Do not take life, which Allah made sacred, other than in the course of justice.
The Holy Quran – 17:33
Why should we be talking of suicide? Because, approximately one million suicides occur worldwide every year, which means that every forty (40) seconds somebody dies by suicide. Women are more likely than men to attempt suicide (not surprising), while men are much more likely to succeed (not surprising once more). What’s worrisome however, is that for one successful suicide, there are twenty (20) failed suicide attempts. So people are actually contemplating suicide at a very high rate.
News of young people committing suicide really gets to me. Since a few months, there has been a succession of celebrity suicide reporting in the media. God knows how many everyday people like you and me may be pulling the trigger, hanging down a rope or gulping down sleeping pills, amongst other horrific ways to kill yourself.
It makes me angry. It makes me want to take those bodies out of the graves and ask them, why living suddenly was not an option? Why was it so easy for you to give up, especially when you had no clue about tomorrow? Why did you not think about the people who cared for you? Why did you assume that they would just move on? Why didn’t you know beforehand that in those last moments of life, the realization just may hit you- the realization that you really did not want to die.
Then there are deaths which have been caused owing to drug overdose. The depression crashes down on the body and mind after the fake euphoria. It makes me want to drag drug dealers and manufacturers out of their hiding holes and make them accountable for these untimely deaths.
There are suicides caused by clinical depression and mental (may be psychiatric is a better word?) diseases as well. In such cases, you really cannot blame anyone, except when you uncover the cause behind the depression.
Suicides by rape victims and suicides by women to protect their ‘izzat’ ( honour) is another extremely sad tangent to this web as well.
For Muslims though, religiously, suicide is not even an option and unfortunately most young people do not even know about it. Parents do not educate their children about the very basics of our religion, apart from the five pillars of Islam i.e. Tauheed (Belief in the oneness of Allah s.w.t), Salah (prayers), Saum (Fasting), Hajj (Pilgrimage) and Zakat (Charity). Children should know that suicide is haraam (forbidden).
Allah s.w.t. says in verse twenty nine (29), Surah Nisa of the Holy Quran: “And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you”.
In verse 195 of Surah Al-Baqarah of the Holy Quran, Allah s.w.t tells us specifically: “And do not throw yourselves in destruction”.
It is fairly obvious by these two verses that (a) we are not to commit suicide and we are to believe in Allah’s supreme mercy and (b) we should not consciously and intentionally harm ourselves, even to the extent of inflicting injury on ourselves, so suicide is a definite no, no.
An Ahadith ( reported sayings and actions of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) ) also showcase the stern stance that he took about suicide. It has been narrated by Abu Hurairah (RA) that the Holy Prophet ( may peace be upon him ) 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, he shall keep stabbing himself in the Hell-fire (forever).”
It has also been reported (sorry can’t find the exact reference, so please confirm veracity) that a man committed suicide while the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) was alive, and the holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) was so upset that he didn’t perform the janazah prayer ( prayer performed by Muslims upon death of a Muslim ) for the deceased, but he asked his companions to do it and pray for the deceased’s forgiveness.
So clearly, the ramifications of suicide are severe and follow you to the hereafter. *shudder*
The premise behind suicide being a sin in Islam is that life is sacred and it has been gifted to us by Allah s.w.t. No one but HE has the power and authority to determine when, where and how, the soul will be taken from the body. We are not to end our lives ourselves. When we are taking our own life away, we are disobeying Allah and being ungrateful to the gift of life that He has bestowed on us. Our life is not our personal property. It has been given to us as a trust from Allah s.w.t, and as trustees, we have to take great care of it.
Yes! Life is tough and it’s not always brilliant. We all face obstacles, turns, twists, depression, sadness and despair, but Islam asks us to fight against these negative emotions. We are asked to never despair, which is infact equated as if a sin, and to trust that Allah s.w.t will never give us a load that we cannot bear.
Ayah (verse) sixty two (62) of Surah Al-Muminun of the Holy Quran states: “We do not impose on any self any more than it can bear. With Us is a Book that speaks the truth. They will not be wronged.”
Similarly, Ayah (verse) two hundred and eight six (286) of Surah Baqarah in the Holy Quran reads: “Allah does not impose on any self any more than it can bear. For it is what it has earned; against it, what it has brought upon itself.”
The two Ayahs (verses) clearly mean that despite the torment and the immense sea of depression that we find ourselves sinking in and despite the feeling that we cannot take the pain, we have to believe that we have the strength to fight against the torment and swim back to the shore. We have to believe that we have the hidden strength to rise above the difficulty because Allah s.w.t has already said that we only get the share of troubles that we can bear. Then why, give up fighting and why treat any event as the end of the world? It clearly isn’t. It’s just a phase which will pass because we have the strength to bear and cross over it.
The best way to fight these negative emotions is to seek Allah s.w.t and ask for HIS help and guidance, because HE is the only savior. Never turn to any human for help because even humans can or cannot do anything, which the Creator enables him/her to do. Believe in: HasbunAllah wa Ni’mal Wakil: Allah Alone is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs for us.
No one but Him can make things better and He will make things better. Never lose faith in his miracles.
Islam is about optimism and positive energy. Once you leave your affairs in Allah s.w.t and firmly start believing in the power of sincere dua (prayer) and live with the genuine conviction and faith that Insha’Allah, Allah will make everything alright, it is easier to go through the pain and fight depression.
So if you find a Muslim or even a non Muslim undergoing depression and who is possibly suicidal, help them to fight the depression, make them consult a psychiatrist if you have to, support and advise them, try your best to uplift their spirits, be there for them, make them laugh and make them somehow understand that suicide is not the solution to problems. That a rough patch is short lived and someday Insha’Allah, happiness will embrace them. That there are people who genuinely care for them and that they would be devastated if the person commits suicide.
Keep the FAITH and Remember that Suicide is a definite No, No. :)
“Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A word of optimism and hope. And you can do it when things are tough.” (Richard Devos)