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Islamic Society ( 24 Jun 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Why Is Liwat (Sodomy) So Horrifying?

By Junaid Jahangir, New Age Islam

24 June 2021

Liwat With Men Evokes The Death Punishment In 3 Of The 4 Sunni And The Shia Ithna Ashari (Twelver) Schools Of Jurisprudence

Main Points: 

1.    Clerics are not able to effectively address the exploitation of madrassa youth or the concerns of LGBTQ Muslims.

2.    Minority Maliki and majority Shia jurists deem anal sex permissible.

3.    Only men who would allow themselves to be penetrated are either prostitutes or diseased.


Many Pakistanis were horrified by a recent video of an older cleric, Mufti Aziz ur Rehman, fondling a young man. A panel discussion took place where U.S. based Dr. Khalid Siddiqi was more concerned with the juristic concept of liwat (anal sex with men) than with abuse of power and authority. The cleric emphasized the destruction of Lut’s people and underscored that three of the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence prescribe the death punishment for the act. He did not bother with the exploitation of the young madrassa student and instead expressed horror and shame. Such a reaction provides a window into the minds of clerics who interpret the story of Lut’s people through the mechanical act instead of abuse of power. This motivates the question that why is liwat so horrifying?

The horror of liwat is not explained by the categorical imperative that “God says so.” This is because many other sins including lying and cheating do not evoke a similar level of horror. Similarly, the horror is not explained by disgust. There are many acts that one may find repulsive, but morality is not defined by our capacity for disgust. Consider for instance the consumption of the dabb lizard, which is deemed a permissible delicacy in parts of Saudi Arabia. Likewise, the lack of procreation does not explain the horror of liwat, as many sexual acts that do not lead to procreation are deemed permissible.

The horror is not explained by noxiousness either. Some may argue analogically that noxiousness exists in the vagina temporarily during the menstrual cycle, which leads to the temporary prohibition of vaginal intercourse. Therefore, since noxiousness exists in the anus permanently, anal sex is permanently prohibited. However, this does not explain why minority Maliki and majority Shia jurists deem anal sex permissible even if they consider it Makruh (detestable). Additionally, the argument of harm to the wife does not translate to the case of men because of the Lazza (pleasure) derived from the prostate gland. All of this means that the horror of liwat must be explained through a different line of reasoning instead of God’s law, personal disgust, lack of procreation, noxiousness, or bodily harm.

The answer lies in observing the stark contrast that while anal sex with women may even be considered permissible, liwat with men evokes the death punishment in 3 of the 4 Sunni and the Shia Ithna Ashari (Twelver) schools of jurisprudence. Thus, the answer to why the act is so horrifying is simply because it involves men. The understanding is that men would be abased by being penetrated and that the only men who would allow themselves to be penetrated are either prostitutes or diseased. Additionally, the horror is reserved most for liwat with men instead of eunuchs or boys, both of whom are not deemed men enough to lose any honour through the act. Therefore, clerics are not able to effectively address the exploitation of madrassa youth or the concerns of LGBTQ Muslims, as they are consumed by the horror of liwat, by virtue of simply being men.


Junaid Jahangir is an Assistant Professor of Economics at MacEwan University. He is the co-author of Islamic Law and Muslim Same-Sex Unions. With Dr. Hussein Abdullatif, a paediatric endocrinologist in Alabama, he has co-authored several academic papers on the issue of same-sex unions in Islam. He contributed this article to


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