A Same-Sex Marriage in the Sharia Zone

from This Moonless Sky by Marrik Rajjarsen

Each of the 3 parts will be published 1 week apart.

Islamic law meets an unusual gay couple in Socratic science-fiction (In 3 parts)

Part 1:  A friendly local Muslim couple in the home country give our travellers a warning about the Sharia Zone, and some history of gay-positive Islam in North Africa.

We pride ourselves on being the religion that is compatible with science, with the continuous learning of realities, and yet we impose such a ridiculous classification error on these people, lumping the gentle and kindly ones who lack power with women in with the rapists of Lut. What is this but superstition?

– Muhhammad ad-Dtaa’ifi, Khalzukhli of the Shariokhenei                                                         Ominei, the Sharia Lands

**In the science-fiction novel This Moonless Sky, one thread of the storyline involves two young gay travellers going into a foreign district where a Saudi-style Sharia law applies. They get into trouble there, needless to say.

This all takes place on another planet, but many settlers there have brought their ideas from Earth along with them.

In the course of working out the problems the two gay travellers encounter, all the nuances of Islamic ideas and law about same-sex relationships are explored. The conclusion is that a very strong case can be made in Islam for full acceptance of same-sex marriages. The history of such acceptance in genuine Islamic history on Earth is described.

The details of Islamic thought that are necessarily involved here are carried along by a lively and imaginative story-line that probes the absurdity of traditional views. Without the story, the Islamic material might be too academic or lawyerly for some people, but with it, I hope, it will all go smoothly.

Here’s the basic outline of the story, insofar as it applies to these chapters. There are four main characters:

Marrik: Originally called Mark. He’s 17 years old biologically; he was transported from the Earth to the planet Vweialer by some mechanized aliens called the Communicators, who kept him in cryogenic storage for 400,000 years. He doesn’t add those years to his age. He’s now a citizen of a country called Diyyana, on the new planet.

Yith, or in long form, Yithythyth. He’s a 70-million-year-old Communicator alien who took a liking to Marrik while he was in transport – still not frozen yet. Yith decided to do a little experimenting with human biology after Marrik was frozen. He mapped Marrik’s brain and found out what Marrik’s perfect lover would look like – a boy a couple of years younger. He then grew and genetically transformed some human tissue over the next few years to make a normal human body duplicating the form of that perfect boyfriend. Then, before Marrik was unfrozen, he copied as much of his own alien personality as would fit into the neurons of the new body’s brain. His alien colleagues also added a small piece of nanotechnology that gave him access to all the languages spoken on the planet Vweialer. Many of these languages come from the Earth, since all the humans on Vweialer are descended from people previously transported there by the Communicators. In the first part of the book as a whole, Yith has to convince the always nervous Marrik to be his boyfriend. Finally they get together and even have a preliminary version of a same-sex marriage ceremony.

Xus, or in long form, Xusxerron. He’s locally born in Diyyana, and Marrik’s best friend, also 17. He was a troublemaker at home and was ordered by the justice system to leave the country temporarily on a difficult mission involving travel through three foreign countries. The first one in line is Qodra, where most people have a polytheistic religion similar to the ancient religions of the Middle East. In one zone of Qodra, however, the emperor has allowed Muslims to set up their own zone run by Sharia law – the west side being Shiite and the east side being Sunni of the Hanbali school. Xus is obliged to travel through this Sharia Zone, and his friends Marrik and Yith have volunteered to accompany and help him. Also along is his partner:

Eleya. She’s a Diyyana farm girl, newly married to Xus (who is a farm boy). She’s a multi-talented person who, among other things, turns out to be handy with weaponry. Diyyana is mostly non-violent, but she and the others train in swordfighting and also handgun use for self-protection as they travel over into the foreign lands. Their handgun, called a Khashakhr after its manufacturer, is one of only about five on the entire planet. Such gunpowder weapons are unknown in the countries our heroes will be travelling in. Eleya turns out to be the most adept person with the handgun, so she gets the nod to be the one who carries it, well hidden, in a special holster attached to her leg.

Just to give some background and introduction to the religious topics in this story, I’m going to quote something Marrik said in an early part of the book about how he and Yith could be eligible for a Christian same-sex marriage in the views of the main church in Diyyana, the Tserkvem tse Vweialer. **

I should explain that our Christianity here is not averse to same-sex love. Those who know the bible will know that there are some sayings there about a man lying with another man ‘as with a wife’ being an abomination; traditionally, this was interpreted as being against boy-meets-boy. But it was pointed out, even back on Earth, that many cultures, including those ancient ones, separated men and women so efficiently that many straight guys went for younger guys out of sheer horniness. I always read at home about ‘Bubba’ characters in prison who made it their business to rape the younger guys, and then most everyone would share in. Guys do get fevered up after awhile and, as the old jokes go, start looking differently at the sheep and goats. When other guys are just used as alternates to sheep or goats, then that is an abomination – that’s what our religion believes. We call that ‘surrogacy.’ But that has nothing to do with gay love stories. The guys involved in them are not degraded substitutes in lieu of female company. “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” says Yeshua (Jesus). Love is all of the same house, whether male-female or male-male, or female-female.

