By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
16 July 2016
What does Islam say about suicide bombing as a means of terrorism? What is the ruling of Islam about the militants that perpetrated triple brazen suicide attacks at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on 28th June 2016, where at least 45 people were killed? Is there any Islamic justification in any specific or possible way for the ISIS’s deadliest suicide attack (3rd July 2016) of the year in Baghdad, where approximately 215 Iraqi civilians were killed—the attack the world probably cares about the least? Will the suicide attackers of ISIS reside in the Paradise or go to Hell?
Before we find out the answers in the Quran and Hadith, we should realise the importance of subject-matter of this article, as the ISIS militants have chosen the suicide terrorism as the most powerful weapon for killing all those Muslims and non-Muslims who do not agree with their violent Wahhabi theology. Just this year, through June, at least 5,000 Iraqi civilians and security force members had been killed by militant suicidal attacks. The suicide terrorism targeting Iraqi civilians is so frequently committed that people have become almost numb to the violence and loss of lives in Iraq—no hash-tags are conjured up for the deadly car bombings, no Western newspaper front pages a record of the victims’ names and life stories, and they attract merely muted sympathy of the world.
According to the BBC reports, some of the deadly recent suicide bombings and attacks of this year perpetrated by the ISIS/Daesh in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq are as follows;
3 July 2016: At least 215 people were killed and more than other 200 people were wounded in Sunday’s Baghdad suicide bombing, as the toll made the attacks one of the deadliest ever in Iraq.
9 June 2016: At least 30 people killed in and around Baghdad in two suicide attacks claimed by ISIS.
17 May 2016: Four bomb blasts kill 69 people in Baghdad; three of the targets were Shia areas.
11 May 2016: Car bombs in Baghdad kill 93 people, including 64 in market in Shia district of Sadr City
1 May 2016: Two car bombs kill at least 33 people in southern city of Samawa
26 March 2016: Suicide attack targets football match in central city of Iskandariya, killing at least 32
6 March 2016: Fuel tanker blown up at checkpoint near central city of Hilla, killing 47
28 February 2016: Twin suicide bomb attacks hit market in Sadr City, killing 70
Suicide Attack is strictly forbidden in Islam
Islam never justified suicide attacks for any reason, not even in any special circumstances, like a tactic of war. However, ISIS militants are practicing it indiscriminately. Though they forcibly try to justify it under their Wahhabi pretext as a war tactic, this act is strictly and categorically forbidden [haram] in Islam. The suicide bombers or attackers are the openly disobedient of Allah Almighty. According to numerous hadiths, they will reside in the Hell forever.
Suicide Attack is forbidden (Haram) under all circumstances: Proof from the holy Qur’an
Suicidal attack for killing others or for any reason is one of the most forbidden acts, according to the holy Qur’an. Allah Almighty says:
“Do not kill yourself” (4:29).
This command of Allah Almighty is for the believers. The point that the obedient believers will consider it important is very clear. Only the disobedient will kill themselves. Forbiddance of suicide attacks in this verse has general application. Without any specific reason, suicide attack is neither allowed in person nor in public.
Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi interpreted this verse (4:29) and wrote:
“This verse, “And do not kill yourselves”, prove that it is unlawful for one to kill someone else or oneself unjustly” (Al-Tafsir al-Kabir of Imam al-Razi, 57:10)
Suicide attack is forbidden in the verse 4:29. In just the next verse (4:30), Allah Almighty legislates the law of punishment for the suicide attackers.
Allah Almighty says:
“But whoever will do that through transgression and injustice, We shall soon throw him into the Fire (of Hell) and that is very easy for Allah” (4:30).
There is a general agreement among Islamic jurists and scholars that If Allah Almighty legislates something in a general application, the restriction is not valid in any way without the existence of evidence. Therefore, it is unlawful for ISIS or any other terror outfits to justify suicide attacks for the so-called ‘Jihad’. This general application of the verse refutes all those Wahhabi-inspired scholars who support suicide bombing in certain circumstances as a war tactic.
