Suicide is forbidden in Islam — if it threatens dictators

Suicide by self-immolation is becoming a surprise tool of regime change, destabilising dictators across the Arab region. While the Tunisian crisis intensified, with ministers quitting to pacify its people, it spilled over into Egypt. “A lawyer in his forties tried to end his days by setting himself on fire in front of Cairo’s government headquarters on Tuesday,” the AFP reported.

Immediately, the country’s most prestigious centre of learning, Al-Azhar, deplored the act. “Sharia law states that Islam categorically forbids suicide for any reason and does not accept the separation of souls from bodies as an expression of stress, anger or protest,” said Al-Azhar’s spokesman Mohammed Rifa al-Tahtawi in a statement on state news agency MENA.

Egypt has been under the dictatorial rule of President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak since October 14, 1981, following the assassination of President Mohammed Anwar El-Sadat. Apart from Mubarak, dictators in the area, notably Algeria and Jordan are under pressure from their people, with riots breaking out in the countries.

But, according to the Hadith (sayings of Prophet Mohammed), “He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the Hell Fire (forever) and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself shall keep on stabbing himself in the Hell-Fire.”

Further: “Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in the (Hell) 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 (Hell) 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 (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever.”
(I source this to Wikipedia that also tells us that suicide forbidden in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.)

I have three questions:
1. When the creator of Islam has in clear terms condemned suicide, where do the religion’s suicide bombers or their illicit leaders get their moral strength from?
2. Where are these voices of moderation and peace when these bombers go about their daily chores that don’t destabilise dictatorships?
3. Can religious leaders of Islam revive the religion from the clutches of violence and finally bring before us its peaceful face?
The selective use of the Prophet’s verses to suit their authoritarian regimes is not going to work anymore. It stopped working for the rest of the world from September 11, 2001. I now see the shifting sands of change in the dictatorial regimes of the Arab world. The faster these autocrats accept these shifts, the better for their countries.

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