**At the beginning of the relevant chapters, we find our four heroes pulling up to a guest-house in the far west of their own country, prior to crossing the border. The guest-house is owned by a family of third-generation Muslim settlers in Diyyana; their Muslim community is found in the west of the country, just a few days’ journey from their point of origin in the Sharia Zone in Qodra. Our heroes know next to nothing about Islam, and the guest-house owners decide to give them basic information on what they need to do, not do, and understand. I’ve only included the parts relevant to the other chapters I’ve added in later. Any needed explanations will be given in curly brackets {} **

Story starts here.

In Sirriet, our guesthouse was managed by a couple who were not, by lineal origin, sDiyyanantse {natives of the country Diyyana which we are now situated in at this point in the story}.

Ÿabdullah and Nuureiddiin Baghii were from descended one of the many Earth nationalities that I had no idea existed. (The ‘ÿa’ in his name approximates the Arabic letter ع – ain – which is like saying an English ‘a’ while someone is trying to strangle you. Our sDiyyanantse alphabet has a letter for this sound that relates it to the letter for the consonant form of ‘y.’).

“Our people came from Siwa,” Nuureiddiin said as we sat around her dining room table tucking into a lightly cardamomed lamb couscous that was the equal of anything we’d eaten in Korabaas district. She was a dignified looking woman, robust but not plump, brown of face and full-lipped but clearly, ancestrally, from north of the Sahara. She had put on what had to be her finest dress for the semi-celeb guests; it was a deep purple-indigo, hooded milaya robe that was embroidered on the front with explosively colourful abstractions. The designs looked like a series of necklaces with radiating star pendants on the ends, surrounded by elaborate groups of squarish motifs. Other than the blue background colour, the artwork almost looked Mayan. Above the robe, Nuureiddiin wore three actual necklaces, each bearing silver balls, cylinders and winged pieces. Her outfit gave me a pretty good anticipation of where she was going to say this place called Siwa was.

“It’s a big oasis out in the eastern Sahara desert to the west of Mizri proper – Egypt, that is. We had our own language there that was like the languages of some other oasis people – not like Arabic at all. It was a kind of Amazigh (“Berber,” Yith whispered to me.) But in the families that came to this planet, our language pretty much got lost back in history someplace – now our family language is your language. Both of our families – my husband’s and mine – were in Qodra just across the border from here for a couple of generations, and then a grandparent moved over here. We are Muslim but we have some religious differences from the Muslims of that part of Qodra, and it was much better for us on this side.

… {material related to another subplot removed. Later that evening….}

Presently, we retired to the rooftop terrace and gazed at the stars along with Ÿabdullah and Nuureiddiin. They had a television out there and intended to watch the evening news later on, but it was still a long ways off. In the meantime we just sipped some coconut juice and enjoyed the evening. Our hosts had a pot of mint tea on the go. Yith and I were snugly tucked up together on a cushioned bench; his arm was draped around my shoulder. Eleya and Xus sat next to one another at a table and laid out solitaire arrays with a deck of cards, while still devoting much of their attention to chatting with everyone else. Nuureiddiin was telling us about various events that happened in Sirriet during the year and how they affected the guest house trade. Ÿabdullah, meanwhile, took off his ochre- and cream-embroidered, perforated leather taqiyah hat and ran his fingers through his well thinned, curly black hair. (The cap is a short-sided, pillbox-type item that’s almost like a broad headband with a covering over the top). He brushed a few imperfections off his long, white cotton kameez shirt and stroked the side of his beard. He tightened his right lip, sending an evening shadow into the fold between his cheek and his moustache. Something was bothering him. Eventually the conversation hit a lull and he had his chance.

“You know,” he began hesitantly, looking me in the eye, “since you’re crossing over into Qodra, I have to tell you a few stories that will prepare you for what lies ahead when you get over there. There were many matters of fiqh – that’s our Islamic law – on which we Siwans differed from some of the other groups in Qodra. The main Islamic part of Qodra is just a couple of days’ journey to the west of the border. Things here are not the same as they are over there – and remember, our grandfathers felt that they had to flee.

“Our beliefs irritated some of those Muslims very much. Just to name one harmless thing, we believed that on this planet, there was no direction that could be used as a qiblah, a direction to pray in, since there is no Kaÿaba (Ka’aba, the central shrine of Mecca) here. They had two schools of thought there – the Shia said that the place where the first Muslim of Vweialer, Muhhammad ibn Bakr al-Qazvini, stepped onto this planet, should be the qiblah here. The other fiqhs didn’t like it that al-Qazvini was a Shiite even though he was a devout scholar. Anyways, the jurists felt that Muslims should pray towards the position of the Earth, since Mecca was still there and could not be substituted.

