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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Terrorism – Is Suicide Justified in Islam?

What would you do if someone kicks you out of your house, murders the rest of your family and illegally captures your land?

Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion." There is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism. Most common definitions of terrorism include only those acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence and war. A common opinion about terrorist groups, especially after the 'Global War on Terror' began after 9/11/2001, is that the majority of terrorist attacks are due to Islamic-extremists or radical religious groups. The 2001 attack of the World Trade Center and the hijacking of four passenger jets are a very well known and a well documented example of Islamic terrorism in recent memory.

(To read more on the definitions of terrorism, please visit

This was the definition of terrorism according to Wikipedia. As the for the incident of 9-11, I would say that the World Trade Center was imploded as many documentaries such as Loose Change and Fahrenheit 9-11 prove.

Taking the first sentence of the content taken from Wikipedia, the person who is doing the actions in the question asked by me at the beginning of this post will be called one who practices terrorism, i.e. a terrorist. Coincidentally, this is not what the so-called “Islamic terrorists” are doing but is exactly what the Americans are doing in areas where they are fighting, mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are kicking the people out of their homes, murdering families and illegally capturing their lands and doing what they say “helping the world to get rid of terrorism”.

If you were in the place of a person who was treated like that, what would you do? Try to take revenge if it means sacrificing your life, right? Well, that is what most of the “Islamic terrorists” are doing. They are trying to seek revenge. What the close minds of many people think is that they cannot rebuild their lives. If you were in their position, I’m sure that 97% of the people would have the same thinking. However, coming back to the point, most of these people, which also includes many of the rich ones, they can do nothing to pay the real terrorist back. However, many of them think that they can take revenge by killing the families of these people. Many also know that it has to be done in such a way that they do not get caught because then they will either be executed or made to remain in captivity. So what these people do is that they practice suicide bombing. They kill themselves as well as others. Since they think that they cannot rebuild their lives, they also think that there’s no purpose for them to live for.

The above paragraph can be accepted as a reason for most of the suicide bombings. In Pakistan, many people living in Bajaur District and Waziristan Areas whose families have been murdered are seeking revenge from the government because in fact the government is ordering the army.

Coming to the Islamic view, Islam, in no way, recommends the killing of people except by law. The Islamic principle in this case is as follows.

Killing one man is like killing the whole humanity except by law.

Regarding the fact of killing innocent people, the Prophet (S) himself used to order the people before a war not to hurt women, old people, children and anyone who does not resist them. However, many scholars have passed fatwa allowing suicide. However, it has many conditions. These conditions are that the man cannot do anything other than suicide to defend himself. The losses are less as compared to the benefits of committing suicide and so on. I will try to post such a fatwa inshallah.

As Dr. Zakir Naik gave an example in one of the question-answer session that was held. If a person comes to kill the Prophet Muhammad (S) and you and the Prophet (S) are together. The man shoots the bullet. What would you do? Of course, come in between the man and the Prophet (S) and get shot. If not, then you will not be considered a Momin because according to a Hadith of the Prophet (S), a true Momin is one who loves the Prophet (S) more than himself. However, some people might object to this example because they might say that the trigger must be pulled by the person who is being murdered. Well, in that case, if a person comes to kill the Prophet (S) and you are alone with him and the person says that if you kill yourself then I will disband my intention of killing the Prophet (S). In that case what would you do? Shoot yourself. The reason is the same as the one above. You are committing suicide!

In this view, I’m sure many people would agree that suicide must be allowed in Islam. However, it should be noted that it should only be done in extreme cases, where there’s no other way.

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T.R. Mintz said...

Although I'm not presently ranking blogs I think you have interesting points.

Saqib said...

Dear brothers,
I do not agree that suicide is allowed in Islam. Decision to go for suicide in the cause of Islam is not for individual. If you are part of a state army which considers the morals of Islam in its decision making, then sending of an individual for suicide mission is a collective decision. Such suicide missions are always the last resort, because loosing a committed fighter is always a big loss whether it be an Islamic army or non-islamic army. So, in any case, the decision is not individual, and if the army is fulfilling the requirements of JIHAD FI SABILILLAH then his action is also Jihad. PLEASE NOTE ANY MUSLIM ARMY CANNOT BE AUTOMATICALLY CONSIDERED AN ISLAMIC ARMY.

