The sanctity of human life is a basic concept in Islam

All Muslims believe that Allah (THE GOD) is the Creator and the Owner of all life. He starts human life from conception and only He will end it through natural death. The moment of death is fixed only by our Creator. There are many verses in the final holy book AL QUR'AN which emphasize these core Islamic beliefs, for example:

In the Name of GOD the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful.
  • "Do not kill yourselves, for verily Allah has been to you most merciful" (Chapter 4, verse 29)
  • "....take not life which Allah has made sacred" (Chapter 6, verse 151)
  • "...and (Allah) is the one who gave you life, then shall He ordain you to die, then shall He give you your life again, truly mankind is ungrateful" (Chapter 22, verse 66)
According to these clear Holy Scriptures: Suicide, attempted suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia are all prohibited in Islam. The lives of all are to be respected, whether they are an unborn child, a born child or a person who is old, sick or disabled. There is a clear saying of the final prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which prohibits all methods of suicide, such as taking a poison, jumping from a mountain, or by using an iron instrument. Otherwise hell is the punishment.

The European Council for Fatwa and Research has stated: "It is forbidden to end deliberately (by intention) or to hasten the death of any person."

Food and fluids, and life-saving treatment

Whether a person is sick or healthy, it is their basic human right to have their need for food and fluids fulfilled. We Muslims strongly oppose any measure to withdraw food and fluid from any patient in order to hasten death, whether conscious or not, child or adult, disabled, sick with terminal illness or frail elderly. It is also prohibited to stop any life-saving treatment in order to hasten death. Any medicine or analgesic which could hasten death is never to be used to hasten death.

So-called "living wills" are prohibited in Islam. Just one type of will is permitted, that is to deal with assets and the distribution of the inheritance. Our "living will" is to live according to the will of the Creator. No believer has the right to decide to end his/her life at any time or at any stage of an illness. We believe that we do not own our bodies, our bodies belong to the Creator, the Designer, the real Owner.

A cure for every disease.

Muslims believe that for every disease there is a cure, as stated by the Prophet. They also believe in accepting any hardship, suffering or illness and to be patient, as it takes all previous sins away (purification). However, one should try to avoid illness and one is allowed to use the best treatment or the most effective analgesic. Palliative care is recommended in Islam, and the best hospice for a Muslim is to die at home with family members around.

Natural death (that is, according to God's plan and not according to a doctor's, a judge's or the family's plan or decision) is in the patient's best interests and is the most dignified death for a Muslim believer.

Legislation for euthanasia and assisted suicide

Muslim believers strongly oppose:
  • The Mental Capacity Act (which allows the withdrawal of food, fluid and reasonable medical treatment from a person who is not in the process of dying, in order to bring about their death).
  • Any attempt to re-introduce Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill. If passed this bill would allow doctors to help patients to commit suicide.
  • Any future attempt to legalise assisted suicide or euthanasia.
For any doctor to end the life of a patient, even if requested by the patient, would be a betrayal of the medical profession. It would mean the end of the bond of trust between doctor and patient.

Life is a great gift from Allah and is to be cherished and protected at all times. Muslim doctors, nurses and patients should have this basic attitude to human life: FULL RESPECT AND FULL PROTECTION OF ANY HUMAN LIFE. All Muslim believers are PRO-LIFE!

Dr A. Majid Katme (MBBCh, DPM)
Muslim Coordinator, SPUC
Pro-life, pro-family Muslim Campaigner (UK/UN)
T: 07944 240 622 E-mail address: muslims@spuc.org.uk

Dr. A. Majid Katme is available to give talks on Islam and abortion, Islam and euthanasia, Islam and human cloning and other issues affecting the sanctity of human life.