Life and death are from Allah Ta'ala alone. Allah says in the Noble Qur'an, And it is He who gives death and gives life'.
Allah Ta'ala has entrusted man with life and ordered him to look after himself so that he could eam the eternal life. To abuse life or destroy it is against the command of Allah Ta'ala. The Prophet (Sallallaahu,alayhi Wasallam) has announced severe warnings for committing suicide.
Therefore, if a person is afflicted with any type of personal grief, he must endure it and look for ways to remedy the grief. It is not permissible for him to commit suicide to avail himself from his/her personal grief. However, if a community is oppressed of its basic human rights, it is permissible for them to fight against the oppressors and avail themselves from such oppression. It is permissible for them to
engage in Jihaad - risking their lives in the hope of saving themselves from oppression.
The Prophet (Sallallaahu,alayhi Wasallam) has also praised a person whose army is defeated and bravely faces the enemy. It is obvious in such a situation that a person is walking directly toward the enemy - he is walking toward death. This act of his - despite him actually walking toward death - is praiseworthy according to the Prophet (Saliallaahu ,alayhi Wasallam). This is not done for personal grief and pain, but in the interest of the Muslim community.
Factually, the people of Palestine are the most oppressed people and live in constant fear by the rule of the Jewish oppressors. Due to their extreme frustration and hardships this has led them to behave likewise - to suicide bombings. This is similar to a person returning from the defeated army who bravely approaches the enemy and is killed. Although there is a difference between the two, in that, the former is killed by the enemy and the latter kills himself but the person killed by the enemy virtually killed himself by confronting his enemy in such a defenceless situation - thus allowed to be killed.
Therefore, this is an act of merit and such a person will be a Shaheed. The plot by suicide bombers should be understood in the same light. Assuming the suicide bombing is evil but this evil is opposed by a greater evil for which there is no adequate substitute, therefore, their act will be justified as lesser of the two evils in terms of Islamic Law.
Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) - Falwa Dept.