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Rules of Transgender according to Shia

Question 381: A/S. One of my boss is transgender and she has locker in ladies locker room. I ve never seen her changing there but she does her makeup there. I usually change as fast as I can since I am very particular about changing in female locker room. My nightmare is what if I am changing and she walks in? What is the fiqh ruling in this situation? If I have no other choice, & im trying to change as quick as possible into uniform, is she still considered a male? What is the rules of Transgender according to Shia?

Answer 381: There are four types of people can be imagined for Transsexual people that each has special rules that has been explained in Islamic Laws. If you are not sure which type your boss is you are supposed to observe hijab in front of it. Otherwise, if you know that your boss is really a woman you would be allowed to change your clothes even in front of her. For further information, please refer to the detailed answer.

Most of Islamic laws are for men and women. In other word, some of rules are specialized for men and others for women. There is no doubt that most of people are men or women. The following are four types of sexuality can be imagined for the human being.

  1. Transsexual: These types of people experience a gender identity in a way that they see themselves in a transition between being women or men. In other word, some men psychologically or mentally identify themselves as a woman and some women mentally as men. Although, they don’t have any deficiency or defect about their physiological body, but they are mentally and psychologically ill. They sometimes, don’t know which they are, women or men.

In response to a question that what is the criteria for such types of people about their sexuality? Are they considered as men or women? We can say that the basis on determining sexuality is its physical appearance. So, if they have male sexual organs, they would be men, however they mentally belong themselves to opposite gender. If they have female sexual organs they would be women, however they are mentally or intellectually men.

Rules concerning them: They have to observe hijab and other rules related to women if they have female sexual organs, however they are mentally men.

Note: We must observe the rules relating to woman or man if we encounter with them. E.g. we would be able to get married to such people after getting the confirmation of a physician who approved which are they women or man. If they are considered as women according to the doctor confirmation we can get married to them.

  1. Hidden gender: Some people have hidden gender. This means that they have male sexual organs inside of his stomach, but apparently considered as women. And even they have long hair, breast, having no hair on face and generally looks like a woman.

According to scholars, the sexual criteria for such people is its real organs not apparent.

Therefore, if a person’s gender is hidden and one itself is aware of such circumstances, one has to observe Islamic laws according to its real gender (which is hidden). E.g. if they have male sexual organs inside of their body they are considered as men and then must act like men. Otherwise, they are women and have to act like woman. For instance, they have to observe hijab in front of non-mahram.[1]

  1. After changing gender (Sex Reassignment Surgery): If one seek medical assistance and aligned its body in order to identify its sex or gender, has done such surgery and become a man or woman the sexual gender criteria would be determined after the surgery. For example, if it becomes man he must act like a man and observe rules relating to men.
  2. Hermaphrodite (Khuntha): They are of two types: 1. Have both male and female sexual organs. 2. Have none of the both organs. The second type is known as Mamsooh.

According to physicians, the medical assistance can help them align their body with their identified sex or gender, including: Hormone replacement therapy, Sex reassignment therapies, mentally factors and sexual organs.

According to scholars, the criterion by which they can be determined as men or women is sexual gender. That’s why, there have been declared some signs in order to make sure which they are. For example, if one has both male and female sexual organs but urinate from one of the both it would be considered as the criterion. Therefore, if one urinates from male organs it would be considered as man.

There are other solutions have been explained in Islamic laws in order to identify their sex and gender as follows:

Urination (that just explained),  overtaking urination of female or male canal, interrupted urine delay in male or female urination canal and finally to be cautious and act like men and women if the previous mentioned criterions didn’t work and observing the rules of men and women are not beyond their capacities.[2]

Conclusion: Since, you are not sure to which of the above mentioned types your boss belong, you are supposed to observe hijab as well as the other rules in this regards if you see it.

[1] . In this regards, refer to Mutahhari, Ahmad, Mustanad Tahrir al-Wasila (al-Masael al-Mustahdathah), Pgs. 191-192;  Tahrir al-Wasila of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol 2, Pg. 559, Q 2.

