Beyond Binaries



Alipour, Mehrdad, Negotiating Homosexuality in Islam: A Legal-hermeneutical Examination of Modern Shiʿi Discourse (Series: Studies in Islamic Law and Society, Volume: 55), 345 pp, Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2024.

A short description of the book as featured on the back cover:

“To enrich the existing debates on Islam and sexual diversity, in the present book, I seek the potential discursive spaces on homosexuality in modern Imāmī legal debates. I have undertaken this research on the thesis that modern Imāmī legal tradition on homosexuality is more flexible and dynamic than one might expect. To address this essential issue, I build the study around the following constructive question: what are the discursive spaces on homosexuality in contemporary reflections within modern Shiʿi legal scholarship? Responding to this central query, the study is premised on the notion that Imāmī legal sources consist of a tradition of sacred (textual) sources, intellectual reasoning, a vast stockpile of (often contrasting) interpretations of these sources, and a distinguished methodological repertoire called ijtihād. Following the same methodology, in this work, I describe, analyse, and critique such textual-exegetical and intellectual-rational discursive aspects concerning homosexuality. This study rigorously departs itself from the trap of ongoing and, in my opinion, fruitless debates on the epistemology of homosexuality in terms of essentialism or social constructionism. Instead, it has chosen to emphasise a methodology whereby one can explore whether a given topic such as homosexuality fulfils the general criteria of Islamic legal system, that is, to investigate whether this topic violates the rights of Allāh or the rights of other humans established in Islamic sources. For this purpose, I picked the modern Shiʿi paradigm of ijtihād which, in my view, has the magnitude to attest the (in)compatibility between Islamic law and homosexuality. Hence, it puts forth insights which may contribute to an alternative methodological attitude to the field of Islamic studies. I am aware that my overall approach is experimental, and this indeed makes it a unique piece of scholarship which still requires further examination by other intellectuals of the field.”

For further information, go to the following link:

Find the introduction and part of the first chapter on Google Books:  


My contribution to this new edited volume entitled “Wege zu einer Ethik” (edited by Alsoufi, Kurnaz, and Sievers, Nomos, Germany, 2023) includes two articles:

1. “Ethical Assessment of Acts in the Prospect of Before Revelation: an Examination of Šarīf al-Murtaḍā’s Approach”, pp. 85-110

2. “Homosexuality in the Prospect of Before Revelation”, pp. 201-235


Alipour, Mehrdad. (2022). The Nexus between Gender-Confirming Surgery and Illness: Legal-Hermeneutical Examinations of Four Islamic Fatwas. Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies18(3), 359-386: 

Article (free-access Author Link):