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Martyr operations, a means of Jihad (struggle)

No other nation than the Palestinian one has ever offered this great number of martyrs.

 Excerpts from an interview with the religious authority H.E.Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlullah

This horrific tragedy, which has been going on for over fifty-four years, has put an end to an endless number of lives, on the altar of a peerless just cause in history. A whole nationís dream of having an independent state is destroyed, together with its peopleís lives and future. So, what can this nation produce?

This phenomenon of Palestinian martyrdom operations in the last year is a phenomenon that is worthy of profound study due to the great implications given about the state of despair experienced by the Palestinian people, who have nothing to lose; consequently, they are sacrificing their children to regain their plundered homeland and to regain their national dignity in an sovereign and independent state, giving safety to those who have been made homeless all over the world.

Besides its national dimension, martyrdom has had a religious dimension brought about by the different views concerning the concept of martyrdom operations; legal or illegal. This concept is opposed by those who compare it to suicide, where as others support it and consider it a legal weapon, which may force Israel to pay for its barbaric acts against the Palestinian people.

His Eminence Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah expressed his opinion about the concept of martyrdom for the sake of oneís nation. He said: This is not a new matter. In the Second World War, the Japanese used the same method. Also, during the war of Suez Canal, a Christian pilot decided to drop his military aircraft onto the enemyís warship in 1956.

Moreover, intellectually speaking, I believe that there is no difference between the martyr in question and the soldier who joins the battle to fight, where he knows that he might be killed by the enemy, but he is obliged to do so because of some critical circumstances and because of his belief of the legitimacy of this battle. So, when a battle needs man to turn to be a weapon in order to exert pressure on the enemies and to kill them, then this will be a part of the mechanism of the battle. Every soldier who joins a battle believing in its legitimacy keeps in mind that he might get killed after turning to a bomb. The problem is in the mentality of the Westerners who fail to consider martyrdom a part of the battleís mobility. Thus there is no difference between the mentality of the soldier who uses conventional methods and the mentality of the martyr (by the martyr operation); for both of them attempt to achieve their goals they believe in.

Does this apply to the operations that target civilians?

Fadlallah: Israelis have destroyed the Palestinian security. The Palestinians donít want to kill the civilians but they want to undermine the Israeli security, so that Sharon understands that killing Palestinians will never attain security. Moreover, Palestinians are saying to Sharon, ďGet out of our land; let us live in peace to determine our destiny, and then we will not do any Jew any wrong.Ē

We want the westerners, in general, and in particular the Europeans with whom we want to live within mutual interests, and dialogue, to understand our point of view and not to adopt the Israeli viewpoint. I also invite the Europeans to listen to the Arab viewpoint concerning the situation in the Palestinian occupied territories and not to side with the Israeliís. In addition, the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon has, no intention to military support the Palestinians, but if Israel unusually escalates the situation, then it will be normal for them to interfere.

Are martyrdom operations in Palestine legally justified?

The male and female martyred Palestinians are making a new history for Arabs. Unfortunately, the Arab regimes are basing their movement on deficiency ad failure, especially after U.S.A accused many Arab states of terrorism and threatened to invade them, following the Afghani example. Consequently, Arabsí fears are clearly observed in the security, economic, and political respects.

Religious scholars and jurists, are also responsible to encounter the impending danger that surrounds the Arab and Islamic worlds. They should also stand hand in hand to make all the nation aware of what is going on, so that every individual feels that Jihad against Israel is a legitimate issue, which must be realistically employed in a way that plans are made and gaps are sought for the volunteers and fighters to penetrate, so that they support the Palestinian people and hold U.S.A responsible for the past and present consequences. Moreover, Islamic Authorities in Egypt, Iran, Iraq and other Islamic countries must utter a joint ruling that necessitates a boycott of American goods, which represents an application of sanctions against U.S.A for its absolute support for the Israeli atrocities.

It is true that Jihad is not a duty for women, but Islam has, permitted women to fight, if the requirements of a defensive war necessitate a conventional military operation or a martyrdom operation to be carried out by women. Thus, we believe those martyr women are making a new and glorious history for Arab women. We also express our denial of any reservations concerning the martyrdom operations, which have been carried out by women.

And we say that the mentioned operations are just like any other operation in the line of Jihad, because God hasnít defined the mechanism of Jihad due to the fact that all mechanism are imposed by the requirements of the battle.

What is your comment on some rulings that expressed reservations about Martyrdom operations?

Such operations are one means of Jihad against the enemy. God (s.w.t) has imposed Jihad on Muslims within certain legal conditions. So, all means that harm the enemy and help us achieve the great goal are allowed. Perhaps some people, while discussing martyrdom operations, base their discussion on the holy Aya, ďAnd cast not yourselves to perdition with your own handsĒ 2:125, and attempt to apply the concept of suicide on any similar operations. Itís true that suicide is not permissible in Islam, but what is meant by the above Aya is the individual practices concerning casting oneself to perdition is exposing oneself to death, whether one is quite sure of the inevitable harm or unsure. So, does its mean that the Moslem fighter who encounters the enemies casts himself to perdition? Of course not; otherwise, jihad in principle, will no longer be valid?

The martyrdom operations, supervised by a religious authority, who takes into account the requirements of the battle, the goals and the benefit of the Islamic cause, is one phase of jihad, because God hasnít defined specific means for Jihad, but He entitled the religious authority to lead the battle within the common rules that govern such a case. And the same evidence that implies the legitimacy of Jihad implies the legitimacy of martyrdom operations if the military conditions available lead to position results. Just as in a combat or an attack.

perhaps, the problem with some people is that they donít believe in Jihad, in principle, in this stage of Islam and they think that there are some specific conditions to be achieved, a part from the supreme interest of Islam and from the pressure to be exerted to save the nation from oppressive Zionism and Israeli barbarism. Or they believe that these operations are impermissible because they target civilians. But, we know that the Mujahideen are not targeting the civilians but the occupier in occupied Palestine. In addition, we donít consider the settlers who occupy the Zionist settlements civilians, but they are an extension of occupation and they are not less aggressive and barbaric than the Zionist soldier. At the same time that we confirm the legitimacy of these operations, we regard them among the most prominent evidence of Jihad in Allahís way, and we consider any criticism, whether intentional or not, against this type of operation represent an offence against the confrontation movement led by the Palestinian people, including all parties, against the Israeli occupation. Because his battle requires readiness for a maximal state of challenge and confrontation, knowing that the enemy is utilizing all its capabilities and techniques to suppress the Palestinians and to undermine their public and warlike movement. Thus, we have to be well prepared to confront this enemy by all means to make it the first to suffer.