The prohibition of imitating the opposite gender: Imam al-Mubaarakfoori

Ibn ‘Abbaas reports that:

لَعَنَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْمُتَشَبِّهَاتِ بِالرِّجَالِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَالْمُتَشَبِّهِينَ بِالنِّسَاءِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ

The Messenger of (ﷺ) cursed the women who imitate men and the men who imitate women.

[al-Tirmidhi #2784, saheeh]

Imam al-Mubaarakfoori, in his explanation of Jaami’ al-Tirmidhi, wrote about this hadeeth:

قوله : ( لعن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم المتشبهات بالرجال من النساء والمتشبهين بالنساء من الرجال )  قال الطبري : المعنى لا يجوز للرجال التشبه بالنساء في اللباس والزينة التي تختص بالنساء ولا العكس .  .

Concerning his statement, “The Messenger of (ﷺ) cursed the cursed the women who imitate men and the men who imitate women“, al-Tabari said: The meaning is that it is not permissible for the man to imitate the woman in clothing or adornment (i.e. make-up, jewelry, etc) which are specific to women, nor vice-versa.

قال الحافظ : وكذا في الكلام والمشي ، فأما هيئة اللباس فتختلف باختلاف عادة كل بلد فرب قوم لا يفترق زي نسائهم من رجالهم في اللبس ، لكن يمتاز النساء بالاحتجاب والاستتار ، وأما ذم التشبه بالكلام والمشي فمختص بمن تعمد ذلك ، وأما من كان ذلك من أصل خلقته فإنما يؤمر بتكلف تركه والإدمان على ذلك بالتدريج ، فإن لم يفعل وتمادى دخله الذم ، ولا سيما إن بدا منه ما يدل على الرضا به ، وأخذ هذا واضح من لفظ المتشبهين ، وأما إطلاق من أطلق كالنووي أن المخنث الخلقي لا يتجه عليه اللوم ، فمحمول على ما إذا لم يقدر على ترك التثني والتكسر في المشي والكلام بعد تعاطيه المعالجة لترك ذلك ، وإلا متى كان ترك ذلك ممكنا ولو بالتدريج . فتركه بغير عذر لحقه اللوم

And al-Haafidh [ibn Hajr] said: And likewise concerning their speech and gait (i.e. how they walk). And as for the clothing, then it differs depending on the customs of each country, so perhaps there are a people who do not differ in the dress of their women from their men. However, the women are characterized by veiling and covering. But as for the condemnation of imitating them in speech and gait, then that is specific for the one who does that intentionally. But as for the one from whom those external traits come naturally, then he is commanded to constrain that and abandon it and (to abandon) his addictions to that gradually. But if he does not do that and (instead) continues, then he enters into blame, especially if it appeared that he was content/enjoying that, and in this he is clearly taking up the word ‘imitate’.

[Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi #2784]

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