It must be noticed that the so-called ‘Jihad’ of terror outfits is to kill innocent civilians including Muslims and non-Muslims. The terror outfits are bereft of the simple Islamic message that Islamic Jihad in the sense of fighting has some conditions and that it cannot be waged when two parties mutually agree to a constitution of peace-treaty. They do not understand the messages derived from the Quran and Sunnah that breaking the promise of peace-treaty is a great sin in Islam. Therefore, the terror outfits ought to correct themselves with the faith that their so-called ‘Jihad’ has no justification. Other point is that Allah Almighty has prohibited suicide attacks in a general application. The punishment of suicide attackers is of the hell-fire. Hence, the terror outfits and the brainwashed youth should never restrict it for any specific reason.
In other verse, Allah Almighty also says:
“And do not cast yourselves into destruction with your own hands; and adopt righteousness. Verily, Allah loves the righteous” (2:195)
Islamic jurists (Fuqaha) and exegetes (Mufassirin) unanimously agree that this verse (2:195) was revealed in the context of spending in the cause of Allah Almighty. However, they have also quoted this verse as evidence to prove that it is forbidden to kill oneself or perpetrate suicide attacks by any means. They based their assertions on the general meaning of the word (Tahluka, تهلكة) mentioned in this verse, in addition to quoting other verses like 4:29 and 4:30 and numerous Ahadith(plural of Hadith) of the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him for the forbiddance of suicide attacks.
Imam al-Baghawi quoted the verse 2:195 while interpreting the verse 4:30 and said, “It is said that He mentioned the Muslim who kills himself”. (Tafsir al-Baghawi also known as Ma'alim at-Tanzeel: 1:418)
Hafiz ibn Hajar‘Asqalani said:
“As for restricting it (the verse 2:195) to the context of not spending in the cause of Allah, it needs further discussion because the ruling is based on the general meaning” (Fath al-Baari: 8/115)
Imam Al-Shawkaani said:
“The earlier scholars had a number of opinions about the meaning of the verse (2:195). The truth is that what matters is the general meaning of the word and not the specific reason. Everything that may be called (تهلكةTahluka) destruction in religious and worldly terms is included in this word (i.e. the word تهلكةTahluka mentioned in the verse 2:195). Ibn Jareer al-Tabari has this view.” (Fath al-Qadeer: 1/193)
Based on the famous principle of Islamic jurisprudence “the ruling is based on the general meaning and not on the specific reason”, I would follow here in the footsteps of Islamic jurists and scholars to say that the verse 2:195 prohibits all kinds of destruction including suicide attacks in person or in public.
Since the best way of understanding and explaining the Quranic verses is “Tafseer al-Quran bil Quran” (explaining the Quran by the Quran), I would also say that the verse 2:195 with its general meaning of the word Tahluka (تهلكة) can be better interpreted by the verse 4:29 which proves that suicide attack is forbidden and Allah Almighty has decreed a permanent torment for the suicide attackers in the Hell.
Having understood the general meaning of the word “Tahluka (تهلكة)” and interpreted the verse 2:195 by the verse 4:29, it is as clear as crystal for the believers that suicide attack is the much forbidden act. After all, if some being so rigidly brainwashed by the radical ideologies fail to reach out to the true interpretation of both the Qur’anic verses, or fall prey here to any doubt or confusion, I would like them to cleanse their minds also with the numerous beautiful Hadith of the prophet peace be upon him, which strongly forbid the suicide attacks, whether in person or in public.
