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Severe gender dysphoria

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by FatwaCentre.org
Question

Assalamalaikum. I am biological female but since childhood I’ve felt I am a male and feel uncomfortable living as a girl. I’ve tried to change this but it didn’t work. This is making it very hard for me to be happy and I’m trying so hard not to commit suicide. Some people say it’s okay to transition in severe cases of gender dysphoria. Doctors told me I should transition too. There are some biological links that have shown to play a role in this. There is no proven way to fix this problem other than by transitioning, and most attempts to do so cause harm and are ineffective. I do not want to simply act like a man, I want to be one. 4 of the 5 aspects of biological sex can be changed. The one that can’t is chromosomes, which are considered a minor factor and males with XX chromosomes are considered male. Furthermore, most people including myself don’t even know their chromosomes for sure, so they’re quite irrelevant. I’m willing to avoid my desire to marry a woman even if I transition (if transitioning is allowed, please let me know if marriage is). I know that without certain medical advancements that may take around 10 years, I won’t be able to father children, and I am okay with that. Nearly no one with severe early onset gender dysphoria and gender incongruence regrets their decision to transition, regrets are mostly in cases of young people, or mild gender dysphoria, so I know this choice would make me happy, but the problem is it might not be allowed in Islam. I know this might be seen as an unnecessary body change, but for me it’s very important. Thanks for your time may Allab bless you for your answer.


Answer

I am very sorry to hear about the troubles you are facing. I pray that Allah eases your difficulties and enables you to find a path that pleases him.

Based on our study of the foundational sources, and the interpretations of traditional Islamic scholarship, we have not been able to find any scope for the permissibility of gender transition as you have described. And Allah knows best.

The law

Allah (swt) says in Q. 2:286: “Allah does not impose upon any soul but to the extent of its ability.” Most Islamic theologians opine that it is not possible nor permissible for Allah to obligate something upon someone beyond that which they can bear. This is known as taklif – one’s shar‘ī responsibility to perform an action conforms with one’s ability. This is an overtly simplification of an incredibly dense matter of Islamic law, but the reason for bringing this up will become clear.

What I present here is not transphobia, but the traditional understanding of Islamic law as understood throughout our Islamic history. This is because this entire matter depends on an authentic hadith found in Sahih Bukhari, thus entailing immense epistemic weight. Ibn Abbas reports:

The Prophet ﷺ cursed men that imitate women (mukhannith) and women that imitate men (mutarajjil).[1]

A mukhannith is an individual who purposefully adopts effeminate traits – in speech and mannerisms. Thus, such an individual may speak a certain way or manoeuvre their body in a way considered feminine. Similarly, a mutarajjil is a woman that purposefully adopts overtly masculine traits. Such individuals have been cursed by the Holy Prophet ﷺ. The reasoning given for this prohibition is because it involves changing Allah’s creation (taghyir li-khalqillah) and the system he has ordained.[2]

This is juxtaposed by a mukhannath. This is a male who is effeminate by nature; it is not an act they adopt but by nature they manifest effeminate mannerisms. As this is something beyond their control, their effeminate mannerisms are not sinful. Though, in Islamic law, they are treated as men.[3] Nonetheless, an important matter here is the licenses allowed by the fuqaha on such men were based on their characterises, not choices of clothes. Thus, being camp in one’s movements by nature is not reprehensible. However, to don female clothing is a matter of choice, and thus reprehensible and cursed by the Prophet ﷺ. The same would apply to a women who manifests masculine characteristics by nature.

Relate this back to the principle of taklif. One is not accountable for their innate disposition towards certain mannerisms. Similarly, one is not accountable for their emotions, nor their feelings. However, how they manifest these emotions are within the domain of their liability and responsibility. Their choices and actions must conform with Allah’s law.

Based on the above, you are not accountable for the emotions nor the feelings you have. However, transitioning to male being born a female is impermissible and entails the curse of the Prophet ﷺ. Moreover, it involves changing the creation of Allah (taghyir li-khalqillah), a prohibition judged in cosmetic surgeries, and even in shaping one’s eyebrows. Consider how far removed these prohibitions stand from transitioning from one sex to another.

Going forward

Two Quranic verses deserve our reflection:

He is the One˺ Who created death and life in order to test which of you is best in deeds. And He is the Almighty, All-Forgiving. (Q. 67:2)

Do people think once they say, “We believe,” that they will be left without being put to the test? We certainly tested those before them. And in this way Allah will clearly distinguish between those who are truthful and those who are liars. (Q. 29:2-3).

