Tag Archives: hadith

Transgender/ transvestite muslims!!!

Yes you read that title right! This is totally new to me so this post will probably be very short. I only became aware of it after reading chapter 6 of Shereen El Feki’s Sex and the Citadel (ISBN 9780099526384).

I assume the sexual imagery isn’t lost on you

I’m surprised, not so much by the fact that such people exist (because modern orthodox muslims just explain them away as sinners/ improper muslims) but by the fact they existed!

In other words, this post will NOT be about transsexual/ transvestite/ transgender muslims in modern times, but ones in olden times – even back to Muhammad’s days!

Mukhannathuwn

Plural of mukhannath. Literally means effeminate, ie. men whose behaviour and/ or dress was like women’s. The ahadiyth talk about them, and interestingly they weren’t as persecuted as modern muslims would (like to) think. Despite the hadiyth in which Muhammad curses effeminate men (and masculine women, to be sure), debate still goes on over whether he meant all such people or particular ones around him. In another hadiyth a man applying henna was dragged in front of him and he had him banished – but not killed because that man prayed. It should be noted, however, that this term also encompassed eunuchs, so early muslims didn’t really distinguish between men who were “feminised” by force and those “feminised” by choice. This is in common with much of the world’s thinking back then, the thought that castration “emasculates” you, permanently puts you outside the fold of maleness. However, muslim scholars in the past did distinguish between 2 types of mukhannath – innocent ones who are innately feminine and don’t try to profit from their “womanliness”, and those who sin by prostituting themselves.

Also, male homosexuals were NOT covered by this term because mukhannathuwn were assumed to be asexual, or “free of physical needs” and therefore guys women were safe around. Usually. Modern Arabs and Arabised peoples, according to El Feki, wrongly disregard that and assume they’re raging homosexuals. There was no exact Arabic equivalent of homosexuals; the closest was luwtiy, a 13th century word based on the story of Luwt (Lot), the guy sent to Sodom & Gomorrah to convince the men there to stop having sex with each other. However, modern attempts at equivalents do exist.

Unlike in early Christian history, there’s nothing to show early muslims became eunuchs by choice. As far as I know…

Obviously I couldn’t get pics of ancient mukhannathuwn

 

 

Gulāmiyyāt

Plural of gulāmiyyah. This word is a feminine form of gulām (young man or boy) and referred to women who dressed and behaved like men. Ironically, though some even went to lengths such as painting moustaches on their faces, hanging out in male-only events and taking on male names, they were decidedly heterosexual and made no attempt to hide their female shapes! They even painted their male lovers’ names on their faces! In fact, back in the Abbasid dynasty of 9th century Baghdad they were seen as hot. Al-Rashid, its most famous sultān, reportedly had up to 4000 gulāmiyyāt in his court. His son Al-Amin was known for liking boys, and his mother (worried about him not producing an heir) gave him gulāmiyyāt slaves – which he really took to. His favourite was a girl called ‘Arib. Also unlike modern days, they were NOT confused with lesbians as again there was no exact equivalent word for them – but there are many now.

Nowadays in the Arab region they’re called boyat and treated as Western-imported deviants trying to obliterate the God-sanctioned feminine norm, especially in Qatar. See what a conference in the Emirates had to say of them.

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Update: Indonesia has the warias, men who dress & see themselves as women. This custom predated Indonesian Islam by ages but still persists. Since Indonesia has the highest number of muslims in the world, most warias are muslim.

(sourced from http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/08/asia_pac_indonesia0s_waria/img/3.jpg)

Min ka Muslimiyn li Muslimiyn (from like Muslims to Muslims)

This poem is a lesson I learned from personal experience, primarily to Muslims but it can apply equally well to other religious groups too. The lesson is that in order to follow your religion properly, you have to experiment with it. You have to adapt it to your life, not blindly follow it just because that’s how you’ve been raised. You should question it, understand it in unconventional ways, follow the spirit rather than the letter of the law, even go against tradition & culture regardless of who may hate you for it. Only when you’re living the religion in a way YOU TRULY enjoy, as the characters in this poem have done, will your faith be true and pure.

How did it all go so wrong?

They were raised since very young to be so good, so devout,

So God-fearing, so religious.

He’d have never imagined having a girlfriend, nor she a boyfriend.

Marriage would be the only time they’d dare dream of the opposite sex!

She used to wear all-black khimar and jilbab and niqab,

He used to wear full shalwar kameez and topi and fist-length beard.

