, it strikes me as something very ironic. You know, the term "pure" - "Evict them from your city! Indeed, they are men who keep themselves pure." So, using the term of purity in a context of ridicule is very, very ironic, right? What Lut (PBUH) is obviously calling his people to is a path of purity and righteousness, but they use it in a form of ridicule, because they know what he's calling them for. And they blatantly refuse, and they continue to boast about their lifestyles. And if we take that context and fast forward to this particular day and age where we live in, being "pure" and abiding by our Deen and refusing to look "hip" or "progressive" or "open" or whatever, any other label you want to use. Choosing to abide by our Deen is something that is frowned upon and ridiculed, and it's even labeled as "homophobic". If we refuse to acknowledge and engage in sin and sinful lifestyles, what are we immediately labeled as? Backward, closed minded, neanderthals.. Something that is worth shunning from society. "Those backward Muslims!" "Those judgmental religious people!", this and that. So I just wanted to put this out there for us to realize that this is something.. I mean, subhan Allah, like you can really feel this, because we experience this day in and day out, right? 

Hashim  44:48
Yeah, this idea of, "If you don't agree with our values, then you shouldn't be here." Right? 

Waheed  44:54
Right. So what happened to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, freedom of having your own values? As long as you don't hurt - I mean, we're not hurting anyone. We're just saying that we abide by our Deen. But yeah, if you don't subscribe to a specific way of thinking, then that's not okay. It's either, you think like us or you're just going to be ousted completely. What's it called? The culture of..  

Hashim  45:24
Cancel culture. 

Waheed  45:25
Yeah, cancel culture! There you go. Cancel culture. Yep. You're cancelled. If you're not on board, you're immediately canceled. 

Hashim  45:31
Yeah. But it's worrying though, because that kind of idea has consequences and leads to people being ostracized from society and closed off, it leads to people being seen as "the other," right? Because they have these ideas or they have these views. And, you know, we've seen in history where that's happened, and it's not had great consequences. So obviously, Lut (PBUH) is trying over and over again, trying to bring evidence to people, trying to wake them up, trying to bring them back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and obviously they're telling him to leave, telling him to stop saying these things, mocking him by saying that he's trying to keep himself pure. He becomes distressed, his mission, and you know, people aren't responding. So, you know, after many years of trying to invite these people to submit to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, not one person in Sodom had entered the fold of Islam. His household was the only Muslim household in Sodom. And even within that household, not all of its occupants were Muslim, right? So, you know, Lut and his daughters were steadfast in their religion, but you know, we learn about his wife who continued to be among the non-believers. And this is the wife of a prophet. Again, the fact that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has mentioned her is to raise our awareness of these things. And, you know, she even helped the people of the town behind her husband's back. 

Waheed  47:15
And actually, it's worth mentioning at this point that some reports said that Prophet Lut (PBUH) spent between twenty-four to thirty years among his people. The townspeople had been engaged in sodomy for this duration, had left intercourse with their wives, and as such, there was no reproduction among them. Whatever children there might have been had already grown up during that time. Those towns were also becoming more and more secluded from other nations due to their bad reputation and the vices they were known for. Now, whatever that exact number of years that Lut (PBUH) spent with those people, it goes to show that it’s a long time of him calling them to the Straight Path and them constantly refusing, mocking him, hurting him until they decided to oust him and his family altogether. It wasn’t a short time. Imagine how Prophet Lut (PBUH) and his family felt living in that town for such a long time and struggling on a daily basis. And as you said, Hashim, even his wife was a non-believer and going against her husband's message and supporting the townspeople in all sorts of vicious vices that they were engaged in, the most notorious of which is sodomy on a large scale as mentioned in the Qur’an. 

