In this counseling answer:
“Dear sister, you have to truly decide what is most important to you: Islam or your lifestyle/choice, whether it is truly biological or a conditioned choice. ”
Thank you for writing to us, dear sister. I will address your last concern first as this is one of the most important points: should you “quit” Islam.
As you apparently love Allah (swt) and believe Islam to be the right path for yourself as well as mankind, why would you risk and sacrifice your life and your way of life by giving up being a Muslim which is something that is obviously very important to you? I understand the possible fear and quilt you may feel about being a lesbian. However, your lifestyle other than that is a Muslim who truly loves Allah (swt).
I would kindly suggest, dear sister that you continue with your prayers, worshipping Allah (swt) and going to the mosque.
In addition, you may want to consider taking classes in Quranic studies/recitation or Arabic classes, Islamic history as well as getting involved in Islamic social activities as much as possible. I suggest this because as Muslims, we are to increase our knowledge and strive to build a healthy Islamic social network. All of this will, in sha’ Allah, provide you with the blessings and answers you seek. As life is filled with tests and trials, our pursuit of knowledge and engagement in Islamic activities will serve to support us and build a solid foundation for which to draw from.
As Muslims come from all walks of life, the fact that you consider yourself a lesbian is not a surprise nor is it a rare thing in the Muslim community. True, it is not discussed a lot; however, it needs to be addressed in a spiritual and compassionate manner.
The past decade in particular, especially in the west, has seen more and more attention given to this issue in the community as an increasing amount of Muslims open up about their lifestyles, feelings, and choices. Some imams and other scholars are now addressing this issue from various points. Indeed, homosexuality is forbidden in Islam, just as zina is forbidden. However, committing zina sadly appears to be a more acceptable or understandable “sin” than homosexuality. But it does not negate the prohibition of either.
First, dear sister, you have to truly decide what is most important to you: Islam or your lifestyle/choice, whether it is truly biological or a conditioned choice. Some individuals are truly attracted to the same sex through no fault of their own. For instance, those born as hermaphrodites, “have both male and female genitalia and often at birth the doctors and parents will discuss which sex to assign the child (which may not always be the right one) based on internal and external features. This disorder can also present in varying degrees from severe as just discussed, to very mild with only slight hormonal changes biologically.
In other cases, there are additional hormonal imbalances which may predispose one to same-sex desire such as PCOD. While I am sure that you have done a lot of research, I am just bringing this up to illustrate that yes, some people are born with certain conditions that may lead them to be attracted to the same sex through no fault of their own. For some, it is a choice, for others, it is not.
However, as a Muslim striving to please Allah (swt), you should in sha’ Allah try to overcome your attraction to the same sex, if possible if you desire to live within the foundation of Islamic principles.
I would kindly suggest that you look back upon your attractions. Have you ever been attracted to men? Do you feel it is something that could be a learned behavior, an emotional response? Are you willing to commit to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or Reparative Therapy to possibly help you overcome your same-sex attraction?
AboutIslam illustrates how reparative therapy works with a brother. In your case, it would, of course, pertain to a possible dysfunctional relationship with you and your mother. The post states “Reparative Therapy is aimed at reversing sexuality in the belief that the most important relationship with a parent for a boy is the father-son relationship which, if dysfunctional, can lead to “incomplete gender identity”. The psychiatrist who formulated this therapy and has written a book on it is Joseph Nicolosi Ph.D. (Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality). To him: “Many homosexuals are attracted to other men and their maleness because they are striving to complete their own gender identification”.
While I am not stating this is true in your case (relationship issues with your mom), I am just putting it out there as a possible venue to examine if you want to try to examine and possibly change your attraction from females to males.
While nothing is guaranteed, sister, in terms of changing your focus of attraction, I can only imagine how hard it may be for you. I can only encourage you to decide if you truly want to please Allah (swt), examine ways to reconstruct your thinking patterns, as well as focus on drawing closer to Allah (swt) by dkhir, prayer, reciting the Qur’an, and making du’aa’ to seek Allah’s help in overcoming your attraction.
Perhaps, you may never overcome your attraction and you will have to live with it. You will then have to decide if you can resist the temptation of sexual acts. You will also want to decide if you should marry because, as you said, everyone deserves to be loved in this life.
Perhaps linking up with groups in your area for support will be helpful. There are a few groups for Muslims who are or were gay/lesbian seeking to live a halal life. Perhaps joining such a group would be of benefit. Often these support groups are hard to locate due to the stigma and often the danger in certain countries. However, with some networking and searching, you may be able to find one. I would start looking at meetup.com as well as your local university directories of groups and clubs. A key phrase may be “progressive Muslims”. If you have a therapist, she or he may be able to direct you as well.
Whatever your choice and outcome is, sister, please do continue to seek out Allah (swt). Never give up Islam and continue to pray for guidance, mercy, and forgiveness. We all have our tests and trials in this life, some harder than others. In sha’ Allah, with prayer, deep introspection and insight, you will be able to come to terms with your issue and lead a happy life that is pleasing to Allah (swt).
We wish you the best.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.