Yesterday a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling humbled humanity: The United States of America officially legalized gay marriage in all 50 states, putting one of contemporary society’s most pressing civil rights battles to rest.
The nationwide LGBTQ community and its loyal allies erupted in jubilant festivity; well wishes and congratulatory messages reverberated from all over the world. But I found myself holding back my joy, choosing instead to celebrate quietly.
In the midst of the holy month of Ramadan, my chest ached with the bittersweet feeling of an overfull, teeming heart. But to celebrate, I thought, would be to disobey the God whom my fasts are kept for, the God whom I fall prostrate in prayer before. It would disobey the religion that has given my heart a home — not just in the gravity of my sorrows, but also at the peak of my happiness.
Paradoxical, I knew it. There must definitely be an inconsistency in my life if my faith stands in stark opposition to the societal beliefs that I passionately wish to advocate for. But after today I realized that I do not live my life pained with cognitive dissonance. Rather, I can achieve inner-peace by understanding that, surely, a deistic approach to Allah exists.
And that is exactly where my desire to strengthen my devoutness resonates from: A deistic Allah. The One who gave life to every creature, loves unconditionally, accepts and forgives. The One who created every race, every gender, every color of the rainbow. The One who gave us all the same heart and the freedom to love with it.
And five times a day — even more during this holy month — I will remain resolute in my belief, bowing my head to the ground to ask Him for strength and for guidance, as I have done since my prepubescent years. So yes, I am Muslim. And yes, it is possible to be a Muslim who supports gay rights, for it is the religion of Islam that stresses the significance of ethical conduct and has ultimately inspired me to become an activist for all of humanity — for ethnic and religious minorities, for homosexual and transgender people, for all human beings battling oppression and facing discrimination.
Fellow Muslims, I call on you to join me in my novice attempt to facilitate empowerment for all marginalized individuals and to silence the close-minded people who wish to limit our religion to very specific, destructive constructs and adhere only to centuries-old traditions.
We must be progressive, and our values must reflect this. Simultaneously, we can still carry our creed in our hearts and souls. We can continue to strengthen our belief not by subjecting ourselves to the diction of ancient manuscripts, but by serving humanity and fighting for a better future for all humankind.
That’s exactly what Islam has taught me, after all.