Islam and Euthanasia

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Islam has definite views on euthanasia, and this essay will bring to the fore all of the main beliefs relevant to the issue of euthanasia/assisted suicide. Islam spells things out quite plainly, with enough similes to clarify every point in the system of beliefs.

The sanctity of human life is a basic value as decreed by God even before the times of Moses, Jesus and Mohammad. Commenting on the killing of Abel by his brother Caine (the two sons of Adam), God says in the Qur'an: "On that account We ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone slay a person -unless it be for murder or spreading mischief in the land- it would be as if he slew the whole people. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people" (Qur'an 5:32). The Qur'an also says: "Take not life which Allah made sacred otherwise than in the course of justice" (Qur'an 6:151 and 17:33). The Shari'a went into great detail in defining the conditions where taking life is permissible whether in war or in peace (as an item of the criminal law), with rigorous prerequisites and precautions to minimize that event.

There is no right to suicide in Islam at any time during life. Since we did not create ourselves we do not own our bodies. We are entrusted with them for care, nurture and safe-keeping. God is the owner and giver of life and His rights in giving and in taking are not to be violated. Attempting to kill oneself is a crime in Islam as well as a grave sin. The Qur'an says: "Do not kill (or destroy) yourselves, for verily Allah has been to you most Merciful" (Qur'an 4:29). To warn against suicide prophet Mohammad said: "Whoever kills himself with an iron instrument will be carrying it forever in hell. Whoever takes ...

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...nt from illness is mandatory in Islam, according to two sayings of the prophet: "Seek treatment, subjects of God, for to every illness God has made a cure", and "Your body has a right on you." But when the treatment holds no promise it ceases to be mandatory. This applies both to surgical and/or pharmaceutical measures, and, according to a majority of scholars, to artificial animation equipment. Ordinary life needs which are the right of every living person and which are not categorized as "treatment" are regarded differently.

These include food and drink and ordinary nursing care, and they are not to be withheld as long as the patient lives.


The Islamic Code of Medical Ethics 1981 p.67

Islamic Organization of Medical Sciences, Kuwait, 1981, p.65

The Noble Qur'an
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