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 Irsyad al Fatwa 407



Assalamualaikum ustaz. Is it permissible for an effeminate man to enter ladies' washrooms?


Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

In commenting on the issue, the most crucial thing to discuss is on the nature of mukhannas first. This is based on a maxim stating:

الحُكْمُ عَلَى الشَّيء فَرْعٌ عَنْ تَصَوُّرِهِ

“Deciding a ruling on something is the branch of understanding the whole picture of a matter”

By definition, mukhannas is a man who appears himself as a woman in terms of being soft in tone of voice, behaving and the like. Therefore, mukhannas is divided into two types which are:

First: They are born naturally that way.

Second: They are not naturally born that way, but he himself imitates women in terms of the way he walks, tone of voice, clothing and the like.

For the first category, they are not sinful as they are born as men with soft and gentle voice and etc. Still, this category of men shall strive to not lose their masculinity which is their true nature.

For the second category, they are considered sinful because they intentionally resemble (tasyabbuh) the women while they are naturally not. This is because, it is prohibited by shara’ for a man to resemble a woman. This is based on a hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas RA where he said:

لَعَنَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْمُتَشَبِّهِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ بِالنِّسَاءِ، وَالْمُتَشَبِّهَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ بِالرِّجَالِ‏

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) cursed those men who are in the similitude (assume the manners) of women and those women who are in the similitude (assume the manners) of men.

Sahih al-Bukhari (5885)

Imam al-Khattabi in his commentary upon the hadith said: “This hadith carries the meaning of the Prophet PBUH’s prohibiton upon women from wearing men’s garments and also a prohibition upon the men from wearing women’s clothing.” Refer Ma’alim al-Sunan, Al-Khattabi (4/199).

Hence, it is understood from his statement that tasyabbuh (resemblance/imitation) happened involving clothing and other of the same meaning like one’s way of walking, talking and the like. All of these are included under sinful matters as the general meaning of the hadith indicates that the Prophet PBUH cursed who did so.

After we understand the definition of mukhannas, it is clear to us that there are differences between mukhannas and khunsa. Generally, khunsa based on technical definition by the jurists: A person who has both genitals for man and woman. Or a person who does not have both, but has urinary tract to urinate. Refer Haasyiah Ibn ‘Abidin (5/464), Nihayah al-Muhtaj (6/31).

According to Kamus Dewan, khunsa is: someone who has two types of genitals. See Kamus Dewan Edisi Keempat.

According to the books of the jurists, we will get that they divide khunsa into two categories:

  • Khunsa musykil: A person with unclear signs of masculinity or femininity. It is impossible to state whether it is a he or she. Khunsa musykil also has both genitals which are for a man and woman and it is impossible to distinguish between these two whether he is a man or a woman.

In Fiqh books, when the word khunsa is mentioned in absolute form, it refers to khunsa musykil. Imam al-Suyuti Rahimahullah said: “When one used the word khunsa in fiqh, what is meant is khunsa musykil.” Refer Al-Asybaah wal Nazhair, Al-Suyuthi (1/202).

  • Khunsa ghayru musykil: A person with clear signs of masculinity or femininity on his body. It is known whether male or female. Individuals as such are not categorized as khunsa musykil. This is because it is known whether he is a male or female, but at the same time has additional organs. The ruling for him on mirath (inheritance) and other rulings are clear according to their gender. If it is clear of his masculinity, upon him ruling of men and vice versa.

Therefore, we can understand that the mukhannas is different with khunsa (musykil) in the aspect that mukhannas is clear of his gender, but khunsa is not.

Coming back to the presented question, here we share a hadith narrated from Ummu Salamah RA which states:

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ عِنْدَهَا وَفِي الْبَيْتِ مُخَنَّثٌ، فَقَالَ الْمُخَنَّثُ لأَخِي أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِي أُمَيَّةَ إِنْ فَتَحَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمُ الطَّائِفَ غَدًا أَدُلُّكَ عَلَى ابْنَةِ غَيْلاَنَ، فَإِنَّهَا تُقْبِلُ بِأَرْبَعٍ وَتُدْبِرُ بِثَمَانٍ‏.‏ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ لاَ يَدْخُلَنَّ هَذَا عَلَيْكُنَّ ‏"

The Prophet (ﷺ) was with her, there was an effeminate man in the house. The effeminate man said to Um Salama's brother, `Abdullah bin Abi Umaiyya, "If Allah should make you conquer Ta'if tomorrow, I recommend that you take the daughter of Ghailan (in marriage) for (she is so fat) that she shows four folds of flesh when facing you and eight when she turns her back." Thereupon the Prophet (ﷺ) said (to us), "This (effeminate man) should not enter upon you (anymore).

Sahih al-Bukhari (5235)

Imam Ibn Battal cited the words of al-Muhallab which states: The basis of this hadith is another narration from the Prophet PBUH where he said:

اَ تُبَاشِرِ الْمَرْأَةُ الْمَرْأَةَ فَتَنْعَتَهَا لِزَوْجِهَا، كَأَنَّهُ يَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهَا

"A woman should not look at or touch another woman to describe her to her husband in such a way as if he was actually looking at her."

Sahih al-Bukhari (5240)

Hence, when the Prophet PBUH heard the mukhannas telling others on woman’s physical character and characteristics, he PBUH prohibits the mukhannas from entering the area for women. This is so that he will not tell the men on any woman which may diminish the meaning of hijab (veil).

Ibn Battal also cited the opinion which states: Among the fiqh (understanding) of this hadith, it is prohibited for a woman who is smart in analyzing other women’s physical character and beauty from entering the area (if it is worried that she will tell on their physical character and body shape to men). Refer Syarah Sahih al-Bukhari, Ibn Battal (7/361). This opinion is part of our resources on the issue of Irsyad Al-Fatwa Series 141: The Awrah of a Muslim Woman in Front of a Non-Muslim Woman


As a conclusion, based on several evidences and arguments above, we state that the ruling of a mukhannas or what we Malaysians called as pondan, mak nyah, and the like entering ladies’ washroom is prohibited. This is because, washroom is a private area even if it is for public use. In the toilet/washroom, normally, a woman will uncover her awrah showing some parts of her body, hence, when a mukhannas sees those situations, surely this will cause great problems and difficulties since they are from the opposite gender. So, to avoid awrah and chastity of women being spread to the ajnabi, this action is prohibited.

We take this chance to call all our brothers tested with such condition to return to Allah and go back to our true nature which is created by Allah as the best of creation. Verily, Allah SWT is the Most Forgiving and Most Accepting of Tawbah.

Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT to give true understanding to us all in religion. Ameen.