Sister Hadeel – How many more murdered will it take?
On 22 September 2015, a teenage Palestinian Muslimah, Hadeel al-Hashlamun (rahimahallāh) who was 18 years of age, was targeted and unlawfully executed by Israeli troops in the illegally occupied Hebron, West Bank.
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Whilst we all viewed images, footage and remembered the house of Allāh much in this blessed month where many made Hajj, it is apparent that the Ka’ba is perhaps the greatest Islamic symbol present, with Muslims all over the world turning their faces towards it five times daily. Though the prayer near it has more reward than anywhere else, the sanctity of the blood of a single believer is worth more to Allāh than the sanctity of this first house built to worship Him. This was made clear by the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) in the following account, as Abdullāh b. ‘Umar (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu) said:
“I saw the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) doing tawāf around the Ka’ba saying, ‘How sweet/good are you and how sweet is your scent. How great are you and how great is your sanctity. By the One in whose Hand the soul of Mohammad is, the sanctity of a believer is greater with Allāh than your sanctity’.” 
Although the hadith makes no distinction as to the gender of the believer, it is clear that the honour and sanctity of women in all societies, is paramount. History bares testimony that many wars have been fought over the dishonouring of women. Islam too places women in an exalted status and as we shall now see, their denigration, has prompted similar responses in Islamic history.
The Prophet and Banu Qainuqa’
The Battle of Badr in the year 2 AH, forced the other Arabs to regard the Muslims as challengers and potential inheritors to the prestige and the political role of the Quraish. Many became agitated by the growing political and military force of the Muslim community including many of the tribes in Madīnah such as Banu Qainuqa’, who publicly began a process of provocation and trouble making, jeering at Muslims who frequented their bazaars.
On one occasion, a Muslim woman arrived at one of their bazaars while she sat a goldsmith’s. To mock this muslimah, they wanted to expose her face from her niqāb and so the goldsmith fastened the end of her garment to an object without her knowing it. When she stood to leave, part of her garment became uncovered revealing her body and the men of Banu Qainuqa’ who were in attendance began laughing. As the woman cried out, a Muslim man attacked the goldsmith and killed him. The Banu Qainuqa’ then attacked the Muslim man and killed him .
When news of this reached the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), he marched out with his soldiers with Hamzah b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu) carrying the standard of the Muslims and they then lay siege to the forts of Banu Qainuqa’ for 15 days. Allāh casted fear into their hearts and they eventually surrendered to the Muslims, now with their fate left in the hands of the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). Despite their open aggression and violation of the Treaty of Madinah (a treaty which the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) drew up with the various tribes of Madīnah), the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) listened to their pleas and showed mercy and restraint by agreeing that they hand over all their materials, wealth, armour and weapons and they be expelled out of Arabia. They travelled to Syria and over a period of time, they faded into the pages of history .
Hajjāj b. Yūsuf, Muhammad b. Qāsim and the ruler of India
In 85 AH (707 CE), the ruler of the area known as Sindh (in present day Pakistan) was Raja Dahir. Up to this date, although there had been some skirmishes with the rulers of India at sea, there was never any real attempt to conquer any land in India. But one incident was to change all of that.
Some pirates operating out of Indian harbours kidnapped a number of Muslim women and children travelling from Sri Lanka to Arabia . There are different reports as to how the Umayyad Governor of Iraq, Hajjāj b. Yūsuf came to know of the incident but one account was that one of the captured women managed to get a letter out to him. When Hajjāj learned of the incident, he immediately sent a letter to Dahir demanding that the captives be released and the responsible pirates punished. Dahir refused. Hajjāj considered the reply as a further insult and sent two punitive forces to against Dahir which were defeated by Dahir and his forces.
In 88 AH (710 CE) Hajjāj then sent, with Caliph al-Walīd b. ‘Abd al-Malik’s permission, a fully-fledged army to invade Sindh. The command of this campaign was given to Muhammad b. Qāsim, the nephew and son-in-law of Hajjāj, who was the governor of Shiraz in Persia. Muhammad was only seventeen years old at this time but was one of the most capable generals of his time. Such was the importance placed in this campaign that a strong army of 6,000 picked Syrian cavalry—the flower of the Muslim armies at the time—was to be sent .
The young Muhammad took Sind by storm. After capturing Panjgore and Armabel, Muhammed advanced towards the port of Debal, which was located near the modern city of Karachi where Dahir was based. The army of Islam routed Dahir’s army and Dahir himself was killed in the battle and the Muslim women who were detained by Dahir were released.
Mu’tasim and the Romans
In 211 AH (833 CE), al-Mu’tasim-billāh became the Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate. By this time, the centre of power in the Islamic world had moved from Arabia to Syria and then to Iraq, where the Abbasid dynasty built its capital, first in Baghdad and then to the north of Baghdad in Samarra.
In 837 CE, Theophilos set out from Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) with an army of 100,000 and crossed into Muslim territory in northern Mesopotamia, where he attacked and destroyed the Muslim city of Zibatrah and Malatya, where they mutilated a number of the men by pulling out their eyes and cutting off their noses. Fleeing refugees made their way to Samarra where they spoke of the horror of the attack and that on the day the Byzantines conquered Zibatrah, a Muslim woman who was taken captive cried out:
“Wā Mu’tsimā!” (Help, O Mu‘tasim!)
It is stated that when the news reached Mu’tasim, he was drinking water from a cup and he immediately put the cup down and ordered the adhān to be called to signify an emergency. When all the people assembled, Mu’tasim asked:
“Which place in the Byzantine lands is the most impregnable and securely fortified?”