“Well, that would be easy if we were on our sun, since then the relative position of the Earth would move only slowly as the sun rotated and precessed, but our planet rotates daily, revolves annually and inclines on its axis like any other planet. This meant that following the Earth was like being on the roller coaster at Zoës [the coaster at Noviitivolii Park in the town of Zoës has loops and coils]. It was at a radically different place for every one of the five prayers in a day. People needed a full-time astronomer to fnd the qiblah for every prayer. So the mosques hired and trained them – good Islamic science, they said. Often enough, the Earth was straight overhead, or nearly so, and how can you do the sujjuud – the prostrate part of the prayer – when the qiblah is over your head? Some people thought that they had to pray standing up at such times – they said “if we prostrate ourselves, we don’t know who or what we may accidentally be prostrating ourselves towards. We are in fear.” The last part referred to a verse in our second Quran chapter, The Cow, that says “And if you are in fear, perform Salat, the prayer, on foot or riding. And when you’re in safety, remember Allah, who taught you what you didn’t know before.”

“One large mosque compensated for this problem by placing some platforms for prayer on a gyroscope frame [a three-axis gimbal] with loops to put your hands and feet into, and ropes to hang onto when you needed them, so that you could always be rotated to prostrate yourself towards the Earth, no matter which direction it lay in, even if it was directly below you. But only a few people at a time could use them – they hadn’t the money or the space to put in hundreds. The ‘geometric school’ opposed this and said, “pick the vector that best maps the way to the Earth on the ground and prostrate that way – and if it’s exactly overhead or underneath, then spin a wheel and pick the direction the mark falls in. Let Allah decide the direction.” “Roulette!” said some jurists – “mix gambling with prayer to Allah and you will surely burn!” Well, usually the terrestrial sun isn’t absolutely exactly overhead or directly below, so this argument was more theoretical than practical, but it was vigorously argued.

“No one had ever really solved the problem of how a congregation of Muslims would act on Earth if they had a mosque at the antipode of the Kaÿaba, the place exactly opposite the Kaÿaba on the globe where all directions point equally to Mecca. The spot was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean anyways, somewhere around Tahiti, so nothing could be built there. With that one, though, it was easy to agree that, in principle, all directions were acceptable, since you were guaranteed to be facing the qiblah when you prostrated. Here we had more of a conundrum.

“Anyways, our Hanafi fiqh is adaptable and we Siwans decided that God is everywhere. We made God himself the new qiblah for the ‘people of the heavens,’ as we call all of us who are transanimates. We prostrate ourselves to God no matter which way we turn, but in the mosque, we still have a mihrab – a niche in the wall indicating the direction of common prayer. It is usually set to the southeast, because we Siwi are used to praying towards the southeast. We can’t be note-perfect Muslims anyways because we can’t make the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. Not unless we want to set 800,000 years aside in our busy schedules and pay a Communicator to backtrack.”

Right. Could be a problem. What would you pay a Communicator in, anyways? Liquid hydrogen? Compliments?

“God is not unreasonable,” Nuureiddiin chipped in, saving me from inventing Communicator bribery. “The Quran says, “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards east or west (to pray); but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the traveler, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and to regularly pay the poor-due charity; to fulfil the contracts that you have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the true pious ones.”

I still have no idea how people on this planet can memorize such long tracts of text, but maybe they learned the art from the Muslims. Even on Earth, there are thousands of Muslims who have memorized the entire Quran from cover to cover. Mind you, in its original language, it rhymes, half of the time using words with ‘n’ in the last syllable. That clearly doesn’t hurt when you’re looking for cues and clues. But still.

Ÿabdullah took up the thread again. “I don’t know why some religious people become so crazily adamant – with some of the Hanbali, it was almost as if we’d proposed a revolution against our Prophet, may peace be on him. So they didn’t like that. Already they talked about whipping our ancestors or other hard measures.

“There’s nothing in that story that you really need to know except that some people there become very blast-furnace about their religious views. There is more on that theme.

“For example, there was the matter of friendship with other people of the book. In that same part of Qodra where the Communicators brought recent peoples from western Asia and nearby, there were also some Christians and Jews, and still are. There is a verse in the holy Quran that says, “Oh you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians as your wali; they are but wali of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a wali, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” As so often happens with scripture taken as law, there is a key word there that causes much debate – wali. The view of some of the red-hots there was that this verse meant no Muslim should be the friend of a Christian or a Jew. But our grandparents considered this, like so much overheated religion, to be an adherent-in-reduction [I’ll explain that one in a minute]. ‘Now look,’ they said, ‘this word “wali” here means someone who has authority over you – it’s like a religious leader, a guide, a father.’ Or what we in Diyyana now would refer to as a ‘guru.’ The basic meaning is a ‘crown’ and Allah is often said to be the ‘wali’ of his people. Well, how often is your friend like a God to you? No matter how polite you may be, this is silly. And if the word is ever used to mean ‘friend,’ then that’s just, you know…”

“A post-ironism,” Yith suggested.