In case a muslim nation is occupied by non muslims, as was the case with Mughal India by
Britishers, in whose army muslims also got recruited. Or with Punjab, occupied by Sikhs in past. I draw your attention to two resistances; one was under the figurehead leadership of last mughal king Bahadur Shah Zafar, whose kingdom was mostly occupied by britishers
and they gave the last effort for independence, but it failed. We will not go into reasons. There were several heroes who fought on suicide missions. That was Jihad whether it was
Fi SABILLILLAH or not, I dont have enough knowledge about that. Then there was the independence struggle of Syed Ahmed Shaheed and his group, a non state entity. By many scholars, it had the ingredients of JIHAD FI SABILLILLAH. Inititially they were able to establish Islamic rule in some regions of NWFP, but later the Khans ( tribal leaders) revolted and almost the whole Jamaat was massacared. You have visited the graves of their leadership in Balakot.

Two points I am trying to indicate:
1) there were times when non-muslims were occupying muslim lands and still there was
no armed struggle against non muslim occupiers. Individual struggles were going on, but taking up armed struggle on a collective scale, which was endorsed by Ulema-e-Haq, was not there. Of course, peaceful struggle was always there. Setting up of School of Deoband was one of them, starting of Tablighi Jamat, starting of Jamaat-e-Islami, Maulana UbaidUllah Sindhi's visit to Afghanistan and eventually Pakistan movements were all different versions of the same struggle. So EVEN DIRECT OCCUPATION OF MUSLIM STATE MAY NOT LEAD TO IMMEDIATE ARMED STRUGGLE, IF THE JAMAAT WHICH FULFILS THE REQUIREMENTS FOR QITAL IS NOT THERE.

(It is worth noting that non mulsims at least for present, immediately install muslim puppet governments, in order to avoid fatwas of qital against non muslim occupiers)

2) Taking up arms individually or by a very small group without fulfilling the Islamic requirements of Qital was to my knowledge almost non-existent in Islamic history and before that, the history of Anbia ( plural of Nabi). Of course, Ismaili Shias, did suicide attacks against key figures of Muslim world, Imaduddin or Noor Uddin Zangi ( one of them
fell victim to that). They were called Hashishun ( assassins in english).

Since I am not an Alim or a specialist scolar, therefore, myself as well as anybody else, who wants to come to a concrete answers, has to consider and consult Ulama-e-haq about these issues. Several movements whether it be Tanzim-e-Islami, Jamaaat Islami, Ikhwan al
Muslimun, also consider and consult Ulemas about these issues. Formation of AL JIHAD in
Egypt ( split from Ikhwan Almuslimun) or Al-Qaeda was due to the reason that some followers of Ikhwan rejected the majority Ulema views and went for some exceptions among Ulema and seperated.

Also note that in Afghanistan, Taliban's Islamic govt. was displaced by non-muslim armies, they brought a figurehead govt. under Karzai. Although the Taliban had an army, still it took maybe a year or more for them to restart their struggle. If you notice, their attacks are mostly against non-muslim armies and their foreign civilian employees,the police force (selectively),
so most of the scholars do support their struggle in Afghanistan.

In conclusion,
Deciding whether suicide bombing is justfied or not, from Islamic point of view is a question
which will depend not only on the situation but also on several other factors which is a collective decision of the Ulema and the Islamic party of that region, and following that decision whoever dies in that cause will be a shaheed, and his real intentions will be judged
on the day of Judgement by Allah. As far as cause and justifcation from a human point of view the argument of revenge stands ground, but that argument cannot be cosidered an Islamic eddict.


Imad-ud-din Saqib said...

Thank you for the comment! I agree with you!

Zahid Akram said...

I have one question for everyone.
If enemy kill his parents, brothers and sisters, then plz tell me, what he can do???

Imad-ud-din Saqib said...

It is better for him to bear with patience but he has the right of taking revenge.

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