Gay imam spreads message: “Homosexuality is not sinful” Published on : 18 February 2011 – 5:40pm | By Klaas den Tek (Photo: RNW)

25 Apr

South African Muhsin Hendricks is an Islamic cleric and a gay man.

He runs a foundation called The Inner Circle, which helps Muslims, who are struggling to accept their sexuality. He has come to the Netherlands to spread a simple message: “It’s okay to be Muslim and gay!”

It’s a message not everyone agrees with and the reason why Mr Hendricks is no longer officially a cleric.

Muhsin Hendricks looks a little tired. He is in the Netherlands at the invitation of the Amsterdam branch of gay rights organisation COC and he’s on a punishing schedule. There is enormous public interest in the “pink imam”, as he’s been dubbed.

But every trace of fatigue vanishes as Mushin Hendricks talks about his faith and his sexuality.

“Being Muslim and being gay are both strong identities. And I think that they are both innate identities for me. So somewhere along the line I had to reconcile the two.”

This was far from easy for Muhsin Hendricks. He was born into an orthodox Muslim family in South Africa. His grandfather was a cleric in one of Cape Town’s most prominent mosques. Mushin discovered at an early age that he was different. He played with dolls rather than cars. He was seen as being feminine and was teased as a result. All this was long before he even knew there was such a thing as homosexuality.

Mushin Hendricks took comfort in his faith, in spite of the fact that many Muslims believe it offers no place to homosexual feelings. Sexual love between two men or two women is prohibited. It is seen as one of the worst possible sins, punishable in some Islamic countries by death.

Sodom and Gomorrah
But Muhsin Hendricks decided to discover for himself what the Qur’an has to say about homosexuality. He pursued his Islamic studies in Pakistan. “It didn’t seem fair for a very merciful and compassionate God to condemn me for something that I didn’t choose.”

Muhsin Hendricks drew a striking conclusion from his studies: nowhere does the Qur’an state that homosexuality is forbidden. Not even in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Mushin refutes the interpretation that God destroyed the cities because men had sex with one another. He argues that the cities’ residents were punished for rape, not for consensual sex between men.

The controversial cleric argues that there are even one or two Qur’an verses in which Allah acknowledges the existence of homosexuals. One example is in sura 24, verse 31. “It says that women have to put on extra clothing when they go out in public … But not in front of those men who have no attraction for women. They must be the gay people,” he laughs.

Despite these discoveries, Mushin still did not feel able to acknowledge and openly express his own homosexual feelings. He married, and he and his wife had three children. Mushin’s wife was aware of his homosexuality but still tried to make the relationship work.

Mushin Hendricks’ knowledge of Islam and Arabic earned him respect in the mosques of Cape Town. But his feelings did not go away. After six years, his marriage ended in divorce and that was the moment when he officially came out of the closet.

His mother fainted when she heard the news that her son Mushin was gay. But little by little she is beginning to understand. Some members of the family want nothing more to do with him.

Now Mushin Hendricks has met the love of his life. His partner follows another faith – Hinduism – and has not yet come out of the closet.

Mushin’s work at the mosque came to an abrupt end. His take on the relationship between homosexuality and Islam does not rhyme with the official doctrine. He has been branded a Satanist. Although he has never been physically threatened, he has to endure much abuse and criticism.

“Imams see me as a threat to their worldview and the way they see Islam. I don’t feel they should be threatened. It’s just another view that I would invite them to look at. My view allows queer Muslims to continue being Muslim but also to accept themselves for who they are.”

Muhsin Hendricks still sees himself as an Islamic cleric. With his foundation The Inner Circle he tries to help Muslims with their coming out. He gives empowerment workshops to make young people more self-aware. He will also give one here in the Netherlands: over sixty people have already signed up for it.

