Translated Message From Zawahiri's Wife To Muslim Women

The role of women in jihad, as caregivers or fighters, as raisers of children or suicide bombers, is a contentious point amongst male and female jihadists. Al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had responded to two questions on this subject in the open interview with jihadist forum members held in early-2008.

He said that women are not accepted into the ranks of al-Qaeda and that a woman must travel with a male relative and trusted guide to a field of jihad – Afghanistan in the case of the question. Zawahiri’s answers demonstrate the public position of al-Qaeda on women in jihad, that they are not equals of men. Female jihadists responded with sadness and some criticism to this position. Nearly two years later, in December, 2009, the wife of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Umayma Hassan Ahmed Muhammad Hassan, addressed Muslim women and reinforced her husband’s position. She discouraged women from pursuing an active role in fighting, arguing that their primary role is not to fight but to support their husbands and rear future generations of mujahideen. Umayma, however, reasoned that there are some cases when a Muslim woman may fight, but that is when it is in the service of the mujahideen. 

  Following is the translated text:  
  A Message to the Muslim Sisters  
  Written by Umayma Hassan Ahmed Muhammad Hassan,  
  The Wife of Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri, may Allah Preserve Them  
  As-Sahab Media Productions  
  In the Name of Allah, the most Gracious and Merciful  
  Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Peace and prayer be upon the most honorable of the messengers, our master Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions, and all those who follow his guidance and his traditions.  
  My honorable Muslim sisters, peace be upon you, and Allah’s mercy and blessings.  
  I have long wished to talk with you about what our Muslim Ummah is going through in terms of great events and dangerous situations. However, circumstances have gotten between you and I. It is high time that I talk with my honorable sisters. I will, however, start with the family and the beloved ones in our beloved country. I say to them: Do not worry about us. We are, praise be to Allah, in the care and the blessings of Allah the Great and Almighty. Our hearts and our souls are with you, no matter the distance between us. Thus is life, a meeting and a separation that befall us. It is sufficient to us that we are right and we called to the truth, as our Great and Almighty Lord said: “So do not become weak, nor be sad, and you will be superior if you are indeed believers.” [Al-Imran 3:139] May it be that we meet soon, Allah willing, for Allah’s release is soon and His victory is inevitably coming, with permission from Allah the Almighty.  
  After the family and beloved ones, I direct this speech of mine to my good sisters in our precious Muslim Ummah. I specifically mention our beloved sisters who are united in the lands of jihad all over the world, and our mothers who gave themselves in the Cause of Allah to support His religion, and they nevertheless never tire from supporting this religion. How many sons and husbands and others have they offered? How much were they hurt in the Cause of Allah. Each of us faces the same situation, united women who do jihad who suffer in the Cause of Allah and offer what they have in terms of sacrifices. However – by Allah - all this will not delay us a single moment from supporting our religion despite what we have encountered on this road in terms of loss of loved ones and distance from home. With all that we only find sweetness in what we are now doing and happy with what Allah gave unto us, that which His other worshippers did not receive, which is jihad in His Cause, support of His religion, and to raise His word. With all these hardships we are nevertheless sated. The grace is from Allah. So my good sisters: steadfastness and more steadfastness on this road, for neither a superpower nor international alliances will stop us when Allah is with us. He is our advocate, and we will not fear anyone except for Him. We – praise be to Allah - despite all that we encounter, are steadfast and have glad tidings of Allah’s promise to us. Our Lord said: “Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with extreme poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When the Help of Allah?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” [Al-Baqarah 2:214] So victory is nigh, with permission from Allah, willing, and our Lord, Allah willing, will not let us down. It is either victory or martyrdom, and both are sweeter than the other. We will not rest in the service of our religion, for it is the most precious thing we have.  
  I ask Allah for us and our brothers all over the world - especially the lands of unity like Palestine, Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan and Somalia – to grant us steadfastness and patience until death, for either victory or martyrdom. “Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not.” [From Yusuf 12:21]  
  I remind myself and my good Muslim sisters of the female companions of the faithful mujahideen. They are a good example to us, and with them we will have an example. There are many lessons and examples to learn from their blessed path. They did not tire in the service of our religion, so we - Allah willing - we will be on their path. The greatest example for us is lady Khadijah - may Allah be pleased with her - for she helped the Messenger – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him - very much in fulfilling his call, and she would say to him: “By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your relatives, you speak the truth, you help the poor, and assist those hit with calamities.”  
  Another example is lady Safiyah - may Allah be pleased with her - for she was the bravest of women. When a Jew passed by the fort and started going around the fort while Muslims were slaughtered by the enemy, she got off and killed the Jew with a stick and she did not fear.  
  Another example is Um Amara – may Allah be pleased with her. She received twelve rounds in the Uhud when she was defending the Messenger, peace and prayer of Allah be upon him. Her hand was severed on the day of Yamama. …  
  So we have these as an example in helping our husbands to fulfill right, bravery and initiative, and we fear none except Allah the Great and Almighty.  
  As for my second message, it is for my Muslim sisters who are imprisoned in the prisons of the tyrants.  
  I say to them: You are in our hearts and we will never forget you. Allah willing, we will spare no effort in releasing you. You are our honor and we are your sisters. We never forget you. Allah knows that we are always calling unto Him to protect you from all harm and hasten your release.  
  As for my third message, it is for the Muslim female masses:  
