Assalamualaikum wbt. What is the ruling of a wife redha her husband becoming a transvestite (mak nyah)?
The ruling of tasyabbuh or a man resembling a woman and vice versa is HARAM, and even one of the major sins deserving the wrath of Allah SWT. While a wife who redha her husband committing haram actions will also bear the sin. A wife shall not redha on evildoings and actions prohibited in the religion. A wife should also advise her husband to leave wrongdoings.
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.
According to Ibn Manzur, tasyabbuh is an object resembling or imitating another. (Refer Lisan al-Arab, 7/24)
In Fiqh discussion, tasyabbuh brings about the meaning of imitation in the following matters:
- Way of speaking and intonation
- Way of walking and body language
- Changing the physical form
(Refer: al-Mausu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyah, 12/12)
Tasyabbuh is HARAM and even one of the major sins as it is stated in al-Quran and hadith that Allah SWT curse those who did so. Among the dalil of prohibition of tasyabbuh is the verse:
وَلَأُضِلَّنَّهُمْ وَلَأُمَنِّيَنَّهُمْ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُبَتِّكُنَّ آذَانَ الْأَنْعَامِ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَمَن يَتَّخِذِ الشَّيْطَانَ وَلِيًّا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَانًا مُّبِينًا
And I will mislead them, and I will arouse in them [sinful] desires, and I will command them so they will slit the ears of cattle, and I will command them so they will change the creation of Allah." And whoever takes Satan as an ally instead of Allah has certainly sustained a clear loss.
Surah al-Nisaa’ (119)
Through another verse, Allah SWT says:
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا ۚ فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
So, direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most people do not know.
Surah al-Rum (30)
While there are many hadiths mentioning men wearing women’s clothes or resembling (tasyabbuh) the women as stated in the Prophetic hadith narrated from Ibn Abbas RA:
لَعَنَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْمُخَنَّثِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ، وَالْمُتَرَجِّلاَتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ
The Prophet (ﷺ) cursed effeminate men (those men who are in the similitude (assume the manners of women) and those women who assume the manners of men
Sahih al-Bukhari (5886 & 6834), Sunan Abi Dawud (4953) and Sunan al-Tirmidhi (2785)
Ibn al-Athir said: al-Mutarajjilat are women who resemble men in terms of clothing and nature. While al-mukhannath is a man who resembles women.
(Refer: Al-Nihayah fi Gharib al-Hadith wa al-Athar, 2/203)
According to another narration:
لَعَنَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْمُتَشَبِّهَاتِ بِالرِّجَالِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَالْمُتَشَبِّهِينَ بِالنِّسَاءِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ
"The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) cursed the women who imitate men and the men who imitate women."
Sahih al-Bukhari (5885), Sunan Abu Daud (4097), Sunan al-Tirmizi (2784) & Sunan Ibn Majah (1904)
The book Tuhfah al-Ahwazi citing the statement of Imam al-Tabari that it is impermissible for men to imitate women in apparel and ornaments which are specified for women and vice versa. Also, according to al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar, it is impermissible to resemble in utterance and way of walking, while in terms of clothing, it differs according to the custom of clothing according to the settings and nations.
(Refer: Tuhfah al-Ahwazi, 8/57)
Al-Imam al-San’ani said that the Prophet PBUH’s curse upon this sin indicates how immense the sin is. The hadith portrays the prohibition of women imitating men and vice versa.
(Refer: Subul al-Salam, 2/421)
Besides, it is HARAM for a wife to feel redha towards kufr and evildoings done by her husband even if she herself does not commit the act. This is based on a maxim which states:
وَالرِّضَا بِالْكُفْرِ كُفْرٌ، كَمَا أَنَّ الرِّضَا بِالْفِسْقِ فِسْقٌ
“Redha upon kufr action is kufr, the same as redha upon fasiq is a fasiq action”
(Refer: Mafatih al-Ghaib al-Tafsir al-Kabir,16/16)
Conversely, Islam teaches us to always abstain from kufr and sinning, not redha upon them. This is mentioned in a hadith that the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُمْ مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بِيَدِهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ، وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الْإِيمَانِ
“Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”
Sahih Muslim (47) and Sunan Ibn Majah (4013)
According to Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, the above hadith illustrates the obligation of defying a sinful act in accordance with the situation. The obligation is divided into three levels based on one’s capability which starts with power then tongue and the last one is by heart. The obligation of defying by one’s heart will never escape a Muslim individual. The Prophet PBUH said:
إِذَا عُمِلَتِ الْخَطِيئَةُ فِي الأَرْضِ كَانَ مَنْ شَهِدَهَا فَكَرِهَهَا وَمَنْ غَابَ عَنْهَا فَرَضِيَهَا كَانَ كَمَنْ شَهِدَهَا
When sin is done on the earth, he who sees it and disapproves of it will be taken like one who was not present, but he who is not present and approves of it will be like him who sees.
Sunan Abi Dawud (4345)
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali gave his commentary upon the above hadith, he said:
فَمَنْ شَهِدَ الْخَطِيئَةَ، فَكَرِهَهَا قَلْبُهُ كَانَ كَمَنْ لَمْ يَشْهَدْهَا إِذَا عَجَزَ عَنْ إِنْكَارِهَا بِلِسَانِهِ وَيَدِهِ، وَمَنْ غَابَ عَنْهَا فَرَضِيَهَا، كَانَ كَمَنْ شَهِدَهَا وَقَدَرَ عَلَى إِنْكَارِهَا وَلَمْ يُنْكِرْهَا لِأَنَّ الرِّضَا بِالْخَطَايَا مِنْ أَقْبَحِ الْمُحَرَّمَاتِ، وَيَفُوتُ بِهِ إِنْكَارُ الْخَطِيئَةِ بِالْقَلْبِ، وَهُوَ فَرْضٌ عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ، لَا يَسْقُطُ، عَنْ أَحَدٍ فِي حَالٍ مِنَ الْأَحْوَالِ
“Whoever witnesses an evildoing then he hates it in his heart, he is the same as the person who is not witnessing it if he is unable to defy it by his tongue and hand. Whoever does not witness it but he redha with the evildoing, it is the evillest prohibited action and his redha obstructs his defiance by his heart while it is an obligation upon each and all Muslims which never fades from an individual whatever circumstance he may in”.
(Refer: Jami’ al-Ulum wa al-Hikam, 2/245)
Therefore, a believer shall not prioritise obedience towards a creation than obedience to Allah SWT. Allah SWT says:
وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُّبِينًا
It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.
Surah al-Ahzab (36)
Hence, in this matter, a wife shall not redha upon an evildoing done by her husband because Imam al-Qurtubi mentioned a maxim in his tafsir:
الرِّضَا بِالْمَعْصِيَةِ مَعْصِيَةً
“Redha upon sinning is a sin”
(Refer: Tafsir al-Qurtubi, 4/295)
In conclusion, a wife shall play her role as a preventive towards a sin committed by her husband which clearly contradicts shara’ rulings. The preventive measure shall be made wisely and with hikmah without any rough measures and quarrel. It is best for the wife to give advice to her husband to attend religious classes and always make du’a for him to turn back as well as repent to Allah.