Gender change operations

Reference: Ruling of the Council of Senior Scholars – No.176, Dated: 17/03/1413AH
al-Fataawa al-Muta’alliqah bit-Tibb wa Ahkaam al-Mardhaa – Page 305-306

All Praise is due to Allaah [alone], Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and salutations upon the best of creation, our Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and whoever is guided by his guidance until the Last Day. To proceed:

Then indeed the gathering of the Council of Senior Scholars at their 39th assembly which was in session in the city of Taif during the period from 24/02/1413AH to 18/03/1413AH, studied a request for religious guidance from a Consultant Gynaechologist, Dr. Ibraaheem Sulaymaan al-Hifthee, dated 25/11/1412AH in connection with a female infant whom medical tests indicated has some signs of masculinity.

And the Council studied the matter of changing a male to a female and a female to a male [gender change operation] and [in so doing] studied research papers already prepared in this field, just as they also studied the decision of al-Mujamma’ al-Fiq.hee al-Islaamee [prepared] by the Muslim World League [based in Makkah] issued in their 11th assembly regarding this matter. [Therefore], after [careful] research, discussion and study, the Council has decided as follows:

Firstly: It is not permissible to change a man whose male [sexual] organ is complete [in its creation] and [likewise] a woman whose female [sexual] organ is complete [in its creation] to the opposite gender. And any attempt at this change is considered a heinous crime and the one doing so is deserving of punishment [from Allaah]; This is because it is changing the creation of Allaah, and Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) has prohibited this change with His (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) statement regarding the saying of Shaytaan:

{…and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allaah}, soorah an-Nisaa., aayah 119

And it is mentioned in Saheeh Muslim [and al-Bukhaaree], on the authority of Ibn Mas’ood (radhi-yAllaahu ‘anhu) that he (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

«May Allaah curse the women who do tattoos and those for whom tattoos are done, those who pluck their eyebrows and those who file their teeth for the purpose of beautification and alter the creation of Allaah.»

Then he (Ibn Mas’ood) said:

“And it is not for me not to curse he who has been cursed by the Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), as it is (mentioned) in the Book of Allaah (‘Azza wa Jall):

{And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)}“, soorah al-Hashr, aayah 7

Secondly: As for he who has both the signs of masculinity and femininity with regard to his [sexual] organs, then his affair is to be studied as to which of the two [genders] is more prominent. So, if the male signs are prominent then it is permissible for him to seek medical treatment to remove any non-masculine features. And if the female signs are prominent then [likewise] it is permissible for him to seek medical treatment to remove any non-feminine features; And this is to be done whether it requires surgery or hormone [implants or medication] for that which exists therein of the greater good and averting any evil.

Thirdly: It is obligatory upon the doctors to inform the parents [legal guardians] of the child the results of the medical tests as to whether it is a boy or a girl, so they can be fully informed regarding the situation.

And with Allaah lies all success and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his family and his companions.

Abu 'Abdullaah, Mohammed Akhtar Chaudhry

About Abu 'Abdullaah, Mohammed Akhtar Chaudhry

- from London, UK. He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2004.