Transgender in islam and their marriage is one of the new issues of our era. It does not mean that at the time of Prophet (PBUH&HP) no one was hermaphrodite. But the science of changing the sex into male or female, or curing this disorder to some extent had not been known yet. Therefore there is no verse or narration regarding this issue.
But how do we find out if transgender marriage is allowed (Halal) or forbidden (Haram) according to Islamic jurisprudence?
People who are known to be transsexual (a person who emotionally and psychologically feels that they belong to the opposite sex) or hermaphrodite (a person having both male and female sex organs or other sexual characteristics) are different from those who decide to be homosexual (lesbian or gay). Nevertheless, some of those who have homosexual tendencies may suffer from hermaphrodite disorders as well.
But the improvement of science these days has made it possible for transsexuals and hermaphrodites to go through a sex reassignment surgery (SRS) in which they can change their gender into the one they feel they belong to(obviously according to the physician’s opinion).
Since not having the operation and changing the sex may cause the person to commit a sin, or personal and social damages, it would be best if they can go through a sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and reduce these harms.
While transsexuality and hermaphrodites are obvious to be human disorders, most sufferers experience hostile encounters in the society. It is important for the society, especially for Muslim communities, to become familiar with their issues and support them in a way that they can have a normal life alongside others.
One of the most offending manners towards them is to accuse them of having immoral sexual behaviors. It should be very well understood by the society that accusing them of adultery is a forbidden (Haram) act according to Islam. We should keep in mind that they are human beings with all the rights and needs of a human.
The only difference is that they suffer from a disease, which makes them even more vulnerable. Hence they need special support from the society; such as disability support services provided by the government.
Since marriage, according to Islam and all the other Abrahamic religions is based on sexual differences, it is clearly false for a Muslim to marry a person with unknown gender. If a Man marries a transsexual with unknown gender, he cannot be sure if he has married a male or a female, therefore, that should become clear before marriage.
But if the sufferer has gone through the sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and the gender is now obvious, then there is no problem for a Muslim man or a Muslim woman to marry such a person under the Islamic rules of marriage.
However, they should both be aware that people who change their gender, will not be able to have children at all. (We hope that human knowledge can solve this issue in the near future). So, people who have had a sex reassignment surgery (SRS) should inform their “spouse to be” of their surgery and the consequences of the operation.
To conclude, we understand that marriage between or to a transgender -after the operation- is allowed (Halal) according to Islam and the couples may be able to shape a great family in which they feel comfort and relief. And if they wish to have children, they could always adopt a child which is strongly recommended in Islam.
Almost all religions have recommended the maintenance of family ties, but in the Islamic family, it has taken to unprecedented heights. Various Qur'anic verses and narrations (Hadiths) have emphasized maintaining the bonds of kinship (called Silatur-Rahim in Islam) and instruct Muslims to be kind, merciful, affectionate and caring towards parents and relatives; even to non-Muslim relatives or to those who are harsh to them. Why has so much importance been given to family ties in Islam? Who are concerned? What consequences does ignoring this important Islamic advice bring about? Here these and many similar questions are answered.
According to definitions with regard to Islamic family, Rahim [i] is anyone who becomes a relative through blood ties with one’s father, mother, uncle, and aunt, or through marriage . And, Silat means kindness and affection. Simply said, Silatur-Rahim means being kind to family and relatives, and keeping a good relationship with them .
Family kinship, with respect to the structure of Islamic family, is of paramount importance and is known to be the fastest-paid prayer. It brings about a quick reward in this world as well as an afterlife reward. Even the members of a family who are all sinful acquire more wealth by maintaining family ties, and their lives will last longer by doing good to each other .
In Surah Nisa it is said: “Be wary of Allah, in whose Name you adjure one another and [of severing ties with] blood relations.” (4:1). In another verse of the Quran, the pledge taken from the Children of Israel that includes worshipping God and being good to relatives is reminded (2:83). Muslims are also told to worship God and be good to parents and the relatives in another verse (4:36). The command to keep family ties right after the instruction of piety and worshipping God in these verses demonstrates that Silatur-Rahim is almost as important as piety in Islam.
In a narration, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said that: “I command all the people of my followers (Umma), whether present or not, and those generations which are to come till the Day of Judgement (Qiyama), …, to maintain family kinship even if they live at a distance of a year's journey.” . In another narration, Prophet (PBUH) states that the best of people in morality and behavior are the ones who resume their relationships with a relative who has cut the relation with them .
These verses and narrations about family kinship in the Islamic family together with many other ones illustrate the importance of this matter in Islam.
Being a moral and divine duty over every human being, keeping family ties concerns both faithful and unfaithful relatives. Hence, even if parents and other relatives are not religious, one should respect them and try to fulfill their needs.
