The Neglected Sex: The Jihadis’ Exclusion of Women From Jihad

The ideological literature of jihad excludes women from combat, even though the classical doctrine of defensive jihad (jihad al-daf’) that jihadis invoke stipulates that all Muslims—men, women, children, and slaves—have an obligation to go out to fight (fard ‘ayn) in defense of their territory and their faith. Thus, the validity of the doctrine of defensive jihad is inherently linked to its universal application to all Muslims. Jihadi ideologues and leaders, however, have either purposely refrained from calling on women to make their presence felt on the battlefield as warriors or have explicitly excluded them. This article is an investigation into this lacuna in jihadi ideology. It addresses a dimension that is hardly, if ever, discussed in the academic literature, namely the jihadis’ exclusion of women from combat. This exclusion represents a gaping hole in jihadi ideology and undermines the validity of the jihadis’ defensive jihad.



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