When I was 17 years old I was a senior in high school. I was wearing hijab and I went on everyday with my life with the idea that one day I am going to have a huge fancy wedding with prince charming. That my hijab is part of my identity and who i am, but is that true? It most definitely is not.
I have been wearing hijab since I was 4 years old. Yes 4. How ridiculous does that sound? To be honest that’s not really the problem. I have never identified as gay and I still don’t but that one relationship with a girl that I had turned my perspective around, a 360 degree turn.
My dad used to tell me that gay people are sick, my mom was repulsed at the idea of two men or two women kissing because it was “haram”. Is it haram? Only Allah knows. Anyway, back to being 17 and meeting the most amazing girl in the entire world. Meeting this girl, her name is Nalani. She was the most beautiful, exquisite, free-spirited person I had ever met. There was a problem at the time in my head though, she was still a GIRL. I was so confused at the time that she was a girl that because I had cared about her so much I was actually mean to her because I couldn’t comprehend that I actually had feelings for another woman, it was just so abnormal to me.
Meanwhile, a lot of time passed and I continued to struggle with my relationship because I loved her so much but we were hiding from the entire world. I mainly struggled with the idea of simultaneously accepting my hijab any my sexuality. We hid our relationship from the world for three years. I had been engaged to a man while Nalani and I were together because I thought that it would help mask my feelings for her, that obviously didn’t work. We both struggled for years trying to make sense of the hiding and that no one would ever accept us, it drained our relationship to the point where there was nothing left. On december 16th, 2013 my only girlfriend that I had fought to be with and suffered for years at a time for left me. The hiding was an external factor undoubtedly, but there were other internal factors that aided in her decision to end it.
Everyday for those 3 years i lived in constant fear of someone finding out. After my g/f broke up with me, I decided to take off my hijab and come out. Let me tell you, that this was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. I took my hijab off because I realized that I had no idea who I was, that I was only wearing hijab because I was afraid what people would say about me taking it off. I only stayed in the closet about my relationship because I didn’t want people to stop talking to me and my family to disown me. Now, the whole world knows about the relationship with this phenomenal young woman that I had in my life. Although we are no longer together I will never be ashamed to say that she was my girlfriend. I always struggled with the idea of being Muslim and being in a same-sex relationship, only to realize that those are two completely different things. I still have no idea what to identify myself as, but I ‘d like to keep it that way for now. My family was shocked and so were my friends. I used to introduce Nalani as my “friend” for years and to come to realize that she was my gf they couldn’t believe it. Many people distanced themselves, and many people actually became closer to me. My family still can’t accept it, I don’t think they ever will. That’s alright though, because they are my family. It’s a struggle everyday to say that I am Muslim and that I may like women too. It’s something many Muslims in the LGBTQ community struggle with. I just want you all to know though that it’s not the end of the world. Do not fight what feels right to you. If you are a man and love a man, if you are a woman and love a woman, do not fight it. Allah will judge you and only you. Allah swt is the most compassionate and forgiving, he is the all-knowing so don’t fear, go with what feels right. I wish I would have done this a long time ago. Stay strong.
Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story with us.
May Allah continue to bless you and your family <3
As a reminder, there are 5 mods, total, of IANH, so I definitely cannot speak for all of them, not even the one sitting next to me currently.
I think in order to answer that you have to define what constitutes a marriage. A pretty simple criteria is legal declaration of marriage, but aside from the implication that has on same-sex unions, if we were honest, it would rule out a lot of Muslim unions I see in my community.
There are many couples I have come across that were married by an imam in the community, and as therefore married Islamically, but are not married through the state. I don’t consider them any less married.
Same-sex couples, with few exceptions, are not generally given that same opportunity to be married by an imam and receive the blessings and support of their community. But, just as you do not have to have an imam present to take shahada, you do not necessarily have to have an imam present in marriage ceremonies.
With all things, I think intention and declaration are vital. When a couple declares to their community their intention for their union to be a life long one, and they actively strive to provide til, and through death….it’s a marriage to me. iA the community accepts and supports the couple. If they do not, though, that does not make the union any less so. That goes for, not just same sex couples, but also straight couples marrying someone of another faith, someone their family or community doesn’t approve of, etc. and are left to fend for themselves as a result.
The rest is between ourselves and Allah, and for anyone else between themselves and Allah. It’s not for me to judge. It’s not for anyone else to do so.
We have to do the best with what we have, and know that the final judgement won’t take place on Earth.
Alhamdulillah for this answer. I think this is very succinctly and beautifully worded. It reminds me of a hadith wherein the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) said we are rewarded according to our intentions. That is a strong, agreed upon hadith. And there’s nothing really I care to add. I just wanted to cosign.
Zina is fornication, btw.
UPDATED: Here is some more reading on this issue.