Suicide Attacks bombings or attacks are Haram: Proofs from Numerous Hadiths
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
“The one who commits suicide will go to Hell, and will keep falling into it and will abide there forever” (Sahih Bukhari, The book of Medicine, Chapter: Taking poison and using it for medical treatment or using what may be dangerous or Impure)
Narrated Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Allah is pleased with him) that the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
“Whoever stabs himself to death will continue to stab himself in Hell. And whoever throws himself off a cliff will continue to throw himself off a cliff in Hell. And whoever hangs himself will continue to hang himself in Hell”. (Sahih Bukhari, The book of Funeral Rites, Chapter: What has come to us about someone who kills himself’?)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
“Whoever swears by a religion other than Islam (i.e. if he swears by saying that he is a non-Muslim in case he is telling a lie), then he is as he says if his oath is false and whoever commits suicide with something, will be punished with the same thing in the (Hell) fire, and cursing a believer is like murdering him, and whoever accuses a believer of disbelief, then it is as if he had killed him.” (Sahih Bukhari, The Book of Good Manners, Chapter: If Someone calls his brother a disbeliever without any legitimate grounds, then he himself is what he said’, Sahih Muslim)
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah Almighty (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in the (Hell) Fire falling down into it and abiding therein perpetually forever. And whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, he will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon (stabbing himself), will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever.” (Sahih Bukhari, The book of Medicine, Chapter: Taking poison and using it for medical treatment or using what may be dangerous or Impure)
Obedience to Leaders Calling for Suicide Attacks is Forbidden: Proof from Hadith
Hadhrat Ali (Allah is pleased with him) narrated:
“The Prophet peace be upon him, dispatched an army and appointed a man their commander. Then the man made fire and said (to the soldiers), "Enter it." Some of them intended to enter it while some others said, 'We have run away from it (i.e., we have embraced Islam to save ourselves from the 'fire')." They mentioned that to the Prophet, and he said about people who had intended to enter the fire. ''If they had entered it, they would have remained in it till the Day of Resurrection.'' Then he said to others, "No obedience for evil deeds, obedience is required only in what is good." (Sahih Bukhari, [The Book of Accepting Information Given by a Truthful Person, Chapter, Acceptance of the information given by one truthful person in about all matters, and Sahih Muslim, [The book of leadership]
The similar Hadith has also been recorded in various books of Hadith with a slight change of wording; Sahih Muslim [The book of Leadership, Chapter: The obligation of obeying leaders in matters that do not involve sin, but it is forbidden to obey them in sinful matters], Sunan an-Nasa'i [The Book of al-Bay'ah, Chapter: The Punishment Of One Who Is Commanded To Commit Sin And Obeys The Command] and Sunan Abi Dawud [Book of Jihad (Kitab Al-Jihad) Chapter: Regarding Obedience].
According to this Hadith, obedience to the leaders is only in what is good and not in what is evil like suicide attacks in personal or in public.
Paradise for the Suicide Attackers is forbidden
On the authority of Jundub ibn Abdullah (Allah is pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“There was amongst those before you a man who had a wound. He was in [such] anguish that he took a knife and made with it a cut in his hand, and the blood did not cease to flow till he died. Allah the Almighty said: My servant has himself forestalled Me; I have forbidden him Paradise”. This Hadith has been narrated in Sahih Bukhari [The book of the prophets, chapter: What has been mentioned about the children of Israel], Sahih Muslim [the book of faith, chapter ‘the severe prohibition of killing oneself and if someone commits suicide with something, he will be tormented with the same in the Hellfire] and Ibn Hibban in al-Sahih)
Paradise for the Suicide Attackers Even during Jihad is forbidden
In accordance with the Qur’an and Hadith, Suicide attack is forbidden in a general application. However, ISIS militants and other terror outfits brainwash the young people by justifying it somehow on the basis of the so-called ‘Jihad’ and ‘martyrdom’. By Allah Almighty, they are distorting and ignoring the following Hadith which has exclusively forbidden suicide even during the real Jihad (i.e. Jihad for defence), let alone the so-called ‘Jihad’ that is being fought today.
