Islam has a proposal for controlling the high rate of suicide in the west: Imam Khamenei

The following consists of nine excerpts from statements made by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution about the reasons behind the high rate of depression and suicide in the west and the proposal Islam can offer for solving them.


  • Are the Iranian youth depressed or the Western youth? Why?

Iranian youth are fortunately motivated and enthusiastic youth. This is the exact opposite of what some hostile information centers - which are mostly foreign - say. They say that Iranian youth are depressed and therefore, we should create entertaining environments for them. How are we going to do that? By organizing music concerts, sexually integrated camps and other such forms of freedom.

This is what follows their claim, but this is not the case. Contrary to what they say, today Iranian youth are among the most enthusiastic, active and lively youth in the world. If you take a look at the western world, you will see that European youth are depressed. The number of suicides is so large there. Depression exists in those places where a youth carries a gun at a safe and apparently quiet beach and kills about 80 children with a volley of bullets because of the psychological pressures that he suffers from.

This is what happened two, three years ago in a European country. Everyone was informed of it and it was reflected throughout the world. Depression is this. Depression means the effort of a European youth to become a member of DAESH. The reports that we have received show that a large number of DAESH's suicide attacks are carried out by European youth. Such youth want to commit suicide. They think that this kind of suicide is exciting and that it is better than drowning oneself in such and such a river in Europe. This is why they go there and seek excitement as a result of their depression. It is they who are depressed.

Iranian youth who on the 23rd of Ramadan held a demonstration on the streets in the heat of the summer and while they were fasting, who kept a vigil the night before because of the Nights of Qadr and who participated in Friday prayers after the demonstration and while they were sitting in the sun are miles away from depression! They are lively and enthusiastic.

Jul 11, 2015


  • The Red Cross astounded by zero rates of depression and suicide among Iranian war prisoners

According to what I have heard, a member of the Red Cross had told our former prisoners of war that when they go to POW camps in other countries, they witness desperation, self-inflicted wounds, suicide and other such things. He had asked, "How come there are no such things among you?" It was a reasonable question and the answer is clear: when one's heart is not familiar with spirituality and God, those are the results that should be expected. According to the statements by the dear people who have attended this meeting and the memories that have been published, when one's heart is familiar with God, when there is a bond between one's heart and God, when there is a sense of trust, when one does not feel that one is alone, when one witness paradise inside small torturous prison cells, there is no longer any room for depression, there is no longer any room for desperation, suicide becomes meaningless. This is one aspect of the issue and we should become more familiar with every bit of this deep and vast sea, the lives of our former prisoners of war.

Aug 15, 2012


  • Why is suicide prohibited (haram) in Islam?

Islam and other divine religions— in addition to protecting the rights and the freedom of others, indicating that a person cannot violate the rights of others on the pretext of being free— also specify that a person cannot and does not have the right to violate their own individual rights and wellbeing over the excuse that they are free. People are not allowed to use their freedom to harm themselves.
Thus, harming oneself is forbidden in Islam; suicide is prohibited. According to the Islamic thought, no one can say 'I am free, so I destroy my properties, destroy my life, or harm myself'. People are obligated to avoid threatening their own freedom, dues, and rights, just as they are obligated to avoid limiting or threatening the rights and freedom of others by their movements, actions, behaviors, and words.
This is the big difference between freedom in Islam and freedom in other schools of thoughts and human cultures. Hence, in Islam, suffering is not allowed; that is, undergoing oppression is forbidden even done by oneself. In Islam, not performing the obligatory deeds and not going through the path of perfection is haram.
In Islam, it is even haram to prevent one's talents from flourishing, even though it may not affect other people. Suicide, self-harm are forbidden. So a person cannot say I am free to restrict my own freedom, or let others control me, or undergo oppression and invasion, or not to develop my soul and heart.
An important point is that it is a personal matter if a person violates their own rights and does self-harm; that is to say, no government or system of law has the right to force, or prosecute a person about his own rights and his choice of self-harming, as long as it does not affect the society in any way. Hence, as far as a person harms only themselves, Islam forbids investigation, follow-up and revelation. Some of the acts that the sacred Sharia [law] of Islam prohibits would damage the society only when committed openly in the society. If it is not committed openly, it is still harmful, but only to the person who does it, not to others. In this case, Islam does not require us to investigate, to find out if a person commits a wrong act in private. The people are not required to investigate the wrong actions of others, as far as the wrongdoing affects only that person. However, it is a divine duty for that person and God will punish them. Safeguarding oneself and one's rights is an obligation (wajib). The Quran says to the people or the believers: "Believers, save yourselves and your families from the fire {Quran; 66:6}!". Save your life, your soul, and also your family, that is, those who are influenced by you, don't let them burn in the fire of the hell. Don't let them be punished by God. Believers, save your own souls, for if you have the right guidance, no one who strays can harm you {Quran; 5:105}." You are obliged to save your own souls.
When it is related to the society, the law, the government, the executive sections, the judicial sections, must be vigilant and punish or prohibit the committers according to the laws. But when it only harms the person themselves, the law has no responsibility. Still, the Muslim person is not free to harm themselves according to Islam. He is not allowed to destroy his rights. This is the big difference between freedom in Islam and freedom in Western culture.
January 23, 1987


  • Western societies waiting for a hand to save them from depression and mental instability

This is confirmed by those who have been in relation with the Western culture for many years, even admiring the West. They say, today the West—at sensitive levels—has a quest for Islam. What do I mean by sensitive levels? The ignorant and ordinary people, or those whose interests are strongly involved--like rulers, governors, capitalists, who stock on money, who bully others-- represent the insensitive level of the Western societies. Whereas, scientists and scholars, conscious individuals, intellectuals and young people comprise the sensitive parts of the Western societies. These sensitive parts are thirsty of a school of thought and a lifestyle that saves them from thousands of real problems in life. Many of the problems in life are not real problems. Real problems include feeling mentally insecure, loneliness, depression, instability, and lack of confidence and peace of mind.

These are real problems inflicting mankind which might make them commit suicide, even if they are at the climax of wealth and fame. Why would a young person who has all the money and luxuries they need for a comfortable life want to take their own life? What is this pain that is even worse than poverty, lack of livelihood facilities, or sexual satisfaction? The pain that has inflicted the materialistic societies of the world and western civilization today includes lack of confidence, lack of peace of mind, lack of a spiritual support point, lack of fondness among people, a feeling of loneliness, and fragility. The sensitive groups of the societies which suffer from this pain more are waiting for a hero to come and save them. In places where they are aware of it, Islam is held in esteem.
May 24, 1995




  • What leads to depression and corruption in western societies?

Today how do the youth of your age living in different parts of the world spend their precious time? What passions, what illusions and what activities do they spend their time on? Even in the most advanced countries, the dust of despair, depression and futility has settled on the lives of the youth. The goal that most of the youth pursue is to realize their insignificant material dreams. They neither feel the pleasure of helping other people nor do they spend their immense and fleeting youthful energy the way they should. Not only do many of them lack a lofty goal, but they do not have any goals whatsoever. And they spend their life immersed in material pleasures and transient and depressing carnal desires. They do not know anything about the brilliant soul that a faithful youth enjoys - a youth who loves helping other people and is aware of the source of love, beauty and truth. Even such individuals would be jealous of your youth - of course, if they have insight.

Sep 22, 2010

The existence of various psychological, practical and moral deviations, the destruction of the family, and the emergence of increasing violence, moral corruption and suicide attempts in western societies – particularly in American society – are because of this issue[lack of spirituality and divine ideals]. Some American thinkers and intellectuals acknowledge these rifts, detriments and lack of morality in an outspoken manner.”

Jan 2, 2017

We aim to attain the summits of science combined with morality, not science without ethics, as currently is the case in the West. We aim to administer justice in society, help our people attain real human progress and dignity and bring bright horizons before the eyes of our youth.

Western societies are unable to accomplish such goals. Today, young people even in those Western countries that have reached the peaks of scientific and industrial progress mostly feel hopeless and hold a pessimistic attitude toward life and their future. As a result, the suicide rate is high in those societies.

We can create an environment characterized by justice, material progress combined with moral and spiritual values, hopefulness, enthusiasm and dynamism in our country, provided that you, youngsters, act the way that is expected of your generation under the present circumstances.

Mar 14, 2005

A society is like a family. Imagine a family like that of the American nation. In terms of economy, they have a high rate of production. Their scientific achievements are good. Their factories work. They export their products to the entire world and the country's income is high. But that nation cannot truly benefit from the economic growth. Why? Because in that country, there is not security, spirituality and the youth in that country are bemused. As a result, there is a high rate of suicide and crime among the youth. When 12-13 years old, children learn to commit homicide. Families break apart. Spouses cannot count on one another. The wife cannot feel like she has a husband. The husband cannot feel like he has a wife either. There is no family there [in the real sense of the word].
There was a day when it was only us who talked about it. But today the Americans admit it themselves: their journals publish it, their intellectuals cry it out, and their politicians are furious about it, saying spirituality has gone from the American society. Why? Because faith and belief are lacking there. Yes, there is relative economic welfare. But even that economic welfare is not for everyone. The majority of the country's income goes to a particular group and the rest do not benefit from it.