That was their fashion, no need for hairdressers or mirrors.

They used to do all 5 salawat (fard, sunnah and nafl) on time every time, no lates,

They used to try to memorise Quran every day, only befriend same-sex Muslims,

Her eyes never looked at non-mahram men nor his eyes at non-mahram women,

They only ate & drank with the right hand, and going masjid was his only entertainment

While she wouldn’t even look outside the house if she didn’t need to!

How did it all go so wrong?

Now she wears bright colours! And make-up! And jewellery!

He wears shirts! And trims his beard! And leaves hair uncovered!

It looks so shameful!

Now they do just the fard of salat, and even sometimes do them late!

It looks so shameful!

They’ve stopped memorising Quran! And start questioning it and the ahadeeth!

It looks so shameful!

They look at non-mahrams!

It looks so shameful!

Now they don’t care about eating with right or left hand!

It looks so shameful!

Now she goes outside! And he stops going masjid! Instead they both hang out with non-Muslim friends!

It looks so shameful!

But worst of all, an absolutely unforgiveable sin: they date each other!

A Muslim woman going out with a Muslim man? Astagfirullah!

How shameful!

How did it all go so wrong?

_          _          _          _          _

 

How did they get it so right?

They used to follow the dictates of their parents, their families,

Their home countries’ culture, or their shuyookh.

Now they make up their own minds, live their own lives!

They no longer fear Allah – they love and abide by HIS guidance too much for such immaturity,

And no longer do they fear interacting with the opposite sex – they can conduct themselves responsibly.

Where they were restricted and stunted by their faith, they are now liberated and empowered by their faith.

How did they get it so right?

Now she wears bright colours, and make-up, and jewellery.

He wears shirts, and trims his beard, and leaves hair uncovered

Yet they still cover up Islamically!

Now they do just the fard of salat, and even sometimes do them late

Yet they still pray the full 5 and make up missed ones!

They’ve stopped memorising Quran, and start questioning it and the ahadeeth,

Because they now prioritise understanding & applying it to daily life!

They look at non-mahrams,

Yet they’re following the sunnah of courtesy & sociability!

Now they don’t care about eating with right or left hand

Yet their hands are clean and the food’s still halal!

Now she goes outside, he stops going masjid. Instead they both hang out with non-Muslim friends

Yet they avoid pubs and clubs and drugs and drink!

But best of all, an absolutely revolutionary blessing: they date each other!

A Muslim woman going out with a Muslim man? Al-hamdu lillah!

They’re following the sunnah of gaining familiarity & attraction before marriage!

How beautiful!

How did they get it so right?

 

Min ka-Muslimiyn li Muslimiyn (from like Muslims to Muslims) – GLOSSARY

I meant to add this to the original link but I forgot. Hey, I’m human! This post is to explain the Arabic terms I used in that poem

Khimar – proper name for women’s headscarf

Jilbab – loose-fit coat for women, also known as jubbah or abaya

Niqab – women’s face-veil

Shalwar Kameez –  (Urdu/ Farsi, not Arabic) long loose pants & long shirt or tunic

Topi – (Sanskrit/ Dravidian languages, not Arabic) men’s cap, similar to Jewish skullcap 

Salawat – prayers (plural of salat)

Fard – compulsory

Sunnah – tradition (most often referring to that of prophet Muhammad)

Nafl – voluntary

Mahram – individuals whom a given person would be forbidden to marry & in front of whom the normal dress code can be relaxed, eg. family members

(therefore a non-mahram is one whom a given person would theoretically be allowed to marry & in front of whom one is to observe the normal dress code, eg. strangers, general public)

Ahadeeth – written collections of prophet Muhammad’s life & deeds, plural of hadeeth

Masjid – proper term for mosque

Astagfirullah – I seek forgiveness from Allah

Shuyookh – scholars/ learned people, plural of shaykh

Al-hamdu lillah – praise to Allah

Min ka-Muslimiyn li Muslimiyn (from like Muslims to Muslims)

This poem is a lesson I learned from personal experience, primarily to Muslims but it can apply equally well to other religious groups too. The lesson is that in order to follow your religion properly, you have to experiment with it. You have to adapt it to your life, not blindly follow it just because that’s how you’ve been raised. You should question it, understand it in unconventional ways, follow the spirit rather than the letter of the law, even go against tradition & culture regardless of who may hate you for it. Only when you’re living the religion in a way YOU TRULY enjoy, as the characters in this poem have done, will your faith be true and pure.