‘Suicide bombings in Iraq killed 12 … Suicide attacks claimed five lives in Pakistan … Afghanistan was shattered by fresh suicide attacks that killed 46 people’. Regrettably, we are all too familiar with this news appearing in the world media on a frequent basis. The statistics also show that there has been an alarming rise in the total number of suicide attacks carried out.
Political suicide attacks in the Middle East initially emerged in the 1980s, during the Lebanese Civil War, when Hezbollah began to use suicide attacks against its targets. From then on until the early 21st Century, some 200 suicide attacks were carried out in different parts of the world. Yet, it was only in the 2000s when these attacks began to grab the headlines with an ever-increasing frequency as the number of total attacks over the past three decades reached 3,500. Only in 2013, 291 suicide attacks were carried out in eighteen countries, claiming the lives of 3,100 people, marking a dramatic increase of 25% compared to previous year (with 230 attacks).
Most of these attacks were staged in Muslim countries. The Middle East, with Iraq coming in at the top of the list, saw too many suicide attacks to count over the last ten years. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, Somalia, Mali and Nigeria are among the Muslim countries that are frequently hit by suicide attacks.
What drives the increase in the attacks? The political instability in these countries is an important factor. Despite the common assumption that suicide bombings target occupying powers, only 32 percent of the attacks were actually carried out in countries where a foreign army is present. 68% of the bombings target the own citizens of the country; in other words, innocent civilians are overwhelmingly the victims in these attacks. In countries like Iraq and Syria, the attacks are usually prompted by sectarian and ethnic differences, while in Egypt they are usually carried out due to conflicts between nationalist secular forces and Islamic groups. The suicide attacks usually target the most crowded areas like restaurants, markets, mosques, mass transportation vehicles; in other words, places where civilians can easily be found and women, children and the elderly, are specific targets in these attacks. But surprisingly, when the perpetrators are asked to explain the reasoning behind their actions, because of their deficient educational background and unawareness of true Qur'anic moral values, which in truth embody forgiveness, peace and love, they claim to be doing these atrocities in the name of Islam.
Sometimes people with wrong ideas about Islam mistakenly imply that Islam allows for suicide attacks, when in truth, Islam aims for absolute peace all around the world for everyone regardless of ethnic background, religion or location. Just like how killing a person is prohibited in the Qur'an, killing oneself is also explicitly prohibited in Islam. God says in the 29th verse of Surat an-Nisa’: "And do not kill yourselves", clearly prohibiting suicide. No matter the reason or rationalization, it is illegal according to Islam for a person to kill himself.
Committing suicide by launching a suicide attack and ending the lives of other people is most certainly against the morality of Islam. Therefore, it is impossible for a person who truly believes in God and follows the Qur'an to perform such an act. It is an outrageous offense that can be perpetrated only by those who have a very wrong idea of religion, unaware of the real morality of the Qur'an, and have no reservation in abandoning reason and conscience. These people are usually brainwashed into acting with hatred and vengeance. It is essential that everyone takes a firm stance against such acts.
Suicide bombers on the other hand tend to claim that their actions are based on the Qur'an and they have even managed to convince themselves that they are serving Islam when in truth, with their actions, they flagrantly violate the principles of the Qur'an and inflict massive damage not only on themselves, their people and societies, but Islam itself.
God tells us in the Qur'an that all Muslims should work to ensure the reign of goodness in the world and end oppression and evil. However, the way shown in the Qu'ran to achieve that is not ‘through fighting’: On the contrary, God encourages responding to evil with goodness, adhering to the principles of love, compassion, understanding and patience and encouraging others to do the same. Muslims are supposed to engage in an ‘intellectual effort’ to make the whole world a place of serenity, peace and understanding for all, and urge all of humanity to have such an approach. In other words, Muslims’ only actions will be ‘making an intellectual effort to spread their ideas’; it must not be done by shedding blood, coercion or bombing buses, cinemas and pizza parlors. Indeed, Muslims that know about true Qur'anic moral values are fully aware of this fact and that is the only manner in which they go about spreading the morality and message of the Qur'an in the world. They use all the gifts of technology to spread the beauty of Qur'anic moral values, with books, magazines, movies, conferences and other similar avenues.
There is absolutely no room for hatred, anger or terrorism in the morality of the Qur'an and unleashing terror on another human being, guilty or not, can most certainly never be justified in Islam. Those who stage such acts and claim that they do so in the name of Islam are indeed ignorant people with radical tendencies and either follow superstitions and interpretations that have no basis in the Qur'an.
God describes such people in the Qur'an as blood-thirsty people who attempt to associate hostility, oppression, lack of love, brutality, cruelty and lack of compassion with the Qur'an and try to fool people using the name of God:
“Among them is a group who distort the Book with their tongues so that you think it is from the Book when it is not from the Book. They say, ‘It is from God,’ but it is not from God. They tell a lie against God and they know it.” (Surah Al ‘Imran, 78)
In the 208th verse of Surat al-Baqara, our Lord explains us how we should choose peace:
“You who have faith! enter Islam totally. Do not follow in the footsteps of satan. He is an outright enemy to you.” The word ‘Islam’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘slm’ which has meanings such as peace, entering peace, surrendering, obedience, keeping to the right path, being content with the fate created by God and brotherhood.
Surely, as a religion whose very name that means peace, love and brotherhood, the religion itself is the foremost defender of these concepts. Indeed, the entirety of Quran is based on peace and love. God says:
“Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way. Your Lord knows best who is misguided from His way. And He knows best who are guided.” (Surat an-Nahl, 125)
As explained in this verse, it is incumbent upon Muslims to invite everyone to the safe and understanding atmosphere of religion. God advises us in the Qur'an to ‘Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching’, therefore Muslims should always adopt a ‘beautiful preaching’ in their efforts to serve Islam.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Al Quds: