A Critique of the Use of Suicide Bombings in Islamic Jihad

3.0. Conclusion

Allah SWT says*“Among mankind is one who sells himself seeking the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is most merciful towards his servants”* Qur’an 2:207. To seek this pleasure however, The Muslim must act within the dictates of the shari’a of Islam and the hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad SAW.

“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not

transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.”[^30]

In every action of a Muslim, guidance must be sought from the pure legislation- the Quran and the hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. There is no doubt that both have prohibited the suicide of a Muslim for whatever reason. To justify suicide bombing as something which is necessary due to a change in times is to introduce an innovation into the religion. The alleged “success” which suicide bombing has brought to the fight of the Muslims who embrace it does not legitimize it. In fact the success of the strategy may be contested. This is what is found from the practice of the Jews with the people of Palestine. When a Palestinian blows himself up and kills seven or eight people, then in retaliation they kill sixty or more. This does not produce any benefit for the Muslims but only results in more able bodied Muslims being killed. The practice of suicide bombing

has been going on in the fight between the Palestinians and the Israeli but it has not helped in deciding the war in favor of the Palestinians.

Arguably, a critique of suicide bombing cannot be done without looking at the political ramifications of declaring it legal or illegal as far as Muslims who have adopted it as strategy are concerned. From their point of view-being in an oppressive situation- it may look like a last resort to a difficult and hopeless situation and that changes in situation, Islam being a dynamic religion, have resulted in their actions creating a new and contemporary law to suit the situation. They are forgetting that they are not the first Muslims to face oppression and that forbearance in the face of persecution is itself a divine trial. True, Allah SWT commands Muslims to fight oppression but he has laid down rules to guide such fight and there are valid techniques of jihad which exist and have proven to be effective. In fact, as a military tactic, suicide bombing may, in the short term look effective as it involves the loss of fewer lives than a conventional military tactic but war analysts believe it to be a failure in the long term. To win a war, a campaign must progress from guerilla warfare to a systematized operation as utilized by the Western Powers.

It may also be noted that for the fight of these Muslims subjected to oppression, to deserve to be referred to as a jihad, it must follow the rules of jihad. A majority of jurist believe that these fights do not qualify as jihad going by the definition of what the fight of jihad entails vis the justification for, the method of and rules guiding the conduct of it. To qualify as jihad the fight must be established on a solely Islamic banner established upon Islamic regulations[^31] .

Suicide bombing is a reprehensible innovation into Islam and jihad and the Prophet Muhammad SAW has said*“every reprehensible innovation is a misguidance and every misguidance is from hell”.* For those who try to justify it, they must remember:

He who inaugurates a beneficial sunna in Islam earns himself the reward of it and of all who perform it after him without diminishing their own rewards in the slightest and he who introduces a reprehensible sunna is guilty of the sin of it without diminishing their sins in the slightest[^32] .

Moreover, the Prophet has said*“leave that which you are in doubt to that which you are not in doubt”* the existence of different rulings as to the legality or otherwise of suicide bombings casts a shadow of doubt on its legality. The best course that may be taken by a Muslim should be the avoidance of it altogether.


[^1] Maryam Dikko is a lecturer with the Centre for Islamic Legal Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

[^2] Qureshi, M.M.(1971) Landmarks of Jihad, S.H.Muhammad Ashraf  p4

[^3] Malik. Al –Muwatta, Hadith no [^21]:4

[^4] Ibid. Hadith [^21]:1

[^5] Bukhari.  Sahih, Hadith no [^9]:469

[^6] Qur’an 22:39

[^7] Ibid. 9:29

[^8] Bukhari. Sahih, Hadith no. [^3]:60

[^9] Ibid. hadith no. [^4]:71

[^10] Qur’an 47:23

[^11] Arabic word for society

[^12] Qur’an 2:256

[^13] This is a strong view held by Sayyid Qutb in his book  In the Shade of the Qur’an particularly in the introduction to Suratul An’am

[^14] Qur’an 6:81

[^15] Ibid 4:90

[^16] Ibid 4:94

[^17] Bukhari. Op.cit, No.[^4]:280

[^18] Muslim, sahih, Hadith no. 4345

[^19] Mutahhari, Ayatollah.(1985). Jihad (The Holy War of Muslims and its Legitimacy in the Qur’an), Islamic Propagation Organisation, Tehran, Iran.

[^20] Abdulkadir As-Sufi. (1978), Jihad, A Groundplan, Diwan Press England

[^21] Qur’an 9”29

[^22] Oxford Law Dictionary. 6th Edition

[^23] Verse 30

[^24] [24] Though muslim scholars agree that there is no ban on performing the funeral prayer for a muslim who committed suicide. The Prophet’s refusal to do so being a form of reprimand and not creating a prohibition.

[^25] Bukhari, op.cit. Hadith no. [^2]:445

[^26] Sayed Moammed Musawi is the head of the World Islamic League

[^27] Otherwise referred to as Ahl-al sunna (followers of the traditions of the Prophet)

[^28] Such as Sheikh In Uthaymeen Khaled Ibn al Fadl

[^29] Qur’an 2:195

[^30] Ibid 2:190

[^31] This is the view held by Imam Muhammad Nasiruddeen Al- Albanee

[^32] At Tirmidhi, Hadith no 168