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Intersex child

Fatwaa ID: 749

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatuhu

Praying that insha Allah you are keeping well.

A couple has had an intersex child and are being pressurised by extended family to hand the child over to a likewise community. The father is likeminded. The mother is keen to raise the child and educate it. What are the rulings pertaining to raising and providing religious and secular uloom to such a child?
And what advice can a doctor extend in such circumstances when such a child is brought with gender identity issues?

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

By “intersex”, we understand that you are referring to a hermaphrodite, one who is naturally born with genitals of both genders. This is different from a transgender. We take note of the unIslamic baggage in the query regarding this matter.

At the outset, it is important to understand that a hermaphrodite, who was naturally born with both genders, is not at fault in any way. It is not permissible to look down upon such a person or belittle him. A hermaphrodite is as valuable and honorable as a human being as a male or a female. To ridicule or regard him to be any less than a male or female is impermissible and in reality a form of disrespect towards Allaah Ta’aala. Allaah Ta’aala created the person in this manner, and He is the All-Wise.

A hermaphrodite is entitled and deserving of all the rights enjoyed by any other human being. This includes the right to religious education as well as secular education. The parents of such a child must ensure that they nurture and raise the child as they would any other child of theirs. Likewise, they must be compassionate and understanding. Such a child will definitely be unwelcomed and troubled by others. Let that not be the attitude of the parents. The parents ought to understand this and be even more compassionate. They must to be a source of comfort and solace for the child.

The attitude of the extended family and the inconsiderate father is unfortunate. The extended family has no right to comment or provide their input in this case. They should focus on things that concern them and benefit them in the Hereafter. As for the father who is supposed to be the guardian and protector of this child, he has failed as a father and has shown his heartless nature. He should make sincere tawbah and istighfaar and put himself in the shoes of this child. This is his child and he will be accountable for the statements and decisions he makes. This is his responsibility.

Islamically, a hermaphrodite (khuntha), in most cases, can be assigned a gender depending on certain aspects and features, such as the functioning genital. In such a case, the laws of that gender will apply to such a person. A person in this case may consider medical and cosmetic procedures to physically reflect that gender, with conditions. There are few cases where it is not possible to assign them to a specific gender; the legal laws pertaining to them are different. You may refer to your local scholars for details on this.

As for your last question, a doctor should remind the parents of the above mentioned aspects.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York

08/09/1444 AH – 03/01/2023 CE | AML1-7196

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين


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