My Suicide Letter…

And do not kill yourselves. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful. (4:29)

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Recently, I came across an article which made my hair stand and gave me goosebumps, as I live just next door: http://www.blogpreston.co.uk/2016/02/preston-has-highest-suicide-rate-in-the-uk/

A horrifying statistic about Preston has emerged in new figures about suicide. Preston has the highest suicide rate in the UK compared to other towns and cities. There are nearly 19 suicides each year in the city per 100,000 people. The figures, which come from the Office of National Statistics, are based on the period from 2012-2014. It also shows the suicide rate in Preston has been rising sharply in the last few years.

The highest level of suicide in UK towns and cities
Preston – 18.6
Middlesborough – 17.6
Hastings – 17.4
Blackpool – 17
Warwick – 16.6

A few points we all need to consider, as we all go through hardship, pain and suffering:

“Allah burdens not a soul more than its scope.” (2:286)

Allah only gives you what you can handle, in simple terms. If you cannot deal with it Allah will not give it to you. Because as Muslims we believe Allah is al-Hakeem (The Wise), al-Aleem (All-Knowing). Allah knows the past and the future.

So why do we feel we can’t cope anymore?

There are numerous reasons to this, first being our sins weigh us down. Excessive sinning leads one to become despondent. Secondly, we have become ungrateful. Instead of counting our blessings, we as humans tend to count our problems more.

“And He giveth you of all that you ask for. But if you count the favours of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.” (14:34)

Suicide is increasing in Britain and in Muslims, but it is a major sin in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated that the one who commits suicide will be punished with something like that with which he killed himself.

Why do people commit suicide?

They have had enough of life or they have no hope left that they can carry on. Sometimes Muslims lose hope in Allah SWT and in their religion. They pray, they fast, give charity but Allah’s help doesn’t seem to come or is delayed. This happens to every single one of us in life, some more than others. But is suicide the solution? More importantly, is it permissible to end our own life?

At some point or another we all think about suicide, we all have bad days and ‘very’ bad days. Problems and difficulties are temporary but remember suicide is not temporary. Do you want to commit suicide to end your life or end the problems you have?

Suicide is not the solution AT ALL. A person must remain positive at all times, life is not perfect. Allah did not promise us a perfect life, otherwise this world would be Jannah.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The world is a prison for the believer and Paradise for the disbeliever.” (Tirmidhi)

Life is short and temporary, so are the problems and trials and calamities we face in life. Whether you are currently in a state of bliss or depression, “this time will pass.” Nothing lasts forever, not your happiness nor your sadness. This world does not even last forever, it will surely end.

If you think that nobody cares, or is there for you, then you have a loving Lord. Allah SWT loves you.

In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has one hundred parts of mercy, of which He sent down one between the jinn, mankind, the animals and the insects, by means of which they are compassionate and merciful to one another, and by means of which wild animals are kind to their offspring. And Allah has kept back ninety-nine parts of mercy with which to be merciful to His slaves of the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim, al-Tawbah, 6908)

It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her breast. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.’”  (Agreed upon)

So do not despair in the mercy of Allah, rather turn to him and remember Him. Obey Him and His help will come. If we knew the wisdom behind Allah’s orders and decisions for us, our hearts would burst out of love for Him SWT. We have to understand and accept Allah always does what is best for us.

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (2:216)

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever throws himself down from a mountain and kills himself will be in the Fire of Hell, throwing himself down therein forever and ever. Whoever takes poison and kills himself, his poison will be in his hand and he will be sipping it in the Fire of Hell forever and ever. Whoever kills himself with a piece of iron, that piece of iron will be in his hand and he will be stabbing himself in the stomach with it in the Fire of Hell, forever and ever.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5442; Muslim, 109.

It was narrated from Thaabit ibn al-Dahhaak (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever kills himself with something in this world will be punished with it on the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5700; Muslim, 110.

From these Hadith it is apparent that suicide is not permissible in Islam – it is Haram.

Suicide is not kufr that puts a person beyond the pale of Islam as some people think, rather it is a major sin that is subject to the will of Allah on the Day of Resurrection: if He wills, He will forgive it, and if He wills He will punish for it. So do not neglect to make du’aa for them and be sincere in doing so; perhaps that may be the means of Allah forgiving them.

