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Omnia Saed Headshot

The Key to Heaven

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I opened my Twitter page one morning to a swarm of tweets all surrounding one person. With news of Frank Ocean's sexuality making headlines, it wasn't a surprise that the teenage community came in full swing to voice their opinions. In a matter of minutes, thousands upon thousands of tweets were released into the seemingly infinite web in support and opposition to the hip-hop/R&B artist.

As the chaos began to plateau online, I was shocked by the response. On the one hand, I was appalled by the fact that some people refused to listen to his music. On the other hand, I realized I was a hypocrite.

I was texting my friend when she asked me how I, as a Muslim, could condone someone who seems to be inciting his homosexuality.

She texted me once more, with a line I couldn't help but stare at in wonder: "He's most likely going to hell, you know that, right?"

Was he? I thought. In all honesty I didn't know.

I've grown as a faithful adherent to my religion. A religion I strongly believed in despite the surmounting ignorance surrounding it. I began to question how any religious person, not just myself, would advocate for homosexuality. Is it not shunned on by all of the major religions?

Before people criticize my friend or me in a rage of fury, you can't necessarily blame anyone. We've been taught that homosexuality is a sin. Unfortunately, it has also become a politicized sin. Just like some sectors of Christianity and Judaism, it is seen in Islam that homosexuality is not essentially the greatest key into heaven.

Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, Mauritania and Yemen, five Islamic nations, carry out the death penalty as a punishment for same-sex intercourse, and there are numerous passages in the Quran expressing disdain against homosexuality. That same disparagement can be found in the Torah/Old Testament, Bible and the list goes on.

"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads" (Leviticus 20:13).

That pretty much excludes their chances of heaven, does it not?

According to a report by ABC News, nine out of 10 people believe in heaven; meaning, a majority of individuals today believe that there's an afterlife their destined to inhabit. All of the major religions believe in a place of reward for the good, and for the devoted. A place so wonderful it's filled, in most cases, with all of our desires.

But what happens to everyone else? Someone who presumably has done "good" most of his life will simply be denied from the golden gate of tranquility because of his nature; because of what he is?

You might at this point think of me as a simply confused religious teenager. But I'm not trying to denounce Islam or any religion. In all honesty, I'm trying to strengthen my faith.

Think about it. Really. Who goes into heaven? Just because I'm a Muslim, are Christians and Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and any other adherents not granted access into serenity, and vice versa?

How can a world filled with so many different minds, different beliefs and most importantly humans of different religions come to the notion of a unanimous right and wrong? A key into the one place we all strive to get into?

But I've come to the conclusion that we're so caught up in trying to enter heaven and find the formula as to who will enter, but in the end, who are we to know?

In Islam, we are taught tolerance -- tolerance toward other religion and beliefs. The same ideas of tolerance can be found in Christianity, Judaism and other religions. What I have come to learn is that in order to become truly tolerant of the other beliefs and ideals around us, we must simply stop questioning the actions of others.

People become so easily caught up in lives other than their own that they forget to simply focus on the inevitable -- themselves. Protests held outside funerals of fallen soldiers dishonoring them because of their sexuality, and riots in front of abortion clinics, make me question who we are to pressure others into what we see is right. Most importantly, who are we to scrutinize the passageway into Heaven?

All we can do is believe what is right. Not what we're told, not what we're coerced to believe. No. I suppose if we simply follow whichever beliefs we view to be true, and do what we believe is good, we shouldn't worry.

We can take it from Frank Ocean himself, who started this predicament, if you say. A week after his famed revelation, he simply tweeted, "Life is something else." And as I grow older, and come to finishing this article, I'm slowly coming to the realization that it truly really is, Mr. Ocean, it truly is.