Transgenders and Transsexuals in Islam
  • Question:
    Can you please tell me if the Quran or hadith mention how transsexual people should live? Is it permissible for them to change gender? Are they allowed to marry? I feel for them people and do understand they suffer a pain with no bounds. Would appreciate very much if you can enlighten me with the knowledge of Islam regarding the issue.

    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question.

    Transgender and transsexual people should not be confused with intersexes.

    People who identify as transgender or transsexual are usually people who are born with typical male or female anatomies but feel as though they have been born into the ‘wrong body’. These individuals can gain mental treatment and guidance through counselling and therapy.

    Intersexes are people having reproductive organs or external sexual characteristics of both male and female. The Islamic rulings regarding them is to determine their gender as best as possible, as specified below. If there are more masculine traits and signs, then they are to be treated and dealt with as males. If there are more signs of femininity, then the rules of females will apply.

    Some jurists base the verdict, looking at signs before and after puberty.

    Signs of masculinity and maleness:
    - To urine from the penis
    - Semen discharge from penis
    - Beard growth
    - Is able to impregnate
    - Possesses general male habits, actions and demeanours

    Signs of femininity:
    - To urinate from vaginal urethra
    - To experience menses
    - Breasts growth
    - Having breast-milk
    - Pregnancy and or childbirth

    These individuals are to be respected, integrated in society and treated well, just as anyone else is. They may marry and pray in congregation as well.

    There are countless opinions amongst the jurists, regarding the ‘al khuntha al mushkilah’ (when masculinity and femininity signs are equal in all perspectives). Each specific case may require analysis and the ruling is given accordingly.

    It is prohibited to have a sex reassignment surgery.

    It must also be noted that the transgenders and intersexes are not to be discriminated against. They deserve equality in the communities.

    (See: Al Mawsu’at Al Fiqhiyyah)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah Institute
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