Permissibility of life support and Passive euthanasia.

Question:

Needed some advice, if a brother has a disease, which is a degenerative disease last few years he have been in a vegetative state and bed ridden, his organs have begun to fail and the doctors are asking if after trying all they can to revive, if they should put him on life support.

Is it’s permissible to not try to revive him or to put him on life support after doctors have already exhausted all avenues?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

The decision to put the patient on life support or to remove it is a decision of the patient’s family. They should discuss amongst themselves and decide what is best for the patient, after discussions with the doctors.

From a Sharia’s point of view, it is permissible to put a patient on life support, and recommended if there is a chance of him recovering.

On the other hand, it will be permissible not to adopt the life support or it may be removed if after advice by doctors, it does not seem like the patient is on the path of recovery and his condition is just deteriorating.

The Fuqahaa (scholars) have mentioned that Passive euthanasia, where patients may withhold or remove treatment or artificial life support is permissible if a trustworthy medical specialist advises that there is no hope of reviving the person’s consciousness, or it is confirmed the patient is brain dead.

On the other hand, Active euthanasia where patients may end their lives for example by lethal injections, using devices or drugs (medication e.g. extreme doses of morphine) is not allowed in Islam, no matter how extreme the illness or suffering may be, even if a doctor advises or even with the consent of the patient.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net