  First, I call upon them to commit to all the judgments of Islam, for in them there is happiness in this world and attainment of the afterlife. I especially call them to the hijab, as it is the calling card of the worshiping Muslim woman to her Lord who obeys His commands. In its abandonment there is obedience to Satan. As you know O Muslim sisters, the campaign against the hijab is one of the hardest battles between Islam and infidelity. Those criminal infidels want the woman to give up her religion, and the first thing the woman gives up is her appearance and her covering. So if the woman abandons her appearance and covering, this is followed by a series of greater abandonment of her religion. So the Muslim woman must be well-aware of this. As you know O Muslim sister, the West only wants you as a good to sell, and erase with you the appearances of Islam. For Muslim women, the hijab is the first landmark of Islam, and in it there is your meekness, your purity and you covering.  
  The infidel Western world does not want you to commit to the hijab, because a woman’s commitment to the hijab reveals the fall of their morals and their social degradation. The infidel West trades with women and considers a woman a cheap good. To them she is not protected or respects; rather, she is a means of business of obscenity. May Allah forbid from all that.  
  However, the covered Muslim woman is protected and respected in her house and outside as well, and she is the precious jewel.  
  As our Lord, the Great and Almighty, said: “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters, and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be know so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Al-Ahzab 33:59] So this is the word of Allah the Great and Almighty to His Messenger, peace and prayer of Allah be upon him, to speak to his wives and daughters and faithful women. Therefore, my faithful sis ters we must commit to the Shariah-accorded hijab, for it is good for us in this world and the next.  
  Second, I call upon my Muslim sisters to raise their sons to obey Allah and love jihad in the Cause of Allah. Incite the brothers, husbands and sons to defend the Muslim lands and their resources and to restore them from the invaders who invaded the lands of Islam and stole their resources. Increase the Ummah’s awareness to break free of those who want to ally with the enemies and sell the lands of Islam.  
  I call upon them also to help the mujahideen with prayer and money, and help the families of the wounded and imprisoned with money and donations to their children and women. They are in the direst need of those who would help them against the hardships of life. And I remind my sisters of the words of the Prophet: “Fasting is shelter. Charity removes sin as water extinguishes fire.”  
  I also remind them of his words, peace and prayer of Allah be upon him: “O women! Give charity, for I have seen you as the majority of those in hell.”  
  I confirm to my Muslim sisters around the world that the role of the Muslim woman is very important in Islamic work, for the women are sisters of men. The Muslim woman must work beside the man to defend her religion and land, so she must defend with herself. If she is not able then with her money. If she is not able that, then by calling in the name of her religion through the calling upon her Muslim sisters in the mosques, schools, institutions and homes. If she is not able that, then through the internet, in which she writes her call, sends it, and spreads the call of the mujahideen. It will arrive, Allah willing, and it will find open ears and hearts. So I beg of you O Muslim sister, do not tire or get bored from supporting our religion in any way you can.  
  Incidentally, a question has arisen about the role of women in the current jihad. So I say, and Allah will grant success: Jihad is an individual obligation on every Muslim man and woman, but the path of combat is not easy for a woman. It requires a Mahram [a male Muslim relative], because the woman must have a Mahram in her comings and goings. However, we must support our religion in many ways, so we put ourselves in the service of the mujahideen and do what they ask, whether it is helping with money or service, or giving them information or opinion, or participation in battle or even with martyrdom-seeking acts. There are many women who did martyrdom-seeking acts in Palestine, Iraq and Chechnya, and hurt the enemy and defeated them. So we ask Allah to accept them and make us follow them in goodness.  
  But our main role - that we ask Allah to accept from us - is to preserve the mujahideen in their sons, houses and secrets, and to help them in raising their sons well. Your emigrant sisters – praise be to Allah - are fulfilling a great role in this field; they are patient, steadfast and courageous, and do not care for the world but desire the hereafter. All this despite their hardships, the loss of their husbands, sons and fathers, and the lack of stability. Indeed, some of them have even been imprisoned, but your emigrant sisters are patient. Praise and grace be to Allah.  
  In conclusion, I remind my sisters that one’s death and fortune are written with Allah, and jihad does not hasten death nor does it detract fortune. Today, jihad has become an obligation, for the foreign enemy infidel has invaded the lands of the Muslims and the Muslim’s three holy sites are now under their control. They have also imposed agent apostate rulers upon the Muslims, and the scholars are unanimous about the necessity of removing an apostate.  
  As the martyr of Islam - as we consider him - Sheikh Abdullah Azzam - may Allah have mercy on him – said, jihad has become an obligation on the Ummah since the fall of Andalusia.  
  The leaders of the mujahideen call upon the Ummah to go to the battlefields of jihad. So my beloved sisters, we must not fall behind in these Shariah-accorded tasks, and to incite others to them.  
  I give you tidings that jihad is victorious, and the Western media, despite acknowledging the losses of the Crusaders and the Jews in many battlefields of the jihad, is still only showing part of the truth and hiding most of it. Look at the media of the mujahideen that brings the information from the battlefields and reveals the falsehood of the Western media. Here are before you living proof of the impotence of the Crusaders. After eight years since the start of the Crusade we are still – praise be to Allah - doing jihad from Chechnya to the Islamic Maghreb [North Africa]. So trust in victory from Allah, who says in His Holy Book: “Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of idols. So fight you against the friends of Satan. Ever feeble indeed is the plot of Satan.” [An-Nisa’ 4:76]  
  I leave you in His preservation and care.  
  Our final call is praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and peace and prayer be upon our master Muhammad and his family and his Companions.  
  And peace be upon you, and Allah’s mercy and blessings.  
  >Your sister in Allah, Umayma Hassan Ahmed Muhammad Hassan, the wife of your brother, Ayman al-Zawahiri  
  >Pray for your mujahideen brothers.