By Raymond Ibrahim
Last year, according to Arabic media accounts, “Saudi cleric Nasser al-‘Umar issued a fatwa permitting mujahidin [jihadis] in Syria to have sex-jihad with their sisters [muharamhum] if no one else is available. The Saudi preacher also praised the mujahidin for their ongoing fight against, in his words, the machine of infidelity and oppression, that is, the Syrian and Iranian regimes.”
The cleric issued his fatwa on “one of the channels associated with the radical jihadi movements” where he also reportedly said: “Some today are opposing the fatwas being issued by the clerics which serve our mujahidin brethren fighting in Syria [a likely reference to Muslim criticism—as opposed to Western denial—of the sex-jihad fatwas], without criticizing the killing of children and women in Syria.”
As shocking as this report may seem, it is not the first of its kind. For example, according to this Arabic documentary video (click “cc” for English subtitles), “The new jihad allows brothers and sisters in Syria belonging to the [al-Qaeda linked] al-Nusra Front to marry each other under the name of jihad because of the lack of girls among fighters of that organization.”
One man appears on video saying, “At the Zawia mountain there is an imam called Imam Hussein. They bring him a brother and a sister, he says ‘Allahu Akbar’ on them three times to have sex together and make them husband and wife.”
The rationale and justification of these fatwas is based on the Islamic maxim, “necessity makes the prohibited permissible,” not unlike the more familiar adage, “the ends justify the means.”
In other words, because fighting to make the “word of Allah,” or Sharia, supreme is the greatest good, and because sexually-deprived jihadis fighting to do just that may lose morale and quit the theatre of war for lack of women, it is permissible, indeed laudable, for Muslim women—including apparently relatives—to volunteer to give up their bodies to these men so that they can continue the jihad to empower Islam, in accordance with the Koran: “Allah has purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain” (Yusuf Ali trans. 9:111).
This verse has been traditionally understood as Muslim men selling “their persons,” that is, their bodies, to the jihad in exchange for paradise. In the context of sex jihad, however, Muslim women—including sisters—are also selling “their persons” (their bodies for sex) to indirectly empower the jihad, also in exchange for paradise.
The fact is, the maxim, “necessity makes the prohibited permissible,” is responsible for any number of seeming contradictions: Muslim women must chastely be covered head-to-toe—yet, in the service of jihad, they are allowed to prostitute their bodies. Homosexuality is forbidden—but permissible if rationalized as a way to kill infidels. Lying is forbidden—but permissible to empower Islam. Suicide is forbidden—but permissible during the jihad—called “martyrdom.” Stealing is forbidden—but the rightful booty of the jihadi who conquers infidels.
The moral of the story? Sharia is only draconian and rigid for those who find themselves living under its jurisprudence. But as for those who work to empower Allah’s law—chief among them, the jihadis—not only are they permitted to ignore Sharia, they are permitted to ignore basic standards of morality.
Hence the ancient and widespread appeal of the jihad.