  • What is the solution for saving societies from depression and suicide?

In selecting a worldview and developing an essential understanding of monotheistic concepts, one acquires a kind of insight through a monotheistic view of nature. The difference between a monotheistic view and a materialistic view is that this world is considered systematic, orderly and purposeful from a monotheistic perspective. And we are part of this nature, and our existence and life are purposeful. We did not come to this world without a purpose. This is a necessary condition for the monotheistic worldview. This is the meaning of faith in the existence of the All-Powerful and All-Knowing God. When we realize there is a purpose behind our existence, then we start to search for that purpose. This search itself is a hopeful effort. We try to find that purpose. And after we realize what the purpose is, we start making efforts in order to achieve that purpose. In this case, all our life becomes making efforts, purposeful and goal-oriented efforts.

On the other hand, we know that from a monotheistic perspective any kind of goal-oriented effort will definitely help one achieve results. There are degrees of achievement, but favorable results will undoubtedly be achieved. From this perspective, despair, disappointment and frustration will be meaningless in one's life. When you know that there is a purpose behind your existence, your creation, your life and your breathing, you go after that purpose and make efforts in order to achieve that purpose. From the viewpoint of Allah the Exalted who is the Creator of this world, even these efforts deserve rewards. You have achieved your goal as long as you make efforts, no matter where your efforts get you. This is why in a monotheistic worldview loss is unimaginable for faithful people. "Can you expect for us (any fate) other than one of two glorious things - (martyrdom or victory)?" [The Holy Quran, 9: 52] Two of the best things are awaiting us. We will either be martyred on this path, which is the best, or we will remove the enemy from our path and achieve the goal, which is also the best. Therefore, there is no loss on this path.

The materialistic view is the exact opposite of this. According to the materialistic view, there is no purpose behind the existence of man. A materialist has no idea why he came into being. Of course, he may define some goals for himself - gaining money, achieving love, obtaining a social position and attaining physical and scientific pleasures. A materialist can set himself such goals. However, none of these are natural goals of life that accompany his existence. When there is no faith in God, ethics and justice become meaningless. Nothing but pleasure and personal gains become meaningful. If a materialist faces a problem on the way to personal gains, he considers it a loss. If he fails to achieve personal gains and if he cannot continue his efforts, then he becomes disappointed and hopeless and starts to think of suicide and other irrational things. This is the difference between the monotheistic view and materialistic view, between divine knowledge and material knowledge. This is one of the most essential foundations of insight.

Oct 26, 2010


  • The world is in need of the Holy Quran 

My dear ones, you should know that today, the world needs the Holy Quran whether it accepts and acknowledges it or not. Today, the world suffers from a void of identity, ideology and faith. A faithless individual is like an empty fruit. This is the reason why you see that the rate of murder and crime is increasing in western countries on a daily basis. This is one of the reasons. When you see that the rate of suicide is increasing, this is one of the reasons.

Humanity no longer has any food to satiate the minds, hearts and souls of individuals. Of course, they fabricate certain things, but this is not accepted by the hearts of peoples. However, the Holy Quran can do so. If only one drop of the Holy Quran – not the entire Holy Quran, only one drop of it – is sent to people with a proper language, then hearts will be attracted to it. We ourselves are experiencing and witnessing this today. Today, humanity needs the Holy Quran.

The Holy Quran can do whatever it wants in today’s world. It can work and move forward. And powers, superpowers, atomic bombs, the Zionist regime and the like cannot do a thing. The important point is that we should strengthen our bases of faith and the Holy Quran on a daily basis, that we learn the language to share the Holy Quran with others and that we convey Quranic teachings. This works like a strong medicine. When you pour one drop of it in a glass and give it to a person, he takes it and it works. However, if you pour five drops instead of one, it might fail to work and he might not be able to digest it. So, the proper language should be found. However, we should satiate ourselves and our hearts and souls and we should fill ourselves with Quranic teachings first. We ourselves need this very much.

