I Am Left Alone, Drowning In Tears: Russian-language Women’s Jihadi Poetry

One aspect of jihad in general and the war in Syria in particular that is relatively little explored is the pain, worry and grief experienced by the families of those who go to fight or be part of the conflict in other ways (these are not always men, as this case shows). While I have been aware of this as a background issue , in the past weeks, I have been forced to think more about this, for various reasons, some of which I have published on this blog, others I have not (i.e. cannot). As I explained to someone earlier this week, when people write about jihadis, they miss the stories of mothers waiting at home, hoping that their sons are still alive, and unable to get news of them. Many if not most of these family members are not part of the jihadi world, but they have been forced to confront its harshest realities — i.e. the loss of their loved ones (which in the case of Syria also means the loss of the wives and children of the jihadis).

But this is an issue that is explored in Russian-language jihadi culture in various ways, including through poems and essays, sometimes written by the jihadis themselves but also by mothers, wives and family members left behind. These poems are a subset of women’s jihadi culture within the Russian-speaking jihadosphere*. This genre did not emerge with the Syrian conflict — there are poems dating back to the Chechen wars, for example. Some of the poems are original and others are plagiarized from existing works, but the authors change some of the words to include references to mujahideen.

I have collected quite a few poems of this genre, and I’ve posted a couple of them, with rough translations, below to give you a flavor of these. Many of the poems mix feelings of sadness and fear with “correct” expressions of how a mother or wife of a mujahid should think and feel (this is a constant conflict in other expressions of Russian-language jihadi culture on martyrdom/death in battle).

NB the featured image for this post is of IS militant Mukhammad Abu Barud Dagestani as a child, posted by his wife after his death in 2015. 

The first poem is written or at least posted online by a woman named Fatima Mu’mina, who posted a lot of poetry on VKontakte back in 2015. This poem is written in the voice of a woman whose brother has gone off to Syria.

Душа полна тобой…
Душа тобой горда…
Я в путь с тобой очень хочу,но на все воля Аллах1а!
Уходишь ты на земли Шама,
Тебя там ждут, тебе там рады.
Но выбор этот так не прост,
Решился ты не так легко.
Оставить маму дома,
Оставить братьев и отца.
Но, ин шаа Аллох1,в этом будет польза для тебя!
Теперь твой выбор сделан,
И вскоре ты уедешь.
Уедешь подальше от нас,
Но поближе к своему
Творцу,ин шаа Аллах1!
Раз решено все, а я бессильна, я попытаюсь тебе совет нетрудный дать:
Ты бейся до конца,Ахи!
Не поворачивай к ним спину
Ты храбростью отличись!
И силы своей никогда не жалей!
И добрым будь, как и прежде!
И не теряй чистосердечность!
Жестоким будь лишь только с врагами !
А с братьями ты будь мягок.
А в моих дуа твое имя навсегда!
Я буду, как и прежде,тебе предана, верна!
Ты только, иногда,думай обо мне … быть может Аллах1 в тот момент, пришлет тебя ко мне… во сне…

My soul is filled with you…
My soul is proud of you…
I want to go on this path with you, but all is by the will of Allah!
You are leaving for the land of Sham
They await you there, they are excited for you there.
But it’s not such a simple choice,
You don’t decide this so easily.
You leave behind your mother,
You leave your brothers and your father.
But Inshallah, in this you will be useful.
Now your mind is made up,
And soon you will be away.
You are going far away from us
But closer to your
Creator, Inshallah!
Once everything has been decided, I am powerless, I
Will try to give you some easy advice:
Fight to the end, Akhi [“my brother” in Arabic]!
Don’t turn your back on them
Honor yourself with bravery
And never regret your strengths!
And be good, like before!
And do not lose your candor!
Be cruel only to the enemy!
And with your brothers, be gentle.
I will be, as before, your faithful, eternal one!
Only, think of me sometimes… perhaps
At that moment, Allah will send you
To me… in a dream…

The second poem was first posted at least by 2011 but was reposted in 2015 on the “Wives of the Mujahideen and Widows of the Martyrs” VKontakte forum.

Хочу в бою с тобою рядом быть,

В бою не равном, с врагами Аллаха.

И телом своим тебя зашитить

От свинцовых пуль этих тварей.

Я смерти хочу, больше чем хотят

они жить.

О довольстве Аллаха мечтаю в

ночи одиноко.

В райских садах хочу я удел

получить,

И быть там твоею Райской женою.

Ты ушел на Джихад.

Ты ушел воевать за Аллаха.

Ты хотел шариат,

Для кавказкой земли!

Убивая тагутов,

Истреблять иблиское стадо.

Подрывать ОВД, РОВД, ФСБ.

Свиней раскромсать на куски.

Ты муджахед,

Ты воин Аллаха.

На войну ты ушел,

А жену на войну не берут.

Я осталась одна,

Утопая в слезах.

Я покой нахожу лишь в аятах Корана

И надежде что будем с тобою в Раю.

I want to go to battle by your side

In the unequal battle with the enemies of Allah

And protect you with my body

From the lead bullets of these creatures.

I want death more than they want to live.

At night alone I dream about the satisfaction of Allah

In the Paradise gardens I want to receive my portion

And be your Paradise wife there [this is a reference to the belief that martyrs will receive 72 heavenly houris in Paradise, a topic of frequent discussion among both mujahideen and their wives]

You have gone out to jihad.

You have gone out to fight for Allah.

You wanted Sharia for the land of the Caucasus!

Having killed the taghut

And exterminated the devil’s herd.

To undermine the OVD [Department of Internal Affairs], the ROVD [District Department of Internal Affairs] and the FSB.

To shred the pigs to pieces.

You are a mujahid.

You are a soldier of Allah.

You have gone off to war.

But they don’t take wives to war.

I am left alone.

Drowning in tears.

I find peace only in the verses of the Quran.

And in the hope that I will be with you in Paradise.

==

*if you can think of a better term, go ahead and suggest it.