Kind of like the honorary medical degree in ‘what’s up, doc?,’ I thought.

“That sounds about right. OK. We are Muslim, so yes, by all means, since God loves all people and the faith is inherently attractive, be friends with all people of the book, but don’t accept such a person as a guru to draw you away from your faith. That makes sense. To be hostile and paranoid and to go around shunning good people – what sense does that make?

“So you can see, we were really becoming quite the heretics with our practical views.”

I might as well break into Ÿabdullah’s discourse here before he gets too far along and explain the common term he used there, ‘adherent-in-reduction,’ since it’s possibly unique to our culture. It anatomizes a whole cluster of interrelated English words that you’ve already seen being linked together in the text above: sentimentality, romanticism (in the not-necessarily-amorous sense of the word), and superstition. Breathy and explosive concepts like ‘hyperventilated,’ ‘overblown’ and ‘overheated’ go along with it metaphorically. The term ‘adherent-in-reduction’ obviously refers to an interaction between our two main modes of thought, adherent and reductive, which you’ve also already heard about. To recap, our adherent mode binds us directly to the input we get from our senses, and sorts it all in the imagination. It can be lightning-fast or slow and dreamy. It includes a bunch of ‘in’ things: ‘instinctive’ actions, intuitions, and inchoate inklings. And then there’s our logical, reductive faculty, which groups things into categories and trends, and gives them labels. Some of those labels are words, and some are other symbols, including mathematical symbols. These capsule concepts can be worked with in powerful ways according to logical rules. There are various kinds of interchange between the two levels of thought; they don’t work in isolation from each other. For example, a typical metaphor like ‘his reptilian glare’ is an adherently associated pairing of images brought together in words. Even though we’ve used words to produce it, we’d be hard-pressed to map 100% of the features that made ‘his’ glare look reptilian rather than, let’s say, leonine or bullish.

Religious faith depends on the same self-fulfilling prophecy cycle that any and all love depends on: ‘I put my faith in you in the completely unconfirmable but, I hope, correct affirmation that you (will) reciprocate that faith with me.’ Or as Saint Paul bluntly put it – ‘faith is the upholding of things hoped for, the injunction of things not seen.’ Love is never provable; any evidence for it can easily be faked, and often is. As a reality, it depends entirely on interlocking approphecies {= self-fulfilling prophecy processes} – I enjoin that I unreservedly love you and I enjoin that you likewise love me, and I enjoin that you enjoin my love as genuine, as well as your own. Unavoidably, I must then enjoin that you enjoin that I enjoin all this, and so on, through all the mirror-facing-mirror levels of regress. The circularities of approphecy almost completely defy logic, unless they’re handled by a computer using opportunitarian software, the kind the Communicators program themselves into. They are the quintessence of mind-boggling. But the adherent faculties can more-or-less handle them – as ‘gut feelings,’ intuitive inspirations and suchlike. True, sometimes the gut feelings go radically wrong, but often, they are shockingly correct. In any case, with religious feeling and love, you get into the parts of your mind that swell with – literally – enthusiasm – fullness of Theos or God, the word means. In that condition, you are prone to experiencing mystical awe. Naturally, this awe may feel dangerously unsystematized to you, maybe even delusional or ‘crazy,’ as so many love songs have pointed out. So you are tempted to ‘bring some logic to it,’ to give it words and syntax. You want to ‘figure it out,’ that is, make it arithmetic-like. And you want to ‘make some sense of it,’ that is, give it definite borders that you can rub up against.

This is all very well, and people often find a good harmony between their intuitions and their logic in love and faith. Unfortunately, there are a few big grooves of error you can drop into around these parts. The adherent-in-reductive error happens when you become overly nervous about controlling the vagueness of the adherent, and you imagine you can place its whole mystical fervour into a small container constructed for it in your logic, like a genie in a bottle. A common non-religious example is seen in nervous parents who have idealized (another word that goes with adherent-in-reduction) their children as the nicey-nicey, admirable offspring they are supposed to be, but who then become choleric when the children develop in another direction. Think of all those Victorian dads who went berserk when little Valentine insisted on becoming an actor, which was virtually like becoming a prostitute. The box little Valentine was contained in, which was full of hot love and pride for him as a future barrister, businessman or officer, was broken – and who was this actor-creature who was trying to spring out of it? What is this demon that has taken over my son? My son has escaped control and is trying to take my love out into the outer vagueness of the untrustworthy world. He’s no son of mine if he does that. I cut him out of my will, he’s out of my house, I will not speak to him. Oh, but how I love him. Pity he’s now lost. If only he would be himself instead of that delusion he thinks he is. I must delete him from the family so he’ll know he’s gone wrong.

