To what extent is suicide bombing allowed by Islam? Is not suicide, whatever the reason maybe, prohibited in Islam? Is killing people in market places including women, children and old people through suicide permitted in Islam? If yes, then to what extent. We have recently seen such events in Kashmir and now very much in Palestine.
Individuals and groups who carry out this activity against innocent civilians, as seems to be the case in Kashmir and Palestine, are doing something which is totally prohibited. No individual or group has been given the right to take human life. Only a state has this authority. And a state too has this authority over the combatants of an enemy against which war has been openly declared. Clandestine suicidal attacks against a country with which a pact has been made amounts to a breach of law which is a severe crime in the eyes of Islam. Similarly, civilians and innocent citizens must be protected at all costs if a state has to undertake such an activity. Muslims who kill innocent civilians must know that they are violating the directives of Islam and committing a crime against humanity. The Qur'an calls the killing of an individual in this manner as tantamount to killing the whole mankind:
مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَلَقَدْ جَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ ثُمَّ إِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنْهُمْ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فِي الْأَرْضِ لَمُسْرِفُونَ
He who killed a human being without the latter being guilty of killing another or being guilty of spreading disorder in the land should be looked upon as if he had killed all mankind. (5:32)
However, in very exceptional circumstances, a Muslim soldier during war may use suicide bombing against the enemy combatants to avoid some great disaster.