Hashim  48:38
You can imagine, at one point, Prophet Lut (PBUH) is raising his hands to the heaven and praying to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, he is saying, “My Lord, save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do" (al-Shu‘ara’, 26:169). Again, when we reflect of that, we kind of say that, no matter how bad things are going, always turn back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, he is. Things might not be working out the way we wanted it to work. Obviously, Lut (PBUH) was there because he was on a mission, and he wanted to succeed, right? And it wasn't working. But his answer to that kind of frustration in that situation is to call back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. He tried to reason with others, And we have this as well in our lives, we try to reason with others, and people will ridicule us and hurt us and kick us out. But Who do we always turn back to? We turn back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask Him just like Lut (PBUH) asked Him, "Save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do." We ask Him to save us from the consequences of the injustices that people do around us, right? Sometimes we are on our own physically, but we're not on our own, we have Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala with us. Remember, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is with the patient. And if we have Him, then our goal of "qurbatan ila Allah/قربة إلى الله" (getting closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala), that is what we're here for, right? We talked about the idea of the Straight Path - where does the Straight Path lead? You know, a path leads somewhere, right? What's the end goal? What's the end destination? The End Destination is Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So, you know, we can't do this alone without Him. He is our Goal. He is our Destination. We can't keep moving forward without Him, because He is the Direction towards which we are trying to go. And you know, we can't be protected or sheltered or purified without Him. He is the Root of everything. He is the whole point of this religion of tawheed [montheism], making Him the center of everything in our lives. He becomes this Rock and Refuge for us, He becomes our Savior and our Protector. 

Waheed  51:08
Actually, as I always reflect on the story of Lut (PBUH) and his people, people always compare us, "You're like the people of Lut, and look what happened to them!" And I'm like, when I look at men and women who experience same-sex attractions and who are virtuous, who want to remain true to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and Islam, I refuse to actually compare us to the people of Lut. Rather than being like them - which we are accused of being - in our efforts to remain on the path of Islam, we are more like the family of Lut who were eventually saved. "Men who kept themselves pure", again, in that verse. That was an accusation, in and of itself, to the family of Lut (PBUH). This is what I see us as. We are people, men and women, who are striving to keep ourselves pure, because we love Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we want Him to be pleased with us. So, if that is the accusation, then yes, let's be that. And let's own that ambition for ourselves, because we are trying our best to remain pure, inshaAllah, and we are owning that as our identity. This identity of being men and women, as being Muslims who submit to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and as being proud of the fact that we are choosing this path towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Again, I'm not talking about the hateful pride or the negative pride, I'm talking about something that we are grateful for, in a sense that this is a huge gift in this time and age, alhamdulillah, that we are striving for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. It's not easy! Of course, it's not easy, but it's definitely worth it, inshaAllah. So, again, we're not identifying with a particular sexual desire, we are identifying with the fact that we are men and women, we are Muslims, and we are sincerely striving to submit to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and remain pure for His sake. So, unlike the people of Lut who gave in to their temptations that exploited their weaknesses, we become more like the family of Lut who were saved, who chose to stay within the safety of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. 

Hashim  53:18
So it's kind of like turning it on its head, right? Like, imagine if we had been alive at that time, and we had perhaps been in the town of Sodom, and perhaps we then saw the family of Lut (PBUH), and we realized that what we were engaging in was not the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, he (Lut) would have taken us in, he would have made us part of his family, and those people who had these desires but still said, "No, we're going to be conscious of Allah, we're going to fear Allah, we're going to live our lives and try and be pure." That automatically brings those people with that kind of mindset into the family of Lut (PBUH) and away from the group of the people Lut (PBUH), right? 

Waheed  54:01
Hundred percent. And actually, as you were saying, like, imagine you were in that period, and you were in that particular city, and imagine that you were part of his family. This is the way that I see us. Again, many of our family members and people close to us would reject us. Like, obviously, Allah tells us of Lut's wife - she was a non-believer, she went behind her husband's back, and she helped the community do the indecent acts. For many of us, our families reject us, just because we have those attractions, we haven't even done anything, or we may have done but repented, whatever the case is. Just because we have same-sex attractions, there's a lot of hot air, there's a lot of negativity, and maybe some of us are bashed or kicked out of the house. So there's that aspect. Society around us, nowadays, in this time and age, it's kind of out to get us, right? Just like the people of Sodom themselves, they were the majority and they were out to get the family of Lut. They wanted to drive them out of that city. So we are ridiculed, we are laughed at, and the prevailing lifestyle of Sodom is the politically correct one of that time, and, unfortunately, of these times that we live in, right?  

