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UK Muslim Transgender Stirs Religious Storm

Published: 12/09/2013 12:18:12 PM GMT
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LONDON - A week after the story of the first Muslim transgender was revealed, the case of Lucy Vallender is still prompting strong reactions within the Muslim community, both in the UK and abroad, seeing her standing literall (more)

LONDON - A week after the story of the first Muslim transgender was revealed, the case of Lucy Vallender is still prompting strong reactions within the Muslim community, both in the UK and abroad, seeing her standing literally in the middle of a religious storm.

“Men and women are born they cannot make themselves into anything,” Muslim scholar Nasser al-Manghari from London told

"There is no such thing as a third gender, or gender confusion ... While hermaphrodite can in all legality choose their gender according to their preferences since they have been born with both attributes.

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“Shari`ah does not provision for a person to change one's gender or physical appearance according to one's psychological preference and then expect to be treated as from a different gender.”

Al-Manghari was commenting on the case of Lucy Vallender (previously known as Laurens) who was born as a man and made a transgender surgery, attracting world attention, especially Muslims.

Changing his life altogether, she converted to Islam last September because she perceived it as promoting peace.

To add to the complexity of her situation, Lucy married off a Muslim man, Murad, last Autumn, shortly after her conversion to Islam.

Since homosexuality is not only strictly forbidden in Islam but also punishable under Shari`ah (Islamic law), Lucy quite literally stands in the middle of a religious storm.

Al-Manghari strongly rejected the union as a religious aberration, stressing such union could not by essence be valid and lawful since Vallender was still genetically a man.

"One's gender goes beyond simple biology ... God defines your sexuality ... every cell, every atom of your body will be molded according to His choice on that regard,” he said.

“While I am not denying the psychological hardship Vallender must have and is experiencing I am saying that his conduct is not conform to Islam and as a newly convert his community and Imam should provide assistance and guidance.

“Al-Manghari was keen to point out, "Islam stands for the truth and speaks the truth, therefore the faithful should strive for the truth and not based their lives on lies.”


While scholars cited religious reasons for rejecting Vallender's transgender operation, the case has divided British Muslim community, with some seeing it as her right and others rejecting it.

“The Qur'an assures us that Allah created all the diversity that exists in the world out of divine and infinite wisdom,” Jalal, described as a progressist from Birmingham, told

“Religious scholars in every major branch of Islam have ruled that transgender people exist and should be treated as the gender with which they identify. You should also know that there are many transgender Muslims in the world.

“Many transition and "disappear" -- living their lives as men or women without paying much attention to the issues with which they have struggled before transition. For others, transgender identity remains important regardless of whether they transition and they find a sense of community in knowing one another."

Jalal's theory was rejected by Manal, a student Brighton who asked for using her first name only.

"Transgender in Islam is haram (prohibited)...When a woman is pregnant in her 3rd month of pregnancy an angel goes into her womb and and asks Allah whether this will be a boy or a girl,” Manal told

“Then Allah decides and tells him about the gender of the baby and so he or she will be. God does not mistakenly put one person into the wrong body, God does not make mistake, human beings do.”

“If there is a problem and you feel you are a male trapped inside a female or vice versa, it only means that something in your psyche is broken,” Manal said.

“The problem is not physical but rather psychological ...You were created male or female for a reason.”

In 1988, sex-reassignment surgery was declared acceptable under Islamic law by scholars at the world's oldest Islamic university, Al-Azhar, in Egypt but only for Hermaprodites - people born with both sexual characteristics, physically both male and female -

Sex changes have been deemed legal in Iran since Ayatolla Khomeini passed a fatwa authorizing them for “diagnosed transsexuals” over 25 years ago.

Reproduced with permission from