Visit the Inner Circle website or Facebook page

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Anonymous1 April 2013 – 10:09pm / USA

Wow, we do need more people like this. It never stops to amaze me of the ignorance. I myself a lesbian with a masculine disposition as being the “man” in a relationship. For personal experiences, you people who preach against it, have no depth of understanding of being gay,lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. We do NOT choose to be attracted to the same gender(s), let me ask you this, do you men “choose” to like women? Or you just DO like women? It is just how we are, and it is a part of who we are. Most of us in the gay community, want what any other human being wants. Love, acceptance and happiness. Do you really think we would be happy by denying our sexuality? In fact is unhealthy to suppress those thoughts and can cause all sorts of psychological problems that lead to physical problems. The mind affects the body. So by definition it is people like this, enforcing their narrow view (religious fanatics) that cause the sickness! People dont realize when it is themselves who cause the very problems they are fighting against. By the way, if Allah asks you to seek knowledge and understanding (I know science is not forbidden), when it comes to science, I think its funny how some people just limit to what parts of science they choose to study because it will shake their beliefs…. Anyway good luck to you Mushin, keep up the good work.

Ziggy7861 February 2013 – 9:10pm / South Africa

We did not choose to be gay, we did not wake up one day saying: from today on I am going to be gay, I am going to have a relationship with men, no it does not work like that, these feelings come naturally as you would with any other man liking a woman, Maaf that we cannot help our attractions… But I will not hide and be unhappy for the rest of my life! If anyone wishes to reply, my email address is Shukraan

Anonymous18 March 2013 – 9:34pm / UK

Gay is a sexual orientation that you might not choose to be. Being attracted to a girl if you are a girl and being attracted to a boy if you are a boy or both, might be feelings that you cannot stop, cannot control. Yes, we do need to remind ourselves that we do not choose who we fall for. However, just because we cannot control these emotions doesn’t give us an excuse to commit zina. Allah did say that man loves women but he also said to lower our gaze: what for?- to prevent from doing anything haram! The whole homosexual/ bisexual issue is the same. With the “same” I mean that although you might not choose to be what you are, if you know its wrong then seek help to stop yourself from committing the haram. Don’t come out in the open and publicize the whole issue as a normal because it isn’t ( it was adam and eve not adam and steve remember that!) and allah (SWA) might have planted these emotions and urges in you to test you (remember our whole life is a test, paradise isn’t an easy reward you need to work for it!) to see if your going to go with the flow like every other person that discover they are gay/lesbian or ask him to help you, he created you so allah (SWA) is capable of doing anything to you!

And for you, you are clearly confused and properly hasn’t looked into islam properly and indepth as we would have found out that it is HARAM!!!! There is not a verse that states that it is ok! So no one on this earth has any right, has the nerve, has the audacity to claim that homosexuality in ISLAM is right because it isn’t and the punishment for it is deserved but only if the person commits it with the intention that its right! If you come out and say that you are gay but not proud of it and feel that its right then you don’t deserve a death penalty but help but otherwise whatever happens on you is deserved upon you and saying this I am not judging anyone but just speaking the truth!

Anonymous18 March 2013 – 9:41pm / UK

And for you, you are clearly confused and properly hasn’t looked into islam properly and indepth as we would have found out that it is HARAM!!!! There is not a verse that states that it is ok! So no one on this earth has any right, has the nerve, has the audacity to claim that homosexuality in ISLAM is right because it isn’t and the punishment for it is deserved but only if the person commits it with the intention that its right! If you come out and say that you are gay but not proud of it and feel that its not right then you don’t deserve a death penalty but help but otherwise whatever happens on you is deserved upon you and saying this I am not judging anyone but just speaking the truth!

Also to call this man an Imam is automatically dictating that he is a leader of the community. Someone with great knowledge and understanding. However this guy has failed the very thing. Coming out claiming that gay in Islam is alright that not alright! If you want to be gay then do it in your privacy of your house!

Az.eazy25 January 2013 – 3:23pm / South Africa

Al-Qur’an.. 24:31 And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.


