By: Badriyah Fayumi
In the literature of hadith and the history of the Prophet Muhammad, women participated jihad in many aspects of life. It is misleading if jihad is only directed to go to the battle yet to do a suicide bombing. This paper attempt to explain the many forms of jihad as exemplified by sahabiyat (the female companion of the Prophet). Besides, this paper also provides several hadith narrations on women’s jihad.
Sahabiyat in the time of the Prophet Muhammad engaged in jihad in various forms and many ways. Generally, the form of jihad participated by the female companions of the Prophet came in two forms, namely jihad non – qital (a non-combat jihad) and jihad qital (a combat jihad). Several hadith narrations and incidents show those forms of jihad as will be explained in the following section.
The Non-combat Jihad
A non-combat jihad encompasses various forms. In fact, this kind of jihad has the most categories. Several hadith narrated explicitly on this non-combat jihad. Several hadiths were directed to both men and women and several others specifically only to women.
First, the jihad that is directed to both men and women. This jihad took many forms as taught by the Prophet. This kind of jihad is attributed mostly to humanity, justice, and civilization that instructed either for men and women. Its target area of the jihad can be in the family, the public sphere, and include in politics.
An example of the non-combat jihad is dutiful to the parents. It was narrated related to one occasion during the Prophet’s time that the Prophet prevented a man who asked permission to go to the battle for jihad. Instead, the Prophet has asked him to take care of his parents.
أحي والداك ؟ قال نعم. قال ارجع ففيهما فجاهد ..
“Are your parents still alive?” The man answered: “yes.” The Prophet said: “Go home. And do your jihad by caring for your parents.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim from Abdullah bin Amr bin Al Ash).
Based on the above-mentioned Hadith, the children who care for their parents are considered a jihad. This kind of jihad is served for both man and woman. Even in this context of the hadith narration, where the object of the hadith is for a man who is obliged to go to fight on the battlefield was suggested to take care of the parents if they needed him the most better than to go to the war. This act is also categorized as jihad.
Another example of non-combat jihad is helping a single mother who has no husband but should raise her children all by herself.
الساعى على الارملة والمسكين كالمجاهد فى سبيل الله.
“The person who intents to help a widow/divorcee (a single parent) and a poor is like doing jihad (fight in the battle) in the path of Allah.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurairah)
The word “As-sa’i” in this hadith came in the masculine plural form. According to the Arabic structures, when this masculine plural form is used in the sentence, it also addresses women, except there is an explanation otherwise. Thus, this hadith was directed for both man and woman. Anyone who concern with the life and destiny of women who have to work to feed their children and for those who are in need, s/he is considered as mujahid or mujahidah (man and woman who perform jihad) and has the same position as joining jihad in the path of Allah in the battlefield.
In the history of the battle of Badar, an honest and romantic jihad occurred experienced by Sayyidina Utsman bin Affan which was appreciated by the Prophet Muhammad. At that time, when every companion joined the Prophet in the battle of Badar, Usman bin Affan was absent from this battle because he took care of his unwell wife, Ruqayyah (the daughter of the Prophet). Ruqayyah was in a critical condition of her illness at that time until she finally passed away. What was performed by Usman was, in that case, is categorized as jihad, the jihad of humanity at home by caring for his wife’s illness in order to recover and regain her health. Caring for life took precedent from going to the battlefield. In the History of Ibn Hisyam it is mentioned that Ustman once asked the Prophet whether in that case he was rewarded similar to that of joining in the Badar battle. The Prophet answered, “yes, you are rewarded as joining the Battle of Badar.”
In another Hadith, it was narrated that studying is also considered jihad. The Prophet Muhammad said:
من خرج فى طلب العلم كان فى سبيل الله حتى يرجع
Whoever goes out seeking knowledge, then is in the path of Allah until s/he returns.
Abu Darda, a Prophet companion, said that if someone says that seeking for knowledge is not categorized as jihad, then s/he is lack of reason” (Narrated by Turmudzi from Anas bin Malik).
The above-mentioned Hadith and the opinion of Abu Darda is in line with the Qur’anic message in Chapter at Taubah verse 122. This verse stated that in the time of war it is suggested that not all of the people should join the battle, some of them should remain to seek religious knowledge (tafaqquh fiddin) in order that some of them could give preaching for those who returned from the battlefield.