[2] For further information in this regards, please refer to Sadr, Sayyid Muhammad, Mawara al-Fiqh, Vol. 6, Pg. 135.

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A Shia Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man

Question 342: A/S. Is it permissible for a shia divorced woman to marry a non-Muslim. If she married a Catholic and she will not be deterred to practice her shia faith, is it allowed?

Answer 342: In the Holy Quran Allah (SWT) says: “… And do not give (believing women) in marriage to idolaters until they believe And certainly a believing servant is better than an idolater, even though he should please you These (idolaters) invite to the Fire And Allah invites to the garden and to forgiveness by His will And makes clear His communications to men, that they may be mindful”.[1]

According to all maraja’ (ha), as for a Muslim woman, she is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim man at all. In this regards, there is no difference in permanent or temporary marriage, weather the man allows her practicing Shia faith or not.

If a Muslim woman has realized that her husband is non-Muslim their marriage contract is void and she must separate from him.[2]

Index: Essential Requirements of a Successful Marriage in Islam, answer 515.

Index:  Rules regarding temporary or permanent marriage with people of the book, answer 080.

Index: A Muslim Woman Cannot Marry a Non-Muslim Man, answer 576.

[1] . Surah Baqara, verse 221.

[2] . Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini, Vol. 2, Pg. 254;  Minhaju ‘s-Saliheen, vol. 2, Pgs. 263- 265; Ibid, Vol. 3, Pg. 67, Q 205; Tawzih al-Masael, Pg. 479, Q 2357; Ibid, 1381, Pg. 476, Q 2393; Istiftaat of Imam Khomeini, Vol. 3, Pg. 128, Q 131 & 132; In this regards, a question has been sent to the office of Grand maraja Ayatollahs Khameni, Sistani and Makarem Shirazi (ha).

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Looking at non-Mahram Body for Marriage

Question 611: Salam. Is a person allowed to look at the hair of her fiance once before marriage? Need answer from ruling of Ayatollah Khamenei and ayatollah Sistani?

Answer 611: Generally, it is haraam for a man to look at the body or hair of the Non-Mahram women, regardless of whether it is with the intention of pleasure or not, and whether there is a fear of falling into sinful act or not. It is also haraam to look at the faces and the arms, up to the wrists, of such women with the intention of pleasure, or if there is fear of falling into sinful act, and the recommended precaution is that one should not look at their faces or arms even without such an intention. Similarly, it is haraam for a woman to look at the body of Non-Mahram man, except places which are customarily not covered, like, his face, hands, head, neck and feet. She can look at these parts of a man without the intention of deriving any pleasure, or if there is no fear of being entrapped in any sinful act.[1]

But, it is permissible for a man to look at a woman whom he intends to marry provided that: 1- it is not with the intention of pleasure, 2 – it is to find out about her beauty or her defects, 3 – there should not be any barrier or hurdle to the marriage, 4 – he considers it problem that the girl will not reject him[2], in which case he can look at a woman’s face, hands up to the wrists, hair and a part of her body (neck and upper part of the chest).[3]

It should be noted that grand Ayatollah Saafi believes that: as an obligatory precaution, he must suffice to looking at her face and hands up to the wrists.[4]

Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: It is permissible for a man to look at the attractive features of the woman he intends to marry. Similarly, it is permissible to talk to her before proposing. So, it is permissible to look at her face, hair, neck, hands and wrists, and legs and other parts of her body, provided that he does not so without sexuall gratification.[5]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answers:

Index: Essential Requirements of a Successful Marriage in Islam, answer 515.

Index: Premarital relation with non-Mahram is impermissible, answer 082.

Index: Chatting on the internet with non-Mahram, answer 350.

Index: Shaking Hands with non-Mahram Man or Woman, answer 603.

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules regarding Marriage » Looking at non-Mahram.

[2] – Khamenei, Sayyid Ali, Ajwebat al-Istiftaat, question 525; Sistani, Sayyid ali, Minhaj al-Salehin, vol.2, Nikah (Marriage), issue No. 28; Bahjat, Muhammad Taqi, Resalah Tawzih al-Masail, issue No.1944; Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Ta’liqat Alaa al-Urwat al-Wuthqa, Nikah (Marriage), issue No, 26; Fazel Lankarani, Muhammad, Ta’liqat Alaa al-Urwat al-Wuthqa, Nikah (Marriage), issue No. 26.

