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Pakistani Clerics Approve Transgender Marriage Under Islamic Law

Anokhi DIY Anokhi Today Breaking News & Sports World Jul 02, 2016

Islamic clerics in Pakistan have declared that transgender women and men have the right to marry.

The fatwa (relgious decree), issued by the Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat Pakistan, specifies that the Pakistani state is responsible for protecting the transgender community and that trans people have equal rights to inheritance and Islamic burials.

However, a transgender person with “visible signs of both genders” cannot marry anyone.

Zia-ul-Haq Naqshbandi, the body's chairman, said a ruling from Islamic scholars was necessary in order to prevent discrimination against Pakistan’s transgender community.

“We need to accept them as God’s creation too. Whoever treats them badly, society, the government, their own parents, are sinners,” Naqshbandi said

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While the move shows some social progress, the transgender community is welcoming the fatwa with caution.

Some activists are even regarding the fatwa as a narrow view on transgender citizens, as there are many subcategories of transgender identity. 

“This decree is not legally binding and will hardly make a difference. But we are happy that somebody talked about us, too,” said Farzana Naz, the Peshawar-based president of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of the Trans Action Alliance.

“The real issue is the marriage of the transgender person carrying ‘visible signs of both genders,’ and the decree disapproving of their marriage," Naz said.

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The fatwa also states that, under Islamic law, it is a crime to harass and demean transgender people: “Making noises at transgender people, making fun of them, teasing them, or thinking of them as inferior is against sharia law, because such an act amounts to objecting to one of Allah’s creations, which is not correct."

Transgender Pakistanis continue to face discrimination and isolation from mainstream society despite some rulings in favour of the community.

Many still struggle to find jobs and resort to begging, prostitution or dancing to put food on the table.

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Just last month, a 23-year-old transgender woman named Alisha died after being hospitalized in critical condition because hospital staff objected to placing her in the male or female wards.

It's yet to be determined if the decree will change the attitudes of the Pakistani state and society toward transgender people. 

While a religious voice has opened a window of opportunity, activists believe there is still a lot of work to do.

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Nomaan Khan

Nomaan Khan


After spending some time in a completely different field, Nomaan decided to drop it all and switch to Mohawk College to pursue his longtime interest in the world of Journalism. His experience working in multimedia platforms has helped him develop exceptional skills in thinking on his feet, being ...


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