Forgiveness for Suicide in Islam

by Kate Bradley
The Quran can offer guidance and comfort if you're considering suicide.

The Quran can offer guidance and comfort if you're considering suicide.

Islam strictly prohibits the taking of life, including one's own life. Both the Quran and the Hadith are very clear on this. Although Allah is repeatedly described in both texts as all-forgiving and merciful, if you commit suicide you cannot ask forgiveness afterward. This strongly suggests you would be refused entry into paradise. Despite Islam's clear prohibition of suicide; however, opinions differ on how Allah views suicide and attendant circumstances.

Hadithic and Quranic Prohibitions

Allah makes man; therefore, to commit suicide is willfully destroying one of Allah's creations. This is reprehensible according to Islam. The Hadith says of those who commit suicide: "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 for him." In the Quran, Allah says plainly, "Do not kill yourselves." The Quran also forbids suicide because of the grave sin of unbelief inherent in the taking of one's own life. Not to believe in Allah's mercy and grace is unforgivable and thus the offender is deserving of hell.

Assisting or Causing Suicide

Islam deals harshly with those who assist others in committing suicide or whose actions cause someone to commit suicide. Such individuals are not blameless even though they did not actually pull the trigger, so to speak. Islamic tradition says that when one goes to meet Allah and stand in judgment, if even his words caused a suicide, he is responsible for that death. Allah views those who cooperate with or support a suicide as culpable in a murder.

Prayers and Intercession by the Prophet

Islamic teachings hold that it is possible for a Muslim to receive forgiveness for sins after death via the prayers of the living. If friends and family of someone dead by suicide constantly appeal to Allah, the offender may receive forgiveness and be allowed to leave hell and enter paradise. The Prophet Muhammad may also intercede for the offender, provided the offender was a believer when he died. The Prophet is quoted as saying, "My intercession is for those who committed major sins from among my followers.”

Other Considerations

Muslim scholars and laypersons disagree on whether and to what extent Allah considers "extenuating" circumstances surrounding a suicide. For example, one view holds that if a Muslim takes an action he knows will certainly kill him -- but does not actually kill himself -- it is not considered suicide and can be forgiven. Suicide bombings as part of Islamic jihad fall into this category. Another view is that suicide is forgivable when used as a very last resort against the unjust or oppressive.

About the Author

Kate Bradley began writing professionally in 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and a minor in German from Berry College in Rome, Ga; TEFL/TESOL certification from ITC International in Prague; and a Master of Arts in integrated global communication from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.

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