In Medina, the female companions (sahabiyat) tried their best to have the opportunity to study from the Prophet Muhammad. Asma’ binti Yazid Al Anshariyyah as a spokesperson among sahabiyat begged the Prophet to have the session of seeking knowledge from him and the Prophet agreed to this request. Ummul Mukminin Aisyah also appreciated the braveness and confidence the sahabiyat of Anshor had in order to seek knowledge.
At the same time, the Prophet Muhammad acknowledged and showed appreciation for the intellectual ability and capacity of Aisyah. The Prophet said: “Please receive half of your religion from this woman with red cheeks (Aisyah).” The effort of the female Companion of the Prophet (sahabiyat) to study religious knowledge (tafaqquh fiddin) is considered jihad. Many of them narrated the Hadith especially related to women, family, and husband-wife relationships.
The sahabiyat were also fighting to be allowed to participate in worship activities at the mosque. Several male Companions of the Prophet (shahabat) have forbidden their wives to go to the mosque. Responding to this prohibition, the Prophet instructed the husbands not to prevent their wives from visiting the mosque. The Prophet emphasized that the women are also God’s servants and have the right to attend the mosque. This struggle of women to achieve their rights was considered a woman jihad to fight their rights to perform worship in the public sphere (the mosque).
To achieve justice and wellbeing of the people, the Prophet said:
افضل الجهاد كلمة حق عند امام جاىر
“the foremost jihad is to say what is right in front of the unjust ruler.”
The Muslim scholars explained that to say what is right should employ the right method in order that the aim is achieved. Just like what was shown by the Prophet Musa and Harun who talked kindheartedly to the Pharaoh when they asked and gave advice not to do unjust to the people and Bani Israel (QS Thaha verse 43 and 44).
From the above-mentioned hadith is clear that giving advice, critics, notice and preventing evil did of the ruler using the right way is jihad. Women, just like men, have the same ability and opportunity to perform jihad as a civilian as well as state apparatus and officials. In a democratic state like Indonesia, political jihad following the constitution is practicable.
Second, the non-combat jihad that addresses specifically to women. Many of these kinds of jihad is discussed during the Medinan period. At that time, Islam had have been experienced several wars. Sahabiyat that has been represented by Aisyiah asked whether a woman has also the obligation to do jihad? Undoubtedly, the Prophet answered,” yes,” women also obliged to do a non-combat jihad, such as performing Hajj and Umrah.” This hadith is categorized as shahih (authentic) narrated by Ahmad and Ibnu Majah from Aisyah and available in the Hajj chapter. This hadith has three meanings namely: (1) women oblige to do jihad; (2) the obligation of jihad is non-combat jihad; (3) performing hajj and umrah is considered jihad for the woman.
Understandably, hajj and umrah are considered jihad. Since hajj and umrah require struggle and big detriment for women. During the Prophet’s time, performing hajj and umrah from Mecca to Medina is a great distance that needs preparation for the journey and is full of sacrifice and high risk. It was high risk because there was no adequate transportation, no security guaranty as Islam has not strong yet, and many hostile men against Islam. Thus, the situation was dangerous and women who planned for pilgrimage should have thoughtful preparation because they have to leave their children for a long period, and prepare food for their journey and the family. This preparation experienced by women is tiring and tough in order to gain their opportunity to perform religious duty.
In Indonesia, during colonial time, performing pilgrimage was also a struggle and need a lot of sacrifices. They have to sail using the ship for months. Before and after the pilgrim they should be quarantined for three months in Seribu island. After they reintegrated into the community, their activities were monitored by the colonial. During their settlement in Mecca, they have to ensure that their family has the living cost of daily life. During that time, rarely did the women have the opportunity to perform pilgrimage to Mecca. Thus, it is reasonable that hajj and umrah for women are part of jihad.
The woman also performs jihad when she delivered the baby, as she struggles to fight between life and death. When the woman died during delivering the baby, she is categorized as a syahid death (martyr). She is struggling for the survival of a human being. Hadith from the Prophet explains in length about this narration.
Based on the above explanation, the category of jihad performed by women in a non-combat jihad is presented in various forms. Several of them can be performed by both man and woman, like caring for the parents, caring for the family, helping the disadvantaged people, seeking knowledge, fighting for equality before God, criticizing the unjust rulers, and collaboration with men to spread the Islamic teaching. Several others are performed specifically by a woman like hajj, umrah, and childbirth.
Therefore, the non-combat jihad (jihad non-qital) took various forms and was wide open for women to do so, in the public and domestic spheres, and can be performed by both man and woman or specifically for a woman alone. The following section describes the examples of the non-combat jihad performed by the sahabiyat (female Companions of the Prophet).