A Scots Muslim leader has said that being gay is a sin but should not be condemned.

Mansoor Mahmood, Imam at the Kirkcaldy Central Mosque, also says that there is a "misconception" that Islam teaches that homosexuals should be killed.

In a discussion about public perception of Islamic teachings with local podcast broadcaster BTN Media, he said: "If a Muslim wants to be gay, that's up to him and you can't do anything about it. And you shouldn't be condemning him, because he's doing it himself.

"And even though you believe it is a sin within the religion, because no punishment has been set, that tells you you haven't a right to say anything to him.

"And if you believe in the hereafter then God will judge him and you've got nothing to do with that."


In some mainly Muslim countries homosexuality may be punishable by death.

In Iran, in accordance with Sharia law, homosexual intercourse between men can be punished by death, and men can be flogged for lesser acts such as kissing. Women may be flogged.

In Saudi Arabia, under the country’s interpretation of Sharia law, a married man engaging in sodomy or any non-Muslim who commits sodomy with a Muslim can be stoned to death. All sex outside of marriage is illegal.

In Qatar under Sharia law, Muslims can be put to death for extramarital sex, regardless of sexual orientation.

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According to the 1994 penal code in Yemen, married men can be sentenced to death by stoning for homosexual intercourse. Unmarried men face whipping or one year in prison. Women face up to seven years in prison.

The imam who said he had carried out his own research into interpretation issues said: "The misconception is that homosexuals should be killed. There is a narration on that... it's the words of the prophet, that the person that does it and the one that's done upon, both of them should be killed.

"So when I was doing my research on this, I realised that the narration is really weak, because every narration of the prophet comes with a chain of narrators and if there's a problem in the chain we don't accept that narration.

"So the researchers that did their commentaries on that, they mentioned two points, they said firstly the chain is weak so we don't accept it and secondly that saying has only been narrated by one companion of the prophet Mohammad.

"They said that doesn't makes sense because if homosexuality is a big sin within the religion and deserves capital punishment then every single one of them should be going out and telling them this is the punishment if you see this is happening.

"Why is it just one person has narrated the saying? So they don't accept it, at all. So there is no death penalty for homosexuality. That doesn't mean it is allowed. It is a sin within the religion, but that's somebody's own choice, if they want to do that, then that's fine. That's up to them. It's for God to judge them and not me. I am not any other Imam.

"Obviously some people don't believe in the hereafter, so, if I say to you a homosexual is going to go to hell in the next life, that won't mean anything to you because you don't believe in it. The important thing is how we deal with it now."

He said there was a belief that in the story of Lot, which appears in the Christian Bible, and his flight from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the punishment was because of homosexuality.

"But you will get certain imams who will say they weren't punished [for that], it was something else," he said. "But the majority say the story refers to homosexuality and it's a sin and you are not allowed to do it and if somebody does it is entirely up to them. "

He questioned why homosexuality received particular attention above other acts that are frowned upon.

"We are not allowed to drink alcohol, but you have so many Muslims who are drinking it. We are not allowed to sell it but you have so many Muslims that are selling it but nobody says anything to them, but then they single out one sin, for some reason."

The religious leader also dismissed the belief by some in the faith that Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was betrothed to a child when he was in his 50s. It is believed by some that Aisha when was just six years old at time of betrothal and nine when the marriage was consummated.

"I can understand the confusion because there is confusion in text," he said. "There is from a hadith collection, which is probably the most famous hadith collection, two narrations, and they say she got married to the prophet when she was six and she consummated the marriage when she was nine years old.


"There are many scholars that have written articles on this. Some scholars say there's nothing wrong with it, some imams say there's nothing wrong with it, because it was over 1000 years ago and times have changed.

"The view I take is I don't believe that she was six or nine when the consummation happened or when the marriage happened. And it is because when I researched into the issue there was a subtle point one of the imams mentioned. He said that she got married to the prophet when he moved from Mecca to Medina.

" I don't know whether you are familiar with the life of the prophet. He received revelation in Mecca and he preached for 13 years but not many people accepted him and they were at the point where they wanted to kill him. So he got revelation and moved to the next city which is a few hundred miles away.

"When he moved there that is called the year of migration. He got married to Aisha two years after migration to Medina. The point he mentions is that Aisha's elder sister was 27 years old at the time of migration. And Aisha was ten years younger than her, which means at the time of migration, Aisha had to be 17 and at the time of marriage she had to be 19.

"So based on those dates we would then say that there's a mistake in the hadith.

"They were also saying that they weren't stringent on historical facts. In hadith collections they were only strict if it was an Islamic ruling, like you need to pray your prayers or you need to pay this much in charity every year or you need to fast at Ramadan. They are more strict on those chains and they weren't strict on other historical facts."