Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle
Can women fight for Islam or take part in jihad? Nusaybah bint Ka’ab (RA) took part in the battles and fought alongside men. Does it mean women can take part in jihad? I heard a narration that Rasoolullah (saw) asked women to take care of their home, which is their jihad. Is this an authentic hadith? Can you share the reference?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
Yes, women can take part in jihad. They can nurse the injured, help with the organization of supplies, and they even have to fight when the enemy overruns their locality, and there is no army. (Tuhfat al-Muhtaj)
However, in general, men enter the army, and women do not. The fact that Sayyidatna Nusayba (Allah well be pleased with her) understood that she was also obliged to fight was an exception, and typically, we do not see women fighting in jihad at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon) or that of the Early Muslims (Salaf).
Furthermore, it is quite clear that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged women to seek Allah’s reward in their role as a wife and mother, not as a soldier.
It is narrated that some of the female Companions came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) complaining that the men had taken all of the rewards of fighting in jihad. ‘What kind of deeds can we do,’ they asked, ‘to reach the level of those men who fight in the way of Allah?’
The hadith mentions that he said, ‘The housework that one of you does is enough to reach the level of those men who fight in the way of Allah.’ (Bazzar and Abu Ya’la)
This hadith is arguably weak, though some may accept it. (Musnad al-Bazzar; al-Kamil, Ibn Adi; al-Majruhin, Ibn Hibban; Mizan al-I’tidal, Dhahabi; Musnad Abi Ya’la, ed. Hussayn Asad)
It is also narrated that a woman came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, the women have sent me to you. [As we know], jihad is binding upon men: if they are injured, they are rewarded, and if they die, they will remain alive with their lord with lavish provision. But what do we women, who do all this work for them, get?!
The hadith mentions that the Messenger of Allah replied, saying, ‘Tell any woman you meet that if a woman obeys her husband and gives him his due respect, she will get the likes [of his fighting in jihad]. But how few of you do that!’ (Musnad al-Bazzar and Tabarani)
The hadith though true, is weak. (Majma’ al-Zawaid, Haythami) Please also see:
In summary, the hadith that the questioner asked about does have some weight but is not technically authentic (sahih). That said, the meaning is accurate. We know this because the Early Muslims did not encourage women to fight in jihad but instead encourage them to worship Allah in other ways.
In general, the most beloved works in Allah’s eyes are those that benefit others the most, and one should generally look to see how you can uniquely help those around you most.
Often, the most significant deeds a woman can do are being an obedient wife and a good housewife. This doesn’t mean that she cannot find other promising avenues, such as business, teaching, or Islamic scholarship. It just means that her most incredible acts are more often those more low-key and immediately beneficial ones.
Please also see:
I pray this helps.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years, he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.