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Jihad, Terrorism and Suicide Bombing: The Classical Islamic Perspective - Page 16

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Article Index
Jihad, Terrorism and Suicide Bombing: The Classical Islamic Perspective
The Meaning of Jihad
Ibn Qayyim’s Fourteen Categories of Jihad
Jihad in History and Law
The Jihad of Education
Establishment of the Islamic Nation/State
First Legislation of Combative Jihad
Religious Freedom of Non-Muslims
Forced Conversion?
Conditions for Combative Jihad
Is Islam by Nature Hostile to non-Muslims?
Does Islam Call for Ongoing War against Non-Muslims?
Who is Involved in Combat?
Jihad Between Muslims
Conduct of Combat
Prohibition of Suicide
False Rulings Supporting Suicide Attacks
Rebellion Against Rulers
The Inner Jihad
Dhikr: the Remembrance of Allah
Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
All Pages

Prohibition of Suicide

Islam utterly forbids suicide.

عن عمران بن حصين قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم:"من قتل نفسه بشيء في الدنيا عذب به في الآخرة".

On this the Prophet said:

Whoever killed himself in the world with anything, then Allah will punish him by that same thing on the Day of Judgment.

‏... ‏ ‏جندب بن عبد الله ‏ ‏في هذا المسجد ... ‏ ‏قال قال رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏‏ كان فيمن كان قبلكم رجل به جرح فجزع فأخذ سكينا فحز بها يده فما ‏ ‏رقأ ‏ ‏الدم حتى مات قال الله تعالى ‏ ‏بادرني عبدي بنفسه حرمت عليه الجنة

The Prophet said:
Among those who were before you, there was a man who was inflicted with wounds. He felt despair, so he took a knife and with it he cut his hand; blood kept flowing until the man died. Allah the Exalted said, “My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly; I forbid Paradise to him.”

حدثنا حبَّان بن موسى: أخبرنا عبد الله: أخبرنا معمر، عن الزُهري، عن سعيد بن المسيَّب، عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: شهدنا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم خيبر، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لرجل ممن معه يدَّعي الإسلام: (هذا من أهل النار). فلما حضر القتال قاتل الرجل من أشد القتال، وكثرت به الجراح فأثبتته، فجاء رجل من أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: يا رسول الله، أرأيت الذي تحدثت أنه من أهل النار، قد قاتل في سبيل الله من أشد القتال، فكثرت به الجراح، فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: (أما إنه من أهل النار). فكاد بعض المسلمين يرتاب، فبينما هو على ذلك إذ وجد الرجل ألم الجراح، فأهوى بيده إلى كنانته فانتزع منها سهما فانتحر بها، فاشتد رجال من المسلمين إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقالوا: يا رسول الله صدَّق الله حديثك، قد انتحر فلان فقتل نفسه، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: (يا بلال، قم فأذِّن: لا يدخل الجنة إلا مؤمن، وإن الله ليؤيِّد هذا الدين بالرجل الفاجر

Narrated Abū Hurayra:

We were in the company of Allah's Messenger on an expedition, and he remarked about a man who claimed to be a Muslim, saying, “This (man) is from the people of the (Hell) Fire.” When the battle started, the man fought violently till he got wounded. Somebody said, “O Allah's Apostle! The man whom you described as being from the people of the (Hell) Fire fought violently today and died.” The Prophet said, “He will go to the (Hell) Fire.” Some people were on the point of doubting (the truth of what the Prophet had said) while they were in this state, suddenly someone said that he was still alive but severely wounded. When night fell, he lost patience and committed suicide. The Prophet was informed of that, and he said, “Allah is Greater! I testify that I am Allah's Slave and His Apostle.” Then he ordered Bilāl to announce amongst the people: 'None will enter Paradise but a Muslim, and Allah may support this religion (i.e. Islam) even with a disobedient man.'

‏عن‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏ ...‏أن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏من قتل نفسه بحديدة فحديدته في يده ‏ ‏يتوجأ ‏ ‏بها في بطنه في نار جهنم خالدا مخلدا فيها أبدا ومن قتل نفسه بسم فسمه في يده ‏ ‏يتحساه ‏ ‏في نار جهنم خالدا مخلدا فيها أبدا ومن ‏‏ تردى ‏‏ من جبل فقتل نفسه فهو ‏ ‏يتردى ‏ ‏في نار جهنم خالدا

The Prophet said:
Whoever throws himself down from a high mountain and kills himself will be throwing himself down from a mountain in the Fire of Hell for all eternity. Whoever takes poison and kills himself will be taking poison in the Fire of Hell for all eternity. Whoever kills himself with a weapon (literally, iron) will be holding it in his hand and stabbing himself in the stomach in the Fire of Hell for all eternity).

The Prophet said:
Indeed, whoever (intentionally) kills himself, then certainly he will be punished in the Fire of Hell, wherein he shall dwell forever.

أخبرنا اسحق بن منصور قال أنبأنا أبو الوليد قال حدثنا أبو خيثمة زهير قال حدثنا سماك عن أبي سمرة:-أن رجلا قتل نفسه بمشاقص فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أما أنا فلا أصلي عليه

A person [engaged in battle] killed himself with a broad-headed arrow. The Messenger of Allah said, “As for me, I will not pray over him.”

Even the mufti of the most fundamentalist school of law in Islam, the “Wahhabi/Salafi” school of thought, declared that suicide bombings have never been an accepted method of fighting in Islam. The Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh 'Abd Al-'Azīz Āl-Shaikh declared, “To my knowledge so-called 'suicide missions' do not have any legal basis in Islam and do not constitute a form of Jihād. I fear that they are nothing but a form of suicide, and suicide is also prohibited in Islam.” This echoes an earlier fatwā by his predecessor, the late Saudi mufti Shaykh 'Abd Al-'Azīz bin Bāz.

Like the suicide attackers of September 11th, those who commit such atrocities in the name of religion are wrong. They can find no support for their actions in our creed. Nor can those who explode themselves and others indiscriminately in shopping centers, theaters or houses of worship find any justification in the faith’s pristine teachings.

One justification the terrorists make is the following account from the life of the Prophet in which the Prophet’s paternal cousin az-Zubayr ibn al-'Awwām, was participating in a battle against the Byzantine Army. Az-Zubayr said to a group of Muslim soldiers, “Who will promise to go with me and fight our way through the enemy lines until we reach the end of their lines, then go around their camp back to our current position?” A group of fighters said, “we promise.” Az-Zubayr lead a group of fighters and fought their way through many enemy lines until they reached the end of the Roman camp. They then went around the Roman camp and returned to the Muslim army.

The logic the terrorists use is that they were certain to die and thus committed suicide while fighting the enemy. In fact az-Zubayr did not tell his companions “let us kill ourselves,” especially before going on this challenging task. He only exposed himself and them to what is commonly expected in any form of warfare—the probability of being killed by the enemy. He did not intend to die, but to fight, and with Allah’s support to win, else to die by the enemy’s hand. This is not suicide, rather it is bravery and heroism. Thus the terrorists’ “logic” is shown for what it is, illogical.

Islam has always required perfect chivalry and discipline. For that reason, soldiers are ordered to endure and fight even in the face of tremendous odds. The Islamic rules of military conduct never permit using civilians as targets or as hostages. In Islam, even so-called “collateral damage” is unacceptable. Therefore, if a Muslim kills himself, along with innocents, it is a doubly forbidden act.

Shaykh Yūsuf al-Qaradāwī issued a fatwā condemning the tragic suicide attacks of 9-11, stating:

Even in times of war, Muslims are not allowed to kill anybody save the one who is indulged in face-to-face confrontation with them.” He added that they are not allowed to kill women, old persons, or children, and that haphazard killing is totally forbidden in Islam. Shaykh Qaradāwī on another occasion defined terrorism as “the killing of innocent people...with no differentiation between the innocent and the foe.

Another widely followed religious scholar, As-Sayyid Tantāwī, Grand Shaykh of Islam’s highest institution of learning, the University of Al-Azhar, has said that attacks against women and children are “not accepted by Islamic law.” Al-Azhar’s Research Academy, shortly after September 11, declared that a “Muslim should only fight those who fight him; children, women and the elderly must be spared.” Therefore terrorism and its crime against civilians is impermissible under any interpretation of Islamic law. This ruling does not change based on geographical locality.

The Prophet said:

...Whoever fights under the banner of a people whose cause is not clear, who gets flared up with family pride, calls people to fight in the cause of their family honor or fights to support his kith and kin, and is killed, then he dies in a state of jāhilīyyah. Whoever indiscriminately attacks my Ummah, killing the righteous and wicked among them, sparing not even those firm in faith, and fulfilling not a pledge made with whoever was given a promise of security, has nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with him.

This shows us very clearly, that those who indiscriminately attack both Muslims and non-Muslims by suicide bombings, killing innocent people, and without focusing on anyone in particular, are rejected completely by the Prophet . Such is the case in many Muslim countries today, including the land of Hijaz, Pakistan, Darfur, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq and so forth. What is taking place in these nations today is clearly are described in this hadith, “Whoever indiscriminately attacks my Ummah, killing the righteous and wicked among them, sparing not even those firm in faith.”

Emphasis in this hadith on “fulfilling not the pledge made with whoever was given a promise of security” is reference to those citizens who keep their civic obligations by paying taxes and pledging their allegiance to the government. Thus both Muslim and non-Muslim citizens are encompassed in the scope of meaning of this hadith, and as for those who aggress against them, “he has nothing to do with” the Prophet and the Prophet has “nothing to do with him.”
If someone asks, “What about suicide bombings against non-Muslims?”

We say: “This is utterly wrong.”