“During one of his Ghazawat, the Prophet peace be upon him encountered the pagans, and the two armies fought, and then each of them returned to their army camps. Amongst the (army of the) Muslims there was a man who would follow every pagan separating from the army and strike him with his sword. It was said, "O Allah's Messenger peace be upon him! None has fought so satisfactorily as so-and-so (namely, that brave Muslim). "The Prophet said, "He is from the dwellers of the Hell-Fire." The people said, "Who amongst us will be of the dwellers of Paradise if this (man) is from the dwellers of the Hell-Fire?" Then a man from amongst the people said, "I will follow him and accompany him in his fast and slow movements." The (brave) man got wounded, and wanting to die at once, he put the handle of his sword on the ground and its tip in between his breasts, and then threw himself over it, committing suicide. Then the man (who had watched the deceased) returned to the Prophet peace be upon him and said, "I testify that you are Apostle of Allah". The Prophet peace be upon him said, "What is this?" The man told him the whole story. The Prophet peace be upon him said, "A man may do what may seem to the people as the deeds of the dwellers of Paradise, but he is of the dwellers of the Hell-Fire and a man may do what may seem to the people as the deeds of the dwellers of the Hell-Fire, but he is from the dwellers of Paradise." (Sahih al-Bukhari [The Book of Military Expeditions led by the Prophet (pbuh) (Al-Maghaazi) Chapter: Ghazwa of Khaibar], Sahih Muslim [The Book of Faith » Chapter: Clarifying the emphatic prohibition against killing oneself; The one who kills himself with something will be punished with it in the fire]
Suicide bombing is forbidden under all circumstances, even as a war tactic?
Some Wahhabi-inspired scholars have appeared to support the view that suicide bombing is permissible under certain circumstances as a war tactic. This is extremely antithetical to the spirit of Islam. The general application of the Quranic verse (2:195) and the Hadith narrated by Hadhrat Sahl, as mentioned above, clearly reject the Wahhabi view allowing suicide bombing in certain circumstances. According to the Quran [2:195], when suicide attack is forbidden under all circumstances, and similarly according to the aforementioned Hadith, when suicide attack is forbidden even during Jihad, how can it be permissible in the state of Fitna? Then how can suicide bombing have any justification under any circumstances? The Quran and Hadith forbid suicide attack under all circumstances but it is Wahhabism that allows it under some circumstances. This way, the Wahhabis are transgressing the limits of Allah and have forgotten the message of the Quran, “Allah does not like those who transgress the limits” (2:190). It is time for intellectual Muslims, Ulema and scholars to propagate the clear message of Islam that suicide bombing is forbidden under all circumstances and that no specific reason can justify it under any circumstances, otherwise the terrorists will keep on recruiting the naive people for committing suicide bombing in public for indiscriminately killing the innocent lives.
What about the funeral Prayer for the Suicide Attackers?
According to a narration, the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not offer prayers for the person who committed suicide.
Jabir bin Samura reported:
“(The dead body) of a person who had killed himself with a broad-headed arrow was brought before the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him, but he did not offer prayers for him” (Sahih Muslim [The Book of Prayer – Funerals, Chapter: Leaving the funeral prayer for one who committed suicide]
Having analysed the afore-mentioned Qur’anic verses and numerous Ahadith, it is evidently clear that the suicide attacks or bombings perpetrated by ISIS militants at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and Baghdad or elsewhere in Iraq or the world are brazenly anti-Islamic. The ISIS’s suicide attackers will reside in the Hell forever. So, a true Muslim who has no doubt in the divine book of Allah and believes in authoritativeness of Hadith can never justify suicide attacks. A Muslim having the taste of true love for Allah Almighty and his beloved prophet (peace be upon him) will always regard suicide attack as a forbidden act. A true Muslim who should always thank Allah Almighty for the reward of life cannot destroy his life by blowing himself up. He can never brainwash any other Muslim for suicide attacks. If he or she does this forbidden act, he or she will deserve punishment in the Hell and lose every way leading to closeness of Allah Almighty and his beloved prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the hereafter.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in reciting Kalima, please do not get brainwashed by the terror ideologues calling for suicide attacks for any reason. Suicide attacks are forbidden even during the true Jihad, let alone the so-called ‘Jihad’ hitting Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, Libya and so on. Allah Almighty has created you all mankind for worshipping Him alone. He says “I created not the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me” (51:56). Nowhere it is mentioned in the Quran or Hadith that he has created you all for committing suicide attacks. He wants you all to save yourselves from the forbidden acts such as suicide attacks and kindle your hearts with the flame of love for Him and his beloved prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
A regular Columnist with New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He completed the Classical Islamic Sciences from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia with specialization in Tafseer, Hadith and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia Manzar- e- Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He did his graduation in Arabic (Hons) and post-graduation (Arabic) from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.