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Major Sins New Muslims

The Six Reasons People Attempt Suicide

Alex Lickerman M.D.

Though I’ve never lost a friend or family member to suicide, I have lost a patient. I have known a number of people left behind by the suicide of people close to them, however. Given how much losing my patient affected me, I’ve only been able to guess at the devastation these people have experienced. Pain mixed with guilt, anger, and regret makes for a bitter drink, the taste of which I’ve seen take many months or even years to wash out of some mouths.

The wounds suicide leaves in the lives of those left behind by it are often deep and long lasting.

The one question everyone has asked without exception, that they ache to have answered more than any other, is simply: why? Why did their friend, child, parent, spouse, or sibling take their own life? Even when a note explaining the reasons is found, lingering questions usually remain: yes, they felt enough despair to want to die, but why did they feel that? A person’s suicide often takes the people it leaves behind by surprise (only accentuating survivor’s guilt for failing to see it coming).

People who’ve survived suicide attempts have reported wanting not so much to die as to stop living, a strange dichotomy, but a valid one nevertheless. If some in-between state existed, some other alternative to death, I suspect many suicidal people would take it. For the sake of all those reading this who might have been left behind by someone’s suicide, I wanted to describe how I was trained to think about the reasons people kill themselves. They’re not as intuitive as most think.

In general, people try to kill themselves for six reasons:

1. They’re depressed.

This is, without question, the most common reason people die by suicide. Severe depression is almost always accompanied by a pervasive sense of suffering as well as the belief that escape from it is hopeless. The pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear. The state of depression warps their thinking, allowing ideas like, “Everyone would all be better off without me” to make rational sense.

They shouldn’t be blamed for falling prey to such distorted thoughts any more than a heart patient should be blamed for experiencing chest pain; it’s simply the nature of their disease. Because depression, as we all know, is almost always treatable, we should all seek to recognize its presence in our close friends and loved ones. Often, people suffer with it silently, planning suicide without anyone ever knowing. Despite making both parties uncomfortable, inquiring directly about suicidal thoughts, in my experience, almost always yields an honest response. If you suspect someone might be depressed, don’t allow your tendency to deny the possibility of suicidal ideation prevent you from asking about it.

2. They’re psychotic.

Malevolent inner voices often command self-destruction for unintelligible reasons. Psychosis is much harder to mask than depression, and is arguably even more tragic. The worldwide incidence of schizophrenia is 1 percent and often strikes otherwise healthy, high-performing individuals, whose lives, though manageable with medication, are often derailed from their original promise. Schizophrenics are just as likely to talk freely about the voices commanding them to kill themselves as not, and also, in my experience, give honest answers about thoughts of suicide when asked directly. Psychosis, too, is treatable, and usually must be treated for a schizophrenic to be able to function at all. Untreated or poorly treated psychosis almost always requires hospital admission until the voices lose their commanding power.

3. They’re impulsive.

Often related to drugs and alcohol, some people become maudlin and impulsively attempt to end their own lives. Once sobered and calmed, these people usually feel emphatically ashamed. The remorse is often genuine, but whether or not they’ll ever attempt suicide again is unpredictable. They may try it again the very next time they become drunk or high, or never again in their lifetime. Hospital admission is, therefore, not usually indicated. Substance abuse and the underlying reasons for it are generally a greater concern in these people and should be addressed as aggressively as possible.

4. They’re crying out for help, and don’t know how else to get it.

These people don’t usually want to die but do want to alert those around them that something is seriously wrong. They often don’t believe they will die, frequently choosing methods they don’t think can kill them in order to call attention to their challenges, but they are sometimes tragically misinformed. For instance, a young teenage girl suffering genuine angst because she feels lonely or has gotten into a devastating fight with her parents, may swallow a bottle of Tylenol—not realizing that in high enough doses, Tylenol causes irreversible liver damage. I’ve watched more than one teenager die a horrible death in an ICU days after such an ingestion when remorse has already cured them of their desire to die and their true goal of alerting those close to them of their distress has been achieved.

5. They have a philosophical desire to die.

The decision to die by suicide for some is based on a reasoned decision, often motivated by the presence of a painful terminal illness from which little to no hope of reprieve exists. These people aren’t depressed, psychotic, maudlin, or crying out for help. They’re trying to take control of their destiny and alleviate their own suffering, which usually can only be done in death. They often look at their choice to die by suicide as a way to shorten a dying that will happen regardless. In my personal view, if such people are evaluated by a qualified professional who can reliably exclude the other possibilities for why suicide is desired, these people should be allowed to die at their own hands.

6. They’ve made a mistake.

This is a recent, tragic phenomenon in which typically young people flirt with oxygen deprivation for the high it brings and simply go too far. The only defense against this, it seems to me, is education.

The wounds suicide leaves in the lives of those left behind by it are often deep and long lasting. The apparent senselessness of suicide often fuels the most significant pain. Thinking we all deal better with tragedy when we understand its underpinnings, I’ve offered the preceding paragraphs in hopes that anyone reading this who’s been left behind by a suicide might be able to more easily find a way to move on, to relinquish their guilt and anger, and find closure. Despite the abrupt way you may have been left, guilt and anger don’t have to be the only two emotions you’re doomed to feel about the one who left you.


