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“O humankind! Be mindful of your Lord, who created you from a single soul, and from it created its partner, and from the pair of them spread countless men and women; be mindful of God, in whose name you make requests of one another. Beware of severing the ties of kinship. Surely, God is always watching over you.” (An-Nisa: 1)[1]

“And it is God who has given you spouses from amongst yourselves and through them He has given you children and grandchildren and provided you with good things. How can they believe in falsehood and deny God’s blessings?” (An-Nahl: 72)[2]

Islam emphasises the building of families through marriage between male and female as the basic foundation of society. Marriage and the sexual relationship within it as determined by Sharī’ah are part of God’s chosen path for humankind to procreate and prosper on earth. It is considered an act of worship and a sacred bond that brings various benefits to individuals and societyand prevents various forms of harm.[3] In fact, Allah has proclaimed this partnership of marriage as a sign of His Magnificence. Allah says, which means: “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for people who give thought.” (Al-Rūm: 21)[4] Islam forbids all other forms of sexual relationships and unions.

2 However, in our contemporary context, not everyone adopts this worldview. In the more open world and society which we live, the public discourse and portrayals of LGBTQ+ lifestyle and its values have become more common-place and are easily accessible to all age groups. Some proponents of the LGBTQ+ movement have also attempted to re-interpret religious texts in finding a religious basis for their choices. Collectively, these developments pose a challenge to the traditional Muslim position on family, marriage, and sexuality.

3 Developments on the LGBTQ+ front worldwide are clear indications of how societies have evolved in ways that present varying and conflicting choices. The Muslim community is rightly concerned over the long-term impact of these developments on our religious values and practices, particularly when Islamic guidelines on sexuality are openly contested. There is therefore a need for guidance that can help our society appreciate the complexity of what we are dealing with and navigate this diversity delicately and sensitively.

Engaging a diverse community and society

4 The Muslim community’s values, traditions and way of life need to be managed carefully in the context of social changes and developments in modern society and secular systems. Differences in worldviews and values are to be expected. In this regard, we take guidance from our beloved Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, where he was always firm on the clear boundaries of the religion but counselled followers with compassion and gentleness and taught us not to judge or condemn.[5] Our role is to offer advice and wise counsel based on the teachings of our faith. Ultimately, it is for God to evaluate everyone based on their conditions and circumstances.

5 It is important to note that one’s sexuality is not the only factor that define us as human beings. Some profess the Muslim faith and worship the same God as all Muslims do, but face their own struggles, trauma, and pain as they seek to privately reconcile their faith and sexuality. One who proclaims and practises the basic tenets of the religion is a member of the Muslim community.[6] Such individuals deserve the dignity and respect like everyone else, and our religious values of compassion and kindness demand of us to not turn away from them, and not to turn them away from their faith.

6 Our Asatizah have been engaging on this issue and many have privately advised individuals who come to them for guidance. They have also shared feedback and questions that require appropriate religious guidance. In this regard, we recognise the need to develop and enhance the capabilities of religious teachers and counsellors, in particular, on how the values and teachings of our faith could be sensitively imparted to such individuals whilst keeping their dignity intact and respecting their confidentiality.

Strengthening our community through inculcation of religious values

7 In a more open environment like Singapore, the best way to preserve our religious practices and way of life is by actively educating and imbibing Muslims with values and principles. All members of our community, particularly the young, should be engaged and empowered to navigate current issues with the guidance of our religious values and principles. We need to strike the right balance in ensuring we continue to hold on tight to our religion yet remain compassionate in our dealings towards others.

8 Ultimately, we must keep our community and society intact, such that everyone can live safely and without fear. The public sphere must remain safe for the mainstream and faith communities to educate members of their own communities in accordance with their belief systems and values. Even as we preach our principles and values, we should respect our differences, without devolving into calling out or cancelling individuals or groups that differ from one’s own or degenerating into hate speech.

