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One of my friends has recently told me that she feels she is "transgendered." She says that she has always prefered male clothing, but that now she wants to make a step further and actually become a male, by taking hormones and going through surgery. She claims that this is corrective surgery. What does Islam say on this issue? Could Allah have created her a male inside a woman's body? And why would he do that? She has abandoned Islam because she thinks our community will condemn her.

Answered by

Sheikh `Abd al-Rahmân al-Jar`î, professor at King Khâlid University in Abhâ
There is a difference between corrective surgery for the sex organs and sex change. Corrective surgery fixes deformity affecting the sex organs to achieve agreement between a person’s exterior and chromosomal make-up and his or her sex organs. This kind of surgery is permissible because what it achieves is treatment and not the altering of Allah’s creation or imitation of the opposite sex.

A sex change operation, however, means that healthy males or females suffering from no deformity, who are able to marry and reproduce, choose to undergo elective surgery to transform themselves into the appearance of the opposite sex.

This kind of surgery is prohibited by Islamic Law because it is altering Allah’s creation needlessly and in vanity. Allah relates to us that Satan says: “And I shall order them and they will alter Allah’s creation.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’:119].

It is also the most extreme form of imitating the opposite sex. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah curses men who imitate women and women who imitate men.”