Hashim  55:17
Yeah, it might as well. Yeah. 

Waheed  55:18
Speaking up against that would come with a heavy price, just like it did with Prophet Lut and his family. We feel like a minority, they felt like a minority. And in today's world, we are a minority even within a minority. Even Lut (PBUH) himself, in his own home, which was supposed to be a place of comfort and a place of rest, he did not find that. He was tormented, both, outside his home and inside his home. His life was a continuous tribulation, and he suffered greatly. But despite all of that, he remained patient, and he remained steadfast with his people. And again, as you recited, Hashim, in the verse, he turned to his Lord and he said, “My Lord, save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do” (26:169). So, again, the invitation is for us to keep a Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala front and center at all times. We are doing all of this for Him ultimately. I mean, had it not been for Him, none of this would ever matter, right? He is our goal, He is our destination, and He is also our means. May Allah protect us, and may Allah save us all, inshaAllah. Ameen. 

Hashim  56:30
Ameen, beautifully said, mashaAllah. That's very true. So going back to the story of what happened then, we learn from the Qur'an that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala sends three angels, including Angel Jibreel (Gabriel), disguised as men to Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH)'s house, and they visit him as guests. Ibrahim (PBUH) initially didn't recognize the angels, so in his nature of being loving and hospitable to everyone, he prepares a grand feast for them. But then his guests refuse to eat, they refuse the meals offered to them, because angels don't eat, right? And Allah says in Surat Hud, “But when he saw their hands not reaching for it, he distrusted them and conceived a fear of them. They said, ‘Fear not. We have been sent to the people of Lot’” (11:70). Then in another Surah, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says, “And when Our messengers came to Abraham with glad tidings, they said, ‘We shall surely destroy the people of this town; truly its people have been wrongdoers.’ He [Abraham] said, ‘Verily, Lot is in it.’ They said, ‘We know better who is in it. Surely We shall save him and his family, except his wife; she is among those who lagged behind’” (Surat al-‘Ankabut, 29:21-32). Again, in Surat Hud, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, “And when the fright had left Abraham and the glad tidings had reached him, he pleaded with Us concerning the people of Lot. Indeed, Abraham was clement, tenderhearted, and penitent. [The angels said], ‘O Abraham! Turn away from this [i.e., give up this plea]. Indeed, the command of your Lord has come, and surely there will come upon them a punishment that cannot be repelled’” (11:74-76). And then, in Surat Al-Hijr, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says, “He [Abraham] said, ‘What is your errand, O messengers?’ They said, ‘We have been sent unto a guilty people, save for the family of Lot. We shall surely save them all together, except for his wife; We have determined that she is indeed among those who lagged behind’” (15:57-60). 

Waheed  58:59
As you were reciting those verses, notice how Prophet Lut (PBUH) and his daughters kept their faith and refused to engage with the actions of those people, and they didn't compromise their values and their beliefs. Not only did they refrain from the acts themselves, but they also refused to approve of or to help the people of the town in those actions and in their lifestyles. Now, contrast that with Prophet Lut's wife who did encourage and support the wrongdoings of the townspeople. And, thus, she was included in their punishment as Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala mentions in those verses that you recited. Reflecting upon this, this is something that is, you know, it's something to take seriously, and it really gives me goosebumps. It's one thing to refrain from the acts, but it's another to kind of indirectly or directly help other people pursue the lifestyle or pursue those acts, which is taken seriously by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Prophet Lut's wife did not obviously engage in those acts, but she approved of the townspeople's behaviors and actions and lifestyles, and she even supported them in that. So in this particular day and age, I mean, if we reflect upon this, you know, again, committing the act is clearly wrong, but we also understand from this story that it would also be wrong in our context to kind of support any movements or causes that feed into the LGBT narrative. And so it feels like we are put in a tight spot in this day and age, it's not an easy decision at all. But we must remain firm, inshaAllah, for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, like Prophet Lut and his household did back in the day. 

