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Role of Women in Battles (Ahadith 2525 – 2529)


Ahadith 2520 – 2524 (below) are repeats. See linked text for related posts.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 125 :
Narrated by ‘Amr bin Al-Harith (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) did not leave anything behind him after his death except a white mule, his arms and a piece of land which he left to be given in charity.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 126 :
Narrated by Al-Bara
That a man asked him. “O Abu ‘Umara! Did you flee on the day (of the battle) of Hunain?” He replied, “No, by Allah, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) did not flee but the hasty people fled and the people of the Tribe of Hawazin attacked them with arrows, while the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was riding his white mule and Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith was holding its reins, and the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was saying, ‘I am the Prophet in truth, I am the son of ‘Abdul Muttalib.’ “

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 127 :
Narrated by ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa)
The mother of the faithful believers, I requested the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) permit me to participate in Jihad, but he said, “Your Jihad is the performance of Hajj.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 128 :
Narrated by ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa)
The mother of the faithful believers: The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was asked by his wives about the Jihad and he replied, “The best Jihad (for you) is (the performance of) Hajj.”

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 129 :
Narrated by Anas (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) went to the daughter of Milhan and reclined there (and slept) and then (woke up) smiling. She asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What makes you smile?” He replied, (I dreamt that) some people amongst my followers were sailing on the green sea in Allah’s Cause, resembling kings on thrones.” She said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Invoke Allah to make me one of them.” He said, “O Allah! Let her be one of them.” Then he (slept again and woke up and) smiled. She asked him the same question and he gave the same reply. She said, “Invoke Allah to make me one of them.” He replied, ”You will be amongst the first group of them; you will not be amongst the last.” Later on she married ‘Ubada bin As-Samit (radiallaahu `anhu) and then she sailed on the sea with bint Qaraza, Mu’awiya’s wife (for Jihad). On her return, she mounted her riding animal, which threw her down breaking her neck, and she died on falling down.

Today’s Ahadith:

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 130 :
Narrated by ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa)
Whenever the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) intended to proceed on a journey, he used to draw lots amongst his wives and would take the one upon whom the lot fell. Once, before setting out for Jihad, he drew lots amongst us and the lot came to me; so I went with the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam); and that happened after the revelation of the Verse Hijab (i.e. veiling).

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 131 :
Narrated by Anas (radiallaahu `anhu)
On the day (of the battle) of Uhad when (some) people retreated and left the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), I saw ‘Aisha bint Abu Bakr and Um Sulaim (radiallaahu `anhum), with their robes tucked up so that the bangles around their ankles were visible hurrying with their water skins (in another narration it is said, “carrying the water skins on their backs”). Then they would pour the water in the mouths of the people, and return to fill the water skins again and came back again to pour water in the mouths of the people.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 132 :
Narrated by Tha’laba bin Abi Malik
‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (radiallaahu `anhu) distributed some garments amongst the women of Medina. One good garment remained, and one of those present with him said, “O chief of the believers! Give this garment to your wife, the (grand) daughter of Allah’s Apostle.” They meant Um Kulthum, the daughter of ‘Ali. ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) said, Um Salit has more right (to have it).” Um Salit was amongst those Ansari women who had given the pledge of allegiance to Allah’s Apostle.’ ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “She (i.e. Um Salit) used to carry the water skins for us on the day of Uhud.”

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 133 :
Narrated by Ar-Rubayyi ‘bint Mu’auwidh (radiallaahu `anhaa)
We were in the company of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) providing the wounded with water and treating them and bringing the killed to Medina (from the battle field).

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 134 :
Narrated by Ar-Rabi’bint Mu’auwidh (radiallaahu `anhaa)
We used to take part in holy battles with the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) by providing the people with water and serving them and bringing the killed and the wounded back to Medina.


Jihad is not obligatory for women. Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

In order for jihad to be obligatory there are seven conditions: being Muslim, being an adult, being of sound mind, being free, being male, being physically sound and being able to afford it financially. With regard to being Muslim, adult and of sound mind, these are essential conditions for all Islamic duties, because a kaafir is not to be trusted in jihad, an insane person cannot go for jihad and a child is physically weak. Ibn ‘Umar said: “I presented myself to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) on the day of Uhud when I was fourteen years old, and he did not let me join the fighting.” Agreed upon. … With regard to being male, this is stipulated because of the report narrated from ‘Aa’ishah who said: “O Messenger of Allaah, do women have to engage in jihad? He said: “Jihad in which there is no fighting: Hajj and ‘Umrah.” And because women are not able to fight because they are (physically) weak.

From al-Mughni, 9/163.

The hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) was narrated by Ahmad (25361) and Ibn Maajah (2901); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah.

Can a woman go out to help the mujaahideen and treat the wounded?