It was narrated that Jundub ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Among those who came before you there was a man who was wounded and he panicked, so he took a knife and cut his hand with it, and the blood did not stop flowing until he died. Allah said: ‘My slave hastened to bring about his demise; I have forbidden Paradise to him.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 3276; Muslim, 113.

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A FEW MORE FACTS:

Myth: People who are suicidal want to die.

Fact: The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have. The distinction may seem small but is in fact very important and is why talking through other options at the right time is so vital.

Myth: Talking about suicide is a bad idea as it may give someone the idea to try it. 

Fact: Suicide can be a taboo topic in society. Often, people feeling suicidal don’t want to worry or burden anyone with how they feel and so they don’t discuss it. By asking directly about suicide you give them permission to tell you how they feel. People who have felt suicidal will often say what a huge relief it is to be able to talk about what their experiencing. Once someone starts talking they’ve got a better chance of discovering other options to suicide.

Myth: If a person is serious about killing themselves then there is nothing you can do.

Fact: Often, feeling actively suicidal is temporary, even if someone has been feeling low, anxious or struggling to cope for a long period of time. This is why getting the right kind of support at the right time is so important.

Myth: You have to be mentally ill to think about suicide.

Fact: Most people have thought of suicide from time to time and not all people who die by suicide have mental health problems at the time of death. However, many people who kill themselves do suffer from their mental health, typically to a serious degree. Sometimes it’s known about before the person’s death and sometimes not.

Myth: People who talk about suicide aren’t serious and won’t go through with it.

Fact: People who kill themselves have often told someone that they do not feel life is worth living or that they have no future. Some may have actually said they want to die. While it’s possible that someone might talk about suicide as a way of getting the attention they need, it’s vitally important to take anybody who talks about feeling suicidal seriously.

“The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have.”

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Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (one who is in dire need of Allah’s Forgiveness, Mercy and Pleasure).

 

Key facts (2017)

  • In 2017 there were 6,213 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • Of these, 5,821 suicides were registered in the UK and 392 occurred in the Republic of Ireland.
  • In the UK, men are three times as likely to take their own lives than women.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, men are four times more likely to take their own lives than women.
  • In the UK, the highest suicide rate was for men aged 45-49.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, the highest suicide rate was for men aged 25–34 (with an almost identical rate for men aged 45–54).
  • In Northern Ireland, suicide rates for both men and women are higher than other UK nations – however, rates are not necessarily directly comparable.

Key trends (2017)

  • In the UK, there has been a significant decrease in male suicide. The male suicide rate is the lowest in over 30 years.
  • In Scotland, the overall suicide rate decreased between 2016 and 2017 – this appears to be driven by a decrease in the female suicide rate.
  • In Scotland, suicide in young men increased for the third consecutive year in 2017.
  • In Northern Ireland, the suicide rate has remained relatively stable between 2016 and 2017. There was an increase in the male suicide rate and a decrease in the female rate.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, suicide has continued to fall in both men and women.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, rates have fluctuated more than in the UK in recent years, but they are currently at their lowest since 1989.

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Bullying in Islam

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In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

Bullying in Islam

Bullying is against Islam as it entails injustice being done towards an individual by another.  Those that engage in bullying actually have a weak nature and want to compensate for that weakness by trying to be ‘superior’ to others that they deem inferior to themselves.

Bullying is a form of oppression. Islam explicitly forbids all forms of oppression and injustice.  Sayiduna Jabir Bin Abdullah (Radiallahu Anhu( narrates that the Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam) said “Be on your guard against oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Resurrection.”   (Sahih Muslim)

In a Hadith Qudsi, Allah (SWA) has said: ‘I shall take revenge on the oppressor in this life and the next.  I shall take revenge on someone who saw a person being oppressed and was able to help him but did not help him.’   (Tabraani)

If you are being bullied, especially at school, you should not remain silent but instead inform those who have authority.

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

Islam Says NO to Bullyinghttp://muslimmatters.org/2012/02/24/bullying-islam-everything-in-between/

Noora runs into the house and slams the door behind her.  She bounds up the stairs and her mother hears her bedroom door slam.  She audibly sighs sadly thinking to herself, “She had another bad day at school.  I wish she would talk to me about it.”  Noora curls up on her bed and cries quietly wondering what she did to deserve what she goes through at school everyday.  Sometimes she even finds herself wishing she could just get a physical “beat down” rather than suffer through the daily emotional torment of being teased, ostracized and singled out for abuse.  She feels as though her mother won’t understand what she’s going through and she also doesn’t want to disappoint her by confessing that she just doesn’t know how to handle the bullies.  She feels hopeless and she doesn’t know to whom to turn so she cries quietly in her room, and each day holds in more and more of the torment she faces.

