A few minutes ago I received an email that made this assertion:
As gris eminence Bernard Lewis has pointed out, the terrorists loosened Islamic law interpretations fairly recently to permit suicide in the cause of jihad. Why can’t it be changed back?
Actually the idea of suicide in the cause of jihad is no innovation. It is founded upon Qur’an 9:111, which guarantees Paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah. It is a phenomenon that is actually found throughout Islamic history, and is not new. In the 18th century John Paul Jones wrote about Ottoman sailors setting their own ships on fire and ramming the ships of their enemies, although they knew this meant certain death for them.
And centuries before that, the Assassins, Hashishin, went into their missions knowing that death was virtually certain, and energized by the promise of Paradise that had been made vivid for them in an artful scenario that was used as a recruitment tool: the prospective assassin would be given hashish and then taken into a garden full of beautiful women, and told that he was enjoying a taste of Islamic Paradise. Then to return to that Paradise, he was told that he had to go out and kill his victim, and be killed in the process.