Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Principles of Life | Al-Risala, June 1987, p. 16

General Atiqur Rahman, erstwhile Chairman of the Pakistan Federal Service Commission, came to Delhi on an official visit in February 1984. An emigrant to Pakistan, he had worked before partition dur­ing the second world war with Field Marshal Manekshaw in Burma. At a meeting with journalists, he told of how, during his stay in Burma, Manekshaw had once been badly wounded, and the pain having become unbearable, he decided to put an end to his life by shooting himself. He asked Rahman to give him a pistol for this purpose, but Rahman refused. The General added, laughing, “Had I known at that time what General Manekshaw was going to do to us during the 1971 war, I would certainly have given him my pistol!” (The Times of India, 20 February 1984).

During the Second World War, Manekshaw’s state of despair was such that he wanted to commit suicide, quite unaware of the fact that 25 years later, he was to emerge the victor in the 1971 war.

If Islam holds suicide to be unlawful, it is because committing suicide means having despaired totally of any succour from God. What is equally bad is that it also signifies a refusal of the world hereafter. If a man is convinced that he will not face extinction upon the death of the body, and that he will experience a rebirth in the world hereafter, he will never commit suicide. For one who is fully aware of the seriousness of life after life, the anguish of this life will pale into insignificance.

Besides this, there is another aspect to holding suicide unlawful – it conveys a message to man not to be forgetful of the future because of temporary hardships. The present world is one in which every man, woman and child has his or her moments of pain and grief. But these should be recognised as transient phases and borne with stoicism and courage. Just think of Manekshaw who wished to annihilate himself, little realising that his name was to be emblazoned in the pages of history as a latter-day conqueror.