Preserving our values by strengthening the institution of marriage

9 In line with our religious principles and values, efforts to strengthen the institution of marriage between male and female in Singapore are needed. We have called on the government to consider our position as it deliberates on laws that are appropriate for Singapore in preserving and strengthening the institution of marriage.

10 At the same time, a particular change in law or legislation does not mean that our way of life will change too, and it is our personal duty to ensure that. Our religious values and teachings remain the same. Muslims must live with confidence guided by the enduring principles and values of their faith. Our main concern is not so much the laws themselves but their impact on society and what the society holds dear to. With God’s grace and Blessings, we are able to practise our religious life confidently in our inclusive and secular context, by finding the right balance in dealing with many complex socio-religious issues.

General advice

11 The Shariah places importance on human dignity, respect and peaceful relations. These values are crucial as we navigate complex socio-religious issues today. The Muslim community has the right to preserve its religious and family values especially when these are directly challenged or disputed. Any form of LGBTQ+ advocacy should respect the values that the Muslim community holds dear in practicing its faith.

12 If our religious values and beliefs are challenged openly and aggressively, this will inevitably transform the public space into one that is confrontational and divisive. We must work towards preventing any differences in orientation and worldview from turning into clashes and conflicts which will weaken our society. A public discussion that lacks respect and empathy will only polarise our society.[7] Where one segment is aggrieved and feels unprotected or unsafe, tolerance for different viewpoints and values will considerably diminish and society will weaken.

13 We call upon members of our community to deepen the love for our faith in all its dimensions and to teach our children the same. As the religious authority, Muis will continue to support all efforts to strengthen Islamic values in all religious instruction and curriculum for the community. This is undoubtedly a great test of our empathy, respect, compassion and principledness in dealing with the teachings of our faith in a complex and more open world. It is important that we take a considered and civil approach in engaging on this issue and in finding a common understanding on how to move forward as one society amidst a diversity in values and orientations.


22 August 2022



[1] (يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱتَّقُوا۟ رَبَّكُمُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍۢ وَٰحِدَةٍۢ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًۭا كَثِيرًۭا وَنِسَآءًۭ ۚ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِى تَسَآءَلُونَ بِهِۦ وَٱلْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًۭا)

[2] (وَٱللَّهُ جَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَٰجًۭا وَجَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَزْوَٰجِكُم بَنِينَ وَحَفَدَةًۭ وَرَزَقَكُم مِّنَ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ ۚ أَفَبِٱلْبَـٰطِلِ يُؤْمِنُونَ وَبِنِعْمَتِ ٱللَّهِ هُمْ يَكْفُرُونَ)

[3] "O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty, and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual urges." Narrated by Al-Bukhari (5066)

[4] (وَمِنْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦٓ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَٰجًۭا لِّتَسْكُنُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةًۭ وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَـَٔايَـٰتٍۢ لِّقَوْمٍۢ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ)

[5] The Prophet, peace be upon him, once heard his companions insulting a person amongst them who was addicted to alcohol, even though it had been made forbidden. He said to them, "Do not curse him, for I know that he is a person who loves Allah and His Messenger." Narrated by Al-Bukhari (6780)

[6] This refers to those who profess the pillars of Iman and Islam, acknowledge the established rulings of the religion (al-ma'lūm minad-dīn biḍ-ḍarūrah), and do not make permissible what is clearly impermissible in Islam. Ibn Qudamah explained the latter category as “those who believe in the permissibility of something which has been made unequivocally impermissible through scholarly consensus (ijmā‘), its ruling made clear amongst Muslims, and any doubt towards its ruling has been absolved by textual evidences, such as the impermissibility of porcine, fornication, and similar to these in which there is no difference of opinion (khilāf). See Al-Mughni, (8/131).

[7] Flores, A.R., Social Acceptance of LGBTI People in 175 Countries and Locations, https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Global-Acceptance-Index-LGBTI-Nov-2021.pdf, November 2021