Suicide

Suicide through an Islamic Perspective

Author: Ms. Seen Noon

Whenever tragedy strikes at some family, resulting in death by suicide, we immediately start giving out statements about his fate, his level of iman (faith), his being a non-believer, or him ending up in hell, God forbid, unfortunately adding on to the sadness and despair of the family members who are already in a state of shock and disbelief.

Who are we to decide about other people’s jannah or jahannum (heaven or hell)? We have no business or authority to blurt out such ill things about a soul who is no longer a part of this world. Saying bad things about a deceased human being adds to our list of bad deeds, ultimately ONLY harming us in return, while we earn the displeasure of Allah for crossing our boundaries as a believer. Accusing someone or spreading rumors or stories about someone who is no longer present to defend or justify on the statements doesn’t go well with a profile of a pious believer. The Hadith mentioned below might open up our minds about it:

Never Abuse the Dead

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:

“Dont abuse the dead, because they have reached the result of what they forwarded.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1329)

Respect for a Non-Muslim’s Funeral Procession

Our Holy Prophetﷺ offered his respect and sympathies for the funeral processions of even the non-muslims. This behavior, at times, was a sign of surprise for his companions. But he preached that no matter what religion one believes in, if he has left this world, we need to stand for his funeral processions and never to disgrace the deceased. The following hadith shows us how to behave when we see a funeral of a non-muslim:

Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah: A funeral procession passed in front of us and the Prophetstood up and we too stood up. We said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! This is the funeral procession of a Jew.” He said, “Whenever you see a funeral procession, you should stand up.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1311, Book 23, Hadith 71)

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Sahl bin Hunaif and Qais bin Sa`d were sitting in the city of Al-Qadisiya. A funeral procession passed in front of them and they stood up. They were told that funeral procession was of one of the inhabitants of the land i.e. of a non-believer, under the protection of Muslims. They said, “A funeral procession passed in front of the Prophet and he stood up. When he was told that it was the coffin of a Jew, he said, “Is it not a living being (soul)?” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1312, 1313 – Book 23, Hadith 71)

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Al-Nawawi said, “In this tradition is proof of the important principle for the people of the Sunnah, that whoever kills himself or otherwise commits a sin and dies without repenting is not considered an unbeliever.”

Source: Sharḥ al-Nawawī ‘alá Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 116

Only Allah Knows Fate of The Deceased

When we sit down and think calmly about the worldly affairs, a lot of clarity can be gained, enriching our mundane activities. Keeping our heads down, minding our own deeds, ignoring any chance of eavesdropping or gossip that we get, and most important of all – to NOT pass derogatory statements about people who have left this world for their eternal journey. Allah knows best of what is hidden inside the hearts of His creatures, we are incapable of judging anyone superficially on what we see or hear about him. There can never be a 100% surety of how he will be treated in the grave or afterlife, only Allah, the Almighty has complete detail of the good and bad deeds of the departed, to evaluate his fate. Statements like – ‘Oh! He is doomed for hell, as he was a non-believer’ or ‘He took his own life, now he will dwell in hell in the afterlife’, all these statements and predictions are eventually negative marks for our own report card, ironically, we limit our thinking and don’t seal our tongues from uttering such targeted remarks.

Let’s look at the hadith below for a much-needed guidance:

Jabir reported: When the Prophet, emigrated to Medina, Al-Tufayl ibn ‘Amr also emigrated along with a man from his people. They strongly disliked the climate of Medina and the man became sick and suffered from anxiety. He took some of his arrowheads, cut the joints of his fingers, and his hands bled out until he died. Al-Tufayl saw him in a dream looking as if he were well but his hands were covered. Al-Tufayl said, “How has your Lord treated you?” The man said, “He has forgiven me due to my emigration to His Prophet.” Al-Tufayl said, “Why do I see your hands covered?” The man said, “I was told that ‘we would not repair what you yourself have ruined.’” Al-Tufayl told the story to the Messenger of Allah , peace and blessings be upon him, and the Prophet said, “O Allah, and for his hands forgive him.” Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 116

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Muslim

Killing Someone for Any Motive (Suicide Bombings)

Allah mentions clearly in His Holy Book, in Surah Al-Ma’idah, Verse 32

Quran Surah Al-Maidah Verse 32

‘Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.’ (5:32)

It is crystal clear in the above verse, that taking a human being’s life, no matter what reason behind it, is equal to slaying the entire mankind. A human life is very sacred and valuable, a gift for the entire human race, and it is a grave sin to end it by acting as if we can decide who comes or exits this world. Allah will examine and award our grades based on what we did and what were the repercussions of our actions on those around us.

Allah says in the Holy Quran in Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 195

Quran Surah Al-Baqarah Verse 195

‘And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.’

Suicide is something which is looked at with dislike and sinful in majority of the religions. No person with a sane mind will advise anyone to opt for such an act at a time when the situation seems too harsh to handle. Killing others in the name of religion via suicide bombing during the course of jihad or revenge, harming civilians and their properties, doesn’t justify the cause in anyway. Whereas, fighting directly with people who are suppressing your rights is honorable, and praise worthy, a courageous path chosen by the bravest of souls. Of course, we are to exercise patience, reason, and a forgiving attitude to deal with any troublesome circumstances that may come our way. If everything else fails, only then severe actions should be taken to proceed with the unresolved issues.

In general, we need to rationalize and evaluate our actions in all paths of our life. Patience, humility, kindness and forgiveness should be our weapons in times of crisis, along with prayers and supplications so the Almighty may help us with His mercy and aid. Resorting to means to end our life when no other option seems to matter, should be a solid NO for people of all religions. Human life is precious and valuable, a blessing from the Supreme King, to be cherished and made use of, so we can justify the purpose of coming in this world.

We should keep our eyes and ears open for signs of depression or anxiety in our circle of family and friends. We know that some people might be going through horrible situations in their life and are scared to share with others for their safety. Being of help to those in need will heal this world of the sorrows and darkness, turning it into a place of peace and harmony. Playing our role as a sensible fellow citizen might help in bringing positive impact to our communities.

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