Does man think that he will be left alone, unquestioned? Was he not a drop of ejaculated semen, then he became a clot, and then Allah made it into a living body and proportioned its parts, and then He made of him a pair, male and female? --- Qur'an 75:36-39

In the top answer to Can transgender people be Muslims, and how do gendered rules and rules about marriage apply? there is the assertion that Qur'an 75:39 implies there's exclusively males and females. However, strictly speaking, it's not a logical consequence on this ayat. If someone made, say, a lock and a key, that doesn't mean there's no other means of securing a door closed that neither involve a lock nor a key.

Question: Does the Qur'an 75:39 (or another ayat) exclude the possibility of people who are neither male nor female?

Yes, Allah made males and females, and the vast majority of people in this world fit comfortably in these categories, and this is probably practically important for the continued existence of man. But did Allah make anything else? Personally, I don't like to ascribe limitations to Allah, so, in general, I tend to have a "He could do that" attitude. In the setting of this question, I also have non-binary and intersex friends.

  • I do agree with you as I was apparently the first who left a comment (not in my best English) on that on this answer which seemed to me a bit contradictory. Maybe a part of my answer on this post is somewhat relevant islam.stackexchange.com/questions/25975/…
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 5:17
  • Indeed, there's cases when "phenotypic sex" (i.e. your junk) and "genotypic sex" (i.e., your chromosomes) disagree (including XY females and XX males, among many others), and intersex people (as recognized by ambiguous genitalia, presence of both male-typical and female-typical organs, etc.). I know people like this personally, so I don't think of them as objects of science, but friends. We catch up for coffee sometimes. One helped me out when I was in trouble. (They're around, and more common that you might think; they don't tend to advertise it though.) Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 23:59

3 Answers 3


Indeed Imam al-Qurtobi in his tafsir commented this verse as follows:

الزوجين الذكر والأنثى أي الرجل والمرأة . وقد احتج بهذا من رأى إسقاط الخنثى . وقد مضى في سورة ( الشورى ) أن هذه الآية وقرينتها إنما خرجتا مخرج الغالب . وقد مضى في أول سورة ( النساء ) أيضا القول فيه ، وذكرنا في آية المواريث حكمه
--- (My own trabnslation take it carefully) ---
two mates, the male and the female means the man and the woman. Those who don't accept hermaphrodites used this verse as a proof. And we already commented in surat a-Shura that this verse and it's mate only quoted the majority. And we also treated this in the beginning of surat an-Nisaa' and we quoted the ruling about in the verse of inheritance.

so apparently people who reject hermaphrodites use this verse as a proof. But al-Qurtobi emphasized that the quote is only speaking of the majority, this doesn't really exclude special cases (of pairs in Allahs creation) like transgender it only tells that the majority of humans are either male or female.

And here a quote from the same tafsir about hemaphrodite on the verse of inheritance 4:11

الثانية عشرة : لما قال تعالى : في أولادكم تناول الخنثى وهو الذي له فرجان . وأجمع العلماء على أنه يورث من حيث يبول ؛ إن بال من حيث يبول الرجل ورث ميراث رجل ، وإن بال من حيث تبول المرأة ورث ميراث المرأة...
--- (My own translation take it carefully) ---
12th item: when the Almighty said: concerning your children HE also included the hermaphrodite in the discussion (this is a human with two sexual organs). The scholars are in consensus that he is inheriting according the organ he used or urination: If he urinates from the male organ he inherits as a man and if he urinates from the female organ he inherits like a woman. ...

In tafsir al-Bahr al-Moheet the "two mates" were interpreted as the two kinds, which doesn't exclude that both can be in one single creature.

At-Tabari interpreted the verse "And made of him two mates, the male and the female." saying that from this human being which Allah has well proportioned in his creation HE created male and female offspring. Al-Baghawi emphasizes the fact that the kind (gender) of the offspring is defined by the liquide of the male.

Conclusion: Most tafsirs say that the two mates or pairs refer to two kinds (most mean genders) of Allah's creation. Imam al-Qurtobi said that this verse if we make a distinction between both kinds male and female has to be understood as the major way of creation and doesn't exclude special cases. If we understand it as two different kinds, we also can't exclude the fact that both of them to appear in the same creation.

