Friday, February 05, 2010

Islam and Suicide

What does Islam say about suicide?

Islam's philosophy of life and the values that it wants to promote are all based on a particular point of view regarding the life of this world. Islam holds the life of this world as a temporary testing time for humans.

For as long as one lives, he/she is being tested. The end of this temporary life is not the extinction of man. A person shall then open his/her eyes in another world. That world shall be place of reward and/or punishment for the deeds done in this life. The second life shall not be temporary in nature. The pleasures and pains of the second life shall last forever. In the life of this world, man is being tested with different kinds of situations - good times as well as bad times. The good times that come our way are not necessarily a reward and the hard times that we have to face are not necessarily a punishment. These are all primarily a part of the test.

The Qur'an says:

Everyone is going to taste death, and We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good, and to Us you will be returned. (Al-Anbiaa 21: 35)

".........Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah hath been to you Most Merciful! " (An-Nisa 4:29)

"......if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind ...." (Surah Al Ma'idah 5:32)
For all the blessings that one enjoys in the life of this world, he/she is expected to be grateful to his/her Creator and to rejoice and proclaim His beneficence and providence. While during all the hard times that come his/her way, he/she is expected to be remain steadfast in Allah's obedience, never losing faith in His wisdom and mercy.

The beginning (i.e. the birth) and the end (i.e. the death) of this test for an individual is controlled by the Almighty Himself. He gives life and death to an individual according to His own absolute knowledge and wisdom.

Keeping the above explanation in mind, it should be easy to understand that Islam holds suicide to be haraam (i.e. prohibited). Suicide implies lack of trust in God and a lack of faith in His benevolence, mercy, love, wisdom and knowledge. In effect, suicide implies lack of faith in God Himself. When a person commits suicide, he/she practically declares that he/she does not believe that God knows about his/her sufferings, and if God has knowledge of his/her sufferings, he does not care enough to relieve him/her of these sufferings.

A person practically declares that God has unjustly inflicted pain upon him/her, which he/she is not willing to bear.

A person practically declares that he/she does not have faith, confidence and trust in the mercy and wisdom of God, as he/she does not have confidence that God will end his pain in time, and therefore he/she has to end his/her sufferings himself/herself (by taking his/her own life).

Thus, in effect, suicide - in most of the cases - is a clear sign of negation of the faith of a person in his Merciful, Omniscient and Wise Creator and is therefore prohibited in Islam.

Some sayings of the Prophet Mohammed(Peace be upon him) related to suicide:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling
himself in the Hell Fire (forever) and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself shall keep on stabbing himself in the Hell-Fire." (Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 446)

Narrated Thabit bin Ad-Dahhak: The Prophet said, "Whoever intentionally swears falsely by a religion other than Islam, then he is what he has said, (e.g. if he says, 'If such thing is not true then I am a Jew,' he is really a Jew). And whoever commits suicide with piece of iron will be punished with the same piece of iron in the Hell Fire." Narrated Jundab the Prophet said, "A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him." (Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 445 )

Please take some time to pass this on to Muslims and non-Muslims you know,
so that there is no misconception in people's mind regarding Islam or Muslims
on suicide.

© The Revival 2001