What is the purpose of our creation – the believe in Allah, to enter his favour and gain ultimate bliss in the hereafter. Tests of various kinds come in our way to test our faith. May Allah protect us all, but mothers lose their children – that is a test. People have to flee civil war – that is test. People lose all their wealth and are left penniless and homeless – that is also a test. Allah swt will put tests in our way to test our faith in him.

Seek a Muslim spiritual counsellor. Your local imam may be a point of contact for you to seek out such an individual. Growing up in this new world, we all need to curtail our lower self, and enter Allah’s grace through servitude. May Allah make your journey easy.

[1]              صحيح البخاري (حديث 5886) حَدَّثَنَا مُعَاذُ بْنُ فَضَالَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامٌ، عَنْ يَحْيَى، عَنْ عِكْرِمَةَ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ لَعَنَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْمُخَنَّثِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ، وَالْمُتَرَجِّلاَتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَقَالَ ‏ “‏ أَخْرِجُوهُمْ مِنْ بُيُوتِكُمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ فَأَخْرَجَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فُلاَنًا، وَأَخْرَجَ عُمَرُ فُلاَنًا‏.

[2]              بريقة محمودية في شرح طريقة محمدية وشريعة نبوية في سيرة أحمدية» (4/ 157): (وَمِنْهَا تَشَبُّهُ الرَّجُلِ بِالْمَرْأَةِ وَبِالْعَكْسِ) أَيْ يَتَزَيَّنُ أَحَدُ الصِّنْفَيْنِ بِزِيِّ الْآخَرِ (خ م عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ – رَضِيَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَنْهُمَا – مَرْفُوعًا أَنَّهُ «لَعَنَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْمُخَنَّثِينَ مِنْ الرِّجَالِ» وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَتَشَبَّهُ بِالنِّسَاءِ فِي كَلَامِهِ وَحَرَكَاتِهِ، وَفِي الْخِضَابِ وَاللِّبَاسِ وَغَيْرِهَا وَتَارَةً يَكُونُ هَذَا التَّشَبُّهُ جِبِلَّةً وَتَارَةً يَكُونُ بِتَكَلُّفٍ، وَالْمَذْمُومُ هُوَ الثَّانِي إذْ لَا تَكْلِيفَ فِي الْأَفْعَالِ الْغَيْرِ الِاخْتِيَارِيَّةِ؛ لِأَنَّهُ تَغْيِيرٌ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ وَتَغْيِيرُ خَلْقِ اللَّهِ مُضَادَّةُ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى، وَكَذَا مَضْغُ الْعِلْكِ لَهُ لِأَنَّهُ تَشَبُّهٌ بِالنِّسَاءِ «وَالْمُتَرَجِّلَاتِ مِنْ النِّسَاءِ» أَيْ الْمُتَشَبِّهَاتُ بِالرِّجَالِ «وَقَالَ أَخْرِجُوهُمْ مِنْ بُيُوتِكُمْ فَأَخْرَجَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّه تَعَالَى عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فُلَانَةَ» أَيْ: امْرَأَةً كَانَتْ مُتَرَجِّلَةً مِنْ الْمَدِينَةِ (وَأَخْرَجَ عُمَرُ) – رَضِيَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَنْهُ – فِي زَمَنِ خِلَافَتِهِ (فُلَانًا) رَجُلًا يَتَشَبَّهُ بِالنِّسَاءِ قَالَ النَّوَوِيُّ فِي الْحَدِيثِ بَيَانٌ أَنَّ لِلْمُخَنَّثِينَ حُكْمُ الرِّجَالِ الْفُحُولِ، وَكَذَا حُكْمُ الْخَصِيِّ وَالْمَجْبُوبِ وَإِنَّمَا نَهَاهُمْ عَنْ ذَلِكَ؛ لِأَنَّهُمْ يَصِفُونَ النِّسَاءَ بِحَضْرَةِ الرِّجَالِ فَيُفْضِي ذَلِكَ إلَى الْفِتْنَةِ أَوْ لِاحْتِمَالِ أَنْ يَكُونَ الدَّاخِلُ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِمَّنْ يَتَكَلَّفُ الْخُنُوثَةَ كَمَا عَنْ ابْنِ الْمَلِكِ (، وَفِي رِوَايَةٍ «لَعَنَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْمُتَشَبِّهِينَ مِنْ الرِّجَالِ بِالنِّسَاءِ وَالْمُتَشَبِّهَاتِ مِنْ النِّسَاءِ بِالرِّجَالِ» قَالَ فِي الْبَزَّازِيَّةِ وَالْمُخَنَّثُ فِي الرَّدِيءِ مِنْ الْأَفْعَالِ لَا يَحِلُّ لَهُ الْمُخَالَطَةُ مَعَ النِّسَاءِ، وَأَمَّا الَّذِي لَا يَشْتَهِي النِّسَاءَ وَبِهِ تَكَسُّرٌ بِأَصْلِ الْخِلْقَةِ قِيلَ لَهُ مُخَالَفَةُ النِّسَاءِ إذَا لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ رَدِيءٌ مِنْ الْأَفْعَالِ وَالْأَصَحُّ خِلَافُهُ مُطْلَقًا.

عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري (20/ 215) قَوْله: (مخنث) ، بِفَتْح النُّون وَكسرهَا وَهُوَ الَّذِي يشبه النِّسَاء فِي أخلاقهن، وَهُوَ على نَوْعَيْنِ: من خلق كَذَلِك فَلَا ذمّ عَلَيْهِ، لِأَنَّهُ مَعْذُور، وَلِهَذَا لم يُنكر النَّبِي صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم، أَولا دُخُوله عَلَيْهِنَّ، وَمن يتَكَلَّف ذَلِك وَهُوَ المذموم، وَاسم هَذَا المخنث: هيت، بِكَسْر الْهَاء وَسُكُون الْيَاء آخر الْحُرُوف وبالتاء الْمُثَنَّاة من فَوق على الْأَصَح، وَذكر ابْن إِسْحَاق فِي الْمَغَازِي أَن اسْم المخنث فِي حَدِيث الْبَاب: ماتع، بِالتَّاءِ الْمُثَنَّاة من فَوق، وَقيل: بالنُّون، وَحكى أَبُو مُوسَى الْمَدِينِيّ فِي كَون ماتع لقب هيت أَو بِالْعَكْسِ أَو أَنَّهُمَا اثْنَان خلافًا، وَجزم الْوَاقِدِيّ بالتعدد فَإِنَّهُ قَالَ: كَانَ هيت مولى عبد الله بن أبي أُميَّة، وَكَانَ ماتع مولى فَاخِتَة، وَذكر أَن النَّبِي صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم نفاهما إِلَى الْحمى،

[3] With the caveat that some scholars have permitted them to remain in the company of women so long as they do not have any desire towards women, and they do not describe these women to others. The strongest position in the Hanafi school is that they will be treated as men irrespective of desires or lack thereof.

الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (6/ 373)(وَالْخَصِيُّ وَالْمَجْبُوبُ وَالْمُخَنَّثُ فِي النَّظَرِ إلَى الْأَجْنَبِيَّةِ كَالْفَحْلِ) وَقِيلَ لَا بَأْسَ بِمَجْبُوبٍ جَفَّ مَاؤُهُ لَكِنْ فِي الْكُبْرَى أَنَّ مَنْ جَوَّزَهُ فَمِنْ قِلَّةِ التَّجْرِبَةِ وَالدِّيَانَةِ … (قَوْلُهُ وَالْخَصِيُّ) فَعِيلٌ مِنْ خَصَاهُ نَزَعَ خُصْيَتَيْهِ وَالْمَجْبُوبُ مَنْ قُطِعَ ذَكَرُهُ وَخُصْيَتَاهُ، وَالْمُخَنَّثُ الْمُتَزَيِّي بِزِيِّ النِّسَاءِ وَالْمُتَشَبِّهُ بِهِنَّ فِي مَحَلِّيَّةِ الْوَطْءِ، وَتَلْيِينِ الْكَلَامِ عَنْ اخْتِيَارٍ قُهُسْتَانِيٌّ: أَيْ الَّذِي يُمَكِّنُ غَيْرَهُ مِنْ نَفْسِهِ احْتِرَازًا عَنْ الْمُخَنَّثِ الَّذِي فِي أَعْضَائِهِ لِينٌ وَتَكَسُّرٌ بِأَصْلِ الْخِلْقَةِ وَلَا يَشْتَهِي النِّسَاءَ فَإِنَّهُ رَخَّصَ بَعْضُ مَشَايِخِنَا فِي تَرْكِ مِثْلِهِ مَعَ النِّسَاءِ اسْتِدْلَالًا بِقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى – {أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ} [النور: 31]- قِيلَ هُوَ الْمُخَنَّثُ الَّذِي لَا يَشْتَهِي النِّسَاءَ، وَقِيلَ هُوَ الْمَجْبُوبُ الَّذِي جَفَّ مَاؤُهُ وَقِيلَ الْمُرَادُ بِهِ الْأَبْلَهُ الَّذِي لَا يَدْرِي مَا يَصْنَعُ بِالنِّسَاءِ، وَإِنَّمَا هَمُّهُ بَطْنُهُ إذَا كَانَ شَيْخًا كَبِيرًا مَاتَتْ شَهْوَتُهُ وَالْأَصَحُّ أَنْ نَقُولَ إنَّ قَوْله تَعَالَى – {أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ} [النور: 31]- مِنْ الْمُتَشَابِهَاتِ وقَوْله تَعَالَى – {قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ} [النور: 30]- مُحْكَمٌ فَنَأْخُذُ بِهِ عِنَايَةٌ (قَوْلُهُ كَالْفَحْلِ) لِأَنَّ الْخَصِيَّ قَدْ يُجَامِعُ، وَقِيلَ هُوَ أَشَدُّ جِمَاعًا لِأَنَّهُ لَا يُنْزِلُ دَفْقًا بَلْ قَطْرَةً فَقَطْرَةً، وَيَثْبُتُ نَسَبُ وَلَدِهِ مِنْهُ وَالْمَجْبُوبُ يَسْحَقُ وَيُنْزِلُ وَالْمُخَنَّثُ فَحْلٌ فَاسِقٌ قُهُسْتَانِيٌّ مَزِيدًا

البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق ومنحة الخالق وتكملة الطوري (8/ 222) قَالَ: – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ – (وَالْخَصِيُّ وَالْمَجْبُوبُ وَالْمُخَنَّثُ كَالْفَحْلِ) لِقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى {قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ} [النور: 30] وَهُمْ ذُكُورٌ فَيَدْخُلُونَ تَحْتَ الْخِطَابِ الْعَامِّ وَقَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ: الْخَصِيُّ مُثْلَةٌ وَلَا يُبِيحُ مَا كَانَ حَرَامًا قَبْلَهُ وَلِأَنَّ الْخَصِيَّ ذَكَرٌ يَشْتَهِي وَيُجَامِعُ وَهُوَ أَشَدُّ جِمَاعًا؛ لِأَنَّ آلَتَهُ لَا تَفْتُرُ فَصَارَ كَالْفَحْلِ، وَالْمَجْبُوبُ ذَكَرٌ يَشْتَهِي وَيَسْحَقُ وَيُنْزِلُ قَالَ بَعْضُ الْمُتَأَخِّرِينَ يَسْحَقُ بِفَتْحِ الْيَاءِ وَيُسْحِقُ بِضَمِّهَا قَالَ الْعَيْنِيُّ: أَيْ يُنْزِلُ الْمَاءَ وَحُكْمُهُ كَأَحْكَامِ الرِّجَالِ فِي كُلِّ شَيْءٍ، وَقَطْعُ تِلْكَ الْآلَةِ كَقَطْعِ عُضْوٍ مِنْهُ فَلَا يُبِيحُ شَيْئًا كَانَ حَرَامًا وَإِنْ كَانَ الْمَجْبُوبُ قَدْ جَفَّ مَاؤُهُ فَقَدْ رَخَّصَ لَهُ بَعْضُ أَصْحَابِنَا الِاخْتِلَاطَ مَعَ النِّسَاءِ لِوُقُوعِ الْأَمْنِ مِنْ الْفِتْنَةِ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى {أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ} [النور: 31] فَقِيلَ هُوَ الْمَجْبُوبُ الَّذِي قَدْ جَفَّ مَاؤُهُ وَالْأَصَحُّ أَنَّهُ لَا يَحِلُّ لَهُ لِعُمُومِ النُّصُوصِ وَكَذَا الْمُخَنَّثُ وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَأْتِي الرَّدِيءَ مِنْ الْأَفْعَالِ لَا يَحِلُّ لَهُ بِالِاتِّفَاقِ لِأَنَّهُ كَغَيْرِهِ مِنْ الْفُسَّاقِ فَيُبْعَدُ عَنْ النِّسَاءِ وَإِنْ كَانَ مُخَنَّثًا بِأَقْوَالِهِ وَأَفْعَالِهِ مُتَكَسِّرًا فِي أَعْضَائِهِ وَلَيِّنًا فِي لِسَانِهِ وَهُوَ لَا يَشْتَهِي النِّسَاءَ فَقَدْ رَخَّصَ لَهُ بَعْضُ مَشَايِخِنَا الِاخْتِلَاطَ بِالنِّسَاءِ وَفِي الْإِبَانَةِ الْأَصَحُّ أَنَّهُ لَا يَحِلُّ لَهُ وَقَالُوا الْأَبْلَهُ الَّذِي لَا يَدْرِي مَا يَصْنَعُ بِالنِّسَاءِ وَإِنَّمَا هَمُّهُ بَطْنُهُ يُرَخَّصُ لَهُ الْخَلْوَةُ بِالنِّسَاءِ وَالْأَصَحُّ لَهُ الْمَنْعُ وَلَا بَأْسَ بِدُخُولِ الْخَصِيِّ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ مَا لَمْ يَبْلُغْ حَدَّ الْحُلُمِ وَهُوَ خَمْسَ عَشْرَةَ سَنَةً.