Hashim  1:00:51
It is hard. The whole LGBT agenda and the rights that they aim for, it's all wrapped up in a nice package of, you know, "justice" and "anti-discrimination" and helping people to be all they can be. Even the words they use, like "justice". As Muslims, that resonates with us, because we're like, "Yeah, we are a religion of justice, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is Just, and we are here to make sure that the world is just." So when a package kind of comes along wrapped up with that label, it's so easy to go, "Yes, I support this! Yes, of course, I don't want you to be discriminated against, of course, I want you to be able to live safely and without harm and without being attacked and murdered and things like that." But we have to be so careful about what is in that package that we are supporting. We have to be really careful to dissect things out and be really specific about what it is that we approve of. And just like Lut (PBUH) was quite clear about what he disapproved of as well, right? 

Waheed  1:00:55
Exactly. And one thing actually to point out, at this point, is that Prophet Lut didn't abuse anyone, he didn't call them names, he didn't engage in any act of "discrimination" or hate or whatever. All he did was call them to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. He clearly said that he doesn't approve of the acts, he called them towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and they kept ridiculing him and abusing him. And at the end, he called out to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and made the prayer to save him and his family. I don't want people to say that, you know, we're actually arguing that we should avoid people completely in a sense that we should hate particular people, or we should treat people differently. It's just the idea that, you know, we realize that we are Muslims and we have our own value system and we don't approve of particular acts. It doesn't mean we don't approve of people. I mean, people are people, right? We are people, they are people, but it is particular acts that we, you know, cannot approve of, because we abide by our Deen, and those are clear red lines that we do not cross. So this is just as an FYI. 

Waheed  1:03:15
So, anyway, going back to the story of Lut and his people, as you said, the angels proceeded towards Sodom, and they were disguised as men, and they were disguised as handsome young men. And so at that point, one of Lut's daughters witnessed those men enter the city, and so she ran immediately to her father and informed him of their coming. Then, Prophet Lut (PBUH) approached the three men, and he welcomed them, but he knew too well the fate that would befall those very good looking guests at the hands of those men of his city. In Surat Hud, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says, “And when Our messengers [i.e., the angels] came to Lot, he was distressed on their account and felt himself powerless concerning them, and he said, ‘This is a trying day’” (11:77). I mean, what calamity has come? Because there's going to be a huge fiasco at this point. And so he was filled with anguish, he wanted to convince his guests without offending them not to spend the night in the town. But at the same time, he wanted to extend to them the expected hospitality that is normally accorded to guests. Eventually, he tried to make them understand the dilemma, and in the end, he requested that "Okay, well, can you just wait until the night would fall so that no one would see you?" And when it was nighttime, he escorted them to his house as guests. No one was aware of their presence. However, as soon as Lut's wife saw them, she slipped out of the house quietly, so that no one would notice her, and then she ran to the people with the news of the guests. And this news spread like wildfire among the townspeople, and the men of the town came rushing towards Lut's house very excitedly. Lut, at that point, was very surprised, because he was like, "Okay, well, I took every precaution for people not to know that they're there. So who could have informed them?" And then eventually, the matter became clear to him, when he could not find his wife anywhere. And this kind of added more salt to the wound, it added to his grief and his sorrow. Like imagine being betrayed by your own wife, by someone that you love and you care about in your own home. I mean, that's like a huge stab in the back. So that's not easy. 

