Ask A Question About Islam And Muslims

24 Questions


Thank you for your question. Islam has stressed the equality of men and women when it comes to their relationship with God. Their actions and attitudes are their own and they will be recompensed with justice and mercy. When it comes to some of the rulings on a sociological level, while they may not be the same for a man and woman, that doesn't affect their equality in front of God and certainly doesn't indicate inferiority as the Qur'an has clearly defined the benchmark of superiority being that of God-consciousness. There is also no ownership as the woman is a free woman and is responsible in front of God. It is her choice to follow these rules in her obedience to God, and for that she achieves the spiritual progression which is the benchmark of excellence.

At the same time, there is much discussion on the rulings related to women and the paradigms that have been used throughout our intellectual history to determine the rulings in different epochs. While that discussion has not resulted in a change of view of many scholars in regards to the specific ruling in your question, research is continually being made to apply our understanding of Islamic law in each time and the concern that you have raised is one that is taken seriously in intellectual circles, bearing in mind the changing roles of women in the modern world.

May you always be successful

Islamic rules forbidding seeing or touching other gender (Non Mahram) are very clear but exceptions come if there is a real necessity to save life. Necessity must be assessed and the exception should meet no more than the necessity. Any act more than the real necessity is not permissible.


First of all we need to be sure that she is really a woman. This assurance does not come from her recent appearance which looks like a woman but must come
through medical confirmed results that the DNA belongs to a female
human being. When a person is a female by genetic structure but
because of abnormality she looked like a male and then she went
through a surgery to remove the abnormal organs and develop the female
organs, in this case she is a female and marriage between a Muslim man
and a Muslim woman is possible. But if she does not have female DNA
and the operation was just for removing the male organs and creating or implanting 
female organs instead, she is in fact not a female, so there is no
question of marriage between a Muslim man and such a person.

Same situation applies on a woman who undergoes a surgery to look like a man wth out a DNA confirmation about the real gender.

There isn't full agreement on whether the soul has a gender, although a common view is that the soul does not have a gender. However one can deduce from Qur'an and hadith that we will appear in the afterlife similar to how we appear in this world including gender. It is said that the soul is affixed to a sort of body in the afterlife (less "heavy" than the physical body but still a sort of body) and so perhaps this is why it will appear gendered. 

[Edit: Hereby is demonstration that there is no agreement on the matter! In tafsir of 4:1, Allamah Tabataba'i expresses the view that the Qur'anic reference to creating the "nafs" of a person and its mate is the compound of worldly body and soul, not the soul in and of itself or what persists after the worldly life.

However, it should be said that there have been multiple trends of thought in the Islamic world regarding the nature of the soul, and some scholars accept some views - like Molla Sadra's - whereas others do not. As for non-Islamic sources, while it is true that extra-Islamic philosophical ideas were introduced to the Islamic world early on and became part of Islamic thought, just because something is extra-Islamic does not automatically mean it is wrong. For instance, pre-Islamic sources also say that 2+2=4, and we do not disagree with that. What can be said is that non-Islamic sources cannot be taken as proof of matters known through revelation, although one could consider the logic presented in them.

In any case, this may not be what the question is actually intending to ask, because it seems that the question is aimed at asking whether we will appear gendered in the barzakh and heaven/hell. From the Qur'an and hadith, it seems as if we will appear recognizably gendered, regardless of whether or not that is an inherent nature of the soul. In any case, we will all find out.

In contrast, some people ask whether the soul is essentially gendered because they have an interest in questions such as the position of women and men spiritually in Islamic thought.

An interesting read on the spiritual aspects of gender in the Islamic, including Shi'i, tradition is _The Tao of Islam_.]