[3] -Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Ta’liqat Alaa al-Urwat al-Wuthqa, Nikah (Marriage), issue No, 26; Ali bin Abi Talib Religious School, Qom; Sistani, Sayyid Ali, Minhaj al-Saalehin, vol.2, Nikah, issue No. 28; Tabrizi, Jawad, Isteftaat, question 1580, p. 355, Sarwar Publications, Sitara Publications, 3rd edition, 1385 (2006); Bahjat, Muhammad Taqi, Resalah, Tawzih al-Masail, issue No. 1944, p. 386, Publications of the Office of the Supreme Leader, Amir Printing Press, 18th edition,Qom, 1378 (1999). Tawzih al-Masail (with annotation by Imam Khomeini) vol.2, p. 485, issue No. 2433; Imam Khomeini, Sayyid Rohullah, Tahrir al-Wasilah, vol.2, Nikah (marriage), issue No. 28, Payam Printing House, fifth edition, 1365 (1986).

[4] – Saafi, Lotfullah, Hidayat al-‘Ibad, vol.2, Nikah (Marriage), issue No. 28; Adopted from IQ.

[5] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules concerning Marriage » General Rules.

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Shaking Hands with non-Mahram Man or Woman

Question 603: Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatahu. Generally what is the ruling on Shaking Hands with non-Mahram? Can a woman shake her hands with a non-Mahram provided that she is wearing gloves? I am looking for the Fatwa of Ayatullah Sistani on this issue.

Answer 603: Shaking hand without a barrier, such as gloves is not permissible, unless refraining from shaking hands will put you in a considerable harm or unbearable difficulty. In the latter case, you are allowed to shake hands to the extent of necessity only.[1]

What is clear and for sure is that one’s encounter with a non-mahram must be in a way that there is no sin or fear of sin involved.[2]

As far as physical contact between a non-mahram man and woman and shaking hands goes, one must say:

The great maraji’ have said in general: “Shaking hands with a non-mahram is impermissible, unless there is something that prevents direct contact [like gloves], or secondary rulings apply to the situation, such as Darurah (urgency and having no choice).”

For instance, Imam Khomeini says: It isn’t permissible for a man to touch the body of a non-mahram, even if it is the hands or face, unless it is done with gloves or over a cloth, given that there are no bad intentions and that the hand of the woman isn’t squeezed. The same goes for a woman in regard to a non-mahram man.

Also, it is permissible for a man to touch a woman and vice versa in extenuating circumstances (Darurah) when the only solution is physical contact, like in the cases of medical attention and saving one who is drowning or on fire[3]. Nonetheless, even in these cases, one should only confine himself to the amount of contact needed for the situation and no more.[4]

Considering the above mentioned issues, the circumstances aren’t urgent ones and Darurat doesn’t apply, therefore, if you are going to do so, you must somehow block direct contact using gloves and the like in order to refrain from haram.

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index:  Premarital relation with non-Mahram is impermissible, answer 082.

Index: Ways to Greet in Islam with Muslims and Non-Mahram, answer 369.

Index: Chatting on the internet with non-Mahram, answer 350.

Index: Impermissibility of confirming marriage tie with others during Iddah (waiting period), answer 554.

Related Link: Facebook.

[1] . The Official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules concerning Hand Shaking.

[2] Tawdih al-Masa’il of the maraji’, vol. 2, issue 2442; Ibid, pg. 809, second question; Masa’ele Jadid, vol. 1, pp. 137-138.

[3] For further information, see: Tawdih al-Masa’il (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 2, questions 36 and 37; Jami’ al-Masa’il, Ayatullah Fazel, vol. 1, issue 1717; Ajwibah al-Istifta’at (Farsi version), question 1310, pg. 290.

[4] Nijat al-Ibad, Imam Khomeini, pg. 364, issues 23 and 24.