Hashim  1:05:29
Then the Holy Qur'an in Surat Hud goes on to say, “And his people came hastening toward him, while earlier they had been committing evil deeds. He said, ‘O my people! These are my daughters; they are purer for you. So fear Allah, and disgrace me not with regard to my guests. Is there not among you a man of sound judgement?’ They said, ‘Certainly you know that we have no claim upon your daughters, and surely you know what we desire.’ He said, "If only I had the strength [to resist] you or could seek refuge in some mighty support!’” (11:78-80). And then Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat Al-Hijr, referring to Lut (PBUH), “[Lot] said, ‘Truly, these are my guests, so dishonor me not! Fear Allah, and disgrace me not.’ They said, "Did we not forbid you from [providing protection to] the people?’ He [Lot] said, ‘These are my daughters, if you must act [i.e., to take in lawful marriage].’ By your life [O Muhammad], indeed they wandered (blindly) in their drunkenness” (15:68-72). And that's important in a way, because Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says, just right at the end, He is swearing by our holy Prophet (PBUH)'s life, He is making a point here, He is saying, "Indeed, they wandered (blindly) in their drunkenness." He is drawing our attention to this idea of being intoxicated, being drunk, in this sin and debauchery, in this pit that they had gotten themselves into through repeatedly doing these actions. So, in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala description, this sort of state of intoxication that results in a heart becoming completely blind, right? So they're so immersed in this that they couldn't even get out of this state, to the extent that they were so obsessed with this, that, you know, their holy prophet is coming to them with the advice of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, trying to help them out, and they're telling him, you know, "Stop! We will evict you, stop doing this," you know, and then mocking him for trying to be pure, right? That's how deep this kind of sin had gotten them. This is very telling of the addictive, sabotaging and dark aspects of this particular lifestyle, how it overtakes you, you know, it's something that hardens the heart, and it creates heedlessness and loss, right? You know, it's almost like a state of chasing mirages and running to satisfy your urges, constantly seeking more and more things. So many people that we know or ourselves have maybe left that lifestyle, because of the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical destruction that it brings. We hear this from so many brothers and sisters who say, "I know what it's like on the other side, it's ugly." Just think of pornography, for example, you know, people start off looking at images of men, perhaps looking at images of other men shirtless, and then it progresses and progresses further and further, it gets deeper and deeper. And with pornography, the same image, after a while, doesn't satisfy anymore, and we have to go deeper, and we have to go more explicit, and it has to become more real and more life-like. Some people start off with erotic art, and then it goes more and more towards videos, etc., and then it kind of goes towards trying it physically. It's a downward spiral, it sucks people in, right? The media shows the gay lifestyle as being sort of beautiful and shiny, and even when you see programs about the gay lifestyle or, for example, a program like RuPaul's Drag Race, it's colorful, it's exciting, everyone's laughing, it's happy... But it's everything but that. Please don't watch that program, but if anyone has watched the program, you know that there's a whole episode in there where people talk about their "herstory" (i.e. history, but her-story). They talk about the pain and the abandonment and the abuse that they've been through, and they they break down in tears. RuPaul is obviously using this as a way to gain audiences and viewers, but everybody there has a story, and it's really sad that we don't notice that kind of common theme running through it. It's the opposite of what the media portrays it to be. When we talk about it, we're not talking about, you know, people who are just experiencing the attractions per se, but rather then those who go forward and then engage in the actions and the whole lifestyle that surrounds that, right? So, having same-sex attractions means that Shaytan and his forces - and when I say "his forces," as of today that includes media outlets and things like that, as well as our own nafs (self). They're all after us and want to pull us in that direction, you know, dragging us into a lifestyle that shares so many characteristics with that of the people of Sodom. So many things that they were involved in like, excesses, unbridled lust, you know, going beyond all bounds and so on. It's like drinking salt water to quench your thirst, it's never enough, we always want more and more, because it's never really meeting that need underneath, right? It's like a futile attempt. So we need to be aware of this, we need to see the gay lifestyle for what it really is. You know how some people say it's a spectrum, and some are at one end of the spectrum and other people are at the other, or the opposite end of the stick, for example, but it's a completely different spectrum, it's a completely different stick. It's nothing related to a lifestyle that a man or woman in marriage live. It's not just another spectrum of it, it's something completely different. It's rooted in something completely different. And this is all part of Satan's plan, right? In Surat An-Nisa', Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says, “But Satan promises them naught but delusion” (4:120). Satan is pretending that this is just a different flavor of life and, you know, it's okay or whatever. And you've spoken about this in early episodes of your podcast about the high rates of mental health issues, addictions, abuse, promiscuity, and even in same-sex marriages that are happening nowadays, there are low degrees of monogamy, low degrees of faithfulness, you know, talking about sort of polyamorous marriages, open marriages, you know, it's degrading the concept of what marriage is. And this is perhaps more among men than women, but this constant search for mysterious or anonymous encounters, you know, when people hook up using the apps and things like that, some don't even want to know the other person's name, because that somehow lessens the excitement. They don't want to know details about the other person, you know. That should make us realize that there's something not right about that, there's something wrong with that. It's this persistent craving and desire for more and more explicit forms of sexual conduct. And, you know, it goes to really dark, dark places. It's strange that the word "gay" is used to describe this lifestyle. A long time ago, "gay" used to be kind of happy and carefree. But the lifestyle or the issues behind the lifestyle that that word now represents is anything but happy, it's anything but carefree and fun. It's full of so much pain and search, constant search for something. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala draws our attention to this, and He calls it an "intoxication," in Surat Al-Hijr, "wandering (blindly) in their drunkenness." The same term that is used when people get drunk. So there's something, there's some craving, something going on there that's not right. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala protect us from that state. Ameen, inshaAllah. 

