Suicide? Not in Islam. The following may be bad timing for the Palestinian factions preparing for battle against the Israel Defence Forces in the Gaza Strip and for revenge attacks on the Western world.
On Wednesday, top Islamic clerics at the Supreme Council of Al-Azhar University in Egypt, perhaps the most important in the Islamic world, said that the Islamic rule (Shaaria) forbids suicide, the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported.
The clerics determined that a connection was mistakenly made between suicide and a "sacrifice to defend religion and the homeland". The clerics stressed that the faith of those who commit suicide is no less than hell.
"Those who commit suicide bombings in the name of religion are not Muslims but rather people who sold their soul to the devil," Islamic clerics ruled. "They didn't understand the principle of the religion according to which there is no killing allowed, except by law."
"There is a difference between jihad and terror, between sacrificing yourself and suicide," said Dr. Mohammad Rafat Othman, a member of the Jurisprudence Research Committee of the Islamic Research Academy, Al-Azhar.
"Many don't fully understand the Islamic commandments in regards to jihad. Someone who blows himself up in the middle of a crowd is a sinner who commits several crimes, first and foremost is suicide. It is well-known that religion has a sweeping prohibition on suicide or killing of others. Taking one soul is one of the worst sins one can do, commanded specifically by God."
Dr. Othman continued: "The second crime that a man who commits suicide carries out is the killings of others, while his motives are political and not religious. There is this suicide bomber who kills himself against his ruler and at the same time kills many innocent people – that is a sin. Not to mention public and personal property damage."
Suicide justified in war
"Those who commit a suicide bombing because of political motives turn the suicide into a religious ideology using it to sacrifice souls, not of martyrs but of those who commit suicide because God promised them torment on judgment day.
"The martyr, according to Islamic rule, is a man who fights the enemy and sacrifice his life while defending his religion, his homeland, his wives' respect, and protecting his land. This is set in Islamic laws, and only if he dies this way, he is a martyr."
However, Israelis should not be happy about this strict ruling. Dr. Ottman was quick to hint that suicide against Israeli targets is allowed.
"Those using suicide bombing against the enemy, the land robbers, and the occupier of nations, are martyrs," he concluded.