Religion that attempts to control its devotions entirely under law, regulation, stipulation and principle can easily get into the same situation as Valentine’s dad. Yeshua {= Jesus} said, as King James translated it, “The spirit bloweth where it listeth,” – that is, it goes wherever it darn well wants to. Arguably, there is no systematic version of devotion that can completely take in the complexity of love and right as they unfold through time and the deuheiktan {= the theoretical landscape of all possibilities}. Conditions subtly alter through time, and buried human realities are brought to light. Slavery seems inexcusable to us now, whereas at the beginning of Christianity and Islam, it was ubiquitous and not condemned – and it was also tolerated by most other religions and societies as well. It even survived the secular skeptics of the American Revolution, many of whom owned slaves. Try to go back to first-century Christianity or first-generation Islam, and you will be back to slaves again. So that can’t quite be done, but many dogmatic religious people will still try to construct a slightly modernized, very understandable, regular strongbox of legal purity that gets the faithful as close as possible to an understandable ideal. Then you have the religious equivalent of Valentine the Good Son.

When that box of hot faith and ideality is broken by someone with benign but differing views, that person must be ostracised, kicked out of the religious family, perhaps even killed to set a good example. A demon must have taken them over. We cannot be wrong about this, because we are SO devout, our religion is SO hot, fervent, and punctilious – we know we are the true bearers of the faith because we have hot devotion and perfect order.

Thus, all the energy of adherent and exploratory devotion is condensed down into a little crucible of incandescent and vengeful faith – a religious pressure-cooker – and there is little reasoning with those who are steaming themselves inside it. Just as Valentine’s dad brushed off the suggestions from Valentine’s mom and auntie that perhaps acting was not so bad, these religious authorities must stand firm. In reality, a reduced religion becomes a superstition, no matter how hot it is, so that’s how that word ties in with the sentimentalism of Valentine’s dad. To really get into how romanticism ties in, I’d have to say more about how people put their romantic partners, their kids, and so on, into ideality-boxes.

Anyways, you’ve already heard Xus (slightly) misquote the Book of Power on that topic {earlier in the book, section not included here}: “The beloved of a reductionist becomes separated into a talking skeleton and a silent ghost,” he said. The ‘talking skeleton’ is the person as reduced and idealized by the one who’s taking them in sentimental romanticism. The ‘silent ghost’ is the person’s wholeness, going unperceived. Either the person is keeping quiet so as not to upset the sentimentalist, or the sentimentalist is just ignoring anything that doesn’t fit their romanticized conceptions. Valentine has been sending out subtle hints for years that he loves acting, but his father is still caught completely by surprise when he makes his announcement about it.

Ÿabdullah’s point was that making a religious hotbox that excluded friendly contact between neighbours, based on a scripture that spoke about being led astray by charismatic leadership, was inherently superstitious. It made normal, friendly members of other religions objects of a fear taboo, like the umbrella unfolded in the house or the dreaded number four (feared because its Chinese word, ‘sei,’ is pronounced like the word for death, ‘sei??,’ varying only in the ‘rising’ tone on the latter word, which to English speakers sounds like a questioning tone). Congenial neighbours became hoodoo monsters, religious predators waiting to snatch your faith. A taboo is a sort of negative idol, so that gives you the last word our culture commonly connects to adherent-in-reduction in religion – idolatry. Even monotheists who think they have no idols can become fixated on things and concepts as objects of religious awe or dread. A dietary proscription like the Muslim or Jewish avoidance of pork can simply be a discipline – in Islam, the proscription seems to be hygienic in nature, while in Judaism, it’s part of a system against sensual excess – but if religious horror becomes attached to the food that is avoided, then the practice has secondarily taken on superstition.

Oh well, it all gets a little complicated. I’d better give Ÿabdullah the floor back, since the next thing he had to say was the thing that was really bothering him.

“What really motivates me to talk about all our diverse opinions is seeing you two boys sitting together like that. It’s obvious you love each other, and the question of whether you’re khandshn {= lovers, partners} would come into anyone’s mind. Marrik, you have the advantage of being from the Earth rather than this country, so you know how some people react to that.”

“Oh yeah, things were none too pleasant at my school. And there was the death penalty or something like that in some countries on Earth.”

“That’s correct. And many of those people across the line in Qodra are from those countries. And there, you have one of the biggest reasons why we Siwan people got into trouble there. Our oasis had a long history of letting men marry other men. The desert was always troubled with raiding-parties of various kinds, and our crops were among the best in the world. Date palms, olives, eggplants, and our specialty, molukhiya.” (“Herb garden jute or mallow” Yith whispered unhelpfully.) “You can see that plant in the garden below – it’s like having spinach growing on a cane that comes up to your shoulders. Makes an amazing stew with garlic and coriander, which we also grow. We don’t serve it to guests, though, unless they ask. Rather like okra, it strikes some people as being too slimy.

