Divine Revelation and Human Reasoning

Young Norwegian Muslims’ Reflections on Homosexuality

In: Sociology of Islam
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  • 1 Universitety of Agder, Norway

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This article is based on qualitative interviews with 20 heterosexual and 4 lgbt Norwegian Muslims, aged between 18 and 32 years. It explores how the respondents correlate divine revelation and human reasoning in reflecting about questions such as: Did God create homosexuality? Is homosexuality a test from God? Is homosexuality a problem for society? Will non-hetero sexuality be punished in the afterlife? Is it possible to interpret the Quran in a lgbt-friendly way? The various kinds of correlation between divine revelation and human reasoning is analysed using a two-dimensional typology specifically designed for this purpose: double set of consequences (a), afterlife consequences (b), progressive interpretation (c) and eclecticism (d). This typology is empirically-grounded, based on coding of the interviews. The typology contributed to clarifying the internal differentiations within respectively restrictive and affirmative attitudes concerning homosexuality. A minority regarded homosexuality to be a problem – both for this life and life after death. The majority regarded afterlife consequences for lgbts to be the sole problem. Two lgbts interpreted the Quran progressively, and experienced harmony between their religious and sexual identity. Two other lgbts read the Quran restrictively, partly disagreeing with – and not implementing – the perceived Quranic rules.

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