Does Islam promote, and or enforce stereotypes on males and females? Two examples are (but not limited to):

  1. Females should or must lack a university level education, and focus on housework.
  2. Males should or must the breadwinners of the family.

In advanced, not a duplicate of, this question as my question is focusing on promotion and or enforcement of stereotypes.

Please provide textual sources (i.e. the Qur'anic verse(s), hadith(s)).

  • 2
    Please provide justification for point 1 above, or replace it with something that's actually true.
    – Ansari
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 13:29
  • @Ansari point one is an example of a stereotype, so it point two. If you read the question that is clearly indicated by "but not limited to". I am not imply nor saying Islam holds to these examples. The question is of whether Islam promotes anything like them. (i.e. stereotypes)
    – Opcode
    Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 3:43
  • I guess you'll find more indirect answers/references for example that sahaba and tabi'yn used to consult women for example um al Mu'minyn 'Aisha or um-Salma (May Allah be pleased with them) to get some knowledge or ask for fatwa or what our Messenger (peace be upon him) used to do in a specific situation
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


Yes, Islam does promote gender stereotypes roles. In some cases, adhering to your gender's role is enforceable under sharia law.

Women imitating men and vice versa

The most obvious example is that women imitating men and vice versa is considered a sin in Islam. It's listed as major sin 33 by Imam Shamsu ed-Deen Dhahabi in Al-Kaba'ir (translated) or Major Sins (pdf). The main evidence is the following hadith (among others):

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: The Prophet (ﷺ) cursed effeminate men (those men who are in the similitude (assume the manners of women) and those women who assume the manners of men, and he said, "Turn them out of your houses ." The Prophet (ﷺ) turned out such-and-such man, and `Umar turned out such-and-such woman. -- Sahih al-Bukhari 5886 (sunnah.com)

Al-Dhahabi even goes so far as to say:

When woman wears a man's clothing, she will incur Allah's curse upon herself and her husband as long as he does not rebuke her or try to discipline her character.

As an example of how this is enforced, under Malaysian sharia law, 2013 (sourced from agc.gov.my; pdf):

Any male person who, in any public place, wears a woman's attire and poses as a woman for immoral purposes shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.

Other imbalances

There's many other imbalances which promote gender roles in various ways; some examples are:

  • Men are the protectors of women (protector gender role):

    ... But the men have a degree over them [in responsibility and authority]. ... -- Qur'an 2:228

  • Hijab is different between men and women. Unlike men, women are viewed as requiring protection from harassment in the form of covering.

    O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. -- Qur'an 33:59

  • (The OP's item 2.) Men are required to provide financially for their wives (breadwinner); see Islam Q&A. (Both the husband and wife have certain rights and responsibilities; this is just one example.)

Some of these are enforced under sharia; they are enforced in varying ways depending on the region it's implemented in and the Islamic school of thought.

(The OP's item 1 is not directly part of Islam, as far as I'm aware. However, it may arise as a side-effect from Muslim women being expected to obey their parents and husbands.)


Islam does encourage women to maintain the house and men to earn a living. It should be understood that not everyone can do everything all at once. We notice that how when both parents are out of the house working and stuff then the children are deprived of a good upbringing. God has, in his all-encompassing wisdom, assigned certain tasks to certain people. So, generally, a wife would stay home and look after the house and children while the husband would manage external affairs. If both partners choose to switch positions, it is fine. It's just that that is the optimal way of doing things.

However, it is wrong to say that Islam demotes education of women. Please see following links for more info:

http://discover-the-truth.com/2014/02/12/does-islam-prohibit-educating-women/ http://www.answering-christianity.com/karim/womens_education.htm

  • 2
    Your answer lacks what my question asks for... Perhaps provide proper sources? (Also I never said Islam demotes education of women... It was an example of what are stereotypes.)
    – Opcode
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 9:53

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