First of all, we would like to start by stating that Islam does not call for violence; rather it abhors all forms of violence and terrorism, whether against Muslims or non-Muslims. Islam, moreover, calls for peace, cooperation, and maintaining justice, and provides for the happiness and welfare of humanity as a whole. This fact is declared in the Qur’an when Allah says: “Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.” (An-Nahl: 90)
Islam makes it obligatory upon Muslims to stand by the oppressed regardless of their race, color, religion or affiliation and say NO to the oppressor and ask him to respond to the voice of reason and justice. Only when such efforts fail, or when the Muslims are attacked should the Muslims resort to violence.
Basically, it is impermissible for a Muslim who is fighting in the way of Allah to disclose information about the Muslim Ummah or the Muslim army, even if he is captured by the enemy. He must keep secrets of the Muslims, no matter how severely he is tortured. He must keep patient and rely on His Lord; He is the Only One to relieve His servants of distress. It is really a critical situation, and it needs great strength and firm determination. However, it may be permissible for a captive to commit suicide if he already has information which, if the enemy learned it, would allow them to kill a number of Muslims or defeat the Muslim army.
In this regard, Sheikh Faisal Mawlawi, Deputy Chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, states that: “Basically, committing suicide is haram; it is prohibited by the consensus of Muslim scholars. Allah Almighty says: “Kill not one another. Lo! Allah is ever Merciful unto you.” (An-Nisa’: 29)
Allah also says: “And that ye slay not the life which Allah hath made sacred, save in the course of justice.” (Al-An`am: 151)
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself will be in the Hell-fire falling down into it and abiding therein perpetually forever.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Actually, there is nothing specific in the books of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) concerning the issue raised here, that is, whether it is permissible for a Muslim captive to kill himself lest he would give up under torture and reveal the secrets of the war plans. This case is generally included within the “Book of Killing Oneself”. Thus, the basic ruling is that it is completely prohibited. However, it may be permissible if the captive already has information which, if the enemy learned it, would allow them to kill a number of Muslims or defeat the Muslim army.
Killing oneself in this case is a sacrificial act, as it saves the life of a large number of Muslims or even saves them from defeat. So, it is permissible for the captive here to kill himself, and this would have the same status of permitting personal harm to prevent public loss or doing the lesser evil to prevent the bigger evil (sacrificing oneself for the favor of the public).
Yet, there are some points that depend on the captive’s discretion: that is, whether he has serious information or not; the degree of urgency and importance of this information for the enemy; the captive’s capacity to bear torture. The captive must take all these points into consideration before proceeding to kill himself, and he is the only one that would carry responsibility for his decision before Allah Almighty. Hence, he is the person who can judge whether killing himself would be prohibited suicide or sacrificial act permitted for necessity.”