(In the name of God — the most Compassionate, the most Merciful)
I will try to capture why Islam would oppose what I called ‘Intentional/Willful Transgenderism’ — this article being based upon Islam’s sacred scriptures — namely Quran and Sunnah. Quran is Quran — Islam’s Holy Book revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him) through Angel Gabriel (Jibreel) whereas Sunnah are the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This is a running list — I will keep adding to it insha’Allah (if God willing) since it’s a Ramadan night and I can’t capture it all in one night so bear with me. My fellow Muslims — feel free to advise what I miss.
Growing up in Pakistan, I saw Hijras — we Pakistanis mistakenly refer to them as the Transgender. These are outwardly males dressed up in female clothes — often with heavy makeup on their faces. They usually perform in weddings and street gatherings. The usual Pakistani perspective is that these Hijras are people with birth defects in their genitalia and that parents of such children give up these children to a certain group of pan handlers for adoption. Growing up, I found it really absurd to entertain this idea of parents giving up their children since they didn’t posses the pathologically-correct genitalia. After coming to America, I discovered drag queens — men performing as women to earn money. I realized that many of the street Hijras that I had encountered growing up as a child were probably Pakistani drag queens — men performers in women clothes, earning a quick buck. However, another thing that I discovered was the correct nomenclature for people that did infact have a congenital defect — Intersex. So if the parents were giving up their babies with pathologically-malformed genitalia — the correct description would be that they were giving up Intersex babies and NOT Transgender babies.
After the American Psychological Association removed Gender Identity Disorder from it’s DSM, I notice a trend of what I call Intentional Transgenderism — where a person would either hide the gender associated with the genitalia or try to transform into the opposite gender with surgery or hormones.
In Islam, gender DOES matter and is NOT a social construct. A society arrives at a set of codes of modest dressing for men and women, dictated by scripture, covering their awrah (intimate body parts)— in men, parts that need to be covered are from navel to knees — women have to cover everything except face, hands and toes — but once that’s set, the clothing displays those DIFFERENCES. And no, I am not talking about BLUE and PINK here — but a code of clothing based upon different clothing requirements for men and women based upon their awrah.
The Different Dress Codes:
Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do. And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed. [Quran 24:30–31]
Asma, daughter of AbuBakr, entered upon the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) wearing thin clothes. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) turned his attention from her. He said: O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to his face and hands. [Sunan Abi Dawud 4104]
The Different Gender Expression:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) cursed the man who dressed like a woman and the woman who dressed like a man. [Sunan Abi Dawud 4098]
Ibn AbuMulaykah told that when someone remarked to Aisha that a woman was wearing sandals, she replied:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) cursed mannish women. [Sunan Abi Dawud 4099]
The Binary Gender:
O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah , through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.[Quran 4:1]
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allāh is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allāh is Knowing and Aware.[Quran 49:13]
The above verses are just a handful. Search for “men and women” in the Quran and the message gets REPEATED again and again that God created JUST two genders. Yes, there are the Intersex but so are the people with heart defects, brain defects, jaw defects, eye defects, and so on and so forth. Just as we wouldn’t make ourselves quadriplegic when unfortunately we see a baby born without limbs — just in the same manner, we don’t cut off (or add) genitalia. And while talking about cutting off/mutilation…
Islam prohibits Mutilation of Body Parts:
Al-Hayyaj ibn ‘Imran reported:
A servant boy of ‘Imran had ran away and he vowed to Allah that if he caught him, he would cut off his hand. Then, he sent me to ask about that, so I came to Samurah ibn Jundab and I asked him. Samurah said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, encouraged us to give in charity and he forbade us from mutilation.” Then, I went to ‘Imran ibn Husayn and I asked him. ‘Imran said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, encouraged us to give in charity and he forbade us from mutilation.” [Sunan Abī Dāwūd 2667]
In fact mutilation is banned on animals as well:
Abdullah ibn Ja’far reported:
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, passed by some people who were shooting arrows at a ram for target practice. The Prophet disapproved of it and he said, “Do not mutilate your animals.” [Sunan al-Nasā’ī 4440]
And on dead bodies too:
Abdullah ibn Yazid Reported:
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, prohibited plundering and mutilation. [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5197]
Islamic view on our bodies is that we are NOT the owners of the body BUT rather a steward. Our bodies would infact testify against us, if we did wrong things with it….
Our Body Parts Testify Against Us:
That Day, We will seal over their mouths, and their hands will speak to Us, and their feet will testify about what they used to earn. [Quran 36:65]
And [mention, O Muḥammad], the Day when the enemies of Allāh will be gathered to the Fire while they are [driven], assembled in rows, Until, when they reach it, their hearing and their eyes and their skins will testify against them of what they used to do. And they will say to their skins, “Why have you testified against us?” They will say, “We were made to speak by Allāh, who has made everything speak; and He created you the first time, and to Him you are returned. And you were not covering [i.e., protecting] yourselves, lest your hearing testify against you or your sight or your skins, but you assumed that Allāh does not know much of what you do. [Quran 41:19–22]
Our body parts are an Amanah (a trust from God and NOT our property) and it doesn’t fall into our rights to mutilate it.
Continued Insha’Allah! Off to eat Suhoor (the morning meal)!