Challenges to the LGBTQ Community within the Framework of Islamic Law and Human Rights

Document Type : Original Independent Original Article


1 Ph.D. Student of Criminal Law and Criminology, Lahijan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Lahijan, Iran

2 Assistant Prof. of Jurisprudence and Law Dep., Lahijan branch, Islamic Azad University, Lahijan, Iran.


LGBTQ rights have increasingly gained importance in an era of globalization and cultural diversity. Human rights are founded on certain principles such as the inherent dignity of humans and the equality of all people. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant international treaties prohibit all forms of discrimination, e.g., those based on sexual orientation, and emphasize equal rights for everyone. Therefore, the LGBTQ community should have equal rights like everyone else from the perspective of human rights. However, LGBTQ relationships are considered against human nature by Islamic law, which is founded on the ethical precepts and standards of Islam. Accordingly, Islamic law not only opposes such relationships but also rejects the possibility of granting the LGBTQ community equal rights. The discrepancy in the approaches and attitudes of these two legal schools has resulted in major national and international challenges and conflicts over LGBTQ rights. Therefore, this descriptive-analytical study aimed to address the challenges and conflicts between these two legal schools regarding LGBTQ rights. According to the findings, there are significant philosophical and conceptual gaps between Islamic law and human rights, which have led to serious obstacles in this area. Human rights are predicated on equality, whereas Islamic law is based on ethical and religious principles. As a result, Islamic law takes a more pragmatic and realistic view of LGBTQ rights.



LGBTQ rights have emerged as one of the most important and complex issues in international law and human rights today. The cultural, religious, and social diversity of the international community highlights the necessity of balancing the values of human rights with those of Islamic law concerning the rights of the LGBTQ community. Studies have recently focused on these contradictions and challenges, which include conceptual differences in the application and understanding of certain essential LGBTQ rights.

Conceptual Challenges: The interpretation of legal concepts and principles is one of the fundamental obstacles to the adoption of Islamic law and human rights in the area of LGBTQ rights. Two legal frameworks introduce different concepts such as justice, fairness, freedoms, and human rights; however, there can be fundamental contradictions and differences in how these concepts are interpreted and applied to different cultural and religious realities.

Executive Challenges: The practical application of legal concepts poses another challenge in the context of LGBTQ rights. This may necessitate amending new legislation, revising existing laws, and developing effective policies to protect LGBTQ rights.

Legal Challenges in National Contexts: National contexts and laws also pose challenges in this way. Legal disputes may arise because countries have different legal frameworks and national obligations concerning LGBTQ rights. The world has changed dramatically in recent decades, with cultural and religious diversity emerging as a prominent feature of global societies. This diversity does not result from the inevitable course of history and time. However, it is the outcome of global phenomena such as trade and communication as well as cultural exchanges and migrations. These changes in the structure of the global society raise an important question: considering the cultural and religious diversity of the modern world, how can we protect human rights and freedom? In addition to the foregoing challenges, the following items can restrict the rights of such individuals.

This study addressed the similarities and differences between the principles of Islamic law and human rights regarding LGBTQ rights. The main research questions are as follows: What provisions exist for the rights of the LGBTQ community under Islamic law, which is founded on the primacy of religious principles and Islamic Sharia? And do these principles comply with the norms of international human rights? Human rights seem to be accepted as a global norm for individual freedoms and rights. However, Islamic Sharia-based legal doctrines are considered fundamental in many countries and societies. This study aims to explain the importance and complexity of the challenges that the LGBTQ community faces under Islamic law and human rights to improve knowledge and understanding of the principles of human rights and Islamic law in exposure to LGBTQ rights.



This theoretical descriptive-analytical study was conducted by reviewing library references.


Results and Discussion

Studies have shown that these two schools have different definitions and understandings of basic concepts such as justice, equality, freedom, and human rights. These profound differences have posed serious challenges to the recognition and protection of the rights of certain groups such as LGBTQ in Islamic societies. Furthermore, human rights are founded on the principle of individual equality, whereas Islamic rights are founded on the rules and moral principles of jurisprudence and Sharia, which are more practical and realistic by nature. Moreover, Islamic law is better able to regulate relationships between members of the LGBTQ community based on the unique conditions of Islamic societies because its views are more practical and realistic regarding the needs of this community. Islam's stance on LGBT rights is derived from religious texts, particularly the Quran and the hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Islam forbids sexual relations outside the framework of traditional marriage between a man and a woman and considers such relationships sinful because they go against human nature and drive people to become less human. By contrast, the LGBTQ community is granted equal rights and freedoms under the documents of human rights that emphasize the principles of equality and non-discrimination. However, the inherent dignity of humans should not be ignored. Although scholars may have their own opinions about LGBTQ relationships, what binds Muslims together is the Quran and hadiths. The condemnation of this act demonstrates that it is antithetical to human nature and separates humans from humanity. Islam is a religion that prohibits and recognizes LGBTQ relationships as sinful.



The LGBTQ community may experience prejudice and penalties in Islamic societies. Some countries and regions have laws that openly practice discrimination against such individuals, and those who violate them may be sentenced or fined. By contrast, human rights treaties, e.g., the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Men and Women, emphasize that all human beings should be protected from discrimination and punishment for their gender, race, or religion.

There are discrepancies between human rights and Islamic law regarding LGBTQ relationships, highlighting the cultural and legal diversity of today’s world. Furthermore, varying environments and global perspectives influence matters of gender identity and rights. These variations highlight issues with human rights and, in certain situations, conflicts between religious beliefs and human rights. Human dignity is acknowledged to have both an individual and social aspect. In this point of view, since an individual is a member of society, some behaviors may be outlawed based on legal requirements and the greater good of society. Ethical preferences are not unique to individuals; societies also have ethical preferences that are shaped by cultural and religious perspectives. While making legal preparations and accounting for social benefits, legislators can uphold these ethical preferences based on religious and cultural perceptions. Islam's stance on LGBTQ rights is generally rooted in religious texts; therefore, it forbids LGBTQ relationships based on ethical principles as well as personal and societal factors. However, under specific circumstances, gender reassignment is permitted in some cases to conform to sexual orientation. However, human rights, which take a more individualistic view, consider the same freedoms and rights for the LGBTQ community as others. These fundamental discrepancies point to serious problems in the area of human rights, which can only be resolved by communication and mutual understanding. Nevertheless, every human being has an undoubtedly inalienable right to inherent dignity, and attempts made to protect values should not violate this basic right. 


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