Jihad & Suicide Bombings

So, the 60 million dollar question is that if Islam teaches peace and is absolutely against violence and terrorism then why the heck do these individuals and organisations carry out these violent acts in the name of Islam? Is it in the name of Jihad?

You're probably thinking isn't fighting; violence and killing people all part of jihad.

Well, that's the trap that must people fall into. You see Jihad means 'struggle to the utmost' and one of the forms of jihad is to take up arms against oppressive and evil regimes that arc victimising innocent people.

This kind of Jihad has to be declared by the religious leadership or by a Muslim head of state. Karen Armstrong explains it further by stating: 'In the Koran, therefore, the only permissible war is one of self- defence. Muslims may not begin hostilities (2:190).

Warfare is always evil. but sometimes you have to fight in order to avoid this kind of persecution that Mecca inflicted on the Muslims at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (2:191; 2:217) or to preserve decent values (4:75; 22:40).

The Koran quotes the Torah. the Jewish scriptures, which permits people to retaliate eye for eye. tooth for tooth, but like the Gospels, the Koran suggests that it is meritorious to forgo revenge in a spirit of charity (5:45).

Hostilities must be brought to an end as quickly as possible and must cease the minute the enemy calls for peace (2:192-3).' (The True, Peaceful face of Islam)

So there you have it. Jihad, has got nothing to do with violence and killing people willy nilly. You see even in war, according to Islam a Muslim is still not allowed to harm or kill traders, merchants and contractors if they do not take part in actual fighting.

It is totally against Islam for a Muslim to kill non- combatants, women, minors, servants, the blind, monks, the very old. those phvsically incapable of fighting and the insane and delirious.

C'mon now, be real- if Islam is going out of its way to protect the rights of everyone even in war then how can it possibly be in favour of violence and terrorism?

Now that brings me on nicely to the issue of suicide bombing. As soon as it is mentioned it's always Muslims and Islam who are the guilty ones. So just in case you're still a bit unsure, let's see what Islam says about suicide.

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said; 'And whoever commits suicide with a piece of iron. he will be punished with the same piece of iron in the Hell fire.' (Bukhari)

'A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise on him.' (Bukhari)

'He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the hellfire and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself shall keep on stabbing himself in the hellfire.' (Bukhari)

'And if somebody commits suicide with anything in this world, he will be tortured with that very thing on the Day of Resurrection.' (Bukhari)

So its clear as daylight that suicide is totally forbidden in Islam.

Hamza Yusuf Hanson, an American Muslim scholar states: 'Suicide is haram in Islam. It's prohibited, like a mortal sin. And murder is haram. And to kill civilians is murder.' Regarding Muslims who carry out suicide attacks he quoted the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. who said; 'there are people who kill in the name of Islam and go to hell.' When he was asked why. he said: '..Because they w eren't fighting truly for the sake of God.'

Suicide Bombings in Palestine

So, Suicide is forbidden is Islam...yep. I've got that. Also. suicide bombings like the attack on September 11" are totally forbidden in Islam...yep, I'm clear on that as well mate. Everyone knows that and has no confusion over this.

So now the question is: why do many Muslims in Palestine carry out suicide bombings. Well the thing is that. every Haram act can become permissible in extreme situations such as consuming forbidden food (alcohol pork) to avoid dying from hunger if there is no permissible food available.

In the same way. it is the opinion of some Islamic scholars that suicide bombings although arc Haram. can be carried out in extreme situations where there is no other alternative to defend your self from an oppressive enemy who is militarily much superior.

They argue that if someone confiscated your land, demolished your home, built settlements to prevent you from coming back. killed your children. raped your women and blocked you from going to work, wouldn't you want to fight.

This is what is happening in Palestine and when you're up against the might of the Israel army then suicide bombs are your only form of defence. You see in the case of Palestine the Israeli Army is massacring Muslims and Christians by the use of F16's. Apache's. Tanks, laser guided missiles etc. The people of Palestine, who have no military arsenal to match one of the worlds most advanced armies, have basically done so, through the use of suicide bombings.

This strategy of war has been forced upon them by the oppressive Israeli government who is the world's only government, which has passed a mandatory death sentence for the crime of throwing stones at soldiers particularly if the offenders are children under the age of 10.

Shaykh Muhammad Sayed Tantawi. the grand Imam ofAl Azhar University, stated that: '..a clear distinction should be made between suicide attacks carried out by Palestinians against the Israeli occupation and those of September 11'.

There is a very big difference between terrorists and those who defend their land. We are in solidarity with the Palestinian people because they are right. As for terrorism, we denounce and combat it because it is a flagrant act of injustice against the human race.

Abdel-Mo'tei Bayyoumi of Al- Azhar's Islamic Research Academy stated: '..Attacks carried out by Palestinians against Israelis are acceptable because Palestinians do not possess the sophisticated weapons that Israel has.

Were it a fair fight you would not have found anyone ready tocarry out suicide bombings.' It must be stressed that these scholars who have declared suicide bombings as permissible have done so only for the specific situation of Palestine, otherwise they also consider this act as Haram.

How ever, other scholars strongly oppose suicide bombings. even those carried out in Palestine. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh was quoted as saying: "suicide operations are strictly forbidden in Islam and the one who blow s himself up in the midst of enemies is performing an act contrary to Islamic teachings.

Those who stage suicide attacks should be denied Islamic burial rites.' Well. there you have it, both sides of the argument.

So, to fly a plane into buildings, placing a bomb in planes, hotels and schools etc to kill innocent people and so on has got nothing to do with Islam. The attacks on the twin towers, the actions of Richard Reid and any kind of terrorism are totally and utterly against the basic teachings of Islam.

Fanatics and extremists, to fulfil their own misguided aims and political objectives carry these out.