Imam Sadiq (AS) was asked about the rights of the relatives over one, he (AS) answered: “If they are of the opposite religious ideas, they have family rights that nothing can stop it; and if they are of the same religious believes, they have two rights: family rights and Islamic rights". When a man asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) about how to treat a relative who had harmed and insulted him, the Prophet (PBUH) answered: “Resume your relationship with the one who has broken family bonds with you, grant the one who has deprived you and forgive the one who has harmed you. Whenever you do so, God will protect you against them” .
However, the relationship with unfaithful and irreligious relatives, according to the Islamic family, can be maintained as far as it does not lead to committing an unlawful (Haram) act or disobeying other divine commands, otherwise, keeping family ties with unfaithful relatives is not even allowed .
One might have numerous relatives and need to know who should be visited first or whose rights are more important than others’. The priorities are as follows in Islam: parents (and mother is the priority between them); sisters and brothers; relatives through blood ties (uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.); and, relatives through marriage (in-law family, etc.) .
To indicate the importance of this ranking, Prophet (PBUH) said: “If one gets five loaves of bread, or five dinars or five dates and wants to consume them, the best way is to donate them to parents. Secondly to use them himself and his family, and then giving them to poor relatives. Then donating to poor neighbors and finally voluntarily giving in the way of God; which is least rewarded.” . It means that these five kinds of donations will be all rewarded since they are in obedience to God’s commands and in His way, but voluntary charity (Sadaqah) is less paid .
Imam Hussain (AS) has narrated from Prophet (PBUH) that: “to pay family rights, begin from your own family: first your mother, father, sister, and brother; then other relatives depending on how close they are to you” .
Continues Reading: What Does Islam Say about Maintaining Family Ties: Part 2
[i] Rahim is a word derived from Allah's special quality, Ar-Rahman (The Compassionate One).
- islamic family
- Ibn Babawayh, “Al-Khisal”, p. 124.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 151.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 212.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 157.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 150.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Tasneem Tafsir”, vol. 2, p. 560-561.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 219.
- Shaykh al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 5, p. 65.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 220.
- Shaykh al-Mufid, “Al-Ikhtisas”, p. 219.
Getting married, yesterday’s girl and boy become today’s husband and wife; they form the most basic and important foundation in the society in which each of them is bound to perform certain duties. In this peaceful and calming bond, namely the Islamic family, no person is superior to the other, and no responsibility is more vital than the one of the other; they both form the pillars of a firm foundation and are two equal sides of a scale which hold it in balance. Nevertheless, there are some certain tasks in which both husband and wife should participate; Actually, mutual responsibilities which Islam emphasize are really easy.
The very first duty that has been defined for husbands and wives mutually is affability in behavior . In other words, they should act in a kind and respectful manner toward each other, speaking with dignity and affection, understanding each other’s needs and feelings, being ready to comfort one another in times of hardship, and sharing their joy in times of happiness. Also, they should consult in their affairs with each other and respect one another’s views and decisions.
Furthermore, honesty and faithfulness are among the most important characteristics that both husbands and wives should observe in their married life. They should try to be as open as possible to one another and avoid hiding things from each other. Otherwise, there may arise a feeling of suspicion and insecurity between them.
Despite many misunderstandings, Islam does not consider housework the responsibility of women and condemns the men who force their wives to do so. On the contrary, Islam obliges both husbands and wives to participate in this task and help one another in doing it, rather than leaving the whole burden on the shoulder of one person only [i] . They should also cooperate in upbringing their children and reach unity in their behavior and speech toward them so that the feeling of harmony and comfort will spread in the family.
Besides, for husbands and wives to be always attracted to one another in an Islamic family, both of them should appear as clean and beautiful as possible in front of each other  & . For instance, they should wear the best clothes they have got, wear perfume, adorn their hair, etc.
As a result, the love between them will increase, and they will feel more secure. Also, when the need for physical attraction is satisfied in the private environment of married life, neither husband nor wife will feel the desire and urge to satisfy this need in other unlawful ways.
Finally, for a marriage to be successful and healthy and form the recommended Islamic family, both husbands and wives should attempt to do whatever is best to save this holy bond. For sure, this is not an easy job; it takes self-sacrifice, patience, hope, and optimism.
Regarding mutual responsibilities, you should know that you may sometimes feel tired, disappointed and hopeless but at the end of the day, when you look at your spouse, feel the love in him/her and think about the beautiful life that you can build with him/her, you will be surely willing to pay any expense to make this come true.
[i]. Whenever Imam Ali – pbuh- found a chance and was free, would come and help his wife Fatimah- pbuh- in the housework. One day Prophet Muhammad came to their house and saw they were working together and asked:” Which one of you are more tired so that I take his/her place?”, Imam Ali –pbuh- answered: “ Fatimah is more tired.” Our kind prophet gave Fatima rest and continued her work himself.
- MirzaHossein Noori, Mustadrak al-Vasael, V.13, P.48.
- Morteza Motahari, Dastan-e- Rastan, V.2, P.252.
- Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili, Wasail al-shiah, V.20, P.158.
- Muhammad ibn Ya‘qūb al-Kulaynīm, Usul al-Kafi, V.5, P.511.