Suicide Bombing: Life is Sacred
Suicide bombings is an antithesis to the teachings of God in the Quran and a form of terrorism, i.e. with the aim of achieving political (or even perhaps religious) objectives, blowing oneself up, with the intent of using oneself as a weapon and killing others – (often non-combatants bystanders). Thus a suicide bomber is guilty of killing himself and murdering others. The criminality and sin of this act is increased further when innocent, non-combatant, civilian population is killed or injured and the disruption caused on God’s Earth.
Corruption has flourished on land and sea as a result of people’s actions and He will make them taste the consequences of some of their own actions so that they may turn back. [30:41]
Such consequences can be witnessed when peace is replaced by fear and terror, plundering and killing become the order of the day. These are sometimes also accompanied by natural disasters – which often reminds people to retrospect within themselves and reform their ways by repenting to God and mend their conducts.
God distinctly prohibits the killing of one self regardless of whether it was done out of despair or valour:
O you who believe, do not consume your money between you unjustly, except through a trade which is mutually agreed by you. And do not kill yourselves; God is Merciful towards you. Whoever does so out of animosity and transgression, We will cast him into a fire; and this for God is very easy. If you avoid the major sins that you are forbidden against, then We will cancel your existing sins and admit you to a generous entrance. [4:29-31]
God in the Quran prohibits the killing [murder] of the innocent, non-combatant or civilian population.
Say, ‘Come! I will tell you what your Lord has really forbidden you. Do not ascribe anything as a partner to Him; be good to your parents; do not kill your children in fear of poverty’- We will provide for you and for them- ‘ stay well away from committing obscenities, whether openly or in secret; do not take the life God has made sacred, except by [legal] right. This is what He commands you to do: perhaps you will use your reason. [6:151]
In pre-Quranic Arabia, retaliation and mass murder or collective punishment was commonplace. If someone was killed, the victim's tribe would retaliate against the murderer's entire tribe. This practice was directly forbidden in the Qur'an (2:178-179). Following this statement of Just Retribution Law, God says, "After this, whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave chastisement" (2:178). No matter what wrong Muslims perceive is being done against them, there is no justification for such acts of terrorism from the Quran’s [Islamic] perspective against an entire population – whether it is carried out by sole individuals, groups or governments and their agencies.
It is a manifestation of the dignity of man that Islam has placed an infinite value on human life. This is expressed in the Qur'an in the story of Cain and Abel [5:27-31], the moral law is summarized for latter generations in the following terms:
We ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone slew a person, unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land, it would be as if he slew the whole of mankind. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of a whole people.
And, indeed, there came unto them Our apostles with all evidence of the truth: yet, behold, notwithstanding all this, many of them go on committing all manner of excesses on earth [such crimes of violence]. [5:32]
The reference to the children of Israel, represents continuity of the basic values that are common to all revealed religions. That is the protection of human life. It makes no difference whether the victim is a Jew, a Muslim or anyone else. The value that is advocated is holistic and indivisible in that aggression against one is tantamount to aggression against all. If this moral law is ignored then it is inevitable that their mutual strife will lead to the mass destruction of communities as alluded to in Quran 5:33. (Please refer to footnote of this vesre, The Message of the Quran, Muhammad Asad).
Life is not only of infinite value, it is also sacred:
And do not take any human being's life -[the life] which God has willed to be, sacred-otherwise than in [the pursuit of] justice. Hence, if anyone has been slain wrongfully, We have empowered the defender of his rights [to exact a just retribution]; but even so, let him not exceed the bounds of equity in [retributive] killing. [And as for him who has been slain wrongfully -] behold, he is indeed succoured [by God]! [17:33]
Muhammad al-Ghazali has quoted 5:32 and 17:33 and drew the conclusion that "in respect of the sanctity of life and the prohibition of aggression against it, Muslims and non-Muslims are equal. Attack on the personal safety of non-Muslims invokes the same punishment in this world and the Hereafter." [Huquq al-Insan].
In the psychology of a suicide bomber life becomes worthless whilst God in the Quran teaches us that life is precious and has sanctity.
All fallible 'secondary sources' must be subservient to the Divine teachings of the Quran. [25:1]
And Allah knows best.
For Younger Readers
God teaches in the Quran, the holy book of Muslims that:
Life is a gift from God
Killing yourself is never heroic or brave
Murder is wrong and evil