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The best place for a woman to pray is at home or mosque

Question 015: According to some hadith, it is recommended for a woman to pray in her home as well as there are rewards for participation in congregational prayer. A wife in Islam is suppose to obey her husband except if he is asking something that is contrary to the teachings of Islam.

Do the rewards for congregational prayer only apply for men since there are hadith that say the best place to pray for a woman is at home? Does a husband have the right to tell his wife that she has to stay at home and pray, since a wife has to gain the permission of her husband to leave the home? If the wife is not permitted to leave the home to participate in congregational prayer, does she get the rewards equal to what the men get when they go to the mosque for congregational prayer, since it has been recommended by hadith for her to do so? If a wife is given permission to participate in congregational prayer will her rewards be less than if she were to pray at home?

Answer 015: The man has certain rights over his wife. One of those rights is that she must obey him. The woman has the responsibility toward her husband not to go out of his home without his permission. If both the man and woman understand, trust, love and believe each other, the man should let her go to offer her prayers at a mosque.

There are two different opinions, according to the Holy Qur’an and traditions:

  1. The best place to pray for a woman is at home
  2. Women are allowed to pray at mosque

The Holy Qur’an: “And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance.” [1]

So, the best place to pray for women is at her house. [2]

“O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when out of doors that is most convenient, that they should be known as such and not molested). And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [3]

So, Islam has ordered women to have hijab in order to be protected.

Ahadith: The Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Imam Sadiq (as) says: a woman who prays at home will get equal reward as praying at a mosque. They also say: if a woman prays at her house she will get more rewards than praying at other places. [4]

According to some scholars, it is recommended for a woman to take part in social activities and offer her prayers at mosque which is one of the best recommended act in Islam.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh), Imam Hasan, Imam Sadiq (pbuth) say: Offer your prayers at mosques. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the Imams (pbuth) didn’t say only men are allowed to pray at a mosque, so women can offer their prayers at mosque too.[5]

The believing women offered their prayers with the Holy Prophet (pbuh). [6]

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) recommended that men should not prevent your wives from going to the mosques. [7]

Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: It is recommended for women to attend congregational prayers as evidenced by an authentic tradition from the Commander of the Faithful, Ali (AS) that women used to attend congregational prayers but they were ordered to linger their sajda (prostration) because some men were wearing tight garments but there is another authentic tradition which says that a woman’s prayer at home is more virtuous than her prayer in a mosque. However, the conclusion that can be drawn from both traditions is that a woman’s prayer at a place where she is not seen by non-mahram men (strangers) is more virtuous. If she can perform her prayers in a mosque without being seen by strangers, the prayer in a mosque would be more virtuous in that case. God knows best.[8]

In conclusion, if her husband allow her pray at mosque she will get the rewards, if not and she offers her prayers at home she will receive the same rewards. In sha Allah.

For further information in this regards, please read the following answers:

Index: Philosophy of Hijab during prayer, answer 020.

Index: Men and Women: Covering body in prayers, answer 594.

[1] . Surah Ahzab, verse 33.

[2] . Sayyid Quṭb, In Tafsir Fi Zilal Al-Quran, Vol. 5. Pg. 2859.

[3] . Surah Ahzab, verse 59.

[4] . Wasaiel al-Shia, Vol. 5, Pg. 237, Allamah Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 80, Pg. 371; Sheikh Saduq, Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih, Vol. 1, Pg. 374, H 1088; Abul Qasim Payandeh, Nahjul Fasahah, Pg. 474, H 1532.

[5] . Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 7, Pg. 650, Mustadrakul Wasail, Vol. 3, Pg. 554&659, H 785; Nahjul Fasaha, Pg. 596, H 3083; Mustadrakul Wasail, Vol. 7, Pg. 659.

[6] . Sunan Ibn Majeh, Vol.1, Pg. 137, H 565 & 566, Sheikh Ali Namzi Shahroodi, Mustadrak Safinatul Bihar, Vol.1, Pg. 209.

[7] . Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 1, Pg. 155, H 565, 566, 567 & 568; Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 11, Pg. 677, H 20872.

[8] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Q&A: Mass Prayer.