Anonymous13 January 2013 – 8:14pm / UK

It fills me with joy that people like this man exist, and that there are tolerant imams who spread the message of love to everyone. It just makes me sick to hear others preach their hateful interpretations of their God but then refute anyone else who has a tolerant message from the same God. The world needs more people like Muhsin Hendricks; the day there is finally full tolerance of LGBT people across every religion and country will be one of the happiest days in history.

slaveof TheMagnificent19 November 2012 – 1:55pm / canada

You all know what this means. When things like this are happening, all this fitnah, then the biggest fitnah is sure to come. Adajjal is on his way and look at the state the world is in. Look at the state of the Muslims. AstaghfirAllah we are supposed to be examples of the best kind of people and we go and do things like this. The Hour is definitely coming, I just pray that I’m not around during the time when there is no imaan, and no one remembers the name of Allah. May Allah save this Ummah from corruption and the advances of shaytan. Ameen

Anonymous18 November 2012 – 11:55am / Australia

I heard of this story this morning. I was very surprised to find out that this person comes from Cape Town, the same place as where I come from. All I can say is that should he return to his place of birth, there will be a riot. In Cape Town, Islam is a clear cut religion. The Quraan and Sunna is followed strictly. The fact that he thinks it is ok, puzzles me most. We were promised that we would be led astray by shaytaan, only the strong would not be tempted. Allahu Akbar, may we be of those who remain strongly connected to the rope of Alla(SWT)>

Great Kurdistan9 October 2012 – 1:01am / iraq

No …….. there is no any Ayat in Qur’an that allows anyone to do it and you are completely wrong…..please tell me evidence THAT YOU HAVE but i am sure you dont have .

Anonymous14 September 2012 – 2:23pm / Malaysia

Oh boy! here we go again. Another Muslim with a distorted understanding of Islam and he calls himself an imam. Just like another muslim in Turkey who claims that pork is not forbidden. What’s next, that you can marry your own brother/sister because Adam’s children did that? Clearly a so called clergy man who lacks deep knowledge in Quran, hadith and Islam; or surely one who seeks a leeway just to satisfy his gayish nafs. All I can say… May God give you hidayah and taufiq so that you can repent and revert to the right path.

Maryam18 December 2011 – 5:39am / US of A

I fear for my brothers and sisters. I fear for my future children.I fear for my nieces and nephews. I fear for my friends and their siblings and their children. I fear for Muslims in my home country. I fear for anyone who will have to grow up in a world where homosexuality is practiced everywhere and so openly. I do not want anyone I mentioned above or I to be alive when homosexuality is at its climax. It is disgusting. I feel sorry for those castrated or “Eunicchs” but I do not feel sorry for people who do not control their desires and claim to be proud of a sin. How can you be proud of sinning? How would it sound if all of a sudden prostitutes came out to demand their right of freedom to do whatever and then label themselves as “proud” prostitutes. Would you want your children to grow up in that kind of environment? Giving the wrong ideas to kids and PROMOTING those ideas?! Really? I am only concerning this to gay Muslims. Really? Remain in the closet. You are sinning. Why would you want the world to know youre sinning and that you are disobeying Allah?! Its crazy. Those that try to quote hadith/Quran to justify their heinous acts.. really? Muhammad, peace be upon him, was an example for us to follow! When he married whom he did, he did so to show us who we can marry and in what type of way/condition, that is why he married more than 4. Tell me where did he marry another man?!

