(Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 we have heard our media
and government tell us repeatedly that Islam is a peaceful religion, and that
Martyrdom Operations and suicide attacks on civilians are not condoned by the
Islamic faith. However, the Qur'an and Islam's own leaders teach
otherwise. In his own words Dr. Abu Ruqaiyah
says, "Through these evidences from the Qur'an
and the Sunnah, it is clearly demonstrated that the "Islamic-bombing-assault" or
the "martyrdom attack" is Islamically legitimate as far as it is
within the framework of Islam" (speaking of the article
below). If we as Christians are to contend for our
faith and spread the message of God's saving grace through
Jesus Christ, we must understand the truth of those who
would oppose us.)
of The "Martyrdom Operations"
operation", "Jihad-bombing-assault", or what people mistakenly call
"suicidal attack" is a controversial issue nowadays: is it Islamically
legitimate or not?
The term "martyrdom operation" refers to
when the Mujahed (the one who fights for the cause of Allah) puts
explosive materials in his car or encircles himself with, sneaks into the
enemy land, then blows it up where he determines their harm, killing some
of them and is killed as well.
Martyrdom NOT Suicide
Before presenting the Islamic evidences that such
operations are Islamically legitimate, we need to emphasize that it is wrong to
call such operations a "suicide". Killing one's self aggressively or casting
one's self into destruction, all of which are forbidden in the Qur'an "and do
not cast yourself into destruction" [S2, V195].
The word " destruction" here, according to the
majority of Muslim scholars, means "investing money and giving up Al-Jihad (Holy
War)". It is narrated by al-Tirmidhee through Aslam Abi Umran, that during the
Battle of Kastantinia, a Muslim undertook to fight many of the enemies himself;
he penetrated the Roman army killing some of them and was killed. As a reaction,
some Muslims said: "he has cast himself into destruction". Abu Aiyub Al-ansari
replied: "you are misinterpreting this verse, it is about us "al-Ansar"; when
Islam was dignified by Allah and Islam had received many other supporters, some
of us said secretly away from the prophet "our money is lost, Islam is dignified
and its supporters are numerous, it is better to stay at home and invest our
money". At that time, Allah revealed to His prophet in reply "Give generously
for the cause of Allah and do not with your own hands cast yourselves into
destruction." [S2, V195]. So, destruction here means investing money and
It is out of discussion that suicide is
Islamically forbidden. It is considered as one of the greatest wrong-doings
after Al-Shirk "polytheism", for Allah says: "Do not kill yourselves. Allah
is merciful to you, but he that does that through wickedness and injustice shall
be burnt in fire. That is easy enough for Allah".
The prophet (s.a.w.) stated that the one who
commits suicide is enternally in Hell. According to Abu Huraira, the prophet
(s.a.w.) says: "The one who throws himself from a mountain and kills himself
will be eternally in Hell."
It is important to know that suicide is forbidden
because of its evil objectives; such as impatience, desperation or any other bad
and evil objects. In Jundob Bin Junada's Hadith, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "In
the past, there was a wounded man who impatiently cut his hand bleeding to
death, Allah said: 'my slave took the first step to death, he is forbidden to
enter Paradise'." So, killing one's self this way is "suicide" as it is
Islamically pointless, meaningless and intentionally suicidal.
On the other hand, the one who contributes his
life to the cause of Allah, Islam and Muslims his doing is sacrificial; he gives
his life away for Islam and Muslims, which is the highest sacrifice.
The history of Islam is full of heroic and
sacrificial events. It is narrated by Abu Dawood through one of the Prophet's
companions, he said: "we mounted an attacked on a part of Hunain, one of us
followed an unbeliever to kill him, by a mistake killed himself. The prophet
(s.a.w.) said: 'O, Muslims... your brother'. We rushed to check him, but found
him dead. The Prophet (s.a.w.) wrapped him with his own clothes and his blood on
him, then performed the prayer of the dead, the Prophet's companions asked: is
he a martyr? He said: "he is, and I am a witness". Therefore, the one who blows
up the enemies of Allah by blowing up himself as well cannot be considered a
suicide, and he is, Allah willing, a martyr.