Waheed  1:14:27
And in the same verse that you were reciting a few minutes ago, notice how the people of Lut said, "Did we not forbid you from [providing protection to] the people?" So, they had the upper hand, they made the rules, they were in the position of power. Lut (PBUH) was powerless among them. He pleaded with them to leave the visitors alone and to fear Allah's punishment. He urged them to seek sexual fulfillment with their wives for, that is what Allah had made lawful for them, but nothing worked. You know, all the people did was that they were roaring with laughter. And again, as you were saying, in a state of "drunkenness," they were intoxicated and blinded by their desires, to the point that they broke down the house door. And Lut (PBUH) spoke the truth, he called to it, but all he was met with was hurt and abuse. He stood powerless before those violent people. He was unable to prevent the abuse of his guests. But he firmly stood his ground, and he continued to plead with the mob. So again, let us try to kind of internalize this. There's a power imbalance, right? There's one man alone versus an entire town of strong men. And those men are chasing their desires. And those men are making the rules of the city. Did he back down? He did not. He never back down. He remained true to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and his Deen. They could have easily killed him. I mean, they wanted to evict him anyway, they could have easily killed him on the spot. But he never back down. What's very important to note is that Allah's help is never far away. Allah was with Lut (PBUH) at that point. It has been said, according to some stories and narrations, that, at that point, Angel Jibreel struck the men causing them all to lose their eyesight. And so the men were shocked and enraged, and they were blind at that point, so they managed to kind of grope their ways back to their homes. And they were adamant about destroying Lut the following day. And at that point, the three men who were the angels visiting Lut (PBUH) spoke up, in Surat Hud, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala narrates, “The angels said, ‘O Lot, indeed we are messengers of your Lord; [therefore], they will never reach you. Set out with your family during a portion of the night and let not any among you look back - except your wife; indeed, she will be struck by that which strikes them. Indeed, their appointment is [for] the morning. Is not the morning near?’” (11:81). As instructed, Prophet Lut (PBUH), together with his daughters, they left the town of Sodom during the night, and Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat Al-Qamar, “The people of Lot denied the warning. Indeed, We sent upon them a storm of stones, except the family of Lot – We saved them before dawn, as a favor from Us. Thus do We reward the one who is grateful. And he had already warned them of Our assault, but they disputed the warning. And they had demanded from him his guests, but We obliterated their eyes, [saying], ‘Taste My punishment and warning.’ And there came upon them by morning an abiding punishment” (54:33-38). And then, as the morning dawned, a very loud, piercing cry broke out through the city that shook the occupants with great pain and fear. Jibreel then grabbed the town from the edge of his wing, raised it up high, twisted the land, turning it upside down, and crashed it down to the ground. Allah then caused the sky to rain down stones of hard clay—each stone inscribed with the name of a transgressor for whom it was intended, ending the lives of the inhabitants of Sodom. And Allah says in Surat Hud, “So when Our command came, We made the highest part [of the city] its lowest and rained upon them stones of layered hard clay, [which were] marked from your Lord. And Allah’s punishment is not far from the wrongdoers" (11:82-83). I mean, it just gives me goosebumps to actually cite those verses. Subhan Allah, I mean.. Such a powerful, powrful punishment. 

