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  • 12/8/2011

Great Women of Islam: Khawlah Bint Al-Azwar

part 2

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Khalid ordered his army to chase the fleeing Roman Army, with Khawlah leading the attack, looking in all directions for her brother, but in vain. By noontime, the victory was decisive. Most of the Roman soldiers were killed.

Knowing that the prisoners had to be somewhere, Khalid sent Khawlah with a number of knights to find them. After a hot chase, they managed to catch up with a Roman detachment that was taking the prisoners to their headquarters. Another fight took place, the Roman guards were all killed and the prisoners saved.

In another battle in Ajnadin, Khawlah's spear broke, and her mare was killed, and she found herself a prisoner. But she was astonished to find that the Romans attacked the women camp and captured several of them. Their leader gave the prisoners to his commanders, and order Khawlah to be moved into his tent. She was furious, and decided that to die is more honorable than living in disgrace. She stood among the other women, and called them to fight for their freedom and honour or die. The others were enthusiastic to her plan. They took the tents' poles and pegs and attacked the Roman guards, keeping a formation of a tight circle, as she had instructed them.

Khawlah led the attack, killed the first guard with her pole, with the other women following her. According to Al Waqidi, they managed to kill 30 Roman knights, while Khawlah was encouraging them with her verses, which in fact caused the enemy's blood to boil.

The Roman Leader was infuriated by what happened, and led a detachment of his knights against the women, though he tried first to tempt them with many promises. He told Khawlah that he planned to marry her and make her the first lady of Damascus. But she answered him calmly and with great contempt:

"I wouldn't even accept you to be the shepherd of my camels! How do you expect me to degrade myself and live with you? I swear that I'll be the one to cut off your head for your insolence."

In the ensuing battle, the ladies proved their mettle, keeping their grounds for some time, encouraging each other and driving off the attackers with their long poles. Suddenly, Khalid and the army reached the battlefield. In the ensuing fight, over 3000 Romans were killed. The women who took part in the fighting were proud to say that Khawlah killed five knights, including the leader that insulted her.

In another battle, the Muslims were overwhelmed by a much bigger Roman army. Many soldiers fled away, but not for long. Khawlah and the other women met the fleeing soldiers, questioning their claims of bravery and forced them to return to the battle. The men were stunned when they saw Khawlah drawing her sword and leading a counter-attack. They turned their horses and joined the battle, which was eventually won.

One of the knights present that day said:

"Our women were much harsher with us than the Romans. We felt that going back to fight and die was much easier than facing the fury of our women later on".

Khawlah became a legend during her life and remains a legend till this day. She set an example to men and women alike that one should fight for what he or she believes in, and never accept defeat.

Source: islamwomen.com


Other Links:

Women in Islam   

Equality of Men and Women in Islam  

The Status of Women in Islam (part 1) 

The Status of Women in Islam (part 2)  

Womens Rights in Islam   

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