News stories of female suicide bombers – young women in the prime of life, sometimes pregnant or with their children – blowing up themselves and dozens of innocent bystanders with explosive belts, have shocked the world in recent months.
It’s well known that young Muslim men are taught they will be rewarded with 72 virgins in the afterlife. But what is the appeal of martyrdom to women?
A Palestinian member of parliament representing Hamas explained the answer on Al-Rafidein TV last Sunday.
Here, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, are excerpts of what Al-Astal said about Muslim women’s “duty” to engage in violent jihad.
Yunis Al-Astal: “The most exalted form of jihad is fighting for the sake of Allah, which means sacrificing one’s soul by fighting the enemies head-on, even if it leads to martyrdom. Martyrdom means life next to Allah.
“… When jihad becomes an individual duty, it applies to women too, because women do not differ from men when it comes to individual duties. …”
Interviewer: “What are the purposes behind women’s participation in the jihad of conquest and invasions?”
Yunis Al-Astal: “I have mentioned some of these purposes. [Women] prepare food, they bring water, they tend to the wounded and convey them from the battlefield, they protect the [soldiers'] possessions, and so on. But in many cases, women participated in combat, especially if the Islamic army was weakening, and you could see that the enemy was about to gain the upper hand. In such cases, a woman would draw out her sword, or pull out a pole from her tent, and would resist to the best of her ability.
“… Let’s take another example. Safiyya, the aunt of the Prophet Muhammad, used a pole to kill a Jew in the Battle of the Trench. Likewise, in the Battle of Hunayn, Umm Sulaym had a dagger, and when asked about it, she said: ‘If an enemy of Allah comes near me, I shall stab him with this dagger.’ History has recorded, in shining letters, the fact that Al-Khansaa sacrificed her four children at the battle of Al-Qadisiyya. She inflamed their emotions and she herself incited them to fight until they attained their martyrdom, and then she thanked Allah for honoring her with the killing of them all.”
Mother praises Allah for taking son’s life
Yunis Al-Astal: “I would like to tell you a wonderful story which took place in later times. There was a woman called Umm Ibrahim Al-Hashimiya, and Ibrahim was her only child. She prepared 10,000 dinars, to hold him a wedding the likes of which had never been seen. All the girls of the neighborhood were hoping to become his wife. One day, she attended a sermon about jihad, the virtues of the mujahideen, and about the black-eyed virgins of Paradise. She immediately decided that her son would marry the black-eyed virgins. She went to the preacher and paid him the 10,000 dinars, on the condition that her son would marry the black-eyed virgins, about whom she heard things that encouraged her to act the way she did.
“Her son did indeed wage jihad for the sake of Allah, and she awaited news of his martyrdom with bated breath. When the army returned, she hastened to ask: ‘Should I be congratulated because my gift was accepted, or should I be offered condolences because it was returned?’ The army commander said to her: ‘The gift was accepted, and the bride has been brought to the groom.’ She praised Allah for accepting her sacrifice – her only son, who was about to be married. She believed that his wedding was his martyrdom for the sake of Allah.”
Intifada breeds female martyrdom-seekers
Yunis Al-Astal: “In the second Al-Aqsa Intifada, females martyrdom-seekers emerged. These are young women, in the prime of their life, at a time when girls like these think only about jewelry and preparing for marriage. Nevertheless, they went to their martyrdom, advancing head-on with a great fighting spirit. This intifada of ours has recorded more than 15 exemplary cases of girls who were martyred for the sake of Allah. But not before making the Jews – the brothers of apes and pigs – taste the bitterness of death, and not before avenging the blood of the martyrs, the wounded, the bereaved, the prisoners, the displaced, those whose homes were destroyed, those whose lands were bulldozed, and all those who were affected by the earthquake of the sons of Zion.”
Do female martyrs have to wear their veil?
Interviewer: “Dr. Al-Astal, we have seen that some of the female martyrdom-seekers set out on their martyrdom operation without a veil. To what extent does our religion allow women, when they embark upon jihad for the sake of Allah, to use means of camouflage such as removing the veil?”
Yunis Al-Astal: “When jihad becomes an individual duty, the husband’s permission or consent is not required, because jihad becomes like prayer. Just like a woman does not have to ask for permission to pray, to fast during Ramadhan, or to give charity, she does not need to ask for permission when jihad becomes an individual duty. In my opinion, in places invaded by the enemy, jihad becomes an individual duty.
“With regard to your question about the veil, especially when it comes to martyrdom-seekers who had to go into the Zionist cities deep in Palestine – jihad is a duty, and so is wearing a veil, but the duty of jihad is ten times great than the duty of wearing a veil.”
“… The most important message is that our enemies should know that there is no place for them on the land of Palestine. Each and every boy and man, and each and every girl and woman, is a potential martyrdom-seeker. The enemy should know that we are prepared to wear explosive belts, and to throw ourselves in the midst of the enemy, in order to make them taste the evil consequences of their deeds. They should know that they have no other choice – either they leave or they will die, even if it takes a long time.”
“… The message of the female martyrdom-seekers to the enemies is that they should go back to where they came from, or else our jihad will continue until this land regains its holiness – from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River” (WND editor’s note: i.e., all of Israel).
“… The women of Islam, especially in regions of tension – and I emphasize Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Americans run rampant. … If we are capable – and, Allah willing we are indeed capable – of shattering America’s might and rubbing its nose in the dirt, we will deliver the world from this global American bully, from the European Crusader hypocrisy, and the hateful paganism worldwide. What is required of the men and women of these peoples – but especially the women – is that they take [an example] from Rim Al-Riyashi, from Fatima Al-Najjar, and from the long list of women, and especially from Umm Nidhal, the mother of Muhammad Farhat, who sacrificed three children as martyrs, and who threatens the enemy that her remaining children will become martyrdom-seekers, and will make the Jews taste the evil consequences of their deeds.”