Source: psychologytoday.com

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Major Sins New Muslims

Suicide and Despair in Islam

Suicide or hara kiri is part of the ancient Japanese honor code and is noted in Asian cultures. It is not something confined to Western civilization and is even found in Muslim majority countries even though it is well known that it is something clearly prohibited in Islam.

And do not kill yourselves. Surely, God is Most Merciful to you. (Quran 4:29)

The Gift of Life

In the Quran there are sanctions against suicide.

And do not kill yourselves. Surely, God is Most Merciful to you. (Quran 4:29)

And do not throw yourselves in destruction. (Quran 2:195)

The Quran makes it clear that human life is sacred. Life cannot be taken without justification and the right to life is inherent in the tenants of Islam. Life itself is a gift from the Creator that we are obliged to care for.

Suicide out of despair of God’s mercy or worldly problems is strictly forbidden. Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him, said:

Whoever kills himself with something in this world will be punished with it on the Day of Resurrection.(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

It is a major sin and its punishment is subject to the will of God. If He wills, He will forgive it, and if He wills He will punish for it.

Life is an unending succession of moments. At the two extremes there are joyful moments that make our hearts soar and dark moments that plunge us into sadness and worry or even despair.

Gladness and its opposite sadness are part of the human condition, however when we lose control over our emotions we can easily fall into despair. Despair is the feeling that we get when all hope has disappeared and it is a very dangerous situation.

Do not Despair of Allah’s Mercy

God tells us not to despair and particularly not to despair of His mercy. God has not abandoned us in face of the temptations and trials we face in this world; He is ever merciful and has equipped us with potent weapons.

God, the Most Merciful, gives us clear guidelines and promises two things, if we worship Him and follow His guidance we will be rewarded with Paradise and that after hardship we will find ease.

But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, We shall admit them to the Gardens under which rivers flow (i.e., in Paradise), to dwell therein forever. [It is] the promise of God, [which is] truth, and whose words can be truer than those of God. (Quran 4:122)

So verily, with hardship, there is ease. (Quran 94:5)

When Prophet Jacob was grieving and sad, he turned to God, and the Quran tells us that he beseeched God for relief.

He said: ‘I only complain of my grief and sorrow to God… (Quran 12:86)

Prophet Muhammad also said:

No misfortune or disease befalls a Muslim, no worry or grief or harm or distress – not even a thorn that pricks him – but God will expiate for some of his sins because of that. (Al-Bukhari)

The religion of Islam is primarily concerned with making and keeping a connection with the One God. One of the biggest mistakes that people can make is to separate their worldly life from their religious life.

The Sin of Ending One’s Life

The stressful situations that cause us to despair and feel unconnected to God always originate in the affairs of this world, such as emotional issues, financial stress, substance abuse or health issues.

Especially in this new century one of the most common reasons for despair is a sense of isolation or detachment from others.

God has promised us that He is well aware of the situations that we face and He has given us weapons with which to face them.

When it comes to despair, the condition that could in some situations lead a person to contemplate taking his or her own life, we need to dig a little deeper, we need to remind ourselves first and foremost that God is Merciful and that no matter what situation we find ourselves in He is ready to forgive and help.

God the most merciful, compassionate, and beneficent has instructed us to inculcate these attributes and treat each other with respect and fairness. This includes not leaving anyone alone with their problems and worries.

How Important Support and Care Are!

A little bit of support and care might help someone avoid the sin of ending their own life. God also tells us not to mock, scorn, insult, abuse or put down one another.

O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith.  And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers. (Quran 49:11)

Both God and Prophet Muhammad remind us that He will punish those of us who commit injustices or oppress others.

And whoever oppresses (commits injustice) among you, We will make him taste a great punishment. (Quran 25:19)

Prophet Muhammad said: A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfills the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever covers the faults of a Muslim, Allah will cover his faults on the Day of Resurrection. (Al-Bukhari)

Thus there is certainly a benefit in treating others well, especially in coming to the aid of friends or family members who are overwhelmed by life’s cruelties and injustices.

However what of the people who feel alone, crushed by circumstance and are teetering on the edge of despair.

How can a person suffering from suicidal thoughts bring themselves back from the brink?

This can be achieved in many ways; firstly by strengthening one’s relationship with God. This is achieved by reading the Quran, being mindful of Him and making lots of du’a (supplication) to God.

Next a person would do well to recognize Satan’s hand in this matter. He whispers frightening scenarios of poverty and helplessness. They are not true for God’s mercy conquers all. Cling to Him and to Islam even in the darkest hour and the longest night.

Along with the weapons mentioned earlier God also gave us Prophet Muhammad, a mercy to all the worlds, to all the people. Trying to emulate him, this will make a despairing person calmer and closer to God.

If we are mindful that God has control over all things and that He ultimately wants us to live forever in Paradise, we can begin to leave our sadness and worry behind.

If we face our fears and anxieties with complete trust in God and if we show patience and gratitude with all our circumstances, sadness and worry will disappear or at least feel lighter. Prophet Muhammad said:

Indeed amazing are the affairs of a believer! They are all for his benefit. If he is granted ease then he is thankful, and this is good for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres, and this is good for him. (Muslim)


Source: Islamreligion.com

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