The Qur'anic evidences that such assaults are
l Allah says: "and some people would give away
their lives to gain Allah's contentment. Allah is compassionate to his servants".
It is said that this verse of the Qur'an is about Suhaib the Roman as he
believed in Islam, in his way to Madinah to meet the prophet (s.a.w.), some
Kuraishes followed him, he got off his horse carrying his quiver and shield and
said: "you know that I am the best archer among you, by Allah, you cannot reach
me till I throw all my arrows, and then hit with my sword as much as I could and
then you can do whatever you wish." They said: "we shall not allow you to go
away as a rich. You came to our tribe a pauper. Tell us where you put your money
and we let you go", they gave him their word, so he did. When Suhaib met the
Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), this verse was revealed, so the Prophet (s.a.w.)
said: "O Abu Yahya the trade goods the highest profit, then recited the verse".
When Hisham Bin Ammer al-Ansari was killed in a
battle, some denied his doing. But Umar Bin al-Khattab, Abu Huraira and others
replied by reciting this Verse too. Ibn 'Abbas said: "They sold their lives to
Allah by fighting for Him to death".
l Allah says: "Therefore fight for the cause of
Allah. You are accountable for none but yourself." This verse is directed to
the Prophet (s.a.w.), urging him to fight for the cause of Allah even if he was
alone in this cause. It is said that, Abu Isaac once asked al-Bara'a Bin Azeb "A
man fights a thousand of enemies, then he is killed. Is he one of those whom
Allah says about: "and do not cast yourselves into destruction",
al-Bara'a said: "No, let him fight to death, Allah says to his Prophet (s.a.w.):
'Therefore fight for the cause of Allah. You are accountable for none but
Other evidences from Hadith
l It is narrated by Ibn Mas'ud that the Prophet
(s.a.w.) said: "Allah is amazed by two men... he mentioned.. And a man fights
for the cause of Allah, his companions run away, but he knew what the runaway
fighter gets and what the one who stands firm and fights gets. So he went back
and kept fighting to death. Allah says to his Angels: "O, behold my slave, he
went back to fight to death hoping to get what I have 'Paradise' and fearing
what I have 'Hell'." [Ahmad, Ibn Haiyan & Abu Da'wood]
l It is narrated by Anas Bin Malik that, the
Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and seven of the Ansar faced a large number of
Quraishes on the Battle of Uhud. He said: "the one who can fight them will be
rewarded with Paradise or will be my friend in Paradise". One of the Ansar began
to fight to death and so on till the seven were dead. The prophet (s.a.w.) said:
"Our companions were not just with us - meaning that they have got paradise and
left them alive". [Muslim]
l It is narrated by Abu Baker Bin Abi Musa, he
said: I heard Abu Huraira saying while facing the enemies: "the prophet (s.a.w.)
said: 'The doors of Heaven are opened through Jihad'. A poor man asked: 'you
heard the prophet (s.a.w.) saying that?' Abu Huraira said: 'yes'. The man went
to his companions, said: peace be upon you, broke the sheath of his sword and
fought to death". [Muslim]
l The prophet (s.a.w.) in the Battle of Badr said:
"fight to get a Heavens-Earth-width Paradise". Umair Bin al-Hamam said: 'Is it a
Heavens-Earth-width Paradise?' The prophet said: "yes". Umair said: 'Oh...
Oh...', "why you say Oh... Oh...?" The prophet (s.a.w.) asked. Umair replied:
'by Allah, it is only the wish to be of its inhabitants'. The prophet (s.a.w.)
said: 'you are'. Umair took some dates to eat, but he thought if he is going to
eat the dates it will be a long time between him and Paradise, so he threw them
away and fought to death". [Muslim]
l In Yamama's Day, when Hanifa tribe made their
castle inaccessible to the Muslims, Al-Bara'a Bin Malek asked Muslims to put him
in the leather shield and throw him to the enemy. He fought them alone and
opened the gate for his brothers.
The Ijtehad of Muslim Scholars
l AL-HANAFIYA: It is Islamically
right (Ja'eiz). Al-jassas said: "Mohammed Bin al-Hasan Al-Shaibani said: 'If a
Muslim fought a thousand of the unbelievers with the intention to gain Allah's
contentment (hurting the enemy or encouraging the other Muslims) it is right and
he will be rewarded, Allah willing. Otherwise, it will be Islamically void,
useless and pointless."
l AL-MALEKIYA: In Khalil's and
al-Dardir's "It is Islamic for a Muslim to fight many of the unbeliever alone,
if he does this for the cause of Allah". al-Dasuki said: "We can say that it is
Islamic for a Muslim to fight many unbelievers alone with two conditions;
a- He does it for the cause of Allah.
b- He is sure that he will hurt them (if not there
is unpreferability- Karahiya)."
l Al-Qurtubi said in his interpretation: Al-Kasem
Bin Mukhaimara said: 'It is allowed to fight the enemy alone if you seek
Al-Shahada (Martyrdom) and you are strong enough to do it. This is obvious in
the Qur'an 'Some people would give away their lives to gain Allah's
l Ibn Khuwaiz Mindad said: there are two
situations in which a Muslim can fight the enemy alone:
a- If he is sure that he will hurt the enemy and
b- If he is sure that he will hurt the enemy but
he will be killed.
l Ibn Taimiyyah said in his Fatawa 540/28 "Muslim
narrated in his Sahih, the story of Al-ukhdud (the furrow, which the Prophet
(s.a.w.) told to his companions) in which "a young Muslim contributed himself
for the cause of Allah". That is why the four Scholars said that, it is right
for a Muslim to fight many unbelievers alone even if he thinks he will be
l In Nayl Al Awtar, Al-Shawkani comments "when ten
Muslims under the leadership of Asem Bin Thabet were sent by the prophet
(s.a.w.) to a tribe to invite them to Islam, in the road they were surrounded by
a hundred of the unbelievers. They fought strongly, seven of them killed, one of
the three captive survivors feeling their deception, said: "by Allah I will not
guide you to Muslims and I have a wonderful examples in front of me (meaning his
killed brothers), they tried to force him guiding them, when they failed they
killed him." This Hadith proves that, it is Islamically legitimate for a Muslim
to fight the many enemy to death. On the other hand, it is permissible to accept
to be a captive.
l Ibn Al-Arabi said about that, that it is right
for four reasons:
a- Seeking for Martyrdom.
b- Hurting the enemy.
c- Encouraging Muslims.
d- Weakening the spirit of the enemy.
l In his Sunnan, Al-Baihaqi said: Al-Shafie said:
there was a fight in front of the prophet (s.a.w.), one of the Ansar fought
until he was killed by a group of the unbelievers after being told by the
prophet (s.a.w.) about the rewards of his doing.
l Al-Nawawi said about the story of Umair Bin
Hammam "it is Islamically right to fight the many unbelievers alone seeking
Martyrdom, and there is no unpreferability about that according to the majority
of Muslim Scholars".
l Al-Hafez Bin Hajr said: "It is Islamically
right, if there are Islamic and good objective behind his doing such as;
frightening and hurting the enemy, encouraging the Muslims".
Through the above evidences from the Qur'an and
the Sunnah, it is clearly demonstrated that the "Islamic-bombing-assault" or the
"martyrdom attack" is Islamically legitimate as far as it is within the
framework of Islam.
Prepared By Br. Abu Ruqaiyah, Translated by Br. Hussein El-Chamy
TO ISLAM MAIN PAGE