The Afterlife Is Not For Insurgents Firing At Women and Children


She clutched her nine-millimeter weapon as insurgents fired into the house of women and children. A team of U.S. soldiers and Special Forces operators, including a woman who I’ll call Lisa, engaged in one of the worst firefights that took place in the blue-white mountains of Afghanistan.

Trapped by intense hostile fire, U.S. forces fought off a local Afghan insurgent group named Hezb-e-Islami (HIG) or “Party of Islam.” The firing seemed to last forever as the enemy kept pounding bullets at American soldiers.

I leaned in to listen more closely as Lisa described that fateful day. She tried to stay calm, but the memory of the female suicide bomber made her voice crack.

I couldn’t get to her quick enough,” she told me.

“That’s our fault; these women [female bombers] do what they are taught. What they know is to hate us because they don’t know us.”

There can be few places so hostile as the tribal lands of Pakistan that straddle Afghanistan. Harsh 120-degree sun, while in winter the sub-zero winds pierce through the skin. The landscape is drained of all color except white and patches of beige.

Lisa’s eyes welled with tears and she folded her hands. 

She continued.

On the right side of the room, a local woman concealed by her clothing stood near a large propane tank. As insurgents continued to fire at us, an explosion hit the house.”

Lisa was blown out the front door.

The female suicide bomber killed four children and two American servicemen.

The identity and the intentions of the female attacker remain elusive, but Lisa believed that whoever she was, the Afghan woman had no choice but to strap on the bomb.

To the terrorists, she was a nobody. A nomad from Pakistan who was moving weapons for the Taliban and the HIG. She was pushed outside of her tribe when her [Afghan] husband was killed.”

Before 2010, local insurgents didn’t include or invite women into their groups—women are mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters of their tribes and families. Until men decided they needed women to do their dirty work.

The women who joined the insurgency are “soul sick,” a term Lisa used to describe females broken down by the loss of a loved one. These women have no reason to live. Although there are few statistics, it’s clear that female bombers in Afghanistan is a new trend. As it is in Iraq and Syria.

You can read more about female bombers in my forthcoming book, Love’s Martyrs: The Story of Women in Violent Extremism. Stay tuned for details.


The Path to Paradise

The female bomber in Afghanistan likely believed she was going to Paradise for killing herself and others. She made the ultimate sacrifice for the male-dominated terror group.

Paradise is the goal for terrorists because life on earth is just a dream.

The reality is that all Muslims are preparing for life after death and pray to go to Paradise. Because Muslims believe life in this world is temporary and the Afterlife is where forever begins for those who are pious, patient, persistence in prayer, and peaceful. 

But there is a stark difference between us, the moderates, and them, the fanatics, the frenzied, and the foolish. 

The path to Paradise is for believing men and women, who live an honorable life filled with good deeds and avoid evil, which includes suicide terrorism. 

In the Quran, God makes it clear that life on earth will end. It’s just a matter of time.

“Every soul will experience death, and then you will be given your recompense in full on the Day of Resurrection.

Therefore, whoever  pulled back from Hell and entered into Paradise is the victorious one.

And what is the life of this world except a deceptive enjoyment? ( 3:185)”

كُلُّ نَفۡسٍ۬ ذَآٮِٕقَةُ ٱلۡمَوۡتِ‌ۗ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوۡنَ أُجُورَڪُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ‌ۖ فَمَن زُحۡزِحَ عَنِ ٱلنَّارِ وَأُدۡخِلَ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ فَقَدۡ فَازَ‌ۗ

وَمَا ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَآ إِلَّا مَتَـٰعُ ٱلۡغُرُورِ

When I lecture on Islam, I say over and over again that violence or so-called martyrdom (read suicide) operations are forbidden in Islam. In one hadith, oral tradition, the Prophet of Islam said,

The gates of Heaven are closed to anyone who takes his/her own life.”

 Why don’t terrorists live by this hadith?

Because they believe their violent action is an easy entry into Heaven. They see no value in this world. They have no desire to live by the sacred scripture, or at least they have reinterpreted Islam for profit and political gain.

Violent extremists do not see the gifts that God has provided on earth. And they deny the basic Islamic principle of doing good for humanity. They do not accept that the path to Paradise is contingent on what Muslims accomplish while living this life.

Often, I am reminded by religious scholars that the road to Paradise is not easy.

Only the faithful, God-fearing are admitted. 



At a local mosque in Virginia, an imam told me that Quran emphasizes the importance of giving to everyone everywhere.

The beauty of Islam lies in service.  

“There are at least 93 verses out of 114 in the Quran that emphasize this point,” he said. 

And while I write this, I know that there will be those who will not believe. Extremists on both sides of the religion who do not (or will not) accept the teachings of Islam or the examples of the Prophets and his companions, all of whom have believed in the core concept of serving humankind, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity and gender.

To learn more about the concept of charity and giving in America, the Islamic Relief USA offers a brief and beautiful description.




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