Suicide – an Islamic Perspective in its Understanding and Prevention

The Soul
  O you who believe! Do not kill your people; surely Allaah Ta'aala is Merciful to you.

Ra's ul Hudood Saheb DM participated in the Seminar of organized by the Centre of Culture and Development on 7-8 Dec 2018, and represented Alavi Bohra Community and presented its Islamic Perspective.

Suicide is liberation or an End of all Miseries; as perceived by the one who commits. It is the practice adopted by all strata of people irrespective of economic condition, education, cast, creed and region. Though we see certain variations with respect to region and time; but its essence remain same everywhere.

Suicide is a Latin term which means Self Destruction. Ending Life Untimely. Committing Suicide is the culmination point of a long process which goes on in the mind of an individual. We cannot isolate Suicide alone. We need to study all dimensions of the Life which may become the cause of Suicide. Understanding the concept of Life is essential for everyone to keep the negativity of Suicide and Self Harm away from mind.

Almost all Religions condemn Suicide. And it is not baseless. Condemnation of Suicide is an edifice which stands strong on the Understanding the Life Process and its preciousness. Suicide is a Sin to a religious eye. But such a vision should be cultivated by all the religions in the mind of masses. And it is the responsibility of all religious leaders to bring forth the real understanding of the Divine Scriptures.

People, today, have many intriguing questions regarding Life, Death and Will to Die. All the answers are buried in the Scriptures and we need to simplify them for the masses so that they can grasp easily. As far as Islamic Perspective is concerned the Holy Qur’an describes the vividness of Life and its challenges in the most explicit way. It says, Life is full of sufferings and exercising Patience and Perseverance is the basis of Islam.

Qur’an states that “And most certainly shall We try you by means of danger, and hunger, and loss of worldly goods, of lives and of fruits. But give glad tidings unto those who are patient in adversity” [2:155]. This verse vividly describes about the bitter reality of the Life and simultaneously prepares the follower for the adversity and promises the reward for keeping patience in the hardships. Such type of description serves two purposes – education and prevention. If we are prepared for what Life is to unfold for us then we won’t be pulled down by the extremes of Life.

Adversities in one’s life have 3 bases:

  • It is the Examination or Test of Almighty to bereave you of the comfort and luxuries and to remind every time that the Creator is supreme than His Creation.  Everything returns to Him only by His command.
  • It is the revenge of your wrongdoings to others. Known as “Qisaas” in Arabic. Whatever you Sow so do you Reap.
  • It is the result of the misdeeds you have committed against the teachings of the religion. We better call it as a Sin.

Regarding the Death, Qur’an states that “And no Human Being can Die save Almighty’s leave, at a term preordained…” [3:145]. Death does not come to you without Almighty’s leave – His permission. Life and Death are at Almighty’s Will. If initiation of your Life was not upon your Will; you indeed have no Will to end precious Life. We find the word of Suicide in the Qur’an in terms of “Qatl un Nasf”, killing of a soul.

If one understands and absorbs these realities of Life and Death he won’t be carried away by the negative thoughts of Suicide but will be strong enough to fight the adversities. Muslims do commit suicide but the incidence of Suicide in less as compared to others. The data of occurrences may be erroneous because Suicide is not correctly reported in the Muslim countries as it is looked down upon by the authorities and the religious customs attached to it is totally different as compared to normal death.

There are several factors which drag one to the point of Suicide – financial, familial, social, professional, personal, domestic violence etc. It is difficult for us to keep up to the pace of challenging World. Seeking spiritual help and religious teachings is of great help and the source of encouragement. Though there are no special programs of Suicide Prevention or Counseling in the Muslim setup. The discourses and the lectures imparted to the masses are enough, at least till now, to spread the message of the Almighty. Counseling at the personal level is not denied by the religious authority if need arise. Reciting of the verses of the Qur’an and other traditions help to a great extent.

There is a narration which states that, a man committed Suicide during the time of Prophet Mohammad PBUH. When the Prophet PBUH came to know about this he uttered these words, “He has been kept away from the Grace of Almighty”.

If we look at the community level, we preach the teachings of the Qur’an to the masses that is in congruence with the need of time. We explain them the intricacies of the Life and Death. As far as Alavi Bohra Community is concerned, Our Spiritual Leader personally looks in to the domestic matters of the followers. Anyone can have a dialogue with him personally. He knows each and every member of the community by his/her name. Psychological counseling is carried out by us at all levels.

Concluding this article, Islam deals with the Issue of Suicide and Self Harm in a multi dimensional way by putting forward the hard facts of Life before us. Explaining the significance of Life and Death which is at Almighty’s Will. And providing the divine healing powers of the words of Qur’an – whoever recites gets spiritual boost and encouragement in facing the adversities of Life.



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