Wa `Alaykum As-SalamWarahmatullahiWabarakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All thanks and praise are due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, we would like to express our deep thanks and overwhelming sense of gratitude to you for this great confidence you place in us and implore Almighty Allah to make our humble efforts come up to your expectation and fulfill our task towards the whole MuslimUmmah.

Dear questioner, Muslim jurists unanimously agreed that, when the enemy attacks part of the Muslim territories Jihad become an Individual Duty on every one. This obligation reaches a certain extent that a woman should go out for Jihad even without the permission of her husband, and the son without the consent of his parents. Thus, women’s participation in the martyr operations carried out in Palestine – given the status of the land as an occupied territory, in addition to a lot of sacrilegious acts perpetrated by the Jews against the sanctuaries – is one of the most praised acts of worship. Also, the act is a form of martyrdom in the Cause of Allah, and it entitles them, Insha’ Allah, to the same reward earned by their male counterparts who also die in the Cause of Allah.

This is what is clarified by the following fatwa, issued by SheikhYusuf Al-Qaradawithe prominent Muslim scholar:

The martyroperations isthe greatest of all sorts of Jihad in the Cause of Allah. A martyr operation is carried out by a person who sacrifices himself, deeming his life less value than striving in the Cause of Allah, in the cause of restoring the land and preserving the dignity. To such a valorous attitude applies the followingQur’anicverse: “And of mankind is he who would sell himself, seeking the pleasure of Allah; and Allah hath compassion on (His) bondmen.”(Al-Baqarah: 207)

But a clear distinction has to be made here between martyrdom and suicide. Suicide is an act or instance of killing oneself intentionally out of despair, and finding no outlet except putting an end to one’s life. On the other hand, martyrdom is a heroic act of choosing to suffer death in the Cause of Allah, and that’s why it’s considered by most Muslim scholars as one of the greatest forms of Jihad.

When Jihad becomes an Individual Duty, as when the enemy seizes the Muslim territory, a woman becomes entitled to take part in it alongside men. Jurists maintained that: When the enemy assaults a given Muslim territory, it becomes incumbent upon all its residents to fight against them to the extent that a woman should go out even without the consent of her husband, a son can go too without the permission of his parent, a slave without the approval of his master, and the employee without the leave of his employer. This is a case where obedience should not be given to anyone in something that involves disobedience to Allah, according to a famous juristic rule.

In the same vein, the public welfare should be given priority to the personal one, in the sense that if there is a contradiction between the private right and the public one, the latter must be given first priority for it concerns the interest of the wholeUmmah. Given all this, I believe a woman can participate in this form of Jihad according to her own means and condition. Also, the organizers of these martyr operations can benefit from some believing women as they may do, in some cases, what is impossible for men to do.

As for the point that carrying out this operation may involve woman’s travel from place to another without aMahram, we say that a woman can travel to perform Hajj in the company of other trustworthy women and without the presence of any Mahramas long as the road is safe and secured. Travel, nowadays, is no longer done through deserts orwilderness,instead, women can travel safely in trains or by air.

Concerning the point onHijab, a woman can put on a hat or anything else to cover her hair. Even when necessary, she may take off herHijab in order to carry out the operation, for she is going to die in the Cause of Allah and not to show off her beauty or uncover her hair. I don’t see any problem in her taking off Hijab in this case.

To conclude, I think the committed Muslim women in Palestine have the right to participate and have their own role in Jihad and to attain martyrdom.

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Yusuf Al-Qaradawi