Jun 7, 2016


  • Within the Islamic Revolution there lies the remedy for the pains of humanity

The universal and international aspect of the revolution is the message of spirituality for the whole of the world. The world has drowned in materialism. The hands of those in charge of the octopus-like materialistic networks, since one or two centuries ago, have pushed the world towards materialism and drowned the nations in the swamp of materialism. Today, in its orientation and on the route world powers and governments have dictated on it, the world not only lacks any spiritual aspect, but it also heads towards materialism, depriving humans of spirituality. The reason you see that in many countries, the youth are exasperated, suicide rates skyrocket, families shatter and the youth lose everything is this lack of spirituality. Spirituality is a nutrition and the food for human souls. Is it even possible for a human to maintain a comfortable life for long without spirituality? Wherever materialistic science and civilization is stronger, such turbulences are more widespread. This is the aftermath of the sin of global powers removing spirituality from the lives of the people around the world. The message of the Islamic Revolution is a message of spirituality, attending to spirituality, and inserting the element of spirituality in individuals’ life, and observing morality and paying attention to God. Wherever the name of Imam (Khomeini) and his message penetrated the society, it carried spirituality with itself. Even if you observe Christian or non-Muslim societies which treated the Islamic Revolution favorably, learned and benefited from it, you find spirituality there. Our great Islamic Revolution has spirituality in its tracks, and this spirituality is the first message of the revolution and its spiritual leader—Imam Khomeini: a person who was a great spiritual man, a mystic, an Islamic jurist, a religious scholar, and a pious man spending his nights in prayers. Imam (Khomeini) was a man who would privately spend the nights praying to God and asking Him for forgiveness.

Next, I’d like to address the people of the world. The hegemonic media try to introduce the Islamic Republic as trespasser, aggressor and intending to destroy all other establishments in the world. However, this is not true. Everyone in the world lives the way they like. We simply offer to the world what mankind needs. Amir al-mu'minin (a.s.) said: "[The prophet] is like a travelling physician going around with his medicine, well prepared, and his instruments ready to use." We have in our possession the remedy to mankind’s’ problems today. Anyone who is not interested shall not take anything away from it. We do not have anything against them. If mankind is suffering from an identity crisis, a spirituality crisis, and from disrespecting human traditions; if a father does not have mercy for son, if children do not respect parents; if traditions are not respected; if principles are not valued, mankind is in crisis. Today, Western nations are going through this crisis; and Islam has a remedy for it. If today, the rich get richer every day, and some people and companies make billions, while on the other hand there are people who sleep on the sidewalks beside the sky-high wealth: these are the problems of the west. If, in spite of thousands of instances of advice regarding marriage, and promoting families, and the like, the foundation of family is getting weaker every day in Western countries; if girls and boys are unhappy; if even the perpetrators of the crisis are unhappy themselves; if the foundation of family is shaky and children are unhappy; if mental crisis is overwhelming; then, what is the reason for all of that? Why are there so many cases of suicide? During these last few months, or maybe last year, how many hundreds of people in the United States—who believe themselves to be at the peak of science and wealth, thinking these are the ultimate goals—have been murdered? They pretend mercy and compassion towards a missing dog or a cat by looking for it in deserts in helicopters. Are they blind? Don't they see what is happening in the cities and states of America? Someone enters a train and kills some people. Then goes to another car and kills more. And so on ... If mankind is suffering from these incurable maladies, we claim we have the remedy. The remedy is Islam. This is the renewal of the revelation (Besat) in today's world. And today you are the pioneers. The Iranian nation are the pioneers. They must act with self-confidence. Because the world needs us.


  • Awaiting the reappearance of Imam of the Time (a.s.) prevents depression and sadness

The day when the Iranian nation rose up, it was because of the hope they had found. Today the hope has been fulfilled; the uprising has borne such a great result, and the Iranian nation is hopeful about the future, moving ahead with hope and enthusiasm. It is the beacon of hope that guides the youth with motivation, dynamism, and joy, and prevents despair and depression and revives the spirit of dynamism. This is the result of awaiting the return of the last Imam (a.s.). Thus, we should all wait for the coming of the last Imam (a.s.) and the salvation that will follow his return affecting all levels of personal and social life. Do not let despair overcome your hearts. Wait for the final salvation and know that it will happen for sure, provided that your anticipation is real and sincere, entailing action, endeavour, inspiration and movement.
September 20, 2005


  • Depression
  • Islam
  • Suicide
  • Western Societies


  • 2019-06-29 02:12
    We have to remove the causation of suicide. There are many reasons and some people are enforced to do it although they don't want to die.