Within Muslim countries and the West, we see Muslims using suicide vests.
There is much speculation about whether this is permissible within Islam. A Muslim or an apologist will say that this is not allowed in Islam. The scriptures shed more light as to whether this is allowed and what is permissible and impermissible in regards to the self inflicted death of a Muslim.
So can Muslims kill themselves, yes, or no?
A Muslim has to preserve their own life unless it is for the cause of Allah/Jihad. If a Muslim is killed whilst in the act of killing a non Muslim – in the cause of Allah – then this is permitted and is specifically ordered within the rules of jihad.
If the Muslim is causing premature death to themselves not in the cause of Allah, it is forbidden.
Shahada means to witness or testify.
The Shaheed is one who has been witness to the truth; which are the laws Allah sent to his messenger Muhammad to bring social reform; and has fulfilled the obligations to Allah in their entirety.
Although Muslims do use the word Shaheed for a martyr, this is disputed, as within the scriptures only Allah can be called the Shaheed.
Muhammad specifically ordered Muslims to fight in the way of Allah and the orders are also in the Qur’an and Sunnah of Muhammad.
So where did it all start?
During the first battle of Islam, The battle of Badr, some Muslims did not want to fight. Muhammad needed to find a way to encourage people to fight.
“While the apostle was in the hut he slept a light sleep; then he awoke and said, ‘Be of good cheer, O Abu Bakr. Gods help is come to you. Here is Gabriel holding the rein of a horse and leading it. The dust is upon his front teeth.’ The first Muslim that fell was Mihja a freedman of ‘Umar: he was shot by an arrow. Then while Haritha b. Suraqa, one of B. ‘Adiy b. al-Najjar, was drinking from the cistern an arrow pierced his throat and killed him. Then the apostle went forth to the people and incited them saying, ‘by God in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, no man will be slain this day fighting against them with steadfast courage advancing not retreating but God will cause him to enter Paradise’ ‘Umayr b. aI-Humam’ brother of ‘B. Salima’ was eating some dates which he had in his hand. ‘Fine, Fine!’ said he, ‘is there nothing between me and my entering Paradise save to be killed by these men?’ He flung the dates from his hand, seized his sword, and fought against them till he was slain.” (Ibn Ishaq, The life of Muhammad)
“Asim b. ‘Umar b. Qatada told me that ‘Auf b. Harith’ -his mother was ‘Afra’ – said ‘O apostle of God, what makes the Lord laugh with joy at his servant?’ He answered, ‘When he plunges into the midst of the enemy without mail’. ‘Auf’ drew off the mail-coat that was on him and threw it away; then he seized his sword and fought the enemy till he was slain.” (Ibn Ishaq, The life of Muhammad)
During one of battles of Islam, a Muslim was injured, to end his pain he slashed his palms and bled to death. Muhammad said, he was forbidden to go to Paradise.
Suicide is forbidden.
“On the authority of Jundub ibn Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) 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.” (Sahih)
Who is a Martyr?
“Narrated Zaid:that he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying: “Whoever is killed over his wealth then he is a martyr, and whoever is killed over his religion, then he is a martyr, and whoever is killed over his blood, then he is martyr, and whoever is killed over his family, then he is martyr.” (Tirmidhi)
Martyrs will go to paradise.
A Muslim can kill a non-Muslim and if they are killed whilst doing that, they are guaranteed direct ascension to Paradise.
“Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Allah guarantees to the person who carries out Jihad for His Cause and nothing compelled him to go out but the Jihad in His Cause, and belief in His Words, that He will either admit him into Paradise or return him with his reward or the booty he has earned to his residence from where he went out.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 7457)
One who does Jihad will not go to hellfire.
“Abu ‘Abs ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Jabr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, It will not happen that the feet soiled with dust while (doing Jihad) in the way of Allah, will be touched by the fire (of Hell).”(Sahih al-Bukhari)
All Muslims who die do not get direct ascension to Paradise, they are left in a ‘limbo state’ where they are waiting for judgement day to see whether they made the grade to Paradise.
It’s believed they are alive anyway.
And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, “They are dead.” Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it] not. (2.154)
If a Muslim is living in the west and are living a life which does not conform to Islamic practices, such as drinking alcohol, having girlfriends, not attending the mosque for prayer, or even not praying as they should, there is a way to absolve themselves of those sins.
All sins are forgiven.
“It has been reported on the authority of ‘Amr b. al-‘As that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: All the sins of a Shahid (martyr) are forgiven except debt.” (Sahih Muslim 1886 a)
Muslims are believed to gain direct ascension to paradise from the moment the first drop of a martyrs blood is spilt. Although there are different degrees of paradise, a martyr is given access to the greatest degree of paradise which is called Al-Firdous. In addition to this, it is believed a martyr can choose up to 70 relatives to gain direct ascension to paradise alongside them upon their own death, even if their deaths were not in the cause of Allah.
