Mental Depression and Suicide

Q. It is said that suicide is forbidden in Islam and that the person who commits suicide is destined to go to hell. Suppose a person is suffering from a severe case of depression, or some other mental disease, and he or she commits suicide, will he also go to hell?

A. One thing which people often do is to say that such and such a person will definitely go to heaven or to hell. This is something over which none other than God has any control. So to suggest that such a person goes here or there in the hereafter is an affront to God, because it precipitates His judgment.
There are certain verses of the Qur’an, and statements by the Prophet ( peace be upon him), which tell us that those who perpetrate certain sins will be punished. But then it is up to God to determine what punishment fits every single case, because God judges us individually, on the basis of His perfect knowledge of our intentions and conditions.
It is true that suicide is strictly forbidden, because it is an affront to God. It is like a person saying to God: “You have given me life and I am taking it away.” The Hadith in which God is quoted as saying, of the one who commits suicide means: “My servant has precipitated My will with regard to himself. Therefore, I am forbidding him entry into heaven.” A person who commits suicide as a result of a mental disorder like depression or some other severe form of anxiety is not in full control of his senses. We cannot say how God will judge such a person, but we trust on God’s justice, because He does not deal unfairly with anyone. We pray for the person concerned, and request God to forgive him.

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