Yes, Suicide Killing is Justified in Islam
Last week in Afghanistan the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan brought together families of suicide bombers at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, praising the deaths of their children and siblings in the fight against the U.S.-backed coalition and Afghan governmen.
The Taliban’s decision to publicly memorialize its suicide jihadists was both an effort to appease the aggrieved families for the movement’s use of their loved ones as weapons and an overt attempt to rewrite the history of their holy war by championing the bombers’ deaths as the highest level of sacrifice.
The new Afghan Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, who himself had organized a truck bomb attack on May 31, 2017, which killed more than 150 people, most of them civilians, said: “Their [Muslim suicide bombers] sacrifices are for religion, for the country and for Islam.”
While suicide is prohibited in Islamic teaching, killing oneself while fighting Allah’s enemies has long historical roots — the first organized suicide attack in Islam dates back as early as 1092 when the Shi’ite Nizari Isma’ili clan under Hasan-e Sabbah who, carried out their slaughter against the Seljuq emirs. In fact, the term “suicide-operations” for Islamists is inaccurate, for they see suicide as a sinful act committed by someone who has given into unhappiness, lack of patience, or weakness. However, if one kills or does damage to Allah’s enemies while committing suicide, then it becomes an act of self-sacrifice, for the intention is not to give into despair but to bring victory to Islam. This notion is drawn from the Quran and certain hadiths that incite Muslims to kill and be killed for Allah:
- Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed. —Sura 9, 111
- Muhammad said: “Surely, the gates of Paradise are under the shadows of the swords.” After hearing that martyrdom leads to paradise, a young man pulls his sword and breaks the sheath (indicating that he has no intention of returning) then flings himself into battle until he is killed. —Sahih Muslim 20, 4681
A suicide bomber is considered a martyr, a shahid — from the verb shahada — the person who bears witnesses to the truth, and he is therefore the witness to which he physically stood by. His so-called struggle and sacrifice for the sake of the jihad he becomes a model to be emulated by others. This dramatic persuasion in the public sphere forms a conviction of self-righteousness within the umma, extending the potential for the enlistment of more members and legitimizing other ideologies against adversaries. In short, martyrs function as an apparatus for the ideological disintegration of the other.
An appeal for Muslims to commit acts of suicide is the reward of the pleasures of heaven. As stated in the hadiths contained in Musnad Ahmad Ibn Habal and Sunan al-Tirmidhi, the jihadist-martyr, whether he dies in the battlefield by his own hand or not, will be raised in heaven, where
- he shall be forgiven of his sins from the first moment his blood is spilled,
- he shall see his seat in Paradise and be protected against the punishment of the grave,
- he shall be safe from the Greatest Terror (the rising of the dead),
- he shall be crowned with the diadem of dignity, one ruby of which is worth more than the entire world and its contents,
- he shall be granted to intercede for seventy of his relatives, and
- he shall be coupled with seventy-two spouses from the wide-eyed maidens of Paradise.
For those self-proclaimed Islamic scholars and left wing politicians who hold suicide bombings are not justified in Islam, they should take a closer look at the Islamic religious texts the Muslim butchers cite to justify such atrocities.
Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; he also holds a M. A. in Medieval History from Fordham University, as well as a B.A. in Government & Politics from St. John’s University. He is also author of Islam: Religion of Peace? – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up.