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Emulating the Opposite Gender


Allah Ta‘ala, in His infinite wisdom, has designed everything in the world in a most wonderful and unique manner, best suited to fulfilling its function and attending to its needs. For example, Allah Ta‘ala has created the leopard as a predator. Hence, Allah Ta‘ala has given it claws and fangs, and a skin which is spotted for camouflage, so that it may easily hunt prey and thereafter consume its flesh. Conversely, Allah Ta‘ala has created the cow as a herbivore. Hence, Allah Ta‘ala gave it hooves instead of clawed feet, and teeth suited for chewing plants rather than ripping and tearing meat.

In the same manner, Allah Ta‘ala has created men and women to fulfil different functions and attend to different needs in the world. Hence, Allah Ta‘ala has made them distinctly different from one another in their physical, emotional and even mental make-up, and Allah Ta‘ala has accordingly prescribed certain laws and injunctions that are specific to men, and certain laws and injunctions that are specific to women.

When Allah Ta‘ala has designed men and women differently, and assigned different roles to them, then by men and women emulating each other in their ways, they oppose the divine command and system of Allah Ta‘ala. It is for this reason that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) expressed great disapproval over women emulating men in their ways. It is thus reported that on one occasion, a woman passed by Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) carrying a bow around her neck. Observing this, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), said “May Allah’s curse fall on those women that emulate men and those men that emulate women in their ways.” (Tabraani - Majma‘uz Zawaaid #13225)

As mentioned previously, one of the laws of sharee‘ah in regard to dressing is that clothing which is essentially worn by one gender should not be worn by the other gender, as this will result in men and women emulating each other. Hence, there are multiple ahaadeeth narrated in which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) cursed men and women who imitate the opposite gender by wearing clothing that is specific to the opposite gender.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) cursed the man who adopts the clothing style of a woman and a woman who adopts the clothing style of a man. (Sunan Abi Dawood #4098) Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was once informed of a woman who wears men’s sandals. She (disapproved of it and) said, “Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) cursed those women who imitate men.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4099)

From the above, it is clear that women should not emulate men in their clothing, as this will cause them to earn the curse of Allah Ta‘ala.