Muslim Matrimonials and More

Articles and Essays on Marriage and Family in Islam


Islamic Ruling on Sex Change (Gender Change)

By, Reprinted from their Fatwa Bank

Date: 10/Sep/2002

Name of Mufti: Group of Muftis

Topic: 'Iddah, the Waiting Period After Divorce in Islam

Name of Questioner: Nur

Question: Dear scholars, As-Salaam `Alaykum. My purpose of writing to you is to seek clarification pertaining to the Islamic point of view with regards to the sex change operation for male transsexuals (not hermaphrodites). These group of people have complete male physical attributes but feel completely female inside. In short, a female trapped in a male's body. In Islam, is sex change allowed for this group of people? If it is allowed, I would appreciate very much if you could provide relevant excerpts from the Qur'an or Hadith. Jazakum Allah khayran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear sister in Islam, we would like to thank you for showing keenness on learning the teachings of Islam, and we appreciate the great confidence you have in us. We hope our efforts meet your expectations, yet we apologize for the late reply.

Allah has created both sexes: males and females, and they are both highly respected in Islam, the religion that strictly abolishes gender discrimination. In Islam, man and woman are equals in the sight of Allah. Therefore, there is no justifiable reason for what called sex change operations.

With regard to your question, Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal Nadvi, Imam of Calgary Mosque, Canada, and Former Professor at King Saud Univ., Saudi Arabia, answers:

Let me first establish some related fundamentals, so it will be easy to understand the Islamic ruling regarding to above-mentioned situation.

1. Two Genders

Almighty Allah created humans in two genders, male and female. This is has been stated in many verses:

"O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women." (An-Nisaa':1)

"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female." (Al-Hujurat: 13)

"And that He createth the two spouses, the male and the female." (An-Najm: 45)

Also refer to Surat Al-Layl: 3, and Ash-Shura: 49. Allah the Almighty also says in Surat Al `Imran, verse 36, that "the male is not as the female."

And in Surat Al-Layl He says: "Lo! your effort is dispersed (toward diverse ends)."

2. Fitra

Allah, the Almighty, also said that He created every human being with Fitra (nature) that suits him or her. Since Fitra is an inbuilt system designed to suit every creation, the Fitra of a male is different from the Fitra of a female.

3. Changing the Creation

Allah, Exalted be He, also made it clear to us that when the Shaitan (Satan) challenged to deviate humans he said he would cause them to change the creation of Allah, the Almighty. Allah says: "And surely I will command them and they will change Allah's creation." (An-Nisa': 119)

4. Hermaphrodites Are An Exeption

Every rule has an exception, so the hermaphrodite gender is an exception, and as it indicates, it is not a standard, but only a sign of Allah's Power of creation, for a wisdom He knows better.

5. Imitating the Opposite Gender is Haram

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, has invoked the curse of Allah, the Almighty, upon "a male who imitates a female or vice versa." This Hadith is about the matters of dress and fashion, but it also explains the importance of gender in Islam. So, if an imitation in outward appearance is counted as a sin, then by Qiyas (analogy), a total change in gender will be even more sinful act.

6. Do Not Covet or Envy

Allah, Glorified be He, says: "And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others. Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from that which they have earned. (Envy not one another) but ask Allah of His bounty. Lo! Allah is ever Knower of all things." (An-Nisa': 32)

This means that Allah, the Almighty, created each of us in one gender, in one shape, while he or she likes another gender, but as a Muslim and believer he or she has to accept the destiny of Allah.


In the light of the above-mentioned basic facts, I would conclude by saying that it is not allowed in Islam to change the gender, and doing so will be changing of Allah's creation.

The only exception to this ruling is related to a person who has both genders potential in body, so a medical treatment can be sought to unify one gender. In this case it will be a correction, and not a change in the creation of Allah, the Almighty. This issue has been previously discussed by our earlier Fuqahaa' (jurists) and the same ruling has been given.

In shedding more light on the prohibition of sex change (save the medical necessities mentioned above), Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author states:

"It is not permissible for a person to have gender operation; from male to female or vice versa. Every Muslim has to be content with what Allah has decreed for him/her, for He has placed him in a suitable position. He/she does not know what is good for him/her; (being a male) perhaps if he was created female, that would not be good for him, or (being a female) if she was created male, that would be bad for her. By the same token, there are some people for whom nothing but poverty is good, and if Allah made such a person rich it would be harmful for him; and there are others for whom nothing but richness is appropriate, and if they became poor that would be harmful to them.

Some women wished they had been created men so they could fight in the way of Allah. This was just wishful thinking, but Allah revealed the prohibition of that wishful thinking in the ayah (Qur'anic verse):

"And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others. For men there is reward for what they have earned, (and likewise) for women there is reward for what they have earned." (An-Nisa':32)

If mere wishful thinking is forbidden, then how about taking action upon such thinking? If a Muslim is forbidden to change the creation of Allah in minor cases, so how about changing sex altogether?

Sheikh `Abd Al-Karim Al-Khudayr states:

Changing one's sex is a kind of tampering with the creation of Allah and following the way of the Shaitan (Satan) who vowed that he would misguide the sons of Adam in this way and in others, as clarified in the verse: "And surely I will command them and they will change Allah's creation." (An-Nisa': 119) We pray to Allah to keep us safe and sound." Do keep in touch. If you have any other question, don't hesitate to write to us.

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