Muslim girl19 September 2012 – 11:48pm / Pakistan

You are ignorant and intolerant. Being gay may be a sin in your belief system but it is cruel of you to describe it a this vicious evil corrupting the world. IT is just a matter of who people sleep with so don’t get your panties in a bunch

Maryam18 December 2011 – 5:41am

Where did any of the prophets(peace be upon them all) marry another man? Even the first man and prophet married a woman. Eve married a man. If Allah wanted us to marry within the same gender, dont you think He would of sent someone to show us? Dont you think it would of been brought up and recommended as a choice? So please stop trying to quote this and that. Drop your ego. Drop your desires and return to your Lord! I am no one to judge of course. Dont think Im “hating” on anyone. I just fear for our Ummah. Allah does not need all these people disobeying him to this degree. I feel sad that its already happening so fast. That Im living in an age where I can see it all. Where people whom I love who I want to see in Jannah have to see it all too. We all have desires, but we should not go public with them and then use Islam to justify it. NO. It does not work like that. You can not pick and choose and then alter later on. You are supposed to fit your life around Islam, not the other way around. I am still in shock that people are openly, publicly “proud GAY Muslims”. Ya Allah! Guide us all! Guide us on Sirat-al Mustaqim- the STRAIGHT path. Ameen!

Anonymous31 May 2012 – 7:12pm

salam sister mariyam, i have feelings for men of the same sex. now i did not choose this feelings. soo where do they come from, no gay likes to be gay, but god is the creater and this is the way he has created us. it is a genetical thing not what we like. i hve cryed tried to kill my self and got married thinking this will desapier. who can we tell we have to live a life of hell. god is the creator. and we dnt do it for pay, and prostutution is done for money. u can reply to me br em,

Skosel Blaze28 October 2012 – 3:54am / United Republic of Skosel Blaze

“I will lead them wrong,” he said, “and I will lead them by the nose to an evil line of conduct and arouse in them vain desires and stir up their sinful sensuous appetite.” “I will command them to receive the pagan superstition and slit and cut the ears of cattle and I will command them to change the course and order of things wherein they were set at the creation.” And he who puts himself under the tutelage of AL-Shaytan besides Allah, shall have been a great loser. …. so u can see, thats where these FALSE DESIRES OF LIKING SAME SEX COMES FROM. ITS NT FROM GOD BUT SATAN INCITING SUCH FALSE DESIRES.

Skosel Blaze28 October 2012 – 3:55am / United Republic of Skosel Blaze

the ayat is an nisa, chapter 4 verse 119

Anonymous9 July 2012 – 1:13am / USA

that is the jinn messing with you head and he has you in his grasp

TJA16 October 2011 – 5:08pm / USA

Clearly Mr Hendricks is very confused, because al-Qur’an states:
“Verily, you practice sodomy with men, and rob the wayfarer travelers! And practice Al-Munkar (disbelief and polytheism and every kind of evil wicked deed) in your meetings.” But his people gave no answer except that they said: “Bring Allah’s Torment upon us if you are one of the truthful.” Al-Qur’an 29:29
And they indeed sought to shame his guest (by asking to commit sodomy with them). So We blinded their eyes, (saying) “Then taste you My Torment and My Warnings.” Al-Qur’an 54:37
He said: “I am, indeed, of those who disapprove with severe anger and fury your evil action of sodomy. Al-Qur’an 26:168

And not that I need to mention it (because you are already clearly misguided), but a muslim men are not to marry a Hindu. May Allah SWT lead you Mr Hendricks to the straight path, ameen.

Graham7 September 2011 – 3:18am

Unfortunately the Sunnah is clear – Muhammad had homosexuals executed. For example the hadith of Sunan Abu-Dawud
Book 38, Number 4447:
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.”
Book 38, Number 4448:
“If a man who is not married is seized committing sodomy, he will be stoned to death.”

Numerous clips of Islamic clerics echo this teaching on Youtube, while renowned Islamic scholars preach this at Islamic websites, and a simple search of the net reveals many recent photos of gays being hanged by the neck in Islamic countries like Iran.

Anonymous18 May 2011 – 10:22am / UAE

This is the translation of the arabic text he refers to. The “attendants having no physical desire” actually have no physical desire to neither men nor women…. so they are not homosexual….

And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.

aalizulfi6 August 2011 – 3:11pm / UAE

Dear anon, jazakallah khair for such a wonderful response that sends this gay imam to hell.

“male attendents with no desire” refers to nurses, doctors and servants who are only their to serve and help.

