It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: "I said, O Messenger of Allaah, do women have to engage in Jihaad? He, peace and blessing be upon him,  said: '‘Yes, Jihaad in which there is no fighting: Hajj and ‘Umrah."[i]' 

This is a great Hadeeth. It points out the relationship of women with Jihaad and Hajj; the two great elements of the religion of Allaah The Almighty. We will discuss it in the following analyses:

Firstly, her statement 'Do women have to engage in Jihaad?', means is it obligatory on women to engage in Jihaad. She, may Allaah be pleased with her, is asking about the ruling of Jihaad for women.

In Arabic, the word Jihaad means striving and expending one’s energy. 

In Islamic terminology, Jihaad has two meanings; special and general.

The special meaning is striving to make the Word of Allaah supreme.

The general meaning is exerting efforts in worshiping and obeying Allaah The Almighty.

As for the meaning of Hajj and ‘Umrah, it was previously stated in the previous Hadeeth.

Secondly, this Hadeeth points out the virtue of Jihaad in the Cause of Allaah The Almighty, which is inviting and fighting non-Muslims until they join the religion of Allaah The Almighty. ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, hastens to ask about the ruling of that great deed for Muslim woman.

There are many Quranic and Prophetic texts prove the virtues of Jihaad. It is the pinnacle of Islam, with it the religion was established and its banner was raised high. It is one of the best deeds that bring one closer to Allaah The Almighty and one of the greatest acts of worship. It is was prescribed to raise the Word of Allaah The Almighty high and convey His invitation to all people. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means) regarding its virtue:

·      {Indeed, Allaah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the Cause of Allaah , so they kill and are killed. [It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in Torah (the Torah) and Injeel (the Gospel) and the Quran. And who is truer to his covenant than Allaah ? So rejoice in your transaction which you have contracted. And it is that which is the great attainment.} [Quran 9: 111][ii]

·      {The ones who have believed, emigrated and striven in the cause of Allaah with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of Allaah . And it is those who are the attainers [of success].} [Quran 9: 20][iii]

·      { And never think of those who have been killed in the Cause of Allaah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision, Rejoicing in what Allaah has bestowed upon them of His bounty, and they receive good tidings about those [to be martyred] after them who have not yet joined them - that there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. They receive good tidings of favor from Allaah and bounty and [of the fact] that Allaah does not allow the reward of believers to be lost.} [Quran 3: 169-171][iv]

There are many verses in that regard that cannot be mentioned fully here. As for the Hadeeths that prove its virtue, they are also many such as what was narrated by Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, was asked: “Which deed is best? He, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “Believing in Allaah and His Messenger.” He, peace and blessing be upon him, was asked: Then what? He, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “Jihaad for the Cause of Allaah…”  [Reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

Also, it was narrated in a Marfoo‘ (traceable) Hadeeth on the authority of Anas, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "Going out and coming back for the Sake of Allaah is better than this world and all that is in it." [Reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

As for the ruling of Jihaad, Muslim scholars have agreed that Jihaad is a communal obligation (Fardh Kifaayah), if some people undertake it, the rest are relieved of the obligation. However, it will be individual obligation in the following three cases:  

1-   If the two armies met, then it will be prohibited on all those who are present to turn away. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): { O you who have believed, when you meet those who disbelieve advancing [for battle], do not turn to them your backs [in flight]. And whoever turns his back to them on such a day, unless swerving [as a strategy] for war or joining [another] company, has certainly returned with anger [upon him] from Allaah , and his refuge is Hell - and wretched is the destination.} [Quran 8: 15-16]  

2-   If the enemy has come and attacked a certain Muslim land, then all of its people have to fight them because defending against one's self is something obligatory. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Fight in the Way of Allaah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allaah does not like transgressors.} [Quran 2: 190]   

3-   When the ruler mobilizes the people, they must respond for Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): { O you who have believed, what is [the matter] with you that, when you are told to go forth in the cause of Allaah , you adhere heavily to the earth? Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But what is the enjoyment of worldly life compared to the Hereafter except a [very] little. If you do not go forth, He will punish you with a painful punishment and will replace you with another people, and you will not harm Him at all. And Allaah is over all things competent.} [Quran 8: 38-39]

Thirdly, ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, asked the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, about the ruling of Jihaad for woman. He, peace and blessing be upon him, explained that the known form of Jihaad is not obligatory on Muslim woman. Jurists have also agreed upon that. This indicates that the verses of obligating fighting such as the saying of Allaah The Almighty:  {Fighting has been enjoined upon you.} [Quran 2: 216] and {…And fight against the disbelievers collectively.} [Quran 8: 36] are specialized by the texts of Sunnah and thus excluded women from that ruling and illustrated that Jihaad is not obligatory on them. AS-San‘aani, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "What is stated indicates that Jihaad is not obligatory upon woman and that the Hajj and ‘Umrah that woman performs equals the reward of Jihaad."