Hashim  1:18:46
And these warnings are put there to remind us of how bad things can get and how far away we can get when we go down and get involved in some dark paths, right? 

Waheed  1:19:01
Right. May Allah protect us from all of this, inshaAllah. 

Hashim  1:19:04
Ameen, inshaAllah. So we learn from our traditions that Prophet Lut (PBUH) left Sodom with his daughters, and he returned to his uncle, Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH). And then, together, both of them continued to spread the message of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and he continued to do this until he passed on to the Next Life. And so the book was then closed on the people of Lut. Their town and their names have been erased from the face of the Earth, and they were gone from memory. And today, the Dead Sea lies at the site of the corrupt city of Sodom, and it remains as a powerful reminder of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala's wrath against the people, the defiant people of Lut (PBUH). And Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat Al-Hijr, "Surely! In this are signs for those who see. And verily, they (the cities) are right on the high road [from Mecca to Syria, i.e., the place where the Dead Sea is now]. Surely therein is a sign for the believers” (15:75-77). We need to take warnings from this, we need to realize that this is how bad things can get and end up. And in Surat Al-Anbiya', Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says, “And to Lot We gave judgement and knowledge, and We saved him from the city that was committing wicked deeds. Indeed, they were a people of evil, defiantly disobedient” (21:74). So we see Lut (PBUH) going to the city of Sodom, going to the people, preaching to them, trying to bring them back to the fold of Islam, and then having to leave so quickly with his daughters, because the townspeople refused (and earned God's wrath). I wonder how he must have felt like in terms of his mission - his mission was to go and to  bring them back, yet they refused. And on the face of it, you kind of think, "Well, in terms of his mission of bringing them back, he didn't succeed in that. Obviously, he succeeded in preaching the message to them. But they refused." Despite the fact that he wasn't able to convince them, Lut (PBUH) is still honored by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and is still righteous in Heaven. And when we think about success and what it means to be successful in this world, we think in terms of like, when we pray, for example, when we do the asan and iqama (call to prayer), we say, "hayya 'ala as-salat, hayya 'ala al-falah/ حيّ على الصلاة، حيّ على الفلاح" (come to prayer, come to success/felicity). And Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala speaks in numerous verses in the Qur'an about the muflihoon/المفلحون (the successful ones), right? And it's always describing them in terms of their moral and spiritual success in this life and the Next. And we see that at the beginning of Surat Al-Mu'minoon. We have to understand what true success is. True success and our self-worth as a result comes from our obedience to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and our standing with Him, not necessarily from some worldly gains that we may or may not achieve in our efforts in this short time that we're here. When people in the gay lifestyle look at us or look at people who try to remain within the fold of their religion, those trying to avoid any sexual contact outside of marriage, they will say, "Oh, you're going to live a loveless life, you're going to live a lonely life, you're going to live a pointless life," you know? And that's hard to hear, right? It's hard to hear someone say that, it's not easy to hear that. Just like the answer of all the prophets was to make us more conscious of the bigger picture of things, more conscious of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. When we can bring to mind the purpose of our souls being here for this short time, and the reason for that to bring us into a relationship of submission to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. If that's the reason why we're here, then we are doing exactly what we've been put here for, right? And this idea in Islam that this world that we live on is called the Dunya, which is, from what I understand, is the lowest life, right? And when we move on from it, our death is a journey, and it's a continuing journey to the Next World, in which we wake up and start to live our real lives in the Hereafter. When the Holy Prophets speak to their people and try and want them to become aware of this reality of what we are doing here and what this world is. We have to realize that we might not always achieve worldly pleasures by adopting this path to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. This idea of "happily ever after," might not be a worldly "happily ever after," you know, kind of being rich and beautiful, but this idea of achieving this inner peace and tranquility that we gain from knowingly striving and sincerely struggling on the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, that bliss that comes from knowing that, you know, "As long as I'm doing the right thing for Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, everything will be okay." And we see that in Lut (PBUH)'s du'aas [supplications] pleading to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We know from that and from all the prophets that they had this inner peace. No matter how hard things got, they were at inner peace, right? So, just like Ibrahim was flung into this fire, and he was in this garden, in a state of peace, no matter what was going on around him, we can, with our connection with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, with us giving our lives to Him and allowing Him to fill our hearts, we can achieve that kind of "happily ever after," or that state of bliss, state of peace, even while we're on Earth, even while things around us might be, you know, people might be accusing us of things, people might be saying, "You'll end up alone," or all these sort of things, we can still have that sense of peace, despite all of that. 

Waheed  1:25:45
The last idea that we would like to reflect upon in this episode is the idea that Allah's forgiveness, and we spoke about this in the previous episode, that once we repent to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and Allah forgives inshaAllah. When we are sincere with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, He forgives, and that means a clean slate. Lots of times, unfortunately, we come across some scholarly text and these are not fiqh texts, but rather some books of wa'dh or admonition. And they include statements, you know, very absurd statements actually like, "Sodomy (i.e. anal intercourse between two men) can never be forgiven," or like, "The repentance of a man who engages in such an act is not accepted, and his ending is never well, and he does not enter Paradise," and, you know, other absurd statements like, "Sodomy is greater than shirk (associating other deities with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala), or it's something greater than kufr [disbelief]." Obviously these statements are exaggerations that have no basis in sound Shari'a principles [Islamic law], and they're actually absurd, and they do a grave injustice towards the mercy and the love and the caring of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Now, yes, sodomy as an ACT - again, underline ACT - is prohibited in Islam, and it is considered a kabira, which is a major sin. But there is nothing in the Qur'an or the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) that says that one's repentance from this act cannot be accepted, or that even if one repents, his ending will not be good, or that one who has committed this act can never enter Paradise, or anything like that. Some of these texts, in particular, and again, these are texts of wa'dh or admonition, they have taken things to an extreme. The intention was to kind of hinder people from falling into such sin, but then, many times, they backfire in so many ways for people who have committed this act, and as a result, they have despaired of the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. 

Hashim  1:27:55
This idea that we should be really careful before closing the doors of the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the repentance to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We should be careful about what that might end up doing to a person, and how they may then respond to that after we have said something like that. 

Waheed  1:28:17
Absolutely. And for anyone listening, if you have come across such statements, or if you have heard them, or if you will come across them in the future, please realize and understand that those statements do not represent an accurate understanding of our faith. We have touched upon the topic of repentance and the mercy of Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala in the previous episode, and in previous other episodes. His Door is always open, subhanhu wa ta'ala. When we have sincere intentions and we go back to Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala, He accepts our repentance and He grants us, inshaAllah, a clean slate. Let us never forget this. I would like to end this episode with this verse from Surat Az-Zumar, “Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful” (39:53). Thank you so much for listening to our episode. I hope that you guys have enjoyed it and learned from it, inshaAllah. Hashim and I look forward to talking to you next week, we will be touching upon the concept of desires and shahawat, as well as spiritual awakening and going back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we will wrap up all the topics that we have discussed that constitute the spiritual series of this podcast. As always, you can listen to us on your favorite podcast apps and on the website awaybeyondtherainbow.buzzsprout.com. Until next Friday, stay safe and healthy, Hashim and I look forward to talking to you next week. This has been Hashim and Waheed in "A Way Beyond the Rainbow", assalamu alaikom wa rahmatullahi ta'ala wa barakatuh.

Episode Introduction
Prophet Lut's migration to Sodom
On Pride
How Satan exploits our desires
On the Shade of Allah SWT on the Day of Judgment
"I am of those who detest what you do"
On purity and chastity
"My Lord, save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do"
Who are we like?
"We have been sent to the people of Lot"
On supporting what Allah prohibits
The visit of the three angels
The intoxication of sin
Standing your ground
The destruction of the towns
Our measure of success
Repentance, forgiveness and a clean slate
Ending Remarks