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For Simon: Suicide in Islam revisited

Reader comment on item: Salman Rushdie and British Backbone
in response to reader comment: dhimmi thanks again!

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Aug 25, 2007 at 07:54

Hi Simon

Maybe sometimes "debates" can be very misguided and it is not black and white, so let me repeat one more time what i said before:

1. There is no "unambiguous condemnation of suicide in the Qur'an" as Muslims like to tell us. (see Ruthven page 100 Fury for God) As a matter of fact the word intihar (root NHR Hans Wehr dictionary page 947A) does not exist in the Qur'an and if the Qur'an would have said: Qul, la tantahiru or: say do not commit suicide it would have been much easier for all of us. And yes the Qura'n that kiatb mubeen can be silent on many issues as in the case of male and female circumcision and for this you have to turn to sources external to the Qur'an.

2. However, if you turn to the hadith and the sira (with only one exception that I will mention latre on) and even if you believe that both the hadith and sira are bogus which they are nontheless it seems that Muhammad disapproved of suicide with one exception as you shall see later.

3. In the ancient commentaries of the Qur'an the word ANFSKM (I'm using the rasm here) in Q4:29 had to be sorted out (and as by now you should be aware that the short as well as long vowels were added to the rasm by the 3Ulama). So now you can read the rasm any way you want to read it. And you can read as: Your own selves , or yourselves. As was pointed out by Ruthven the above rasm was read in those anceint commentaries as yourselves/one another or do not kill one another and for this see Pickthall's translation. Now can we also read it as do not kill yourselves as in la tantahiru you for sure can and for this see Rashad Khaifa's translation and I indeed respect his command of the Arabic language.

4. Now this is not the end of the story. In the sira we have the following tradition quoted by Ruthven:

"Suicide of course is a sin, but not suicide that is subsumed in an act of martydom may be a different matter" and then he quotes a famous story from the sira and it is as follows (see Ruthevn's Fury for God page 62:

"'Awf bin Harith at the battle of Badr: "O Apostole of God" 'Awf asked the prophet: "what makes the lord laugh with joy at his servant?" to which the prophet replied: "when he plunges into the midst of the enemy without armour." Upon hearing this 'Awf drew off his mail-coat and threw it away. The he seized his sword and fought the enemy until he was killed (see Sirat Rasul Allah page 300)

So do you know what this means? It means that suicide is allowed in Islam as long as it is subsumed in an act of martyrdom. And this very well explains the 9/11 atrocity.

I hope this makes it clear


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