Suicide is against Islam: Al-Azhar

CAIRO — Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the most prestigious centre of religious learning in the Sunni Muslim world, said on Tuesday that Islam bans suicide for any reason. “Sharia law states that Islam categorically forbids suicide for any reason and does not accept the separation of souls from bodies as an expression of stress, anger or protest,” said Al-Azhar’s spokesman Mohammed Rifa al-Tahtawi in a statement on state news agency MENA.

“Al-Azhar cannot comment on the cases of people who had burned themselves, as these may be suffering from a mental or psychological condition that forced them to do so,” he said. “We cannot judge them. We commend them to God and pray for them.” He added that “Islam forbids suicide as a general rule.”

The self-immolation of a young Tunisian merchant in early January, the symbolic trigger of popular revolts that toppled Tunisia’s government, has already inspired nine copy cat acts across the region. A lawyer in his forties tried to end his days by setting himself on fire in front of Cairo’s government headquarters on Tuesday. In Alexandria a 25-year-old, pronounced mentally unstable by the authorities, died in a hospital from self-inflicted burns. Five men in Algeria and one in Mauritania set themselves on fire on Tuesday but failed to end their lives.


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