Bullying was once viewed as a necessary rite of passage of childhood, something children simply must endure.  However, bullying is not simply something children will mature out of; rather, bullying can result in serious harm and long-term consequences.  Bullying can take different forms, including[1]:

  • Physical bullying: includes hitting, punching, kicking and other types of physical harm, as well as destruction of a child’s property.
  • Verbal bullying: includes teasing, name-calling, taunting and racial slurs, as well as spreading gossip or malicious rumors.
  • Cyberbullying: includes harassing emails, instant messages and text messages, as well as intimidating or threatening websites, blogs or posts.

Parents often feel completely powerless as they witness their child’s tears day-after-day, as much a part of the afterschool routine as homework.  Bullying has reached a new peak in our society and with tragedies such as the shooting at Columbine, bullying has received a great deal more attention than it used to. With the advent of technology, bullying no longer occurs exclusively within the walls of schools.  Rather, social media has provided another opportunity to bullies who seek to demean others.  Home is no longer a safe haven for victims of bullying; a Facebook status can hurt just as much, if not more, than hearing the typed words spoken aloud.

The Victims of Bullying

Being the victim of bullying can evoke a great deal of shame in children and teens (and in adults as well, since bullying is not an epidemic that exclusively targets children).  Therefore, your child may not confide in you and may go through great pains to hide the fact that s/he is being bullied.  The signs may not be as visible as a black eye; although children are often physically intimidated, bullying can be also be targeted in a way that leaves psychological and emotional bruises.  Some things to keep a lookout for, which may signal that your child is being bullied includes (but is not limited to): damage to personal belongings, unexplained injuries, a decline in academic performance, physical complaints (i.e. stomach aches, headaches, tiredness, etc.), reluctance when going to school or riding the bus, few friends, or a noticeable change in sleeping or eating habits.

There are certain qualities that may make some children more susceptible to bullying.  These include the following characteristics: cautious, sensitive, quiet, withdrawn, shy, anxious, insecure, low self-esteem, unhappy, lack of a close friend, relate better to adults than peers, physically weaker than peers.  Bullying is a cycle, so these characteristics can be just as much a consequence as a partial cause of being victimized.  There is also another subset of people within this bullying cycle who are characterized as bully/victims, who are both bullies and victims of bullying simultaneously.  Bully/victims tend to experience a greater variety of symptomology including both internalized (anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts) and externalized (hyperactivity, rule-breaking) issues[2].

The Bullies

Although the focus of prevention and interventions are often on victims of bullying, it is important to provide support to bullies as well.  As the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,  “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is oppressed.” The Prophet was asked: “It is right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” He replied: “By preventing him from oppressing others.” (Ṣahīh Bukhāri, Volume 3, Ḥadīth 624)

From this ḥadīth, we learn the importance of helping those who are oppressed but, even more profoundly, the need to assist oppressors by stopping them from committing this infringement on the rights of others.  Bullies are often misconstrued as people who simply take pleasure in the pain of others.  However, research has found that some are quite complex and somewhat of a mystery.  Many research studies have found that bullies are more likely to exhibit behavioral issues including aggressiveness, hyperactivity, attention deficits and conduct problems.  However, contrary to what is normally considered of bullies, one research study found that they suffer from depression, anxiety, psychosomatic disorders, and eating disorders to the same extent as those who were victimized by their bullying[3].  Some things that may signal that your child is bullying others include: being aggressive with others, gets sent to detention often, has unexplained new belongings or extra money, quickly blames others, refuses to accept responsibility for actions, and has a need to win or be the best at everything.

Verbal, Emotional & Psychological (Nonphysical) Bullying

Interactions between individuals, from an Islamic point of view, are governed by the fundamental right of sanctity of life, honor, and property.  Therefore, anything that compromises these rights should be stopped.  In Sūrat’l- ujurāt (49:10-12), Allah says, Verily, the believers are brothers…

  •   let not some people mock others, for they may be better than themselves,
  • nor (let) women (mock) women who may be better than themselves.
  • And do not slander yourselves, nor revile by (offensive) nicknames
  • O you who believe, avoid (indulging in) much suspicion; truly, some suspicion is a sin.
  • And do not spy or backbite one another; would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor that.
  • And be conscious of Allah; indeed, Allah is Relenting, Merciful.” 

