The study of gender, sex, and sexuality in Islam has been growing. However, close textual study of the jurisprudential frameworks that conceptualized the body and sex is lacking. This study examines a section of a medieval-era legal manual written by Al-Qadi Al-Nuʻman, a major jurist of the Fatimid Caliphate, through the perspective of translation theory. The section documents Fatimid jurisprudence in relation to the khuntha, a category of persons with ambiguous genitalia, through the depiction of a series of cases. In these cases, the jurist and judge must examine the body of the khuntha through a set of complex procedures in order to ascertain a “true” sex that is to be declared. The act of examination of a body unfamiliar to the public and declaration of the unfamiliar body's underlying “true” sex is akin to the process of translation in which a translator must examine a text unfamiliar to the public and translate the text into a familiar language. The study concludes that the judges and jurists produced such complex procedures, owing to their investment in the discourse of “true” sex.

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