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.
Many incidents happen in societies which make so many children orphans, Incidents such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, or smaller events. Thus, the issue of taking care of these orphan kids becomes a challenge that should be dealt with. Many of these children may be sent to orphanages by the government.
And they keep waiting for some family to adopt them and take care of them. But, there are many parents who cannot give birth to a child and they wish to adopt one and make their family bigger. Some parents may have children of their own, and they want to adopt a child to help and take care of him/her.
This text explains the rulings of adopting a child according to the Islamic law.
There are four major differences in Islamic law between adoptive and biological children:
1- Adopted children are better to be named after their biological parents. If they are named after their adoptive parents, the foster parents should not precisely introduce them as their own child. (This is forbidden (Haram) since it is a lie.)
2- Adopted children do not automatically inherit from their adoptive parents. Unless it is mentioned in the parents’ will.
3- When adopted children become mature (Baligh) they will become of the marriageable kin (non-Mahram) to their adoptive family (parents, brothers/ sisters, uncles/ aunts).
4- The property of an adopted child (provided by his/her biological parents or family members) belongs to him/ her. Adoptive parents will keep it as mere trustees.
Islam has careful considerations towards orphans. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) himself had adopted a child and was fed by an adoptive mother during the first two years of his life.
It is narrated by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that “‘ The one who sponsors an orphan and I are like these two in Paradise.’ Then he joined his index and middle fingers” .
Orphans are so important in the eyes of God that Allah says in the Holy Quran “Indeed those who consume the property of orphans wrongfully, only ingest fire into their bellies, and soon they will enter the Blaze.” (4: 10)
There are specific rules in Islam with regards to adopting children.
In Islam, biological parents and the family lineage are of great significance. So, child adoption must not occur in a way that children lose their filiation. It is essential to keep in mind that according to Islam, filiation will be inherited from biological parents. Thus, by making a child adoption contract, the adoptive family will not be the child’s filiation.
According to Islamic law, child adoption is forbidden (Haram). But child protection (Kifalah) is highly recommended. By child adoption we mean, accepting a child and considering him/her as the adoptive parents’ real child. By child protection, we suggest that the child is being taken care of by his/ her foster parents. And at a suitable age, he/ she will be informed of his/her real filiation.
Thus, there is no problem in accepting a child as his/ her protector (Kafil). It becomes problematic when adopted children are not told the truth about their biological parents. It is understandable that it would be hard to tell any child that he/ she is not a family’s real child. But, consultations can help parents to find a proper way of telling the truth to their adopted child.
Besides, it is highly recommended in Islam to protect and support orphans, which means giving them financial and spiritual support in all aspects of their lives.
One of the points that Islam has in this regard is that the adopted children are of unmarriageable kin (non-Mahram). So when they grow up, they may face problems within their adoptive family.
Also if the adopted child is not aware of his/her real identity, there would be a chance of him marrying a marriageable kin (Mahram) of his/her biological family line without being aware of that. In Islam, like every other Abrahamic religion, it is forbidden to marry a marriageable kin (Mahram) [ii].
There is a tradition in some cultures that women do not feed their own children. Instead, they choose a wet nurse to breastfeed the child. The child who is breastfed from another woman, for a specific duration, will become of marriageable kin (Mahram) to the woman and her family.
Thus, if the adopted child is under two years old, and if the adoptive mother or her sister or her mother can breastfeed the child for a specific duration, a Foster (Ridha’) relationship will be created. As a result, the child will become of marriageable kin (Mahram) [i]. But the rulings with regards to inheritance is still the same.
[i] For exact information about foster (Ridha’) you should refer to your own source of emulation (Marja’ taqlid)
[ii] Read more about marriageable kin (mahram) at http://salamislam.com/content/who-are-mahrams-islam/4
- Humairi, Abdullah bin Ja’far, Qurbul Isnad, p. 9, hadith 315, Aalul-Bait (a.s.) Institute, Qom, first edition, 1413 A.H.
