Q: Is it permissible for women to go in Jihaad?
A: Jihad is not Fardh upon women and they are generally not allowed to participate in jihad. This is a standard rule. However, if a Muslim town or country is under a sudden attack from the enemy then it becomes Fardh even upon the womenfolk to defend the country and themselves. (Raddul-Muhtaar, the Book on Jihad)
If an army is sent to another country and will occupy that area for several months, it will be permissible for the wives of the Mujaahideen to accompany them on condition that these women will be safe and well protected. If there is no guarantee for their safety then it will not be permissible for them to go out. This was the prevalent practice in the time of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs, as is mentioned in Al-Bidaayah and The Conquests of Syria.
The system that the Western (non-Muslim) armies have introduced of having women soldiers who fight alongside men and sit in the tanks is totally contrary to Islam and is not permissible, unless the scenario above is found, i.e. Muslims come under sudden attack and have no place to run.
It is reported from Hashraj bin Ziyaad that his grandmother joined a group of six women and took part in the battle of Khaybar. She says: “When Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) heard of our presence he summoned us and asked: ‘With whose permission did you emerge (for jihad)?” She says further, we could discern anger in his face.” (Narrated in Musanaf bin Abi Shayba, hadith no 34339).
In another narration it appears that Umme Kabsha asked permission from the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to take part in a certain battle. Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) refused permission. She then said: “O Messenger of Allah! I don’t intend fighting; instead I will tend the wounded, nurse the sick, and give water to the needy” The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) remarked: “If it was not for fear that this (emerging of women for jihad) would become a Sunnat, and it would be said that ‘so and so woman went out in jihad’, I would have granted permission. But no, you remain behind.” (Narrated in Musanaf bin Abi Shayba, hadith no 34341)
From the above ahadeeth it is evident that women may not take part in jihad. Those ladies about whom it is reported that they went out for jihad in the time of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), did so without his permission, on their own accord, or the circumstances were such that the Muslims needed every single individual to defend the nation.
And Allah Ta’ala knows best.
Mufti Siraj Desai