“So, not to get sidetracked and get hungry again, all this food needed to be guarded, and so did our town. Our ancestors had built big walls of mud, caked with salt, that hardened like rock. The families of Siwa all lived inside the walls. They employed unmarried men between twenty and forty years old as guards for the fields. These men, who lived in caves outside the walls, were called our zaggalah, our club-bearers. They were wild devils out there, practicing their arts of war to defend us from crazy Bedouin bandits, raiding Egyptians, and who-knows-who. They also indulged in alcohol, which is haram in Islam – not kosher. They had no married life, and bandits didn’t come every day, so they turned into party animals most evenings. Now, it was clear that some were unmarried because they preferred each other to the pleasures of Allah’s womankind, and we recognized that. Our society had elaborate marriages, and we allowed some of those wild fellows to marry the one they loved amongst themselves, to give them love and companionship. When they were over forty, they could even move into the town – and if they then also wanted to marry a woman and raise a family, it was not impossible. A man can have up to four wives, though only a crazy one would do it, am I not right, Nuureiddiin? Haha. [Yes, she got a laugh from this, too.] In the rest of Islamiyya, the Islamic world, such same-sex marriages were all but unknown.

“You see, in most of Islamiyya, for boys to do something sexual with another boy is forbidden but also traditionally very normal. Boys have no contact with girls for dating or ‘making out,’ let alone what goes on here, so they find another boy who doesn’t mind being a vessel, you could say, and they turn him into a substitute girl.” This is most definitely not approved by religion, but it is so common that everyone is convinced that no one is really samseksamoi (= gay, word adopted from Esperanto), mainly oriented to their own sex, because so many of the heterosexuals are taking part in this. They only distinguish the many, who are ‘real men’ doing the penetrating, and the few who are the soft ones, who play the girl for the rest. But to them, being a soft one, a ‘catamite’ as your bible says, is just a strange habit, like wanting to drink alcohol – not an orientation. To get caught at this kind of boy business requires spectacular carelessness, since multiple adult male witnesses may be needed to make a legal case, and nearly everyone winks and conspires to keep such moments private as long as you take normal precautions. The liaisons don’t become relationships beyond ‘I know Daoud down the street likes to take it,’ and if they did, it would be scandalous and soon criminal.

“We Muslims are very oriented towards family life, and we believe it is the main joy of one’s life to have a family. One cannot drink and carouse, one must wake up before the sunrise for prayer every morning, but to have a beautiful, loving family – this is a luxury God, the merciful, will very likely award you. And in any case, you will get old, and there is traditionally no hospital to look after you – just your family. So there is also some need involved. Relief when you’re a lad can be overlooked, but then your legal sex life takes over, and that is with your wife, or wives, or in the old days, your slaves.

“Now, what had we done, in Siwa? By asking for bachelors to go live, unmarried, outside the walls, we had discovered that there really are some people who love their own sex by nature. The confusion caused by all kinds of hetero youths acting as if they liked boys was dispelled. We had made a different perspective for ourselves.

“And you see, what is forbidden in the Quran, the sin of luti, might be read as all sex with your own sex, or it might be read as that practice I was just describing of surrogacy with catamites – along with the equivalent practice of warriors, the rape of male captives. Every now and then I have to talk to samseksamoi from this country who are crossing over into Qodra, and since they have never been to a country that is hostile, they have very little understanding of how the attitudes work over there. I always brief them as I will do for you now. The animosity there against publicly accepting sex with your own sex is based on the story of Luut, the nephew of the prophet Ibrahim, or Abraham as you call him. In the Quran, it is scattered over many surahs, many chapters, because the surahs are all sermons or lectures, and they use a little piece of the story to illustrate a point. Now here is my contribution to the study of our holy book, the whole story put together in its chronological order in quotes from all the surahs, editing out only some repetition:

“And we (God, that is) sent Luut forth to his people. He (Luut) said to them: ‘You commit indecent acts that no other nation has committed before you. You lust after men and assault them on your highways. You turn your gatherings into orgies. You commit the carnal act, in lust, with men instead of women. Truly, you are an impious people. Are you blind that you should commit indecency, lustfully seeking men instead of women? Surely you are a senseless people. Will you fornicate with males and leave your wives, whom God has created for you? Surely, you are great transgressors.’

“But his people’s only reply was: ‘Bring down God’s scourge on us if what you say is true.’ Their only answer was: ‘Banish him from your city, him and his followers. They are men who would keep chaste.’

“‘Lord,’ he said, ‘deliver me from these degenerate men.’ And when our messengers brought Abraham the good news (about the birth of his son), they said: ‘we are about to destroy the people of this town, for they are wicked men.’ Abraham said, ‘Luut lives there.’

“’We know well who lives in it,’ they replied. ‘We will deliver him and all his relatives, except his wife, who will remain behind.’

“And when our messengers came to Luut, he grew anxious about them, since he was unable to offer them protection. He thought, ‘this is truly a day of grief.’

