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PESHAWAR, Apr 5 2012 (IPS) - Suicide bombers act in the name of Islam – but clerics deny them even last rites over such killing of others and themselves that they see as un-Islamic.
Religious scholars in Pakistan say suicide bombers are likely to suffer eternal damnation rather than go to paradise because their acts, blowing themselves up and others, invite the wrath of Allah (God).
“Most suicide attackers act on the misconception that their acts receive the pleasure of Allah, but the fact is they are killing and injuring innocent Muslims,” said Maulana Muhammad Rehman, a prayer leader in a mosque in the Khyber Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
The seven agencies of the FATA, which border Afghanistan, are the breeding ground for young suicide bombers who are trained and indoctrinated by the Taliban before being sent out to blow up civilian or military targets in either country.
“According to Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him – killing one person amounts to killing the whole of humanity because there is no way to forgive killers,” Maulana Rehman, 50, told IPS.
“Pakistani Taliban regularly kidnap or lure poor teenagers into madrassas or seminaries where they are brainwashed into becoming suicide bombers, often by using videos showing Muslims under oppression in Kashmir, Iraq and Afghanistan,” Rehman said.
Rehman said he was particularly saddened by the trend in which suicide bombers have been attacking mosques and funeral ceremonies to maximise casualties.
Anwarullah, a prayer leader in Mardan, in the border province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), warns that “all those blowing themselves up and killing innocent Muslims wouldn’t find a place in paradise as promised by their trainers.
“There’s no second opinion that suicide attacks aren’t allowed in Islam. It is crystal clear that those disobeying divine commandments and opting to become suicide bombers would land in hell which hosts infidels,” he said.
Qari Jauhar Ali, a cleric in Charsadda, one of the 25 districts of the KP province, said suicide bombers are unfortunate because they cannot be given proper burial rites. “They are neither given a ritual bath nor are proper rites performed as they are lowered into their graves,” Ali told IPS.
In the Bannu district of KP, religious scholar Maulana Muhammad Shoaib says he is particularly sorry for 17-year-old Ahmad Ali, who had blown himself up in an attack in January in Peshawar, because he did not receive a proper funeral, and nobody condoled.
Religious leaders who speak up against suicide bombing are themselves singled out for attacks by the Taliban in an attempt to silence inimical interpretations of the holy scriptures.
Top scholars killed in recent years on orders from the Taliban included Mufti Sarfaraz Naeemi, Muhammad Farooq Khan and Maulana Hasan Jan. All of them were openly critical of suicide bombings.
Dr. Muhammad Shafique at the forensic science department of the Khyber Medical College told IPS that while unidentified bodies at blast sites were routinely buried for DNA identification later, the facility was denied to suicide bombers.
“We never bury the remains of suicide bombers recovered at blast sties but use them for forensic purposes,” he said.
In Shafique’s experience most people disapprove of suicide bombers and stay away from their funerals. “Suicide bombers have turned thousands of innocent people into orphans.”
Abdul Jamil, father of Abdul Shakoor who blew himself to attack a NATO convoy in Kandahar in April 2010, says he considers himself an unlucky father for not being able to perform funeral rites for his son or hold mourning for him.
“People perform funeral ceremonies even for those dying in other countries and who cannot be brought back to their native villages for burials, but I was denied this,” Jamil said.
A resident of Surkh Dheri in Charsadda, Abdul Shakoor disappeared in January 2010. Three months later, a group of Taliban informed his father that his son had been martyred in Kandahar and that he had gone to paradise.
“I couldn’t believe that the Taliban could walk into a mosque early in the morning to give me the shattering news. To my displeasure, they kept congratulating me, but I am still cursing them for what happened to my son,” he told IPS.
“Offering condolences to relatives of the deceased is an important act of kindness, but I am very unlucky that I didn’t receive a single mourner over the death of my only son,” Jamil said. “Because people disapprove of suicide attacks, nobody offered me condolences.
“Dying in this way is painful for parents who are not hopeful of seeking Allah’s mercy for their sons since they are blowing themselves up in contravention of Islamic injunctions,” he said.
Muslims regard the attending of funerals and helping with the preparation of bodies for burial as an important communal obligation.
Maulana Abdul Ghafoor of Peshawar, capital of KP, says that washing the body prior to shrouding and burial, according to instructions given by the Prophet, is obligatory.
Nonexistence of graves is another concern for survivors. Gul Rehman, a daily wager whose son, Ahmad Ali, chose to die as a suicide bomber, is certain that the dead must be given a three-day mourning and be buried in a proper grave until the day of reckoning.
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