These verses emphasize the non-physical face of bullying.  Verbal and emotional bullying can have even greater and longer-lasting negative effects on the victims than physical bullying.  Many of us may have grown up asserting the maxim, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” however, we soon realize that sometimes words can hurt more than anything else.

According to Rachel Simmons’s Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls[4], this type of bullying is particularly common among girls and often goes unnoticed by non-participants (such as teachers and parents).  Due to the expectation of girls to be sweet, nice and caring, direct aggression is deemed unacceptable in them.  However, girls are just as likely as boys to experience anger, a natural human emotion, so they engage one another in nonphysical, alternative forms of aggression.  This includes:

  •  Relational aggression: acts that harm others through damage (or the threat of damage) to relationships or feelings of acceptance, friendship, or group inclusion.
    •  This is seen through behaviors such as ignoring someone to punish them, excluding someone socially for revenge, using negative body language or facial expressions, sabotaging someone’s relationships, etc.
  • Indirect aggression: the bully avoids confrontation using covert behaviors.  In this way, it may seem as though there was no intent to hurt anyone and others may be used as vehicles to cause pain to the targeted person.
    •  This is seen in the spreading of rumors, backbiting, “accidentally” knocking over someone’s books, etc.
  • Social aggression: intent to damage the self-esteem or social status of a targeted individual.
    • This can include rumor spreading, backbiting, and social exclusion.

Rather than using physical intimidation as a weapon, relationships are used for leverage.  What could be worse than the threat of loneliness and social isolation as you wander friendlessly through the halls of school?  Hearing lies spread about you to cause you to lose your friends and fall into a downward spiral of lowering self-esteem?  One of the issues inherent in these forms of alternative aggressions is the fact that they can easily be committed under the radar of others.  Teachers are often caught unaware when their students speak with them about this type of bullying and don’t know how to deal with it since it is not easily spotted.  When engaging in covert aggression, the bullies often seem like the type of people who would never mistreat someone; it’s the perfect disguise for accomplishing as much damage as possible while ensuring their actions are undetectable to others.

Girls in this type of situation often have nowhere to turn; they may feel too ashamed to speak to their parents or teachers about the torment they’re enduring because they may feel as though they have failed at a fundamental rite of passage – making friends.  There is also a great deal of uncertainty regarding these alternative aggressions; girls may question, “Did she just bump into me on purpose?;” “Did she roll her eyes at something I said?;” “Is that note she’s passing about me?” It’s easy to know when someone gives you a black eye, but if you’re uncertain whether others are shutting you out or teasing you behind your back, it becomes much more difficult to discuss it with others.  By the same token, many girls withstand emotional abuse from their close friends in order to maintain the inclusion as a part of a group; they fear that the creation of any conflict (including voicing their concerns) will cause them to lose a relationship.  Due to this, anger continues to simmer and issues pile up and are rarely addressed.

Practical Tips & Possible Solutions

It is incredibly important to arm our children, our students, and ourselves with the proper methods of coping with bullying.  This is not simply a rite of passage that children must endure. Furthermore, the issues brought about by bullying can quickly, and dangerously, spiral out of control.  In the next segment, practical tips and possible solutions will be offered to promote healthy relationships.


[1] Mayo Clinic Staff (2010, August 24). Bullying: Help Your Child Handle a School Bully. Children’s Issues.  Retrieved January 19, 2012, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bullying/MH00126

[2] Olweus, D. (1999). Sweden. In P. K. Smith, Y. Morita, J. Junger-Tas, D. Olweus, R. Cata- lano, & P. Slee (Eds.), The nature of school bullying: A cross national perspective (pp. 7–27). London: Routledge.

[3] Kaltiala-Heino, R., Rimpelä, M., Rantanen, P., & Rimpelä, A. (2000). Bullying at school. An indicator of adolescents at risk for mental disorders. Journal of Adolescence, 23, 661–674.

[4] Simmons, Rachel (2002).  Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls.  San Diego, CA: Hartcourt Trade Publishing.

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