The Theology of Suicide Bombers

Does Islam condone suicide bombings?

BY: Yonat Shimron
The News & Observer


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Like other Muslims, suicide bombers insist that those who die performing jihad are martyrs, and are entitled to everlasting life.

The Koran is very detailed about heaven. It is called the garden, a place of clean water, with rivers of milk and honey, luscious fruit, chaste women or virgins, and of course Allah, or God.


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"Allah hath promised to believers -- men and women-- gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah: That is supreme felicity," Surah 9:72.

But many Muslim clerics and scholars have criticized the theology of suicide bombers, and the practice is very controversial within Islam. In the past year alone, the supreme religious leader of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al Sheik, said he feared that using explosives in this manner is a form of suicide, and therefore condemned. And an influential Sunni cleric, Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, said bombers who detonate explosives among civilians are not fighting a true war and cannot be considered martyrs.

These voices are not often heard because the Muslim community is united in the moral righteousness of the Palestinian cause.

"Even though some oppose this type of bombing, they approve of the struggle against Israel," said Ihsan Bagby, a professor of international relations at Shaw University in Raleigh. "They are all united in ... the frustration of the Palestinians in not realizing the end of the occupation."

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