Saudi Sheikh: One Who Kills Himself and Others in Order to Win the Virgins of Paradise Is Not a Martyr but a Suicide; Only the Truly Virtuous Will Gain Paradise
No. 3728 - April 1, 2011
In an article in the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, Sheikh 'Adel Al-Kalbani, a former Imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, condemns preachers who exploit the despair and frustration of young Muslims by filling their heads with stories about the Virgins of Paradise in order to lure them into jihad. Al-Kalbani emphasizes that putting on an explosive belt and exploding oneself among others is not an act of martyrdom, but rather an act of suicide, which will certainly not be rewarded with Paradise. He also stresses that there are many other ways to gain Paradise apart from sacrificing one's life, such as by leading a pious life and honoring one's parents.
The following are excerpts from the article:
When the Heart of a Young Man Fills with Yearning for the Virgins, It Is Easy for Him to Don an Explosive Belt
"Sometimes, young people [see] the scarf or the pretty legs of a young woman and go [completely] mad. They think only of her and believe they cannot live without her... And if they find no other way to meet [a young woman], they hasten their own death, because clamorous preachers and imams have convinced them that martyrdom is the bride-price [they must pay for the Virgins of Paradise], and that death is the only option... [Why] wait when the only thing separating you from the pleasure [of the Virgins] is death? Moreover, [these preachers tell them:] if you are martyred, the pain of death will be no more than a pinprick, and then you will immediately find yourselves in the arms [of the Virgins].
"When the heart [of the young man] fills with yearning, and the desperate reality of his life overwhelms him, it is very easy for him to put an explosive belt around his waist, and even to shove the dynamite up his ass, as long as the goal is a lofty one, the prize is a Virgin [of Paradise], and the price is so low. The poor wretch does not realize that the price he is offering for his [heavenly] bride – namely his life, which he is ending by exploding a bomb and killing himself and others around him – will not necessarily be accepted, because those who marry the Virgins of Paradise must meet certain conditions. The first of these is that [the candidate] did not end his life in order to escape from a state of fatal despair... According to Islam, that is suicide.
"Lest anyone get on a high horse and accuse me of ignoring what is said in the Koran and the Sunna regarding the 'fair ones with wide, lovely eyes, like hidden pearls' [Koran 56:22-23], I hereby declare that I am well aware [of this verse], and that I yearn for [these virgins] myself and hope to attain them at all times. But I wish to point out that one who is crazy [with lust for them] has failed to read [some of the other Koranic] verses, for example... 'But [only] the sincere servants of Allah [will attain Paradise. Koran 37:40]'... [One who ignores these verses] does not know the qualities of [these sincere servants of Allah] and does not behave like them."
Some of the Worst Human Devils are Those Who Pretend to Preach Religion, but in Effect are Only Turning Our Youth into Cannon-Fodder
"One of the basic facts that [such a person] ignores is the true [purpose] of his existence: He was created to worship [Allah], to [establish] the Caliphate, and to spread the message [of Islam]... not in order to become a victim of a moment of despair, or in order to spill his blood for the sake of inventors of theories. [These theorists] pursue earthly goals they [can] attain only by spilling his blood and the blood of others like him whom they deceive, causing them to marry the darkness of death, imprisonment, and disobedience to their parents, or to [live their lives] in constant flight, hiding in caves and on mountaintops.
"Some of the worst human devils are those who pretend to engage in da'wa and jihad and to promote religion, and [thereby] control the minds of our youth – [but] not in order to provide them with knowledge, fill them with passion for our noble [Muslim] nation and its da'wa, or make them vehicles of culture and progress who can rival [our enemies] in technology and innovation. [Instead, their goal is] to send them to the front line of the war, to become cannon fodder..."
One Must Live for Allah Before One Can Die for Him
"Reducing the pleasures of Paradise to [the privilege of] attaining the Virgins is a grave mistake. The point to be emphasized is that one must win Allah's favor, and one must focus [on the fact that] one will have the privilege of seeing the face of God in Paradise. This [loftiest] estate can be attained only through great effort and patience, through charity and grace, and through [true] da'wa, jihad, and learning. In other words, one must live for Allah before one can die for Him.
"It is not the case that only those who die for the sake of Allah attain the Virgins. If this were so, only few would be granted this privilege. [But the fact is that] not one or two deeds, but many deeds, confer [the reward of] the Virgins, for it is said: 'Verily for the righteous there will be a fulfillment of desires, gardens enclosed, and grapevines, and voluptuous women of equal age' [Koran 78:31-33]. That is, one who fears Allah is also awarded the Virgins of Paradise. But one who unlawfully kills a person whom Islam forbids to kill – is he a God-fearing man?...
"[Moreover], a Muslim must worship Allah for many reasons, not only out of lust for the Virgins of Paradise. Islam is a system through which Allah meant to improve mankind, and [one cannot improve oneself] by hastening one's death in order to embrace the Virgins. Besides, they will reject a spouse filled with despair and frustration who fled [the hardships of] life...
"The admittance test for entering Paradise is not one's [willingness] to don [an explosive belt] and press the button. The greatest test is [described] in religious texts that are eternal, irrevocable, and uncontroversial... One example will suffice... [According to a hadith], a man once approached the Prophet and told him he had come from afar to join the jihad. The Prophet asked him: 'Is your mother alive'? The man answered: 'Yes'. The Prophet said: 'Stay with her, for Paradise is under her feet.' Many of those [young people] leave their parents to weep and worry about their [fate]. If they [really] want to find Paradise, it is there [beside their parents]."
 Al-Kalbani was dismissed from this post after he accused Shi'ite clerics of heresy.