Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- It is not permissible for a Muslim, man or woman, to interfere in his own gender to change it.
2- As for the case you mentioned in your question, he is highly advised to return to his original gender, as this was declared by specialists to be easy and better for the person.
Responding to your question, Imam Dr. Wael Shehab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University, and currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada. states:
A Muslim should be satisfied with the way Allah Almighty has created him or her. If one faces physical or psychological problems, he or she should treat them according to the general values and morals of Islam.
In Islam, changing one’s sex is not permissible if the person (male or female) has complete male or female sex organs. This is because this person would be seeking to change Allah’s creation which is forbidden in Islam. Allah Almighty reports Satan as saying, “… and surely I will command them and they will change Allah’s creation.” (An-Nisaa’ 4:119)
However, it is possible for the hermaphrodites to get assigned a certain sex, by means of medical intervention (surgical and/or hormonal therapy) and behavioral training. When a sex is assigned, the individuals must do their best confirming themselves in that sex.
For the case in hand, as the sex-change operation was undergone before the person’s conversion to Islam, Allah forgives all sins committed before one’s conversion.
Moreover, I have consulted reliable medical sources, which confirm the following:
1. A person who undergoes sex-change operation will not be a complete man or woman. So, if a man changed his gender to a woman, she then will not be able to bear children or breastfeed them. The same also applies to a woman who changes her gender to a man; he will not be able to have children.
2. It is easy for a person, after having sex-change operation, to return back to his or her original sex.
Given the above, it’s my advice for him to return back to his original sex and go through professional counseling and treatment to lead a normal happy life.
As for the Muslim community, they should help him go through this difficult phase of his life. Some particular measures may be taken in order to cope with the current situation until he overcomes his problem.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.