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Why Do People Commit Suicide If “Allah Doesn’t Burden a Soul Beyond it Can Bear”?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Sep 11, 2019

Question

Assalam Walaikum,I shared a quote from the Quran that “Allah doesn’t burden a soul beyond it can bear” I got countered by her that then why people commit suicide. I don’t know how to respond to that. Can you please give me guidance. ZazakAllah

Consultant

Answer


Commit Suicide

Short Answer: Two people can be going through similar painful events, and one chooses to commit suicide while the other doesn’t. Research suggests that people who attempt suicide may react to events, think, and make decisions differently than those who do not attempt suicide.” (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)). So, again, this goes back to people’s individual choices and reactions to their situations – not necessarily the event itself that is unbearable. With the necessary medical help that can be available even freely, coupled with faith and support groups, people can bear and even grow through the most challenging events. There is always ease and relief eventually, the problem is when people end their lives before they allow themselves to see that.

………….

Walaykum Asalam wa Rahmat Allah,

Thank you for sharing this experience with us and sending your question.

Suicide is a big, sensitive and multifaceted topic. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people at risk of committing suicide include those who suffer from depression, mental health disorders, substance abuse disorder, medical illnesses, family violence – among several other risk factors. 

However, “even among people who have risk factors for suicide, most do not attempt suicide (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)). 

This means that it’s an individual choice.

Reaction to Painful and Traumatic Events

Two people can be going through similar painful events, and one chooses to commit suicide while the other doesn’t.

Research suggests that people who attempt suicide may react to events, think, and make decisions differently than those who do not attempt suicide.” (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)). 

So, again, this goes back to people’s individual choices and reactions to their situations – not necessarily the event itself that is unbearable. 

Imagine for example if there is an exam; many of the students pass it, but a number of the students do not. Then someone asks: why did the professor give an exam that students can’t handle? Well, the exam itself is manageable and the proof is that many of the students have passed. It’s not about the exam, it’s about the students’ own performance. The teacher will not force anyone to succeed or fail; he does give exams that are within the capacity, but some choose to succeed and some choose to give up. 

This is not to undermine anyone’s pain. Everyone’s pain is respected and validated. But this is to echo research that shows how people have the capacity to construe benefits from even the most painful situations (Affleck, G., & Tennen, H. “Construing Benefits from Adversity”).

There is abundant evidence for perceived growth following stressful/painful events. According to research, people who’re going through even the most traumatic events are able to find benefit and grow through their situations (Helgeson, Reynold & Tomich. “A Meta-Analytic Review of Benefit Finding and Growth”). 

Research shows that hope has a significant role in allowing individuals to find benefit in adversity (Tennen, H., & Affleck, G. “Finding Benefits in Adversity. Coping: The Psychology of What Works”).

Committing Suicide

The problem is that the persons committing suicide can’t see any hope in their situation. This doesn’t mean that their perception is true. When people seek medical help, counseling and take the necessary means to deal with their issues and pain, they can see the way out and the hope they need to get through their struggles; and they can even re-build themselves, grow and come out victorious from an unfortunate situation.

They just need to choose not to give up. 

Quranic Guidance

Allah Almighty reminds people not to give up and that there will always be ease with and after the hardship. 

“[…] and do not lose hope of God’s life-giving mercy: verily, none but people who deny the truth can ever lose hope of God’s life-giving mercy.” (Quran 12: 87)

And He says:

“[…] And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.” (Quran 4: 29)

And He says:

So, surely with hardship comes ease. Surely with ˹that˺ hardship comes ˹more˺ ease.” (Quran 94: 5–6)

If there was no ease and no way out, there wouldn’t have been countless counseling centers and helplines available to help people. 

You can look up the topic of benefit-finding in psychology to see the volumes of research on how individuals can find benefit through difficulty and change their situations around (Tennen, H., & Affleck, G. (2002). “Benefit-finding and benefit-reminding”. Handbook of positive psychology). 

With the necessary medical help that can be available even freely, coupled with faith and support groups, people can bear and even grow through the most challenging events. There is always ease and relief eventually, the problem is when people end their lives before they allow themselves to see that. 

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Muslim Girl Losing Faith: More Answers

What is The Entire Point of Living?

What’s the Point of this World? Why Don’t We All Have an Easy Life?

 

  

 




About Dina Mohamed Basiony

Dina Mohamed Basiony is a writer based in Cairo, Egypt. She is the Chief Editor of ProductiveMuslim.com. She specializes in Islam and spirituality. Dina holds an MA and BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the American University in Cairo.

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