I hope no one falls for this european invention of “pink imam”. yet another one of their failures to corrupt this beautiful religion.

Putt18 May 2011 – 8:01pm / United States

@Anonymous, as you will see the verses begin with TELL THE BELIEVING – Therefore, why should the believing Muslims go around insisting that Non-believing Muslims do as stipulated in the verse? Why the Muslim leaders make it a criminal act for persons to choose freely? So it is clear that even Muslim leaders do not respect the Koran. Just like some so-called Christians who’ve realized that religion is a powerful weapon of control, and so use it to build divisions among peoples. IT IS SICKENING. Also gay men do not have the [physical] ability to be with women, as Jesus said, SOME MEN were born that way. It is repulsive how you people try to find everything to support your hate for gays. WHAT did gays do to you? Nothing! You people are sick, twisted and plain EVIL!

Daayiee12 May 2011 – 1:15pm / USA

@Anonymous, apparently you have swallowed the lies of ancient jurists whole–no time spent on digesting and filtering through personal education and questioning the status quo–not unlike most Muslims who accept Islam as the pabulum of perfection. Ultimately, whatever one side or another side says, Allah is the final determiner, right? The problem stems from mu’min (believers) that follow the religion as did they fathers without acknowledging the unfolding of new information (remember the story of Abrahim). Whatever increases understanding of Quran, meaning not dependent upon “things” such as culture to base a “judgment”, you remain in the past, doing what they did in the past, without understanding the reasons behind the actions. Quran indicates there are things that were unknown or hidden from human comprehension and became revealed. Join the modern world or not, the future of humankind is not dependent upon your limited view of how Allah’s creation works–now that’s a blessing. Oh, before I forget, why do you hide behind a “hidden” name, must be your desire to remain in the “ghraib” (hidden identity).

Anonymous12 May 2011 – 5:41am

the interpretation is not right I do not have problem with the subject itself !
Every human being has the right to live on this planet , and I am aware of the facts about this interacted subject , I agree with the right to choose what you like to be !
I am not a very enthusiastic believer or strict one !
I read the article , if you are not able of a proper reading for any Arabic old text, Do not assume explanations and try to ruin the text !!

Anonymous12 May 2011 – 5:40am

the interpretation is not right I do not have problem with the subject itself !
Every human being has the right to live on this planet , and I am aware of the facts about this interacted subject , I agree with the right to choose what you like to be !
I am not a very enthusiastic believer or strict one !
I read the article , if you are not able of a proper reading for any Arabic old text, Do not assume explanations and try to ruin the text !!

Anonymous10 April 2011 – 10:56am / South Africa

He draws interesting conclusions… needs to be debated between Ulama…

Anonymous10 April 2011 – 10:56am

He draws interesting conclusions… needs to be debated between Ulama…

Johan Beekman28 March 2011 – 4:44pm / The Netherlands

Anonymous 19 February 2011 – 4:50pm / America “I wondered how long it would take for the gay’s to infiltrate Islam”
Gay’s have been “infiltrating” as you call it, Islam for centuries. People like you bore me with your ignorance.

Anonymous8 March 2011 – 3:18pm

are you learned islam ? or ahmadiyah ? or syi’ah ? ,, coz’ i think they call themself as muslim too.
are you selling your religion ?,, coz’ islam will not buying ? but your people will do.

are you married first then having gay o/ lesbian sex ?

congratulations … you make your muslims finally trying -albeit slowly- to move out of the Middle Ages ????,,, and what next ?, lesbians ? nauzubillahi min zaalik
islam fits for all centuries until qiyamah, that’s why qur’an n shahih hadith never change.. but you don’t believe it, do you ?

may you get hidayah.

Nasyr Muhammad25 February 2011 – 4:58pm / NIGERIA

God prohibits some animals from having sex with their females when in pregnancy. And they are obeying. But we humans still feel happy to disobey Him by having same sex sex. They must be sick!


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