The Quran precisely confirms that homosexual act in itself is NOT a transgression
For example, please observe how the popular text below clearly differentiates between a same sex act and the transgression of limits. Also note how the text, together with its correlations, expounds the meaning of the transgression of limits by the people of Lot:
And Lot, when he said to his people: Do you commit an outrage such as no one among the nations has exceeded you therein, for you really approach men (from other nations; 26:164-165, 15:70, 7:80, 29:28-29) with desire instead of women? NAY, BUT (No, instead,) you are a people who transgress the limits (by committing xenophobic hate attacks and gang rapes in the highway; 29:28-29, 15:76). 7:80-81
So, do these people commit an unsurpassed outrage because they really approach men from other nations with homosexual desire1 (7:80-81)?
NAY, BUT … No, it is NOT because of that. But …
But it is because they TRANSGRESS the limits – by committing serious atrocities2 like xenophobic hate attacks on foreigners and travellers, including gang rapes in the highway (29:28-30; cf. 29:33, 11:77-78, 11:80, 15:67-70, 15:76, 26:169, 54:37).
Obviously, homosexual desire or a homosexual act in itself is NOT a transgression of limits.
Now, when we reflect on the first verse (7:80), with special focus on the phrase “no one among the nations has exceeded you therein”, it becomes obvious that the ‘outrage’ committed by the people of Lot was in fact shared also by other nations, though not exceeded3 by any of them in severity or extent.
So the Quran here doesn’t really say that any particular orientation of sexuality, including homosexuality, was unknown to, or not practiced by, other nations in the past. Nor does it say that those other nations did not commit outrages related to sexuality, including homosexuality. It only says that, in committing an outrage, no other people could surpass the people of Lot, in quality or quantity.
Thus, what is denounced here is NOT any sexual orientation or any sexual act itself, but some gross outrage of unrestrained excess.
Then, coming across the second verse (7:81) we observe that, while it may appear to the hasty reader a mention of homosexual behaviour, it doesn’t really judge homosexual act or sexual orientation in any form. Rather it condemns only those actions that ‘transgress the limits’.
Why homosexual act in itself CANNOT BE a transgression
Let us consider a few simple questions and their possible answers:
Can homosexual act in itself be this ‘transgression of limits’, described as an ‘outrage to an extent surpassed by none’ (7:80-81)? NO. This is proved by the simple fact that The Quran doesn’t spell out any punishment for homosexuality, when it always spells out a punishment for any ‘hadd crime’.
Also, can God be so irrational that He would describe the love between two caring persons as an unsurpassable offense, i.e. something more serious than the most heinous crimes like gang rapes, torture, terrorism and mass murder?
Also, why would homosexuality suddenly start with Lot’s people, or why would it be labelled as an extremely serious offense unsurpassed by anyone, when it is as old as humanity itself?
And, why would the majority of a population, mostly born as heterosexuals, suddenly start experimenting with a homosexual lifestyle, when this must be an extremely difficult choice for them to go against their natural disposition?
Also, if male homosexuality was the issue, then why did Lot address here to his whole people that included both men and women (7:80, 81, 82; cf 11:78; 26:166; 27:54, 55; 29:28, 29, 30), instead of a particular group as specified in the cases of other messengers in the same sura (7:60, 7:66, 7:75, 7:88, 7:159)?
Then again, why would God judge only gays and forget lesbians? Is it because it is okay to approach women with ‘lust’ but not men?
Again, if male homosexuality was the issue, then why was it Lot’s wife, out of all his spiritual family, who lagged behind (7:83, 11:81, 15:60)?
And why was the entire community, with children and women, doomed (7:84, 11:82, 27:58)?
And, also, why no other nation was doomed for the same reason, when homosexuality – because of its profound biological and evolutionary roots – naturally existed and was practiced by ancient nations since time immemorial?
And, finally, why no shower of stones is falling down on the current nations where homosexuality is given constitutional protection?
The traditional reading of this story is definitely flawed and makes absolutely NO SENSE.
Please note that – unless sex is viewed as a taboo or with a macho4 attitude ingrained in people’s minds through cultural conditioning – there is no reason why an expression of homosexuality, or any sexuality, would intrinsically or necessarily mean an outrage5. On the other hand, an outrage may be associated with any form of sexuality, including homosexuality, when it exceeds its morally acceptable limits, i.e., when it harms others. Unless these limits are crossed, two people should have a right to be intimate with each other to love and be loved. It should not be an issue whether they are of the same sex or the other. There is nothing more beautiful than a sincere love, whether it is gay, straight or lesbian.
Note how the two questions in 7:80-81 together form a single question: Do you commit an outrage such as no one among the nations has exceeded you therein, for you really approach men with desire instead of women? While the first question is answered in the affirmative in 29:28, the second one is reconfirmed as a question by its recurrence in 27:55 and then its subsequent negation.
In fact, their crimes are so heinous because they commit acts of aggression:
And Lot, when he said to his people: You really commit an outrage such as no one among the nations has exceeded you therein. Do you really approach men (from other nations, 26:165), and you cut off the highway and commit evil in your gatherings (you commit xenophobic attacks and gang rapes in the highway, 15:76)? 29:28-29
Translated above as ‘exceeded’, the verb sabaqa means precede, race, surpass, overtake, exceed.
Machismo is a strong or exaggerated sense of traditional masculinity placing great value on physical courage, virility, domination of women, and aggressiveness.
No sexuality or sexual act in itself is a sin or a crime – whether homosexual, straight or any other – unless it transgresses its divine limits, i.e., unless it violates human rights by involving oppression or injustice (e.g., gang rape of outsiders, as in Lot’s story) or unless it becomes a public lewdness (e.g., 4:15-16). The Quran specifies these limits and only condemns the transgression. There is no reason why God should be concerned about one’s sexual orientation or a related expression, if it harms none.