How a visit to Afghanistan put a Saudi doctor off extremist ideas

The experience of the woman, exposed her to the wrongdoings and beliefs of extremists and she realized that it was contrary to Islamic teachings

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A Saudi doctor has spoken of how a trip to Afghanistan for jihad helped her shake off her extremist tendencies.

The experience of the woman, identified by her initials S.F., exposed her to the wrongdoings and beliefs of extremists and she realized that it was contrary to Islamic teachings.

She said: "Several years ago my husband took me and my baby to Afghanistan under the pretext of jihad and I did not hesitate to go with him because I loved him and trusted his decisions.

“While my husband was fighting I stayed with my son in the camps and as a doctor I was providing treatment to the wounded and cooking for the women in the camps."

She said she regretted going to Afghanistan without the consent or knowledge of her parents.

S.F. said her children saw dead bodies regularly and wished they had grown up in the safety of their home.

She said: “Life in the camps is very difficult and lacks the most basic and important requirements, which are security and stability.

“The camps lacked hygiene and I moved around with my husband from one camp to another with the sounds of bombs and machine guns around us.

“The scenes of the wounded and the dead were heartbreaking.”

She explained that she learned how to milk sheep to feed her children and learned patience from Afghan women who were illiterate and completely removed from her world because they knew nothing about fashion and cosmetics.

She said: “I used to bring water from the rivers and boiled it so we could drink it.

“Despite all these precautions, my eldest son fell sick due to his close proximity to the corpses, sick and wounded.

“However, he later recovered, and I decided to return home.

“I was able to convince my hardline husband that we needed to return home because what he was doing was wrong and is not accepted by anyone.

“Islam forbade us from throwing ourselves into doom and that children and the family are more deserving of jihad and care.”

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on March 24, 2014.

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