Q: Is a sex-changing operation permissible? Transsexuals are such people who believe in their minds that they are trapped within the bodies of the opposite sex. Those who are physically male believe they are actually females and they want to be females physically and demand operations to change their sex organs to suit their mental feelings. Many of them resort to committing suicide if they do not have the necessary sex change operations.
Is it permissible for them to undergo these sex change operations? Is it permissible for Muslim physicians to perform these operations?
A: In terms of Islamic Shar’i Principles, there is no way that a woman or man (irrelevant of whether medical science classifies such people as transsexuals or whatever) would be permitted to undergo a sex-change operation in order to change his/her Allah-given gender status as that of the opposite sex.
Allah has created each human as a member of a specific gender, male or female. If he/she now undergoes an operation to transform him/herself into a member of the opposite sex, he/she would be flagrantly violating many injunctions and commandments of the Qur’an and Hadith.
In order to protect and preserve the identity of each gender, Shari’ah has gone to the extent of even prohibiting males and females from merely emulating members of the opposite gender, in their dress and appearance, etc. How then would Shari’ah tolerate complete sex changing operations? Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Saheb Gangohi (rahmatullahi alayhi) has emphatically mentioned its prohibition (see Fatdaa Mahmudiyya, Vol. 5, Pg. 163].
The following hadith is noteworthy in this regard:
“Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) cursed those men who emulate women and also those women who emulate men.” [as narrated by Bukhari. (Mishkat, Pg. 380)].
Furthermore, undergoing a sex-change operation would be tantamount to altering the natural and normal features, organs and attributes given to a person by Allah Ta’ala. Altering and tampering with the creation of Allah Ta’ala for the sake of undergoing a sexual transformation should hence be totally forbidden. The prohibition of altering Allah-given normal features and attributes is labelled by the Qur’an as being a ploy of Shaytan, as the following ayah of Surah Nisa illustrates: (Shaytan said): “And I will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires; I will order them to slit the ears of cattle and to deface features and attributes created by Allah Ta’ala.”
Allah Ta’ala then warns people who fall prey to the ploys of Shaytan: “Whoever, lakes Shaytan as a friend, while forsaking Allah, has surely suffered a loss that is manifest.” [Surah Nisa, ayah 119].
and Allah knows best.
Aadiel Moosagie (Mufti)