On the other hand hermaphrodites exists and there are enough narrations in hadith collections (like here in sunan al-bayhaqi al-Kubra) -the most trustworthy are sayings or fatwas of sahaba like Ali and ibn 'Abbass- which show this fact so excluding, neglecting or rejecting their existence could be considered as wrong and as rejecting a creation of Allah in worst case. As Allah says in 42:49-50:

To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He creates what he wills. He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whom He wills males. (49) Or He makes them [both] males and females, and He renders whom He wills barren. Indeed, He is Knowing and Competent.

In many Arabic fatwas the word خنثى is used for both hermaphrodite and transgender this caused me some trouble while I was writing my answer.


I just have to add that the Quranic stories about Prophet Adam S.A.W indicate that he was technically a-gendered or non-binary until he was forced by Allah into a coma who took a rib and transformed the rib into Prophet Eve S.A.W who was the first gendered human.

So the story of gender starts with Prophet Eve S.A.W and while the Qur'an speaks to the majority of Muslims who will be gendered binarrily, the example of Prophet Adam S.A.W has been used to promote the argument that gender in intersex persons is indeterminable until either menstruation or marriage occurs.

Don't forget that unlike now, it was socially and culturally acceptable to marry people who hadn't undergone menstruation in the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W's time, so when intersex people of indeterminate gender who hadn't menstrusted got married, their social gender would be constructed as male if they married a binary female. Vice versa, if a post-menstruation intersex person married a man, the intersex person would be considered as female by the society of the time.

Here is an article in Urdu about this in the Esteemed Ali R.A.H'S time and his adjudication about it.



The Qur'aan Verse 75:39 clearly says:

then He(Allah) made of Him(Husband) a pair, male and female

This verse not at all talks about Transgender. This verse clearly says that The man(Husband) is the reason for child's gender.

In the past(some people today too) think, female children were(are) a curse, so they bury the female child alive, and scold the woman(wife) for given birth to a female child.

The Qur'aan speaks about the Science here, that The husband is the reason for child's gender.

The science is:

  • To form a child, the male(Husband)'s sperm needs to go into the ovary of a female(Wife).
  • The Male's sperm has two chromosomes X and Y.
  • The Female's has only X chromosome.
  • For a male child, the chromosome pair should be X and Y
  • For a female child, the chromosome pair should be X and X

The male's sperm decides the gender of the child.

  • If X chromosome of male's sperm enters into the female's ovary, then the male's X chromosome joins the X chromosome in the ovary and forms a Female child.
  • If Y chromosome of male's sperm enters into the female's ovary, then the male's Y chromosome joins the X chromosome in the ovary and forms a Male child.

Thats what the Verse 75:39 says

Then He(Allah) made of Him(Husband) a pair, male and female.

@Medi1Saif was wrong about the verse 75:39 and also wrong about 4:11 where he said about two sexual organs.

That verse speaks about the Share ratio of the Fathers property after his dead.

Allah instructs you concerning(About) your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females.

So the concerning of Allah here is

"Allah instructs you about your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females."

It is only for the share ratio of the property, for the male 2:3 of the property and female 1:3 of the property. so it two shares of female to a male child

And also wrong about 42:49-50:

(49)To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He creates what he wills. He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whom He wills males. (50) Or He makes them [both] males and females, and He renders whom He wills barren. Indeed, He is Knowing and Competent.

Here Allah says He creates what he wills means "he creates what he wants".

But a Transgender is not from birth. Male or Female changes their behavior to their opposite gender is Transgender.

  • If a male changes his male behavior,attitude to a female's then he is a transgender.
  • If a female changes her female behavior,attitude to a male's then she is a transgender.

Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) have prohibited men acting like female and female acting like men.

The above Hadith talks about the real Transgender here.

So, no child is a transgender from the birth, it changes in life. And the thought is wrong that the Qur'aan verses 4:11,75:39,42:49-40 talks about the Transgender

  • I'm not an English native speaker therefore I might have used the wrong words, but as far as I can tell my post is corrected by now!
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 14:12

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