The gteatest degree of paradise with the greatest of rewards, black eyed houris, and youths passed around.
“Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “If anyone is pleased with Allah as his Rubb, with Islam as his religion and with Muhammad (ﷺ) as (Allah’s) Messenger, surely, he will be entitled to enter Jannah.” Abu Sa’id was delighted with this and requested the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) to repeat it. He (ﷺ) repeated it again and then said, “There is also another act by which Allah will elevate the position of a (pious believing) slave in Jannah to a grade one hundred degrees higher. And the distance between any two grades is equal to the distance between heaven and earth.” He asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) what it was and he ((ﷺ)) replied, “Jihad in the way of Allah; Jihad in the way of Allah.” (Muslim)
“Narrated Al-Miqdam bin Ma’diykarib: That the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “There are six things with Allah for the martyr. He is forgiven with the first flow of blood (he suffers), he is shown his place in Paradise, he is protected from punishment in the grave, secured from the greatest terror, the crown of dignity is placed upon his head – and its gems are better than the world and what is in it – he is married to seventy two wives along Al-Huril-‘Ayn of Paradise, and he may intercede for seventy of his close relatives.” [Abu ‘Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan Sahih.
In addition to this there is an abundance of wine which is forbidden in this world, although it is said to not intoxicate. Muslims men are given never ending sexual vigour and 72 houris (virgins) to match the stamina, which are said to have never been touched, and have transluscent bodies and black eyes.
Women are said to be with their husband in paradise; she will be satisfied with that. This is questionable within the Islamic texual doctrine as Muhammad said on his night journey to paradise, that he saw mainly women in hell, when he stood at the gates of hell.
A Muslim martyr will gain satisfaction and pride of pleasing the Islamic God, Allah and his messenger (4.69).
There are different types of martrys, one of this world, one of the hereafter and one of both.
The three types are:
- The martyr of this world and the hereafter. The Muslim who dies fighting the Non-Muslims or is killed by the non-Muslim whilst doing so, this can be by any means.
- The martyr of the hereafter. This is someone who dies of a stomach condition, drowns, is killed by a falling wall, or is defending their wealth.
- The martyr of this world, but not the hereafter. This is a person who steals from the war booty of the Muslims, but then dies in the way of Allah, as of the first example. The Muslim will not receive full rewards in the hereafter.
A Shaheed does not have a change of clothes or is washed (ghusl) before being buried.
It is not a requirement to give the martyr – who died in the cause of Allah – a funeral prayer, this is because Muhammad never gave Shaheeds the funeral prayer at the battle of Uhud.
Funeral prayer is given to help the person intercede, but as the one who died in the cause of Allah is guaranteed paradise, there is no need.
Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah: The Prophet (ﷺ) collected every two martyrs of Uhud in one piece of cloth, then he would ask, “Which of them had (knew) more of the Qur’an?” When one of them was pointed out for him, he would put that one first in the grave and say, “I will be a witness on these on the Day of Resurrection.” He ordered them to be buried with their blood on their bodies and they were neither washed nor was a funeral prayer offered for them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1343)
The exact words from the most authoritative source in Islamic law states.
g4.20 It is unlawful to wash the body of a martyr (0: even if in a state of major ritual impurity Ganaba) or the like) or perform the funeral prayer over him. A martyr (shahid) means someone who died in battle with non-Muslims (0: from fighting them, as opposed to someone who died otherwise, such as a person killed out of oppression when not in battle, or who died from fighting non -polytheists, such as (N: Muslim) transgressors). It is recommended that war gear be removed from the body (0: such as a breastplate and the like), and it is best to bury the martyr in the rest of his bloodstained clothes (0: since it is the effect of worship), though the responsible family member may nevertheless remove the garments and shroud the body before burial.” (Umdat as Salik/Reliance of the traveller, The Funeral Prayer/Janaza)
London Bridge Attack
3rd June 2017, three Muslim men deliberately drove a van into people on London bridge, after exiting the vehicle, they hunted people down in a popular area with bars and restaurants. The men slashed people’s throats and stabbed them.
The men are reported by eye witnesses to have said “This is for Allah”.
The men were shot dead by police as it was feared they had explosive vests on.
In the media following this, it was said the Muslim community would not offer the funeral prayers.
On 5th June 2017, 130 imams – in the UK – came together with an audience of other faith leaders and media, to say they will not be offering the funeral prayer to the London terrorists.
An example of the article which all news media covered worldwide here.
The full statement, plus list of signatories on The Muslim Council of Britain website here
As people do not know the prescribed method of paying respects and burial preparation for a martyr, It was assumed by the media the Imams were distancing themselves from the London attackers, whereras this is a custom in the Sunnah of Muhammad for paying respects to martyrs, the martyr is not offered prayer.
Being a martyr is the greatest deed in Islam.
Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not. (2.216)
Below is a short video of failed “suicide bombers” talking about the rewards of paradise as detailed in the Qur’an and Sunnah of Muhammad.