Amongst the wisdoms behind not obligating Jihaad on women, Allaah Knows best, are the following:

1-   The delicate nature of woman differs from that of the man. Allaah The Almighty has prepared every one of man and woman to fulfill their entrusted duties. The nature on which woman was created, i.e. weak body, kindness and feeling scare at disasters, contradicts with what Jihaad requires such as strong body, perfect mentality, endurance, bravery and boldness. Islam has taken into consideration that matter and did not obligate Jihaad on woman.

2-   Woman is ordered to cover herself and wear Hijaab, abide in her house, keep away from men and not mix with or confront them. Thus, obligating Jihaad on woman exposes her to get out before men, mix with them and do the actions entrusted to men.

However, there is still another matter needs to be explained which is: Does not obligating Jihaad on her mean that it is not permissible for her to go for Jihaad at all?

Fourthly, The Hadeeth points out one of the fields of the Jihaad of woman which is Hajj. The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “Jihaad in which there is no fighting: Hajj and ‘Umrah.” That is because both actions requires efforts and have hardships and thus the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, called Hajj 'Jihaad'.  

This leads us to explain some fields that woman can take part in and which are considered a form of Jihaad for her. Amongst them are the following:

1-   Fulfilling the different duties of home such as serving the husband, helping him in his tasks, preparing the suitable atmosphere for him, preparing his needs and the like as well as bringing up children.

 

A poet once said:

A mother is a school, preparing her is like preparing a good nation

 

This is really one of the greatest forms of Jihaad. As for her responsibilities, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "…a woman is the shepherd in the house of her husband and is responsible for those under her guardianship …"

 

2-   Woman can do any other work providing that this does not affect her duties in her house and should be in the fields that are special for women such as working as a teacher for girls, doctor or nurse for women and the like. There must be no mixing with men. Taking part in such things is really a form of Jihaad and imply great reward if it is used to spread good and virtue.  

3-   Working in the available ways of Islamic invitation such as writing in different fields, giving direct or indirect advice and the like of the means that she is able to do and all of such things are a form of Jihaad.

4-   Doing all other acts of worship analogizing to Hajj.  

Fifthly,  it was stated in some narrations that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "…the best and most beautiful (type) of Jihaad is Hajj Al-Mabroor (i.e. the accepted) and then abiding in house". This indicates that if Muslim woman performs Hajj, then it is incumbent upon her to abide in her house, acting upon the general basic principle(And abide in your houses) which implies a general instruction for not repeating performing Hajj. That is because in this case abiding in her house will be better for her than performing Hajj if she fulfills her duties. Allaah Knows best.

Sixthly, the Hadeeths refers to one of the fields of Jihaad which is performing Hajj and ‘Umrah. This actually indicates that the concept of Jihaad is really comprehensive and not limited to fighting as it may firstly occur to minds. The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, called Hajj and ‘Umrah Jihaad and said to the one who came to seek his permission to go for fighting:  “Are your parents alive?” He said: “Yes.” He said: “Then your jihad is with them.” 

Accordingly, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, has made observing dutifulness towards parents and fulfilling their needs a form of Jihaad in the Cause of Allaah The Almighty. Moreover, Allaah The Almighty made spending money for obeying Him and for His Sake a form of Jihaad saying:

·      { The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allaah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allaah . It is those who are the truthful.} [Quran 49: 15]

·      { And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways.} [Quran 29: 69]

Texts that points out that meaning are really many. Therefore, the prominent scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, has divided Jihaad for several types and thus whoever seeks more benefit can kindly refer to the book of Zaad Al-Ma‘aad.

 

 

[i] Reported by Al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh in the Book of Jihaad 6/4 and in the Book of Hajj 3/381.   

[ii] Chapter of At-Tawbah, verse, 111. 

[iii] Chapter of At-Tawbah, verse, 20. 

[iv] Chapter of Aal ‘Imraan, verses 169 – 171.

 

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