The Menace of Growing Role of Women in Waging Global Jihad – An Analysis

Sourabh Jyoti Sharma
Sourabh is a pursuing PhD research scholar working on ‘Chinese Navy in Indian Ocean and Strategic Implications for India”, at Department of Political Science, Delhi University.

I. Explaining Islamic Jihad and Its Importance in Quran

“The basis of the obligation of jihad is the universality (without limit of time or space) of the Muslim revelation. It is the duty of Muslims to strive (jihad) unceasingly to convert or at least subjugate those who have not. It must continue until the whole world has either accepted the Islamic faith or submitted to the power of the Islamic state.”, so said by Bernard Lewis, Anglo-American Orientalist and renowned authority on Islamic studies in his book “The Political Language of Islam”, p. 73.

Role of Women in Jihad

The importance of Jihad can be gauged from the fact that it appeared 41 times in 23 verses of Quran as well as indirect references to it in about 109 Quranic verses, collectively called as the ‘sword or violent verses’. According to Imam Ghazzali, the second greatest commentator of Islam after Mohammad, jihad can be waged by tongue (jihad bil lisan), hand (jihad bil yad) and heart (jihad bil qalb/nafs) but most ‘sacred jihad’ amongst them all is waging ‘holy war’ against the infidels (i.e. jihad by sword/ jihad bis saif) and it is the ‘greatest of all jihads’ striving in the cause of Allah and Prophet Mohammad i.e. al-jihad fi sabil Allah for whom guaranteed place in ‘jannat’ (paradise) after death (or martyrdom/shahada) will be bestowed as a reward.

According to Sahih Bukhari [the pre-eminent Hadith (prophetic traditions as Sunnah) collection of Sunni Islam] also, there are about 200 references to jihad in Hadith; about which 98% or 196 of them are clearly referred to in the true sense of ‘jihad by the sword’ [jihad bis saif or qital fi sabili Allahi (armed fighting/killing in the way of Allah)]. It is also the most ancient form amongst the 4 types of jihad, having commonly used both by Salafi and Wahhabi or Saudi Muslims, two most prominent and predominant Muslim clans across globe.

Diane Morgan, head author of “The Dictionary of Islam” and British-American Orientalist Bernard Lewis in his book “The Crisis of Islam”, both argue that jihad has a military meaning/militaristic overtone in the large majority of cases. Hence, by now, the ‘real or true meaning’ of jihad i.e. ‘holy war against the infidels’, must be crystal clear to all of us, avoiding any unnecessary non-authentic interpretations voiced by far lesser prominent commentators on Islam as its ‘most defensive’ apologists whose sole task is to do another Islamic but lesser known task of ‘spreading lies/confusions’ permissible under the Quranic doctrine of “holy deception” (Al-Taqiyyah) for deluding/befooling the kafirs/infidels.

II. Growing Participation of Women in Waging Global Islamic Jihad: Cases Galore

Islamic Jihad in its most ancient and widely used form i.e. Jihad by sword (jihad bis saif) or ‘holy war’ against infidels as clearly written in Quran has been waged from the birth of Islam in the 7th century AD up till now, mostly by male Mujahideens. But what’s new is the increasing role and participation of women in it for waging global jihad.

Osama bin Laden, founder of Al-Qaeda (the base), the supreme or leading organization of all Islamic terror groups of the world, prescribed a role for women in jihad in his 1996 declaration of war against America and its allies appealing them to ‘instigate their brothers to fight in the cause of Allah.’

According to Jihadology (a web site exclusively dedicated to catering to Jihadi literatures), Yusuf al Uyayri of Saudi Arabia who was later killed in 2003 wrote a book ‘Role of Women in Fighting the Enemies’ urging the ‘women believers’ to join Islamic Jihad en masse to ‘expedite the holy Islamic mission of conquering the entire world forever for Allah’. Subsequently, the Saudi branch of Al-Qaida in 2004 came up with a ‘global jihadist women magazine’ called ‘Al-Khansa’ – derived from the famous female Arabic poet from the Najd in the seventh century during the time of Prophet Mohammad. Later, in 2010 another ‘global jihadist women magazine’ was released called ‘Hafidat al-Khansa’ (granddaughters of al-Khansa’).

Most notably, one of Ayman Zawahiri’s (Al-Qaeda chief after Osama bin Laden’s demise) many wives, Umaymah Zawahiri published a “Letter to My Muslim Sisters” in 2009, calling them to join the global jihad reminding them that jihad is both a ‘fard al-ayn’ (individual duty) and ‘fardh kifaya’ (collective duty) for both men and women and that they must be ready or willing to do sahada (martyrdom) in the ‘holy name of Allah – the one and only true God’.

Muslim Brotherhood jurist Yusuf al Qaradawi, who has provided Hamas (an Islamic terror group ruling Gaza Strip since early 2007) with much of the religious justification for suicide bombing, issued a Fatwa (Islamic holy declaration/decree) in support of female suicide operations against ‘an infidel Israel and Jews’. Umm Osama, the wife of Hamas MP Khalil Al-Hayya urged the Arab and Palestinian women “to instill love of jihad and martyrdom in her children.”

According to renowned American authority on ‘Female Jihadology’ and author of “Bombshell: Women and Terror” (Penguin, 2010) Mia Bloom, “The Internet has afforded Jihadi women … the opportunity to participate in Jihad without compromising their position and inferior status in the society. Articles, communiqués and online chat rooms offer women the space to express their fanatical support. There is an army of female organizers, proselytizers, teachers, translators and fund-raisers, who either enlist with their husbands or succeed those who are jailed or killed.”

Umm Salameh, a widow of an Al-Qaeda leader in northern Iraq later became the Leader (emir) of the ‘Al Nitaqayn’- the women battalion of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Samira Ahmed Jassim, who called herself as the ‘mother of all Iraqi suicide bombers’ was arrested by Iraqi authorities in January, 2009 who confessed of recruiting vulnerable women and persuading them to become suicide bombers. She used their desire to take revenge on the killers of their husbands as a tool.

Women Jihad Islam

One of the most famous examples of ‘women role in global jihad’ is Malika al-Aroud, the Belgian widow of one of the suicide bombers who killed Afghan leader Ahmad Shah Massoud in September 2001, who has written many ‘jihadi articles’ in French, who believed that ‘writing too is a part of jihad – jihad by tongue/pen’ and thus, obligatory for all Muslim women, as told to The New York Times in 2008.

One famous bride of a member of Al Qaeda’s inner circle, Rabia (formerly Robyn) Hutchinson, is an Australian convert to Islam who had so many husbands that one former CIA agent reportedly calls her “the Elizabeth Taylor of the jihad.” A recent book about Hutchinson by Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter Sally Neighbor, “The Mother of Mohammed” (Melbourne University Press, 2009), described her as a “mysterious black-veiled fiery jihadi woman” who has been officially designated as a threat to Australia’s national security.

Then there are ‘fiercely jihadi women’ like Defne Bayrak, a young Turkish woman, who first seduced a 32 year old Humam al-Balawi, a Jordanian doctor and devout Muslim via long on-line chatting in to marrying her, produced two daughters with him and finally indoctrinating him to ‘sacrifice his life for Allah’ who later blew himself up along with seven CIA employees and a Jordanian handler in Afghanistan in December, 2010. Now, she wants her two daughters to also join the global jihad.

One cannot also forget that women suicide bombers have played a large role in the Caucasus jihad against Russia. Most recently, Maria Khorosheva conducted a suicide attack against the ‘OVD’ police station in Gubden, Dagestan. Further, within the global jihadist movement there have been reports of female suicide bombers also in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Most recently, many Tunisian Muslim women went to Syria to ‘as comfort/pleasure women’ to boost the morale of male Mujahideens waging jihad against the ruling Assad’s regime, now known as ‘sex jihad’. In May, 2014, Boko Haram, a Nigerian Islamic terror group abducted over 200 Christian school girls to be used as ‘sex slaves’ after forcefully converting them into Islam, underling the increasing use of women in waging global jihad. It continues unabated.

Jemaah Islamiyah, an Indonesian Islamic terror group affiliate to Al-Qaeda, also wanted to make the ‘ideal Muslimah’ out of every Muslim woman there who will contribute to global jihad by becoming sex slaves cum suicide bombers, subsequently. There are so many examples indicating increasingly growing roles of women in waging global jihad that can be written down pages after pages, but for constraint of space here.

III. Concluding Remarks

As the role of women in waging global jihad have been on fast rise, a new malicious strategy has been devised by Islamic Jihadi groups to convert more non-Muslim girls to produce more mujahideens for “Islamification” of the whole world, sooner than later. “LJ” is being used for this Islamic project for ‘Global Islamification’ as ordained by Quran, targeting the non-Islamic secular countries and its fair sex for this.

Meanwhile, the deafening silence of Islamic organizations, religious bodies, Quranic experts etc of having both national and international roots in failing to condemning both ‘LJ’ and growing role of women in waging jihad worldwide have raised more questions than answers. While they are so quick to issue ‘fatwas’ at the drop of a hate, why none of them ever issue a ‘fatwa’, at least condemning if not proscribing the dangerous phenomena? Does the practice of ‘LJ’ and women’s role in waging jihad in India and across the globe enjoy their blessings for furthering Islamic cause?

What they want to hide, which the entire India and the world have known by now, thanks to internet, free press, above all, the 24×7 social media. If they have real guts, at least some of them should stand up and accept this bitter fact that Islam is casted in stone of 7th century, needs ‘overhauling reforms’ in tune with the changing realities of 21st century. It can’t afford to look backward to 7th century’s obsolete antediluvian practices for inspiration, while the rest of the world is looking forward to the hopes and aspirations ushered by ‘knowledge capitalism’ of the coming century. But who will bell the cat or set the pigeons free for harmony and human progress?

Free speech and empirical facts on Islamic Jihad must be respected, published and widely disseminated for creating greater awareness about this dangerous malice, or else, our cherished liberal values like democracy, secularism, tolerance etc will be decimated by continuous onslaughts of global Islamic Jihad.

As Angela Markel, Chancellor of Germany said so presciently in 2009, “Tolerance is a great virtue, but tolerance will be digging its grave, if it can’t defend against intolerance.” US President Ronald Reagan, while denouncing undemocratic, illiberal communism in a famous speech delivered in UK’s House of Commons in 1982, said, “If history teaches us anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.”

Being ‘self-deluded’ by not reporting this ‘unpleasant fact’ of growing participation of women in waging global jihad, will, then, be the biggest historical self-destructive folly of all the remaining secular and democratic states as well as civilized societies across the world.

  • J P Sundharam

    The author makes some very interesting points. It would be good if he could clarify what was meant by ‘LJ’ in the following sentence:

    Quote
    “LJ” is being used for this Islamic project for ‘Global Islamification’…
    Unquote

    The author makes another statement:
    Quote
    If they have real guts, at least some of them should stand up and accept this bitter fact that Islam is casted in stone of 7th century, needs ‘overhauling reforms’ in tune with the changing realities of 21st century.
    Unquote

    Probably the author is unaware of Islam and hence in ignorance makes this statement.

    Firstly, Kafirs (non-Muslims) should know that the scriptural text of Islam is not found just in the Quran because many (including some Muslims) think that the Quran is the bible of Islam. However Quran is only about 14% of the total Islamic doctrine. The balance 86% comes from Sira or biography of Mohammad (26%) and Hadiths (60%) or Sunna of Mohammad. So the Trilogy of Islam is the Quran, the Sira and the Hadith and they are a seamless whole and speak with one voice. If it is in the Trilogy it is Islam.

    So what does Islam tell about ‘overhauling reforms':
    >> I heard the Prophet saying, ‘Islam cannot change!’ [Sahih Bukhari 9.88.174]

    >> Narrated Aisha: Allah’s Apostle said, “If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected. [Sahih Bukhari 3:49:861]

    Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792) initiated a reformist movement as he was opposed by his own father and brother for their non-traditional interpretation of Islam. His movement, known as Wahhabism is described as “orthodox”, “ultraconservative”, “austere”, “fundamentalist” and “puritanical”, for it aspires to return to the earliest fundamental Islamic sources of the Quran and Hadith. The resut of this movement has lead to the formation of organizations like Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaida, Hamas, etc.

    So the author mistakenly believes that a reformation within Islam will lead to the removal of ‘terror/ sword verses’ and leave the ‘peaceful verses’. In that he is totally and fully mistaken. Not because I say so but because Allah makes clear which of his verses he has abrogated to replaced them with even better verses.

  • J P Sundharam

    Just few quotes taken from three different hadiths to prove that neither Allah nor Mohammad wanted women to take part in Jihad:

    >> It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of allah said: “Jihad of the elderly, the young, the weak, and women, is Hajj and ‘Umarah.” [Sunan an-Nasai: Vol 3 Book 24 Hadith 2627]

    >> Narrated Aisha: I said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Shouldn’t we participate in Holy battles and Jihad along with you?” He replied, “The best and the most superior Jihad for women is Hajj which is accepted by Allah.” Aisha added: Ever since I heard that from Allah’s Messenger I have determined not to miss Hajj. [Sahih Bukhari: 3.29.84]

    >> Aishah narrated, ‘I once asked the Messenger of Allah “O Messenger of Allah! Is Jihad incumbent upon women? He replied, “Yes. They have to take part in Jihad in which no fighting takes place, which is: Hajj and ‘Umrah.” [Bulugh al-Maram: Book 6 Hadith 729]