The recent hike in suicide cases in various parts of the world has once again forced researchers to study the underlying causes of this scourge that is becoming a terrible reality for many countries. They are trying to assess the intensity of the psychological trauma that forces an individual to end his/her own life.
Last year, the figures were indeed very worrying. More than 25,000 people committed suicide in Japan. That was of course not as high as the figures from the North and South Koreas, but it still increased concerns over how such a large number of people are being led to take such extreme steps.
At almost the same time when an elderly man committed suicide in a train in Japan, the suicides of a 15-year-old boy left alone at home with his three sisters by drinking pesticide in China reveals the gravity of the situation.
Suicide levels are also worrying in the US and Europe, albeit not as high as in the Far East. For example, the annual number of cases of suicides among young people in the US is double that of the number of people who died in the attack on the World Trade Center. Reports that 22 US military veterans commit suicide in a day came as a huge shock. Members of the military represent a large part of the 173,969 adults who committed suicide in 23 states over a period of 11 months in the US. Suicide is the third most common cause of death among people aged 15-24 in Canada. In Europe, countries such as Lithuania and Hungary have the highest levels of suicide, and the increase in the figures every year shows that the problem is becoming an ever more serious one. After the economic crisis in Greece, the number of suicides has increased by 35 percent in the last two years. The results for the world as a whole are even more terrifying, according to the latest report of the World Health Organization. Someone commits suicide somewhere in the world every 40 seconds, it says.
In countries with no religious past, such as Japan, the elderly being increasingly abandoned by the young has led elderly people to feel useless and believe that they can make a better contribution by dying by means of their insurance policies. Suicides are common in atheistic countries where it is not regarded as a sin and where there is no concept of life after death. That same irreligious way of thinking has also led young people to regard their parents as a burden. That horrifying perspective is also reflected in young people’s own lives. Japanese officials have observed an ever-increasing tendency to commit suicide among young Japanese, who live with no social lives and deprived of concepts such as loyalty and friendship in apartments like tiny boxes, in close contact with technology but generally in an unhappy state.
The picture is not really any different in Europe. Abandoned elderly people and young people who derive no pleasure from human relations and who are both asocial and unhappy are again encouraged to kill themselves.
Countries are adopting various measures in the face of this terrifying picture. Japan is seeking to prevent suicides by 2017 under a nine-point plan known as the “White Paper on Suicide.” These measures include establishment of help-lines and installation of screens with deterrent messages in places where suicides are common. People with problems in Europe and America, however, are usually referred to psychiatrists to change their attitudes. It is hoped that these measures will reduce the numbers of suicides, but the fact is that they are increasing still further.
Suicide generally indicates that a person feels purposeless, loveless, unhappy and despairing. Although psychological counseling or help-lines can help a person abandon that action after a time, they cannot provide the hope and joy of living that people need. Therefore, someone who decides not to commit suicide today may still try again in the face of the slightest depression.
The only way of giving people the hope and purpose they need is by showing them that they are not finite entities. The human soul is eternal, and this world is merely a temporary abode for that soul. The eternal life for which an eternal soul longs must be devoid of troubles and difficulties and be a place of happiness where all its desires are met.
Allah promises just such a life in paradise. However, if a person does not believe in the hereafter, if he regards himself as a transitory entity in this world, if he has no hope for the future and is unhappy because of other people’s lovelessness, if he doubts the existence of Allah and fails to see that suicide is murder and a sin, then it is inevitable that he will suffer severe psychological problems. It is not surprising that someone in such a state of breakdown will be reluctant to protect the elderly and choose to live in a little box far from any social activity. What countries wracked by the scourge of suicide therefore need to do is, instead of trying to deter people with help-lines or posters, to show them the existence of Allah, the Lord of everything and every place, Who loves, watches and protects us all at all times. They must tell people that the Creator, the Lord of the entire universe, is closer to them than their own jugular veins. It must not be forgotten that religious devotion is the only thing that can bestow happiness and well-being on a country. Societies that seek a solution other than in religious devotion can never escape the terrible consequences of social scourges, no matter what technical measures they seek to adopt.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Arab News & Pakistan Observer: