Struggling through the day with a heavy heart bleeding in despair, she sadly smiled to bid farewell to her clueless mother. In her room, through sobs she wrote down the failures as the reasons for her ultimate untimely destiny. In the early hours, she drank the pesticide as the last drink of her short life before falling into the slumber of the unknown. Inspired obsessively by captivating movies that glorified the act, she decided to blow her brains, when chided by a parent for not attending to her daily activities. Even worse, a young, helpless, middle-class teenager concluded her story, as she was reluctant to comply with her whimsical fiancé’s lecherous desires.
Recently, in the UK, a British Pakistani teenager followed a similar fate owing to the intolerable, inhumane bullying he experienced at school. Earlier, a duo in Karachi ended their lives during school hours, as their parents did not support their Romeo and Juliet romance. In the ER of a hospital sat the distressed family of another, who was struggling to survive – it was the dark social and academic pressure that caused emotional upheaval, calling the teenager to resort to such extreme measures.
Islamic guidelines on suicide
Both the Quran and the Sunnah strictly condemn and admonish suicide.
Allah (swt) says: “It is He Who gives life and causes death, and to Him you all shall return.” (Yunus 10:56)
The Prophet (sa) said: “A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so God said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him.” (Bukhari)
“Whoever throws himself down from a mountain and kills himself will be in the Fire of Hell, throwing himself down therein forever and ever. Whoever takes poison and kills himself, his poison will be in his hand and he will be sipping it in the Fire of Hell forever and ever. Whoever kills himself with a piece of iron, that piece of iron will be in his hand and he will be stabbing himself in the stomach with it in the Fire of Hell forever and ever.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
“Whoever kills himself with something in this world will be punished with it on the Day of Resurrection.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Only Allah (swt) determines our exit from this world. He strictly forbids us to harm or kill anyone. Intentional murder is forbidden in Islam, with suicide falling in the same prohibition. Had Islam and the Prophet (sa) encouraged and permitted suicide, then Muslim history would be filled with such instances
Factors leading to suicide
The question then arises: how and why are suicide cases on the rise among Muslims? What factors propel a Muslim towards ending his or her life? Here are some:
Suicide is widely romanticized by the media, painting a false picture of an eventual blissful peace. The youth is mostly unaware that it is an unforgiveable, formidable sin. Adding fuel to the fire, it is glorified and promoted as a relief from the never-ending pains of life.
The internet and social media platforms have brought the world in the hands of teens on their own private digital devices. These have become crucial to their feeling of belonging, self-esteem, social acceptance, image appreciation, ability and adaptation to change and stress. Instant interactions in blogging web sites, chat rooms, social networks, forums and video sites provide negative influences that may lead to suicidal behaviour.
Teens structure their social lives, emotionally connect and define their relationships by communicating on innumerable sites. Unreal friendships and relationships lacking connectivity and loyalty of real-life situations lead to experiences of rejection or persecution.
There are even sites on suicide out there that supply the best ways and methods. Suicide chat rooms facilitate the ease of obtaining information. With rejections, cyberbullying and online harassment on the rise, these sites are frequented by depressed and despondent teenagers.
Lack of faith
Lack of Iman (faith) worsens teenage psychological, emotional and physiological state ending them in Hellfire. Allah (swt) says: “And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you.” (An-Nisa 4:29)
Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Man (the disbeliever) does not get tired of asking good (things from Allah), but if an evil touches him, then he gives up all hope and is lost in despair.” (Fussilat 41:49)
Suicide is clearly Haram – it extends our miseries, not resolves them. Parents must educate their children about the Islamic teachings on suicide, encouraging them to discuss their problems and seek professional help, if needed. Most importantly, stop making academic failures inexcusable! In fact, parents should coach kids to evaluate the reasons for their failures positively – this will be a healthy way to develop strong personalities. Also, they should reassuringly counsel their shaken confidence and tumultuous emotions for countering the overwhelming rejection and peer persecution.
Allah (swt) emphasizes: “Whoever does a good deed, it is for him own self; and whoever does evil, it is against (his own self). Then to your Lord you will be made to return.” (Al-Jathiyah 45:15)
Solution: Sabr, Taqwa, and perseverance
Through worldly trials, Allah (swt) tests our Taqwa (consciousness of God), Sabr (patience), perseverance, and trust in Him. Facing the tribulations with Sabr and belief that Allah (swt) is protecting us will deliver miraculous relief. During such difficult moments, we should recall the patience of our Prophet (sa), the courage of Sahabahs and the sacrifices of the early Muslims. Every trial purifies us for the Hereafter, grows us for the next worldly challenge, and should bring us to closer to Allah (swt) through Sabr and Salah.
Rumi, the expressive poet, aptly wrote:
“I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.”