Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (d. 2001 CE), one of the most senior scholars in the Islamic world in contemporary times had numerous verdicts on the issue of suicide bombings. We reproduce some of them here as compiled in the book “Kayfa Nu’aalij Waaqi’unaa al-Aleem” (How Do We Treat Our Painful Condition, pp.119-120). Please note that these verdicts were around the mid 1990s if not earlier.
Question: What is the ruling regarding acts of jihad by means of suicide, such as attaching explosives to a car and storming the enemy, whereby he knows without a doubt that he shall die as a result of this action?Answer: Indeed, my opinion is that he is regarded as one who has killed himself (committed suicide), and as a result he shall be punished in Hell, for that which is authenticated on the authority of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam).
“Indeed, whoever (intentionally) kills himself, then certainly he will be punished in the Fire of Hell, wherein he shall dwell forever“, [Bukhaaree (5778) and Muslim (109 and 110).
However, one who is ignorant and does not know, and assumes his action was good and pleasing to Allah (the Sublime and Exalted), then we hope Allah (the Sublime and Exalted) forgives him for that which he did out of (ignorant) ijtihaad (personal judgement), even though I do not find any excuse for him in the present day. This is because this type of suicide is well known and widespread amongst the people, so it is upon the person to ask the people of knowledge (scholars) regarding it, until the right guidance for him is differentiated from the error.
And from that which is surprising, is that these people kill themselves despite Allah having fordbidden this, as He (the Sublime and Exalted) says:
“And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you.” [Soorah an-Nisaa 4:29].
And many amongst them do not desire anything except revenge of the enemy, by whatever means, be it halal or haraam. So they only want to satisfy their thirst for revenge.
We ask Allah to bless us with foresight in His Deen and action(s) which please Him, indeed He is all Powerful over all things.
Question: What is the ruling regarding suicide in Islam?Answer: Suicide is when a person kills himself intentionally by whatever means. This is haraam and regarded as amongst the major sins, and likewise included in the general statement of Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala):
“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him” [Soorah an-Nisaa, 4:93].
And it is established from the Sunnah on the authority of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) who said:
“Indeed, whoever (intentionally) kills himself, then certainly he will be punished in the Fire of Hell, wherein he shall dwell forever” [Bukhaaree (5778) and Muslim (109 and 110)].
In reality, the one who commits suicide, generally does so because of his desperate situation, either as a direct result of an act of Allah or of a human being. So you find him unable to cope with that which has afflicted him. In actual fact he is like one who is calling for help from the scorching heat of the fire. So he has progressed from that which was tough (bad) to that which is worse. And if he was patient then Allah would have assisted him in dealing with the difficulty.