تبيين الحقائق شرح كنز الدقائق وحاشية الشلبي (6/ 20) وَإِنْ كَانَ الْمَجْبُوبُ قَدْ جَفَّ مَاؤُهُ فَقَدْ رَخَّصَ لَهُ بَعْضُ أَصْحَابِنَا – رَحِمَهُمُ اللَّهُ – الِاخْتِلَاطَ مَعَ النِّسَاءِ لِوُقُوعِ الْأَمْنِ مِنْ الْفِتْنَةِ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى {أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ} [النور: 31] فَقِيلَ هُوَ الْمَجْبُوبُ الَّذِي جَفَّ مَاؤُهُ وَالْأَصَحُّ أَنَّهُ لَا يَحِلُّ لَهُ لِعُمُومِ النُّصُوصِ، وَكَذَا الْمُخَنَّثُ فِي الرَّدِيءِ مِنْ الْأَفْعَالِ لَا يَحِلُّ لَهُ بِالِاتِّفَاقِ؛ لِأَنَّهُ كَغَيْرِهِ مِنْ الرِّجَالِ بَلْ هُوَ مِنْ الْفُسَّاقِ فَيُبْعَدُ عَنْ النِّسَاءِ، وَإِنْ كَانَ مُخَنَّثًا لِتَكَسُّرٍ وَلِينٍ فِي أَعْضَائِهِ وَلِسَانِهِ، وَلَا يَشْتَهِي النِّسَاءَ فَقَدْ رَخَّصَ لَهُ بَعْضُ مَشَايِخِنَا فِي الِاخْتِلَاطِ بِالنِّسَاءِ، وَهُوَ أَحَدُ تَأْوِيلِ قَوْله تَعَالَى {أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُولِي الإِرْبَةِ} [النور: 31]، وَقِيلَ الْأَبْلَهُ الَّذِي لَا يَدْرِي مَا يَعْمَلُ بِالنِّسَاءِ، وَإِنَّمَا هَمُّهُ بَطْنُهُ، وَهُوَ شَيْخٌ كَبِيرٌ وَالْأَصَحُّ أَنَّ الْآيَةَ مِنْ الْمُتَشَابِهِ، وقَوْله تَعَالَى {يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ} [النور: 30] مُحْكَمٌ فَنَأْخُذُ بِهِ وَنَقُولُ كُلُّ مَنْ كَانَ مِنْ الرِّجَالِ لَا يَحِلُّ لَهُنَّ أَنْ يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ الْبَاطِنَةَ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ، وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَهُ أَنْ يَنْظُرَ إلَيْهَا إلَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ صَغِيرًا فَحِينَئِذٍ لَا بَأْسَ بِذَلِكَ لِقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى {أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاءِ} [النور: 31].

Answered by:
Maulana Ikramul Hoque Miah

Checked & Approved by:
Mufti Abdul Rahman Mangera
Mufti Zubair Patel

This answer was collected from FatwaCentre.org, which is overseen by Dr. Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera.

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