Abdul-Khalim Shishani, a prominent Chechen jihadi in Aleppo and an associate of Seyfullakh Shishani, whose jamaat Khilafatul Islamia recently joined Jabhat al-Nusra, has issued a statement calling on women from the North Caucasus to stop traveling to Syria alone to make Hijra (emigration) and wage jihad.

The address, in part, is a dig at Seyfullakh’s rival, Abu Umar al-Shishani, the powerful leader of the northern branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham. Umar has been criticized for allowing a young Chechen woman to marry a Chechen ISIS fighter without her father’s permission, and for refusing to allow her to leave when her brother traveled to Syria to insist she came home.

The address by Abdul Khalim also sheds some light onto how this particular group of Chechen jihadis in Syria view their own position there, and that of Syria and the Syrians themselves, in relation to concepts of transnational jihad.


The announcement comes in the wake of a scandal involving the 20-year-old daughter of the former director of Chechnya’s Federal Migration Service, Asu Dudurkaev. The young woman, Seda Dudurkaeva, had run away to Syria to be with a young man who had also traveled to Syria to wage jihad. According to reports from Russian-speaking sources, the young woman was living with a group from the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham in Aleppo and had married the young man.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov publicly fired the woman’s father when the scandal became known.

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Dudurkaeva was reported to be living in Syria with a group of Chechen jihadis. In mid-December 2013, a video circulated on the internet that apparently contained an address to Umar al-Shishani the former leader of the predominantly Chechen faction Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar and the current leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham’s northern operations, regarding Dudukaeva.

The address to Umar, from Sheikh Mohammed As-Suhaibani in Medina, explains that during the young woman’s marriage ceremony, she was asked whether she had a father. “Yes,” the girl replied, “But he is a Sufist and works in a department for giving foreign passports in Chechnya for the Russian regime.”

When the young woman’s brother came to Syria to bring her home, Umar refused. Unfortunately, the young woman’s husband was soon killed while waging jihad, and Dudurkaeva is now living with his mother in Syria.

When the young woman’s parents traveled to Syria to try to bring her home, Umar again refused, saying that she had made Hijra in the path of Allah, and had sworn an oath of allegiance to him. Dudurkaeva also refused to leave.


Seyfullakh’s associate, Adbul-Khalim Shishani, explains why, in his view, women ought not to travel to Syria:

First of all I would like to point out that Syria is not yet a place to which we could encourage Muslims, and especially Muslim women, to make Hijra or oblige them to do so. It’s still early to apply hadith about Hijra to the land of Sham, while a quarter of the land is not yet liberated.

To date, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine, as well as the other countries of jihad are Dar ul-Harb, on whose territory battles are occurring or will occur, and even if we liberated a part of one of these countries and took control of it, we cannot immediately open the doors to Hijra, as we can not guarantee the full security even of the Muslims who already live here…

Most of the conquered territories in Sham here are the border areas with infidels, where you expect enemy attacks at any moment and where you have to be with guards (Ribat).

Umar bin Khattab (may Allah be satisfied with him) forbade settling in the border areas with families, let alone making Hijra there, and all because of the danger that exists there, and so that the Mujahideen are not distracted by family when on watch.


Today when you try to explain to Muslims that Syria is still no place for Hijra, you find that some are offended and even accuse you of wanting to ban hijra which Allah ordered Muslims to do.


Syria today is a war zone, the success of which is changeable and unpredictable although we rely on Allah and ask Him for victory. This question requires that in addition to Sharia we also look at things from a military-strategic perspective, as actuality, considering Shariah before making a particular ruling.

Having a large number of women and children for whom you must provide materially as well as in terms of security poses many challenges to the Mujahideen….

We do not know what will happen tomorrow, the Mujahideen are doing what they can today, but they cannot do this without losses, the enemy is also trying to periodically counter attack. The more forward-thinking of the Emirs of the Mujahideen are expecting Western intervention soon (guess for yourself on which side that will happen), and there are also pro-Western forces on the territories controlled by the Mujahideen who are just waiting for a chance to seize power and outdo the so-called Islamists.

Abdul Khalim goes on to explain that women are not obliged to wage jihad, and must only fight if invaders attack their land.

Similarly, when with Allah’s help we liberate Syria, and proclaim an Islamic State here and declare on it the overriding laws of Allah on it and protect its inhabitants, inshallah, then that ruler around whom Muslims unite will then announce the Hijra for everyone, but for now, Syria remains a battle zone and the first step is for the liberation of all Sham.


He adds, with a hint to the case of Seda Dudurkaeva:

I would like to remind our sisters — do not make hasty steps based on a bunch of propaganda videos or based on the words of one of the Mujahideen whom she decided to marry here.

The reality is always different from the beautiful picture painted by interested persons. And as for those cases where the sister is really prejudiced in religion and can not freely observe the rules of Islam, due to the fact that her family is not part of Islam or for some other reasons, rather than to decide to go off somewhere she should stay in her own country and marry someone there who follows the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and who has the intention to wage Jihad and make hijra — praise be to Allah, there are enough such guys in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

(featured image: claimed photo of Seda Dudurkaeva)