Reading about the Drag Sunday at the Cathedral of Hope, Dallas on 9/17/23 reminds me of the following Ayah from the Chapter of Light from the Quran:
O you who have believed, do not follow the footsteps of Satan. And whoever follows the footsteps of Satan - indeed, he enjoins immorality and wrongdoing. And if not for the favor of Allāh upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have been pure, ever, but Allāh purifies whom He wills, and Allāh is Hearing and Knowing. [Quran 24:21]
Let's review the Islamic boundaries that prevent such an act from happening at a House of God.
In Islam, sex is between a man and woman bound together in the marriage contract of Nikah. Heterosexual behavior has its boundaries as well - see the Quranic commentary here. Any unmarried man or woman who engages in illicit sexual behavior (Zina) will be lashed 100 lashes after 4 witnesses, that have witnessed the act of penetration, testify against them. If it's proven a false testimony, the witness that presented the false testimony will be lashed 80 lashes and all future testimony rejected from them until they truly repent. Any married man or woman who engages in illicit sexual behavior will be stoned to death after 4 witnesses witness the act of penetration and testify against them. There is also the provision of a husband or wife, who has witnessed their spouse cheating but doesn't have other witnesses, to be able to testify against their spouse but then also urging the curse of Allah upon themselves if they are lying. When heterosexuals have such strong punishments in store for them, how can it be expected that homosexual behavior would be spared? Depending upon the school of jurisprudence, homosexual behavior could have the same punishment as an unmarried couple committing Zina i.e. lashed 100 lashes after 4 eye-witnesses testify. However, some schools of jurisprudence will have the homosexual couple put to death just as a heterosexual couple that committed adultery.
I think some or many Christian churches that condemn homosexuality vehemently but then take a soft stance on illicit heterosexual behavior - couples 'dating' - are the culprits that have introduced hypocrisy in how illicit sexual behavior is to be condemned. Islam does nothing of that hypocrisy. Marriage is between a man and a woman with a certifiable article of Nikah. All other illicit behavior whether between unmarried heterosexuals or homosexuals (who do not have the authority to be married) will be punished in a community where Sharia exists. The loophole that might prevent an illicit heterosexual couple or a homosexual couple (inherently illicit) from getting punished will be the requirement of 4 eyewitnesses. Consider it a mercy of God to have such tight requirements. God lets the couple know that the behavior is wrong by imposing such harsh punishments but then provides a loophole so that the harsh punishment could possibly be avoided giving the couple the chance to correct the illicit sexual behavior.
Another stark difference between the Masjid and the Church is that even though Islam has strict punishments for illicit sexual behavior, it will not prevent a person engaging in such behavior from entering the masjid. We hear about the Catholic Church preventing homosexuals from entering church or not getting communion however there is nothing in Islam that will prevent a person engaging in illicit sexual behavior from entering the masjid even if people around them or the administration is aware of the behavior. There is no provision to ban a thief or a killer or anyone who might have broken Sharia from entering a masjid provided this person observes the decorum of a masjid which is a) to cover their Awrah (the intimate parts of the body that have to be covered), b) to pray in places set up pertaining to their gender and c) to avoid talking about their immoral deeds in the masjid. Thus people are shunned from talking about or promoting the bad deeds that they commit outside the Masjid but not shunned from coming to the Masjid. What a beautiful concept! SubhanAllah! However, a person who follows a life that defies Sharia will not become the Imam but they sure can enter the masjid as long they dress and act respectfully.
Men and women in the masjid will cover their Awrah - the intimate parts of the body that have to be hidden. For men, with some variation in the various schools of jurisprudence, the Awrah is between navel and knees. For women, the Awrah is from head to toe with women also covering their hair while in the ritualistic act of prayer.
Masajid (plural of Masjid) has different configurations for maintaining a boundary between men and women. In some places, men and women will pray in the same hall with men in front and women in the back and there will be some physical boundary placed between them. Islamic prayer requires bowing and bending and thus morality dictates that women not bow or bend in front of men.
In some masajid, women will be praying in a section literally above men - where both men and women have equal access in watching and hearing the Imam. Two such masajid that I attend are the Islamic Association of North Texas in Richardson, Texas, and the East Plano Islamic Center in Plano, Texas. In some masajid, converted from churches, men and women will be praying side by side.
Whatever the configuration may be, there is always a boundary between a man and a woman. They are never in the same praying area or in the same bathroom or ablution area. The biological gender of the person will prevail when decisions have to be made regarding where the person prays or makes ablution. If the person has reached a point in their gender mutation journey where they clearly can't be identified, they will have to pray and make ablution in a place where they have the least interaction with other biologically male or female congregants. There is just no rule-bending here.
Jesus (alaihi salam - peace be upon him) did not pray his daily prayers with guitars, pianos, and drums. The Bible hints at the five daily prayers that exist in Islam (Fajr, Zuhur, Asr, Maghreb, Isha)
Mark 1:35, Jesus got up very early in the morning to pray.
Acts 10:9, About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.
Acts 3:1, One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.
Matthew 14:23, After He (Jesus) had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was there alone.
Mark 14:33 -35, And he took with him Peter, James, and John. And he began to be horrified, and to be in an agony, and said to them, My soul is very heavy, even to the death. You stay here and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell down on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
A while ago while studying at a seminary, I did a course called Christian Worship. For that course, I had to observe Sunday worship at a local church and write a report. Our family's realtor, who was a deacon at the time, invited me to his church. I observed two worships -one for the older people and one for the younger people. The main difference was the quality of the music. In one place, the music was slow - the other place was practically a rock concert.
There is no music-related worship in Islam. I am sure people listen to it outside the masjid but the worship has none of it Alhumdulillah. May everyone be saved from the whispers of Shaitaan. A'meen.
There are many other boundaries in Islam in how Muslims interact with the opposite gender, how Muslims conduct their business, how financial transactions are recorded, how married couples have sex, how Muslims clean themselves for their worship, how they dress, how they talk, how Muslims enter their homes, how much they eat and drink, what they eat and drink, etc., and so on and so forth.
Islam is a religion of rules and etiquette that guides us through every sphere of our lives. Our desires (Nafs, Self) are a slave to us and we are not supposed to be a slave to our desires. The following supplication of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) will exhibit that point. He told his daughter Fatima (ra) to recite this prayer morning and evening:
يا حي يا قيوم برحمتك أستغيث ، أصلح لي شأني كله ، ولا تكلني إلى نفسي طرفة عين
“Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyumu bi rahmatika astaghith, aslih li sha-ni kullah wa la takilni ila nafsi tarfata ‘ayn”
O The Ever Living The Sustainer, I seek assistance through your mercy, rectify all of my affairs and don’t entrust me to myself even for a blink.
Asking God to not entrust us to our desires and observing the boundaries that Allah asks us to observe can help prevent the debacle that happened in the Cathedral of Hope, Dallas this past Sunday. May we all be guided to the One Straight Path, Sirat ul Mustaqeem, A'meen.