Question 8: Suicide

Alright, I'm pretty sure that everyone knows the news about the Boston Marathon bombing. A few days before I wrote this, two bombs went off in the middle of the Boston Marathon, an international event where runners from all over the world compete by running in Boston. While I don't know how many people were killed, I am well aware that many people were injured in the bombings. The main suspects, according to the news, are two Chechen brothers, who are said to be Muslims.

With the suspects of the bombing being Muslim, it made me wonder what the public's reaction would be. While the suspects aren't Middle Eastern, the fact that they're Muslim may cause a stir within the public.

It made me think back to the 9/11, back when I was six years old. That event already scarred American citizens, both Muslim and non-Muslim, and I thought that some Muslims would be harassed, possibly even attacked.

After the whole 9/11 thing, the idea of the Muslim terrorist started to show up (granted that it was already shown as a stereotype within the media years before that in some movies). Some of us, myself included (and I, myself, am a Muslim), can't help relate a Muslim to a bearded man who wants to blow himself up.

Strangely enough, that got me thinking. There are some people who think that Islam promotes violence through the use of suicide bombing. Ironically, Islam forbids suicide.

No, I'm not kidding. Islam actually forbids suicide. First off, it mentions in the Qur'an: "And do not kill yourselves, surely God is most Merciful to you." Surah 4, ayat (or verse) 29.

In Sahih al-Bukhari (which is regarded as one of the most authentic books for hadith), it says: "Narrated Abu Hurairah (): The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: 'He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the Hellfire, and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself shall keep on stabbing himself in the Hellfire.'" There are similar hadiths which you can find in Sahih al-Bukhari that support this. (Now, there's the question if the person who commits suicide gets buried or not, to which I have no idea. I need to look that up.)

And then, I had these questions in my head: What do other religions about suicide? Do other religions condemn it, or accept it in certain conditions? Does the person who commits suicide get proper burial rites?

These questions apply to any other religion: Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Pagan, etc. I'm quite certain that Christianity and Judaism don't allow it, but I'm not sure about other religions. Hinduism, to my understanding, only allows one to starve oneself to death in a given circumstance, but I could be mistaken.

As usual, I do not mean to insult anyone. What happening Boston has startled me, and has unfortunately, made me suspicious of what non-Muslims would think when I should be keeping an eye on the thoughts of other Muslims. There are those of us who lack knowledge which may avoid such things from happening (I believe I'm being a hypocrite saying that, since I too lack much knowledge of my own religion).

I simply wished to write this down to let out any questions related to what happened, but at the same time, I feel I may be forcing my own ideals on you, dear readers. If I'm being an idiot in anyway and if my sources or words are wrong, then please correct me. Thank you.

-Wandering Scholar

PS: Now with the hadith I just provided, I actually read the original hadith in Arabic and was able to understand it to some extent, thanks to the Arabic lessons I've been taking. I believe some of the words may have been mistranslated when brought from Arabic into English. I highly advise you to actually check to see if the translation is correct. I want to make I didn't screw up by providing a misinterpreted hadith.