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Muslim opinion on "Egoistic Suicide."

Mansur Bakhtiari



I've started reading up on sociology and psychology lately, and found an interesting classical work on sociology, which made me raise some questions.

Now, Emile Durkheim believed that suicide was a result of over-individualism in a society. Her proof was that in Catholic countries, suicide rates are much lower (4/100000), compared to protestant (12.6/100000). Numbers have changed over time, however the countries with highest suicide rates tend to be less religious or belong to more individualistic or less "encompassing" religions than the bottom ones. Proof? The WHO says that the top countries for suicide are Guinea and S. Korea, while the bottom one is Saudi Arabia. Islam, as we all know, is the most encompassing religion out there. Our religion covers all topics from philosophy to medicine, from parenting to studying. 

Or take Macedonia and Iran for instance. They are tied for 120th (out of 170) on the list of countries with most suicides. Macedonia is a Christian Orthodox country, with a head of the church, then high and low ranking Bishops and Priests going down, and the higher ones have authority over the lower ones, plus the general population.

In Taqlid, we have our Maraji, then high and low ranking Sheikhs, then people who have passed Muqaadimah, who can propagate Islam to the others. A chain of authority, as the Marja-e-Taqlid is more knowledgeable than the others, meaning everyone follows one source.

Though take away Taqlid. Of the 10 least suicide-prone countries, only Iraq was Shia. Oman, Jordan, Lebanon. These are all SUNNI MAJORITY. But they still have sections of Bukhari telling them the best of foods are things like Thareeb and Dates. They still are told whar is good and bad. There still is some authority coming down from one place. And while they do not have a Marja who is Alim and who we are obliged to follow, they still have their four Imams, they still have Sheikhs in Sufi communities who are followed like Maraji are, and who do plenty of interpretation.

While in S. Korea, with nobody really to judge moral standards, we have an absence of guidance, leading people down a self-destructive path. 

And take Kazakhstan (#9) and Turkmenistan (#13) as what happens when a country loses its religious values. They were both Muslim countries, now have become largely secular, and with this void in a source of guidance, they are now seeking Islam more and more, which has led to dissent and the rise of Salafism, which is unfortunate but true. And since all mosques in the country are Hanafi Sunni, no room for Dawah towards the path of Ahlulbayt (as). So suicide, salafism or self destruction. 

The United States (#50), Iceland (#35) and France (#47) are proof that "freedom" does not make lives necessarily more fulfilling. Sharia ruled countries like Iran (#120), Pakistan (#76), Afghanistan (#113), Yemen (#142), Mauritania (#150) and Iraq (#163) are all below Canada (#70), a "free country," which bears witness to this concept.

There are more indicators to a fulfilling life, but desiring to keep your life is one indicator that you aren't doing so bad. 


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Interesting concept.

one correction...Macedonia is not Catholic. It is mainly Orthodox (Macedonian Orthodox), with almost a third of its residents being Muslim.

Their head of church is not the Pope, but his Beatitude Archbishop Stefan. They are not connectional with Rome,but they do have their own hierarchy.

(As well, the Pope is elected for various reasons, but not because he is considered the most knowledgable in theology, even though he is usually very knowledgable. He consults with theologians and canon lawyers all the time.)


Edited by LeftCoastMom

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6 hours ago, LeftCoastMom said:

I think one also has to take in cultural/religious traditional attitudes towards taking one's own life. In some places it was it not particularly frowned upon even long ago.

True, in the cases of S. Korea and Japan, but Guinea, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, there is not very much suicide in their original culture. In their case it is a loss of it.

Though it reminds me from WW2 when Japanese women were killing themselves in the street to preserve their honour.

Edited by Mansur Bakhtiari

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Well, I have not read the book, obviously....so I was wondering if and how she dealt with this. As you pointed out, in some cultures doing away with yourself to save your or your family's honor was considered a good thing. That's being very connectional, not isolated or individualistic. However, it seems modern suicides in some parts of  Asia are heavily among the elderly. The families don't take care of them as much as they used to and they don't want to be a burden. In that case, I suppose you could say "egotistical " behavior would be responsible, but not on the part of the person committing suicide.

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^Well, the book is a classical work, not recent, which explains why it doesn't include things like that. I guess we have more and more reasons to end our lives now than back then. 

I am working out of a sociology textbook, where it compares classical worcs like Egoistic Suicide and The Communist Party Manifesto to more modern issues. Inshallah when I read on I will write more.

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