Homosexuality and LGBTI rights have become a topical and burning issue the world over the moment some governments and human rights organizations started considering it a human right and not an odd and an objectionable sexual orientation. Countries have ever since adopted positions that are either supportive or unsupportive thereof. Its topicality is heightened whenever a prominent person makes a statement condoning the practice and asking for its legalization and inclusion in the laws of all countries. The phenomenon has taken a more serious character when some Western countries started authorizing and legalizing same-sex marriage.
The Gambian National Human Rights Commission, in its recent report submitted to the National Assembly, has urged for the recognition of LGBTI rights in The Gambia. The report sparked a spate of condemnations from all segments of Gambian society. It is against the backdrop of the report and the denunciations that ensued that Rawdatul Majaalis has decided to categorically make clear its stance on the issue.
Rawdatul Majaalis, as the name indicates in Arabic, is the official body that brings together all the Majlisolu (traditional Islamic learning centres) in The Gambia. It is therefore incumbent on Rawdatul Majaalis to convey the unequivocal position of the Majlisolu on the matter. Rawdatul Majaalis’ position cannot therefore but mirror the Holy Quran’s condemnation of homosexuality in various verses referring to Prophet Lut (Lot) and his people.
The story of Lut and his people and their destruction is mentioned in the following Surahs and verses: A’araf:80; Hud:77; Hijr:59; Anbiya:71; Shu’araa:171; Naml:55; Ankabut:26; Saffat:133 and Qamar:33.
The Quran says: “We sent Lut to say to his people: “Do you commit a vice that no other people have ever committed before you? You indulge in sexual pleasure with men in preference to women: you are indeed going beyond bounds. His people gave no answer but: “Drive them out of your village; they are people who claim to be clean and pure. We saved him and his household except his wife who was among those who lagged behind. We brought down on them a hail of brimstone. You can figure out the sad end of offenders”.
The content of the verses above is the common thread of all the other verses of the Quran related to the homosexuality of Prophet Lut’s people and the punishment inflicted on them.
Homosexuality is also considered an abomination by the Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). In a Hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas: If you find anyone committing a sinful act committed by Lut’s people, kill the person performing the act as well as the person on whom the act is carried out.
Ibn Abbas also narrated another Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh): “Allah curses anyone whoever performs the sinful act of Lut’s people”, repeated three times by the Prophet (pbuh).
Muslim scholars since the advent of Islam have all considered homosexuality performed by either men or women a sinful act that a good Muslim must shun.
Rawdatul Majaalis regards homosexuality not only an act that Islam considers sinful but a phenomenon that Gambian society in its entirety sees as repugnant and therefore has never entertained it as a social norm.
In light of the foregoing, Rawdatul Majaalis calls on the Government as well as our National Assembly members to reject outright the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission’s report entreating our legislators and the Government to enact legislation designed to protect LGBTI rights.
President of Rawdatul Majaalis
Baba Abubakar Drammeh