Transgender Identity, The Sex-Reassignment Surgery Fatwās and Islāmic Theology of A Third Gender

Mehrdad Alipour*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Although in the late 1980s, transgender sex-reassignment surgery was legalized (made
halāl) in sharīʿa and/or in state law by the Fatwās of Āyatullāh Khomeini in Iran and
Shaykh al-Ṭanṭāwī in Egypt, the issue of whether Islamic theology accepts transgender
people as third gender remains underdeveloped. The traditional Islamic line on gender
divisions has been criticised for being established on the basis of the binary logic of male
and female gender which leaves no capacity to accept a third gender in traditional Islāmic
theology. Therefore, the fatwās of both Khomeini and al-Ṭanṭāwī were issued on the basis
of the binary logic of male and female gender. However, this article argues that although
al-Ṭanṭāwī’s fatwā was vague and clearly built on a gender binary logic, Khomeini’s fatwā
was issued on other grounds that may allow for a discussion on transgender Muslims as
third gender. Moreover, the article argues that there is a discursive space within Muslim
juridical texts which one may justifiably use to underpin an interpretation of a third
gender in Islāmic legal and theological debates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-179
JournalReligion and Gender
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Transgender
  • sex-reassignment surgery’ fatwās
  • Khomeini
  • al-Ṭanṭāwī
  • Islāmic theology
  • third gender

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Transgender Identity, The Sex-Reassignment Surgery Fatwās and Islāmic Theology of A Third Gender'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this