“His people, long addicted to evil practices, came running towards him. The townsfolk came to him rejoicing. He said: ‘These men are my guests; do not disgrace me. Have fear of God and do not shame me.’ They replied, ‘Did we not forbid you to entertain strangers?’ ‘My people,’ he said, ‘here are my daughters: they are more lawful to you. Take them, if you are bent on evil.’”

Here Eleya grimaced notably. I exchanged a look with her, and Nuureiddin nodded slightly in acknowledgment. Ÿabdullah also nodded and pursed his lip.

“Primitive times,” he said, interrupting himself, “it’s not a recommendation.”

“Oh I know,” Eleya said, “we have two of those stories in the bible, too. One even worse than that one. But anyways, go ahead.”

“OK, we take up again with the so-called ‘people of Luut,’ who your bible call the Sodomites.

“They replied, ‘You know we have no right to your daughters. You know full well what we are seeking.’

“(The angels) said, ‘Luut, we are the messengers of your lord; they shall not touch you…In the morning their hour will come.’ We, God, blinded them and said, ‘Taste my punishment, now that you have heard my warning.’ When the sun rose a dreadful cry rang above them. We laid their town in ruin and rained clay stones upon them.’

“Now, is this the prototype of same-sex relationships? Yithythyth and Marrik, however you met, I would bet it was a scene very different from this.”

“I’ll say,” Yith said, “I had to help with his surgery and then look after him on our ship. And the moment he woke up for the first time, there we were – it was me and Nashtashtsekei At”ot”et”naghgh’t’kah and Tumurahashssehah Nap’krnaqshsslmotek’p {Communicator aliens have long names and tend to look like a toolbox grafted into a complicated dentist’s drill tower. Yith at the time was a typical alien}. The look of amazement in his eyes was way beyond price. He was like “wh… wh…” and he couldn’t even decide if he should start with ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘who’ or maybe even ‘why?’ When I think about it, he was beautiful right at that moment and ever after.”

“I knew if I’d died, heaven or hell or death was a lot more bizarre than I’d ever thought,” I admitted. “Then these guys started talking to me as if they were my dad’s friends, except Seby {Yith’s old, pre-human name} was a little more like one of my friends – wait, what friends? He was a bit more like one of my nonexistent friends. They’d been hanging around the Earth for a fair while and they were pretty good at being human friends. But I’ll tell you one thing – I could never understand why I liked them so much, almost from that first moment my eyes couldn’t believe they were there. It’s one of the things that turned me from someone who just assumed spirituality was nonsense to the person I am today. We had a connection and to me, our spirits met. Especially with this guy. But of course, I would never have thought of being his boyfriend. A reassembling, multi-appearance machine who was only distinguished by two red diamond shapes? I loved him, but I had to love him as a pure spirit for a long time. I could have recognized him easily without the diamonds, no matter what parts he was made of.”

“I have to say,” Ÿabdullah said, “Marrik and Yithythyth, with all due respect and with exactly as much affection as could possibly be appropriate, yours is surely the most bizarre love story I ever heard. It just goes to show that the deuheiktan stretches out to places that hardliners could never imagine. But it’s still beautiful, as all real love stories are.

“So what do we know about these people of Luut? No beautiful love stories there. They practised sexual assault of wayfarers. They could have channelled their eros completely toward women but instead they chose to lust after this same-sex mayhem for a thrill. They had wives but they did this anyways. They had taken surrogacy to a whole new level – it was sort of an ongoing surrogate orgy combined with pillaging when the opportunity arose, like invading soldiers raping the males of a conquered town to humiliate them. But this has no correspondence whatsoever to boys who have an orientation towards boys or men who love men. They are not rapists or pillagers; they are lovers and sweethearts. They may or may not even have any possible lust to take to sexual relations with women – many have none at all. So they certainly don’t have wives to abandon, unless their society has forced them to marry against their own grain. The aggressive males of Luut were unquestionably capable of being fully heterosexual family men if they gave up their hobby of violent sin. So it is very easy for Islamic people who are familiar with true same-sex-lovers, like you boys, to discern that the men of Luut have nothing in common with you, and that the sinful practice of luti, as we call it, is sexual surrogacy – acts done by heterosexual males who would adopt same-sex lust as a stopgap, a craze, a sport or a weapon.

“But in many of our lands on Earth, as I mentioned, the most common kind of male-male sex was one or more of the lads going out and arranging to dominate the backside of little Hassan from down the street, who likes it or at least allows it. I’m sorry to be so graphic, but that’s how it is. So many Muslims firmly believe that all same-sex attraction is exactly this, and that every male who wants to be with another male is really a heterosexual, diverted into sin by some sort of rebellious emotion.

