Thursday, January 9, 2014

SYRIA: Khawla Bint al-Azwar - 7th Century Muslim Woman Warrior

While reading about the confrontation between ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham) and the other rebel groups in Syria, I came across the name of Khawla Bint al-Azwar, whose grave had been bombed by the ISIS:

"Three months ago, foreign militants came to a school in Sermin Village. At first, they (ISIS) did not interact with anyone. After some time passed and their strength increased, they started their armed appearances in the markets and public places until they finally imposed (Islamic) dress and their own values," an activist said. It was within this context that they bombed the grave of Khawla Bint al-Azwar (famed female Muslim warrior from Muhammad's time)." - from Almonitor, Jan. 6, 2014

First of all, to clarify, I'm relieved the other rebel groups in Syria have taken on ISIS because the agenda of ISIS was never about protecting the Syrian people. It was about stealing land from Syria.

But back to Khawla -- I was quite fascinated that there was a woman warrior back in the 7th century. I have my preconceptions about Muslim women, which doesn't include their being warriors.

Khawlah fought alongside her brother, Zirrar, and at some point she rescued him when he was imprisoned by the Byzantine army.

In another battle, she was captured and imprisoned with other women prisoners. She was to be (and here I quote Wikipedia),  "taken to the leader's tent for pleasure. Instead, Khawlah roused the other prisoners, who used the tent poles as weapons and attacked the Byzantine guards. According to Al Waqidi, they managed to kill thirty Byzantinian knights with Khawlah taking credit for five, including the Byzantinian who had wanted to use her."

Khawla reportedly died at a young age in a plague. She is remembered and honored in the Islamic world.

Read also
The Jihadists may have gone too far 
The battle between ISIS and Syria's Rebel Militias
Syria War: Doctors Targeted by Assad Regime
Catching up with news on the war in Syria
The Horror of the War in Syria to the Civilian Population
Poet and Song Writer, Ibrahim Qashoush, Victim of Syrian War
In Solidarity with the Syrian People - Two Revolutionary Poems
Writers and the War in Syria

tags: woman, warrior, war, military, Muslim, Islam, Islamic, Byzantine, Khawla Bint al-Azwar, Middle East, Syria
All for now,

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