Refuting the misconception that the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, cross-dressed with women
Fatwa No: 298465

  • Fatwa Date:1-10-2015 - Thul-Hijjah 18, 1436
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. Some people use the following hadiths to say that the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, used to wear his wives' clothes, they then say that he cross-dressed with women.Here are some hadiths that they use: “Do not hurt me regarding ‘Aa’ishah, as the Divine Inspirations do not come to me when I am in the [thowb] cloth (i.e. blanket) of any of my wives except [in that of] Aisha.” (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 2393) “Then I went to Messenger of Allah (PBUH) while he was standing in prayers 'putting on a sheet of cloth' (fi mirt) of one of his wives, having patterns of a camel saddle on it (‘mirt’/sheet of cloth), when he saw me, he let me in, and threw the side of the 'sheet of cloth' (mirt) on me.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith 23382. Authenticated by Shu’aib Arna’ut) How do we reply? I have seen people refute it, they go into the arabic language and show what the words accualty mean. But I did not really fully understand their answer. I find your answers easy to understand; can you please explain?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, you should know that those people, compared to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) are like the earth compared to the sky, and that the one whose heart is sick may think that others are like him, so he accuses them of such a thing.

The virtues and excellence of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) are protected, and his enemies cannot undermine his status, but this is the Sunnah of Allaah in his creation; Allaah says (what means): {And thus have We made for every prophet an enemy from among the criminals. But sufficient is your Lord as a guide and a helper.} [Quran 25:31]

As-Sa’di said in his Tafseer, “{But sufficient is your Lord as a guide.}; meaning that He will guide you and thus you would achieve what is required and the benefits of your religion and your worldly life; and {…and a helper.}; meaning that He will make you victorious against your enemies and that Allaah will repel off you any harm in your religious matter and your worldly matter, so Allaah is sufficient for you and you should rely on him.

Now, let us look at the two mentioned Ahaadeeth:

The first Hadeeth: which is the Hadeeth narrated by ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her. In fact, what they mentioned about it is because of their misunderstanding as they do not know the language of the Arabs. The thawb is not the jilbaab (outer garment) of a woman, and it is not the qamees (long shirt) of the man; rather, it is a piece of cloth, and what is meant by it here is the bed sheet.

Mullah Ali Qaari said in Sharh al-Mishkaat, “(The Divine Inspiration did not come to me when I am in the thawb [cloth] of any woman (i.e. of his wives) except the thawb, meaning the bed sheet, of ‘Aa’ishah.” The Hadeeth does not suggest that he wears it; rather, it appears that what is meant is that he [Prophet] sleeps in it with her, the evidence about this is what is narrated in some other narrations reported by Muslim in the story of Faatimah entering upon the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ); ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said, “She [Faatimah] sought the permission [to enter] upon the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) while he was lying down with me in my Mirt (bed sheet), and he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) gave her permission to enter…

So where is imitating women in all of this?

As regards the second Hadeeth, which is the Hadeeth by Huthayfah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him; then the meaning of Mirt is as mentioned in the book "Al-Mughrib fi Tarteeb al-Mu’arib", “A clothing from wool or silk that one can wear as a lower garment and a woman may put it on her head and wrap herself in it.” This is not a garment peculiar to women; the evidence about this is the Hadeeth reported by Muslim in his Saheeh from ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her who narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) went out one morning wearing a Mirt made of (camel's or sheep's) black hair.

The imitation that is forbidden is in matters that are specific to women; this is what is determined by the scholars; Zakariyya Al-Ansaari said in his book al-Ghurar al-Bahiyyah, “Ibn Daqeeq al-‘Eed determined the thing that is forbidden to imitate them (women) in, by saying that it is a thing that is peculiar to them (women) in its kind and shape, or that it is most predominant in their dress; the same thing is said in its opposite; i.e. it is forbidden for women to imitate men in what is like what is mentioned above.

Finally, it should be mentioned that a Muslim who is not well-grounded in religious knowledge should not listen to the misconceptions of the enemies as the misconception might confuse him and his heart might become inclined to it, and so, he would err. Ibn al-Qayyim, said in Miftaah Daar as-Sa’aadah:

Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said to me when I started to report to him one misconception after another, 'Do not make your heart, when exposed to such trials, absorb it like a sponge that soaks up water (soaking up the various misconceptions that are presented to it), but let it be like an impermeable glass vessel, misconceptions pass by it but do not remain in it. Such a vessel sees the misconception with its [the vessel's] clearness but repels it [misconception] with its firmness. Otherwise, if your heart absorbs every misconception that passes by it, then, in that case, your heart becomes a settling place for misconceptions,' or as he said. So I do not see that I benefitted from any advice in repelling misconceptions more than I benefitted from this advice, because a misconception is called as such because the truth is confused with falsehood in it, as it makes the cloth of truthfulness cover the body of falsehood…

In addition to this, these people will continue to defame the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) even though they do not find anything to defame him with, because they do not believe in him and they deny his message; this is indeed in itself a grave defamation; Allaah says (what means): {Or did they not know their Messenger, so they deny him?} [Quran 23:69]

Allaah knows best.

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