Committing Suicide to Escape Capture

First of all, it is to be stated that preserving oneself is one of the necessary objectives of Shari`ah. Therefore, committing suicide is explicitly prohibited in the Glorious Qur’an. Allah Almighty says: “Kill not one another. Lo! Allah is ever Merciful unto you.” (An-Nisa’: 29). Getting captured by the enemy is something very likely during war. A soldier is to strive hard to avoid it, in order either to defeat the enemy or fall martyr in the way of Allah. Yet a Muslim is not allowed to kill himself to avoid the enemy’s capture. Committing suicide to avoid capture is completely rejected.

The same ruling applies to ordering another to kill one. This case involves two sins: Intention to end one’s life on the part of the murdered, and murder on the part of the person who kills, because this is an act of ending the life which Allah has made sacred, save in the course of justice. Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states: A soldier must exert the best effort to defend himself, so as not to fall captive in the hands of the enemy. He must do whatever he can to escape the enemy’s grasp. He is not allowed to resort to committing suicide, as some people do, for this is completely rejected. In the same way, it is not permissible for him to ask another to kill him.

Here, the first case is an act of suicide. The other is a murder even if it is with the permission of the murdered. This is because no one has power over his soul; one is not allowed to either end his life or let others do it for him. That is to say, one’s permission does not legalize what is intrinsically prohibited. The Prophet’s hadiths prohibit any suicidal act. A man who commits suicide will be tortured in the Hell-fire in the same way as he ended his life in this world, and he will stay in Hell forever. If one commits suicide denying its illegality (despite of the Islamic ruling on it), then he gets himself out of Islam and will, thus, be tormented in the Hell-fire forever. If he does so, even though he confesses to its illegality, he will be severely tormented in the Hell-fire. What is mentioned in this concern is really likely to make people ward it off. Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Amongst the nations before you there was a man who got a wound, and growing impatient (with its pain), he took a knife and cut his hand with it and the blood did not stop till he died. Allah said, ‘My Slave hurried to bring death upon himself so I have forbidden him (to enter) Paradise.’ They also reported that a Muslim witnessed the (battle of) Khaybar, fought so violently and bravely and eventually died. When the Prophet was told about him, he said, “This (man) is from the dwellers of the Hell-fire.” The Companions of the Prophet were amazed at hearing this. Finally, they came to know that the (brave) man had got wounded, and wanting to die at once, he put the handle of his sword on the ground and its tip in between his breasts, and then threw himself upon it, committing suicide. The narration states that the Prophet commanded Bilal to get up and make an announcement that none but a believer will enter Paradise and that Allah may support the religion with an unchaste (evil) wicked man.