However, no one – except for Asad – needs to worry about the consolidation of the Islamic forces, because this consolidation will exist only as long as the battle against Asad continues, and after he falls, the splits and the differences between the various groups will be exposed. We can expect Syria to disintegrate into a number of Islamic frameworks in addition to a Kurdish entity in the north east of the country, Alawite in the northwest and perhaps even a Druze entity in the south.
The critical situation in Syria, the collapse of infrastructure and the moral failure that characterizes the war impose indescribable suffering on tens of millions of citizens. The time will come when testimonies and stories of this this black period will come to light, and the people of Syria who survived will look at all of those who stood by without doing anything to help them in their distress. They – the neighbors who did nothing – will lower their eyes to the ground from shame because they saw, they heard, they knew and they didn’t lift a finger.
According to Islamic tradition, jihad is one of the most important commandments. Every man and woman is commanded to take part in jihad to the extent of their abilities: whoever can fight must go to war, and whoever cannot fight must support the fighters. According to Islamic religious law, whoever gives a horse, food or money to the jihad fighter, it is as if he took part in the jihad himself, because these means enable the jihad fighter to carry out the obligation more effectively. Islamic tradition tells of women who took part in jihad by preparing food for the fighters and bandaging their wounds.
However the jihad fighters in Syria also need another service that only women can provide. This need is known as a natural and normal human need, that can be fulfilled illegally, meaning rape, or in a legal and acceptable way, by means of marriage. In Sunni Islam there is a type of temporary marriage called “zuwaj al-musafir” (also known as “zawaj al-misyar”)- “traveler’s marriage” – which allows a man who comes to a place for a short time to marry a woman for the period of time that he is in that place, and divorce her before he leaves. A child that is born to the woman from such a marriage will have no stigma. There is no definition for the length of time for these marriages, and therefore they can be a month, a week, a day and even as short as an hour.
A few months ago a legal opinion was publicized in the media that was attributed to a Saudi preacher, Muhammad al-‘Arifi, in which he called for young women in the Islamic world to volunteer for “jihad al-nikah” – “sex jihad” – in Syria, in order to bring this service to the jihad fighters too. Al-‘Arifi promised the young women who came to Syria for this purpose, the reward of a jihad fighter, exactly like the reward of someone who donates a horse, money, food or medical treatment. As a result of this, a few dozen – according to another version it was a few hundred – young women came to Syria from all over the Islamic world, as volunteers for “sex jihad”.
The Syrian army found charts in a few places with the “work plans” of these women and published them. In the photograph below, the title is “Nikah Chart of the jihad fighter brothers with the jihad fighter sisters”. In the column on the right are the men’s names: Abu Umar, Abu Khaled, Abu Ali, and in the top row are the names of the women: Anisa, Asma and Bushra. In the squares of the table appear are the times when each fighter is married to one of the women: 8-10, 12-4, 6-10. The rebels claim that these charts are counterfeit, and that the regime made them up in order to slander the jihad fighters.
But this chart seems rather authentic because of the fact that the jihadists gave themselves names of previous heroes of Islam – Umar – the second caliph, Khalid bin al-Waleed – the commander who conquered Syria, and Ali – the fourth caliph. The names of the three women that appear in the chart are names of the three women closest to Bashar Asad: Anisa is his mother’s name, Asma is his wife’s name and Bushra is his sister’s name. If this chart is authentic, it is reasonable to think that the jihad fighters gave the women volunteers these borrowed names to express what they would do to Asad’s mother, his wife and his sister, if they only could.