- Chapter Yousuf. verses 23 - 32
Conversion to Islam and becoming a new Muslim is a journey that begins with many questions and challenges, passes through many doubts and fears, studies and discussions, and one day it arrives the moment that one decides to say the two testimonies (Shahadatain). But this is not the end, rather a new start.
Sometimes conversion not only affects one’s personal life, but also his/her social life, and on top of everything, his/her family ties. However, it is not a big deal; you will always have Allah who helps you throughout ordeals and hardships, and always there exist solutions.
Families rarely accept the religious decisions of a member fully and, at its best, they put up with his/her unfortunate choice while hoping for his/her return to the truth. Sometimes in their eyes, the Muslim member of the family is not an equal, but a misguided soul requiring pity and help.
This is where the Muslim convert faces new difficulties that probably has not been expected. Thus, the question is, how can a New Muslim deal with his/her non-Muslim family?
It seems that the very first thing to do is to tell your family about your conversion; the more you wait, the more courage you will need to make it public. Besides, as long as you have not told your parents about your conversion, you are obliged to live a double life and consequently hide your “Muslim side.”
You feel 100% Muslim, but you should conceal what you really feel and you may not practice Islam as easily as it would be if you had told your family about it. Then, keep your courage, consider the benefits of telling your family about your conversion, and just do it!
Be aware that the Islamic lifestyle is something like others; it does not interrupt your daily routines. Neither the practices you are expected to do as a Muslim nor the personal attitudes that you should follow are bothering or disturbing to others. You are only required to leave or modify those social behaviors that are banned in Islam, like shaking hands with non-Mahrams, kissing or touching them, etc.
Do not panic to talk about your new life, activities, and Islamic practices with your family if you face their disapproval. Start to tell them little by little about the new Halal recipes you had come up with, any of the Islamic books you had read, your trips to the mosque, and your new Muslim friends.
If you feel it difficult to appear with Hijab in your family, for example, just think of all the beautiful things that Islam, your newfound religion, has given you and remember why you have made this decision in the first place.
Hiding things will only make you move further and further away from those you love most and might turn your conversion even harder on you and drive you to go back on your decision. Besides the ordinary daily conversations that you used to have with your parents before, keep talking about Islam and put your trust in Allah. They will eventually give you more and more freedom and respect your decision to be who you really are in front of them, Insha’Allah.
Converting to Islam and becoming a new Muslim is not just saying Shahadatain, but working on yourself and becoming a good Muslim day after day. Since Islam considers high importance for family ties (“Those who sever ties of kinship cannot hope to enter paradise. (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)) ” , being a real Muslim requires you to find the right balance between life before conversion to Islam and the Muslim that you’ve decided to become.
The Quran forbids Muslims to cut the relationship with their families, rather orders to foster ties of kinship with family, especially with parents, even if they are unbeliever (kafir) or sinner (fajir) . So, take your visits to your family as an excellent opportunity to expose them to the gentle and positive aspects of Islam ; not only by your words but also with your deeds . The fact that you are a Muslim should enhance your respect for your parents, increase your patience and kindness to them, and make you more humble and merciful towards them (17:23-24).
However, this must never lead you to compromise your commitment to the dictates of your own faith. Although in several verses of the Quran, Sunnah, and many sayings of the Ahlul-Bayt (AS) Muslims are ordered to give their parents dignity and keep their company honorably, you should not obey if your parents urge to polytheism (31:15).
Show your family that you would be honored to join them in their gatherings and at the dinner table, but remind them well that you are not allowed to consume alcohol, pork, or their by-products. This way you will be able to educate them on the Islamic dietary laws and explain the rationale behind them .
Remember! You are the representative of Islam and a new Muslim in your non-Muslim family. Try to be a good one!
You can also share the difficulties you have faced when telling your family about your conversion, send us your experience.
- S. H. al-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 15, p. 346.
- M. al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 78.