Al-Sarkhasi said in Sharh al-Siyar al-Kabeer (1/184): Chapter on women fighting alongside men and being present in war: He said: we do not like women to fight alongside men in war because a woman does not have the right physical make-up for fighting, as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) indicated when he said: “This one was not a fighter” (said when he saw the body of a woman slain on the battlefield). And when a woman fights, the ‘awrah of the Muslims may become exposed and the mushrikeen will rejoice at that, and that may be a cause of the mushrikeen increasing their hopes of defeating the Muslims, and they may think that the Muslims are weak because they had to bring the women to fight, so they will say, ‘They need the help of women to fight us.” So this should be avoided. For this reason it is not recommended for women to participate directly in the fighting. But if the Muslims have no choice and are forced to do that, because repelling the kuffaar when necessary by whatever means the Muslims have at their disposal, is permissible, rather it is obligatory. The story of Hunayn is quoted as evidence for that.

At the end of this story it says: Umm Sulaym bint Milhaan, who was fighting that day with a cloth tied around her stomach, said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what do you think about these people who ran away from you and let you down? You should not forgive them if Allaah gives you power over them.” He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O Umm Sulaym, the forgiveness of Allaah is immense.” She repeated that three times, and each time the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The mercy of Allaah is immense.” In al-Maghaazi it is narrated that she said: “O Messenger of Allaah, should we not kill these who ran away (from the battlefield) as we killed the mushrikeen?” He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:  “The forgiveness of Allaah is immense.” What greater need can there be for women to fight than this incident when the men fled and abandoned the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). This clearly shows that there is nothing wrong with women fighting when that is essential, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not prevent this woman from fighting on that occasion. But it is not narrated that he gave the women permission to fight on other occasions. There is nothing wrong with old women being present at times of war to tend the wounded, bring water and cook food for the soldiers if they need that, because of the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Qarat al-Azdi who said: The womenfolk of Khaalid ibn al-Waleed and the womenfolk of the Sahaabah had their sleeves rolled up, bringing water to the mujaahideen and reciting encouraging poetry, when he was fighting the Byzantines. What is meant here is old women, because young women are not allowed to go out for fear of fitnah, and old women can take care of the needs in such situations. And it was narrated that Umm Mutaa’, who was present at Khaybar with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), said: I saw Aslam (one of the Arab tribes) when they complained to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about the difficulties they were facing, so he recommended that they engage in jihad and they responded. I saw that Aslam were the first ones to reach the fortress and the sun did not set on that day until Allaah had enabled us to conquer it.

This clearly shows that she went out with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he did not forbid her to do so. From this we know that there is nothing wrong with an old woman going out to help the mujaahideen by doing tasks that are appropriate for them. And Allaah is the Source of strength. End quote.

It says in Khishshaaf al-Qinaa’ (3/26): Women are not allowed (to engage in jihad) because they are a source of temptation, as well as not being qualified to fight, because of their natural tendency to be weak and cowardly, and because there is no guarantee that the enemy will not capture them and regard it as permissible to do to them that which Allaah has forbidden. Some of the scholars said: except the wife of the ruler or commander, who may be present to attend to his needs, because of the actions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), or an old women in cases of need only, such as giving water to the troops and treating the wounded, because al-Rubayyi’ bint Mu’awwidh said: “We used to go out to fight with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), bringing water and serving them, bringing back the wounded and the slain to Madeenah.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari. And a similar report was narrated from Anas by Muslim. That is because men may be distracted from these tasks by fighting, so this is a help to the Muslims and supporting them in their fight.

All of this has to do with jihad in cases where the enemy has not invaded the Muslim land, in which case jihad becomes obligatory on every able-bodied person, man or woman, and a woman may then go out without her husband’s permission. Al-Kaasaani al-Hanafi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “But at times of general mobilization, such as when the enemy is seeking to invade a Muslim land, then it becomes an individual obligation (fard ‘ayn) on every single Muslim who is able to fight, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“March forth, whether you are light (being healthy, young and wealthy) or heavy (being ill, old and poor)”

[al-Tawbah 9:41]

It was said that this was revealed concerning general mobilization.

And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“It was not becoming of the people of Al-Madinah and the bedouins of the neighbourhood to remain behind Allaah’s Messenger (Muhammad r when fighting in Allaah’s Cause) and (it was not becoming of them) to prefer their own lives to his life”

[al-Tawbah 9:120]

From Badaa’i’ al-Sanaa’i’, 7/98

It says something similar in al-Sharh al-Sagheer, one of the Maaliki books (2/274): that if the enemy attacks a Muslim land, then jihad becomes an individual obligation for every man and woman.

In conclusion:

Jihad is not obligatory for women in principle, except in cases of necessity, such as if the kuffaar attack a Muslim land, in which case jihad becomes obligatory for women, according to their abilities. If a woman is not able to fight then she is not obliged to do so, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope”

[al-Baqarah 2:286]

And Allaah knows best.

Taken from IslamQA

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