Women: Role in a war

Q701 :Can a woman be the commander of an army or a group of Mujahideen?

A701 : Islam does not require women to fight in a war or Jihad. The Prophet was asked whether women should take part in any Jihad campaign. He answered: "Women are required to share in a Jihad in which no fighting takes place, namely, pilgrimage and Umrah." This means that women are not required to take part in actual fighting in any war. They can, however, play a supporting role in any war which the Muslim community fights. At the time of the Prophet, women took such a part, bringing water to the fighters in battle and nursing those who were injured or wounded. In other words, they remain behind the fighting lines. At the time of the battle of Moat, when the Muslim community in Madinah was besieged by enemies who launched a pincer attack on them, women did not take part in fighting. They remained in their quarter, keeping a watchful eye, and ready to lend a hand of support to the fighters. But that is all that they were required to do. This is naturally in line with the division of roles and responsibilities between man and woman as envisaged by Islam. The man looks after the present generation. He is the breadwinner of the family and he toils to provide a good standard of living for himself and his dependents. The woman looks after the new generation ensuring that the future of society is built on sound basis. This she does through looking after the children and bringing them up in a proper manner. While it is true that either of the two can fulfill much of the responsibilities of the other when the need arises, this can be viewed as a wise and precautionary measure to be used only in an emergency situation. War, whatever may be its causes and objectives, has much to do with the present rather than the future. It is natural, therefore, that it should be a task for the man who is better equipped to look after the present generation and all its affairs. It does not take much thinking to realize that if women were to fight in a war alongside men and be killed in equal numbers the effects would be far more damaging to the very fabric of society than it actually is. There would be much fewer women to look after the young who constitute the future strength of the nation. It is, then, for the pressing need that the future of the nation is established on solid foundations that women are not required to fight in Islamic wars. In a situation of dire emergency, however, such as the one which is created by an invasion of a Muslim state by its enemies, women are allowed to take an active part in the fighting which ensures repelling the enemy.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )