Are the Stories about Khawla Bint Al-Azwar (Allah be pleased with her) Authentic?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question 

I have heard a story of a female companion who was a warrior and was compared to Khalid Bin Waleed (Allah be pleased with him). As far as I have heard, she partook in many battles and fought against disbelievers. However, when I looked into it, I came to know that her story comes through Al-Waqidi, a well-known liar, as mentioned by many scholars, so I wanted to ask if her story comes from another route or if it’s authentic.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him. Amin.

The Source of The Legendary Stories

The legendary stories about Khawla Bint Al-Azwar are sourced from the book “Futuh Al-Sham,” attributed to Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar Al-Waqidi. Ibn Asakir mentions a book titled “Futuh Al-Sham” and attributes it to Al-Waqidi.

However, historians have proven that the extant text printed with this title cannot authentically be attributed to Al-Waqidi. This falsely ascribed text is considered the first and only source for the heroics of Khawla Bint Al-Azwar and was written in the year 907 AH by an unknown author who falsely attributed it to Al-Waqidi. Traditional scholars unanimously regarded Al-Waqidi as weak, and many accused him of lying and fabrication. [Ahmad ‘Adil Kamal, Al-Tariq ila Dimashq, p77-78]

Reading and Quoting Fabricated Sources

Imam Qulyubi said, “It is better for the one who is in i’tikaf (spiritual retreat) to be occupied with worship, sitting with people of knowledge and hadith, and reading books of spirituality and history that are not fabricated, which are prohibited. Like the Futuh Al-Sham and Narratives about the Prophets which are attributed to Al-Waqidi.” [Hashiyat Al-Qulyubi ‘ala Sharh Al-Mahalli]

Traditional Sources on Khawla Bint Al-Azwar

The renowned traditional sources and references that talk about the Companions (Allah be pleased with them), such as Al-Isaba by Ibn Hajar, Asad Al-Ghaba by Ibn Al-Athir, and Al-Isti‘ab by Ibn Abd al-Barr, other biographical compilations (tarajum), and the renowned compilations of History such as Tarikh Ibn Asakir‘an Dimashq, do not mention a woman Companion with the name Khawla Bint Al-Azwar. Ibn Hajar mentions Khawla as a few female Companions’ names but does not mention Bint Al-Azwar.

As for the great companion Dirar Ibn Al-Azwar (Allah be pleased with him), Ibn Hajar mentioned his biographical information and three of his brothers. There was no sister mentioned among them. Dirar Ibn Al-Azwar (Allah be pleased with him) is likelier to have been martyred in the battle of Yamama against the apostate followers of Musaylama the Liar. [Ibn Hajar, Al-Isaba]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.