Non-binary sexual and gender identities in the community

the khuntha as an isolated being in the mosque


  • Saqer A Almarri Independent scholar



Intersexuality, Khuntha, Gender variance


The Mamluk jurist 'Abd al-Rahim al-Isnawi's legal manual on the cases involving a khuntha (an intersex person) was comprehensive on matters of religious practice. It allows us to understand the underlying doctrinal strategies that the jurists used in regulating the khuntha's access to public life. This article attempts to examine specific strategies that al-Isnawi used in his legal manual's chapter on salah (ritual prayer). Through an exploration of the doctrines in the chapter affecting a khuntha's comportment and location, I assess the possible consequences of such doctrines on the life of a khuntha. The major consequence is the khuntha's social isolation in the name of accommodating them in a community's mosque by providing a specific row for them. The accommodation requires outing a khuntha as such within the community space, leading to further isolation, even when the khuntha is not a singular subject within the community.

Author Biography

  • Saqer A Almarri, Independent scholar

    Saqer A. Almarri is an independent scholar and translator. They hold a Ph.D. in Translation Studies from Binghamton University–State University of New York (2019). Their research examines how Islamic jurists incorporate bodies that do not conform to the dominant sexual binary into frameworks of Islamic law, and the changes to epistemology when translating pre-modern scholarship into modern languages. Saqer’s previous scholarship has appeared in academic publications such as Women & Language (2018) and TSQ (2016).


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How to Cite

Almarri, S. A. (2020). Non-binary sexual and gender identities in the community: the khuntha as an isolated being in the mosque. Body and Religion, 3(2), 166–187.