“To reinforce this, there are scriptures in the holy Quran that say who it is lawful for a man to have sex with. They specify his wife and his female slaves. For example, “successful are the believers…who restrain their carnal desires – except with their wives and those their right hands possess (that is, slave girls), for then, they are free from blame – but whoever seeks beyond that, they are transgressors.” This relates to a major sin called ‘zina,’ fornication, sex outside of wedlock, or, in the old days, also sex outside of slavelock. Now that scripture I just quoted – it says ‘believers’ as if it was talking about everyone, but then it talks about ‘their wives.’ Many believers don’t have wives, including most women and most young people. Granted, the scripture uses a word for ‘believers,’ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ (al-muuminuuna) that is one of those masculine-inclusive words that might be interpreted as excluding women anyways, in this context. But even among male believers, besides youngsters, there are less numerous groups who normally don’t have wives, such as men who are convinced they are women inside, and men who, biologically, are always like little boys. So it makes sense to suppose that a specific, large and typical group of male believers is being addressed by this scripture and others like it – namely, married heterosexual men, along with youngsters and bachelors who are qualified to become married heterosexual men in the future. These people are being counselled not to fornicate – it’s very straightforward, and doesn’t put anyone in an impossible situation. “Whoever seeks beyond that,” it says – this is advice against greed and excess with multiple women, and conceivably also with male surrogates when women are not available.

“Our holy book also mentions, in the surah ‘Light,’ that there are men who have no ‘natural vigour’ with women, and these are allowed to work as personal attendants and see the nakedness of women they are not married to. If you have the wrong idea that all men who lack vigour with women must be castrated eunuchs or the very old, then you would never ask yourself who would be lawful for these men to take as sexual partners. But when you become aware that most men who are uninterested in that aspect of women are not castrates or decrepit, then this question comes up. When they are capable of full love and affection only for men, whom then should they marry? If you tried to marry these men off as heterosexual family men, it would be madness for the women involved, just as much as for the men themselves – that’s like hiring a blind man to work as a tattoo artist.”

“A blind tattoo artist with a floppy needle,” I quipped.

“Hehe, well, so I’ve heard, indeed. I’ve met women who are being ‘tattooed’ by such an ‘artist’ (he used his fingers for the quotes) and they are mostly not pleased with the result. Well, you know – they should be so lucky, but nearly all married women want to be thought as beautiful and desirable as my Nuuri’k!i’k! [the double-diminutive was extremely affectionate; its target genuinely blushed], and who can blame them? And how long can a man fake that? If he is a superhero, maybe as long as ten years. But the truth wins in the end. This is an impossible situation. Our Prophet, may peace be upon him, spoke to and about the believers he knew and never uttered a statement explicitly recognizing this problem. Neither did any of his companions ask him, “what do you do if you are faced with marriage or in a marriage and find that you have no natural vigour with women but only with men?” Such people are uncommon and traditionally, they grow up in confusion and silence. Thus it seems the matter of other ingrained sexual orientations never came to his attention, unlike the much more common topic of fortuitous surrogacy, which he was against.

“Well, if it is not an outrageous stretch of ijtihad – cautiously extending the principles of the Quran to unanticipated situations – to conclude that if it’s not going too far to say that slavery is now wrong, then neither is it going too far to conclude that those truly and peacefully inclined to their own sex – now that we have discovered them concealed within the great swarm of surrogate players – should be able to marry in keeping with their own God-given nature, and not sin. That is our Siwan judgment, though I have heard that in the last conattainable years {the most recent years for which news has come from Earth, including delay for multi-light-year distance}, our people abandoned these principles under Egyptian pressure – King Farouk, who felt he must possess our oasis and turn it away from its gentle wisdom. But here we are free people in a democratic country, so our principles remain.

“So even though we smile on you in this house and in this town, be very careful when you cross the border. I have some copies of the Quran, and you may take one and study it for your knowledge, as long as you promise you will treat it with due respect – not in idolatry, you understand, but as the valued placebo of God’s love and power. I should tell you it is good for much more than just warding off trouble in Qodra.”

His use of our language’s word for ‘placebo’ here did not have the connotation of fakery that the English word has. It just meant a token carrier of the self-fulfilling prophecy, comparable to a wedding pendant that one never wants to lose or deface. ‘Placebos have apparent reality; injunctions have apparent truth’ is one of the lines we learn in school to get our concepts right before our lectics exams. The reality of love in a wedding pendant, or a wedding ring where I come from, is absolutely real as long as the love is, even though the love isn’t really resident in the pendant or ring. That’s the magic of self-fulfilling prophecy. Love is enjoined to a wedding ring and makes it a true placebo. Every time you contemplate it, it re-enjoins the love to you, and you recapitulate your own love in response. A great piece of helical logic.

“We’ll take along a copy, for sure,” Eleya said.


Part 2:  Arrest and trial in the Sharia Lands!

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3 Responses to A Same-Sex Marriage in the Sharia Zone

  1. Pingback: Part 2. Arrest and Judgment in the Sharia Zone | thismoonlesssky

  2. Pingback: Part 3: Truth and Reconciliation Hearing in the Sharia Zone | thismoonlesssky

  3. Pingback: Expendable Selves: Suicide Attackers Are Sexual Deviants. | thismoonlesssky

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