Suicide: Ibadi view vs Ash’ari view. Which is Prima-Qur’an?

“Believers! Do not devour one another’s possessions wrongfully; rather than that, let there be trading by mutual consent. You should not kill yourselves. Surely Allah is ever Compassionate to you. And whoever does this by way of transgression and injustice him shall We surely cast into the Fire; that indeed is quite easy for Allah. (Holy Qur’an 4:29-30)

And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden to be killed except by legal right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason (Holy Qur’an 6:151)

“Allah does not burden a soul except what it can bear”. (Holy Qur’an 2:286)

“For indeed, with hardship will be ease.Indeed, with hardship will be ease.”(Holy Qur’an 94:5-6)

“And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell rendered contemptible.” (Holy Qur’an 40:60)

You also have these two ahadith which are attributed to the Blessed Messenger (saw) in the ‘Sahih‘ of Al Bukhari.

Abu Hurayrah : The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in the 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 Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 71 Hadith 670

Narrated Abu Hurayrah : The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the Hell Fire and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself shall keep on stabbing himself in the Hell-Fire.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 23 Hadith 446

From the two ahadith above we learn a few things:

  1. Suicide must be worse than shirk according to the Ash’ari because there is no chance for repentance for it.
  2. Proof that the punishment of hell fire or for the sin of suicide is forever,
  3. Proof that the punishment of hellfire forever is for ‘whoever‘- Muslim or not.

Those from the Ash’ari who now come and say that ‘whoever’ doesn’t refer to Muslims will come across as desperate. It would be like arguing that the second hadith is a reference only to men and not women as it says, He who commits suicide’. Such argumentation comes across as a hopeless attempt to defend one’s crumbling theology over lucid text.

Who can condemn suicide (homicide) bombing with more force and theological conviction? You be the judge!

Objectively which group is going to be stronger against suicide bombing and terrorism?

Who is going to have a greater impact upon young impressionable minds?

The group (the Ibadi) that says, “if you commit suicide if you kill these innocent men and women, you are going to hell, wherein you will not escape and there will be no reprieve for you!”

Or the group (the Ash’ari) that says, “If you commit suicide if you kill these innocent men and women we condemn you, but you will still go to heaven because you said the Shahadah and the Prophet will intercede on your behalf.”

Think about it. Someone who wants to commit suicide bombing has already written this world off any way, than the Ash’ari promise them paradise?!

It is music to their ears!

All the fatwa in the world from Shaykh Bin Bayyah, Shaykh Muhammed Al Yaqoubi or or even the 512 page magnum opus written by Tahir Ul Qadri is not going to be enough to stop such people with the theological convictions that are held.

One is a very strong condemnation and the other a slap on the wrist.

This is not rocket science.

I also write from the perspective of someone who has lost two people two suicide. One of them was actually my best friend in high school. I cannot even began to tell you the anguish I feel in my heart and in my soul over his loss. I love him and I’ll always love him.I was in another state when I got a call from a family member that mentioned that he had hung himself in his garage.

So anyone who doesn’t think I have a person stake invested in this position is sadly mistaken. You couldn’t be more wrong.

So I was thinking to be fair to the Ash’ari I was going to say that they would be more theologically equipped to give comfort to someone’s family in such a position. However, even than that would depend.

  1. If the clear message of Islam hasn’t reached the person perhaps they would be spared punishment altogether (Allah knows best)
  2. However, if the person committed suicide as a Muslim the best they can offer is their flawed theological position that the person will be repeating the same suicidal act (for unspecified amount of time), in hellfire than finally released into paradise.

Yet, as we have seen from the Holy Qur’an and from the two ahadith cited above there is no scope for them to argue point 2.

All they can do is ignore the lucid text and resort to 30 page write ups on the ‘should have‘ , ‘could have‘ and ‘would have‘ been scenarios.

Shirk is the greatest sin one can do -that they can still repent from. Just like any other sin. Because to despair of the mercy of Allah (swt) is also a sin.

“O my sons, go and inquire about Yusuf and his brother, and do not despair of relief from Allah; surely none despairs of relief from Allah except the ungrateful (kafiruna) people.” (Holy Qur’an 12:87)

However, someone who has committed suicide even if they did small sins, they themselves have closed the doors to mercy and repentance. The act of committing suicide is a great sin as they have despaired of relief from Allah (swt).

So no suicide is not a greater sin than shirk, but it is a sin in which the person has closed the doors for repentance on themselves.

“Believers! Do not devour one another’s possessions wrongfully; rather than that, let there be trading by mutual consent. You should not kill yourselves. Surely Allah is ever Compassionate to you. And whoever does this by way of transgression and injustice him shall We surely cast into the Fire; that indeed is quite easy for Allah. (Holy Qur’an 4:29-30)

Comment: Again no one has desperately argued that the ‘whoever‘ above is a reference only to Non-Muslims.

“These are the Signs of Allah. We rehearse them to thee in Truth: And Allah means no injustice to any of His creatures.” (Holy Qur’an 3:108)

So again we need to ask the Ash’ari.

  1. Where is there any verse in the Holy Qur’an that says a believer will enter the hellfire? A single one will suffice.
  2. Where is there any verse in the Holy Qur’an that says sinners will come out of the hellfire? A single one will suffice.
  3. Where is there any verse that says the unrepentant sinners will enter the paradise? A single one will suffice.

In closing I wanted to say that Al hamdulillah that studies have shown that Muslim majority nations have the lowest suicide rates of all nations. Other studies have shown that we even have the lowest suicide rates compared to other religious communities.

It should also be noted that in the Ibadi school we need the specifics and details as much as possible of the condition under which a person committed suicide. If this person was mentally unstable they are not held accountable. Alas the hukm (judgment) belongs to Allah (swt). We can only make judgement upon the dhahir (the apparent)

Suicide goes against the fitra of all living things. There is not besides human beings a single living thing on this planet that see’s itself as disconnected from everything else killing itself out of despair. That is something to contemplate.

Yet we all need to do more collectively to end the stigma against mental health. May we rue the day when Muslim majority nations are filled with nursing homes -understood if a person is beyond family care-but shameful if it is a means to dump off one’s parents. Old people get lonely, lonely people are lonely. People need to know that there is hope in any given situation. People need help to relieve financial burdens and stress.

“And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell rendered contemptible.” (Holy Qur’an 40:60)

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