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A deeper misogyny in transgender ruling? Farouk A. Peru -...

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A deeper misogyny in
transgender ruling?
Farouk A. Peru
Published: 18 November 2014

I remember a show on
Malaysian TV around
twenty to twenty-five
years ago called 2 +
1. This show was
taken off the air
because its lead
character was a lelaki
lembut (effeminate
male) called Sam
(played by the comic
legend Imuda).
This show was on the air long
enough for it to become
famous due to Sams character
but was suddenly pulled off
the air because it was deemed
counter-cultural or as the
government put it at the time,
merosakkan budaya dan
akhlak. Strangely enough, the
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hoo-haa died down after a


while and both male and
female characters who did not
exhibit gender typical
behaviour whatever that
means were allowed on
screen. Rusdi Ramlis
character in Waris Jari Hantu
comes to mind.
The tide is now rising again
with the Negri Sembilans
Court of Appeal ruling last
week that transgender women
can express their true gender
freely.
This has raised great wrath
from the Islamofascist
authorities who dislike having
their authority challenged.
However, the courts ruling is
clear: medical evidence has
been given and cannot be
disputed. Art Harun has
provided a brilliant yet
succinct take on the entire
episode (which you may view
here) (http://www.incitemy.tv
/art-of-the-matter-ep18/).
This essay is twofold the first
part concerns the hadith used
by the Islamofascist
authorities to oppress the
transgender community and
the second is the implication
of this law which is the result
of the deep misogyny of
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Islamic law.
We begin with the hadith
which tend to be quoted to
vilify transgender folks. It is
pertinent to note here that the
Quran itself mentions nothing
of feminine males or any
kind of stereotypically
gendered behaviour.
1. It was narrated from Ibn
Abbaas (may Allah be pleased
with him) that the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allah
be upon him) cursed men who
imitate women and women
who imitate men, and he said:
Throw them out of your
houses. Narrated by
al-Bukhaari (5885).
2. It was narrated that Abu
Hurayrah (may Allah be
pleased with him) said: The
Messenger of Allaah (peace
and blessings of Allah be upon
him) cursed the man who
wears womens clothing and
the woman who wears mens
clothing. Narrated by Abu
Dawood (4098) and classed as
saheeh by al-Nawawi in
al-Majmoo (4/469) and by
al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi
Dawood.
The first thing we should take
note here that Prophet
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Muhammad, universally
touted by Muslims to be
mercy upon the worlds
(rahmatan lil alameen
Quran 21/107) has cursed
(laana or in Malay ,
laknat) people who did not
even harm anyone but are
simply expressing themselves
according to their nature.
The Prophet who was inspired
by Allah should have been
aware that there are number of
factors which influence gender
expression both nature and
nurture. People who do not fit
the gender binary do not do it
out of choice but rather are
naturally inclined to do.
Surely, the Prophet would
have known this if he was
inspired to say such things. Or
perhaps these sayings were
falsely attributed to him in
order to express hatred
towards gender minorities.
The second thing to note is the
ambiguity of the wordings.
men imitating women
(ar-rijaal yatashabahu bin
nisaa) is a fairly ambiguous
phrase. Imitate how exactly?
Men and women breathe, eat
and generally have the same
human activity.
A proponent may say that its
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"obvious" that this refers to


gender-typical behaviour but
one must ask, isnt this their
own projection? It is projected
unto the text that imitation
here is behavioural? Where do
the boundaries begin and end?
If a woman wanted to cross
her legs at the knee (sila
panggung style), would she be
cursed? If a man sat crossing
his legs at the ankles, would he
be similarly cursed? The
possibilities are endless and
the ambiguity of this hadith
allows for great exploitation.
The second hadith narrated by
Abu Hurayrah seems to be
more specific as it mentions
clothing.
Men who dress like women
(al-rijaal yalbisu libaasah
al-marah). However, the
hadith does not in itself give
context of this curse. This is
why in the Islamic Tradition,
scholars have pointed out the
difference between the
mukhannatheen (feminine
males) in general and those
who engage in promiscuous
activity. The latter is shunned
for obvious reasons.
What I think is more crucial to
note here is that the "men"
and "women" in these hadith
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do not actually see themselves


as such.
They see themselves as
opposite to their biological
gender and hence when they
crossdress, they are actually
wearing clothing which is
appropriate to their gender.
This is proven medically (as
the Negri Sembilan case has
conclusively shown) and to
deny them the right to express
their true gender is akin to
denying the blind the right to
read Braille (since all human
beings naturally read by
sight).
If we accept that these hadith
were fabricated (given my
reasons above), then why did
they come about in the first
place? I believe they are deeply
rooted in the misogyny
displayed in Traditional
Islamic literature. The hadiths
involved show a glaring
contradiction with the Quran
and are quite logically
precarious. Let us look at some
of them below. They are
paraphrased for purposes of
brevity:
1. Abu Hurairah narrates that
the Messenger said: women
are to be treated nicely as they
were created from a bent rib
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and therefore crooked. If


attempted to be straightened,
they would break.
2. Abu Hurairah narrates that
the Messenger said that the
most righteous of women are
those who look after their
children and care for the
property of their husbands.
3. Abu Hurairah narrates that
the Messenger said that
Prophet Solomon had sixty
wives and had intercourse
with them in one night,
producing boys who would
fight in Gods cause
4. Abu Hurairah narrates that
the Messenger said that the
hour will not be established
until the buttocks of women of
Daws tribe moves while going
around Dhi al-Khalasa (an
ancient idol).
5. Abu Said Al-Khudri
narrates that the Messenger
said that the majority of the
dwellers of hell will be women.
Reason being they curse much
and are ungrateful to their
husbands. They are also
deficient in intelligence and
religion.
6. Abu Bakrah (not to be
confused with the caliph Abu
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Bakr) narrates that the


Messenger said never will a
nation prosper if it has a
woman leader.
We should also note in
Traditional Islamic law:
A. Women are not allowed to
leave the home without their
husbands permission;
B. Women cannot marry
without the permission of
their fathers;
C. Women cannot go for haj
without an accompanying
male;
D. Women cannot drive (in
Saudi Arabia);
E. Women must suckle adult
males in order to make them
legitimate company (as noted
by the founder of the Maliki
school and recently gazetted
by Al-Azhar);
F. Women should not lead the
prayers.
The facts above are a mere
drop in the ocean of
information which shows the
womans inferior position in
Traditional Islam.
We are told that women are
inferior creatures in terms of
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intelligence and religion,


disallowed from
independently marrying or
even travelling.
They are generally seen as
sexual temptations and roles
defined according to their
husbands and children. They
are also precluded from any
leadership position.
This is the reason Islamic
Reform movements (such as
Sisters in Islam) focus deeply
on reforming Islamic law the
situation is very dire and
needs urgent reform.
Connecting back to our
original point, we can now see
that the misogyny of Islamic
law connects directly to the
hadith about men imitating
women.
Considering the higher
position of men in Islamic law,
it would be a great humiliation
to find that some males are
abandoning their privilege in
order to assume a lower
position assigned to all
women.
This is what the transgender
ruling is really about. It is an
old cultural hatred
manifesting yet again.
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We must move past these


cultural prejudices in order to
achieve the compassionate
society which reflects the
messengers role as mercy to
the worlds. Islamofascist
authorities need to be held in
check before they harm gender
minorities any further.
November 18, 2014.
* Farouk A. Peru reads The
Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion
of the writer or publication
and does not necessarily
represent the views of The
Malaysian Insider.

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