He was told:
“Ammuriyyah (Amorium), no Muslim has ever made an attempt upon it since the coming of Islam; it is the very heart and core of Byzantium. In the view of the Byzantines, it is even more exalted than Constantinople” .
And so Mu‘tasim decided that he would attack Ammuriyyah and it has been mentioned that he equipped himself in a manner that no previous caliph had done before. So large was the army which he assembled for this task that when the head of the army reached Ammuriyyah, the tail end of the army was still in Samarra.
Mu’tasim and his army entered Ammuriyyah on the 17th of Ramadān, 223 AH (August 12th, 838 CE), the city was razed to the ground and the Muslim prisoners including the woman who cried out for Mu’tasim were freed by Mu’tasim himself . The Byzantine chronicler Theophanes Continuatus mentions 70,000 dead. Among the spoils taken were the massive iron doors of the city, which Mu’tasim transported to Samarra, where they were installed at the entrance of his palace .
What about today?
The purpose of elucidating the above examples was to demonstrate the fact that outrages against women is not to be taken lightly. That which can be done within one’s ability concordant to rules of justice and laws should be done with vigour. Today however, our responses seem mute to the point of indifference.
Sister Hadeel was a first year university student in Hebron. The Guardian and a report by Amnesty report that she had just come through a metal detector at a checkpoint when an Israeli soldier asked to search her. There were a further 6 soldiers in close proximity. Sister Hadeel did not want to be searched by a male soldier and went back to exit from the checkpoint and attempted to walk back out of the exit and at this point, one soldier in a kippa covered her with his rifle while another – with a radio on his back – moved towards her. She was then asked to open her bag for inspection. When she was opening her bag, the soldier questioning her began shouting: “Stop! Stop! Stop! Don’t move! Don’t move!”
Not understanding Hebrew, she was trying to show him what was inside her bag, but the soldier shot her once, and then shot her again. Witness accounts state that she was shot multiple times as she lay wounded on the ground. Sister Hadeel was dragged across the floor and left to bleed for an hour before being taken to hospital where she later died.
The Israeli occupying force have, as expected, created a fictitious story stating that Hadeel had a gun and then later, this changed to her allegedly brandishing a knife. It goes without saying that there are no images corroborating the claims of the occupying Israeli army.
Amnesty International say that the evidence obtained by them indicates that the killing was an extrajudicial execution and constituted a crime under international law. In addition, they stated that the extrajudicial execution would also constitute a wilful killing, which is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to Israel’s long-standing military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and a war crime. 
Points to note:
Many times we hear the phrase from the lips of Muslims, “Imagine if the Messenger of Allāh were here today.” Of course, we cannot speak for the Prophet but what we can be certain of from the life of the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is that their worry and concern was such that for the sake of one woman and one man, it is clear that he gathered all the Muslims bringing them together, risking their own lives by going to war against an entire tribe for their grave violations. Such was the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and the greatest generation of Muslims in how they regarded the honour of the innocent Muslims.
Such too was Mu’tasim in how he regarded the honour of the Muslims that he gathered an army so large that made the lands shake and with it. What should be noted when considering Mu’tasim is that he is not even regarded amongst the greatest of Muslim leaders but such is his legacy through this act that today, 1,177 years later he is still remembered. Mu’tasim’s stance immortalised the helpless woman’s plea of “Wā Mu’tasimā!” the echoes of which reverberate with us still to this very day. And so too we find with Hajjāj, who again is not regarded amongst the greatest Muslim leaders but such was his response to the Muslim women being taken captive, that the landscape of South East Asia was transformed forever.
Contrast this consideration with the mute responses when our sister Hadeel was set upon by cowardly vultures in the guise of the occupying Israeli force. Not a single Muslim leader spoke out against this killing which comes off the back of the recent violation of Masjid al-Aqsa by the occupying apartheid army. Indeed it is a testament to the greatness of the Muslim women, that Palestinian women in their groups protect the third holiest site mainly due to the severe restrictions on men praying there. Here it is worth reflecting that the restrictions on men has not created a perception amongst the women that they are now absolved of a duty which shows us the level of Tarbiyyah and entrenched love for Al-Aqsa – remembering that they are mothers of the future of Palestine and those whom the occupiers fear knowing that—like the Pharaohs before them—one day there will rise from them the liberators of this blessed land and its people, with the permission of Allāh.
Despite being numerous in number today, our reality is more akin to the Muslim minority community in Makkah during the period where another Muslim woman was killed, thus becoming the first martyr in the history of Islam, Sumayyah (radiy Allāhu ‘anha). Her family went through great torture but the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) would instruct them to patience knowing full well that a time would come when the power of the Muslim community could not be resisted. And so, too must we bear this situation with patience. However, this does not mean we remain indifferent to the crimes perpetrated by oppressors, but rather, we challenge them using whatever legitimate, legal and democratic means one can muster in order to hold them to account and halt the aggression.
More importantly, we ask Allāh to hasten truly-guided leaders on the method of the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) implementing His Guidance and unifying the Muslim declaration. Those who will defend the Muslims from their oppressors, liberate the Muslim holy sites and come to the rescue of the countless Hadeels (may Allāh be pleased with her).
Notes: Ibn. Mājah  Ibn Hisham  Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri – The Sealed Nectar  Ibn Atheer – al-Kamil  Tabari  Meinecke, Michael – The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume VIII  Alexander Berzin – Part I: The Umayyad Caliphate (661 – 750 CE), The First Muslim Incursion into the Indian Subcontinent  Wink, Andre – Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/23/dispute-arises-over-circumstances-of-death-of-woman-at-israeli-checkpoint-hadeel-al-hashlamon  https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/2529/2015/en/  http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/women-al-aqsa-meet-murabitats-2039073489