Euthanasia(Mercy Killing) Nik Nur Hikmah Bt Ramli Sharifah Nur Hidayah Syed Abu Bakar
Definition • From Greek word • Eu = good, nice, merciful and facilitated • Tathanos = death or killing • Linguistically = ‘merciful’ death or killing or ‘good’ or facilitated death • Modern science = facilitating the death of an incurable patient at his own pressing request presented to the treating physician.
People who are involved… • Patient in permanent vegetative state who is awake and kept alive on artificial life support (respirators, heart-lung machine and IV nutrition) • Patient in terminal ill and may not be subject to any life support machines
Types of euthanasia • Passive • Letting a person die by taking no action to maintain his/her life. • Withdrawing medical or surgical procedures and life support system. • Active • An act of commission by taking action that leads to death – fatal injection
Conditions that leads to euthanasia • Muslim medical experts have defined death in the following way • An individual is considered dead in one of the following two situations: • Complete irreversible cessation of respiratory and cardiovascular systems. • Complete irreversible cessation of the functions of the brain including the brain stem.
In case of brain death it is required to have the presence of a reliable medical specialist well experienced in the clinical diagnosis of brain and brain stem death and the various implications of such diagnosis. • The team comprises two specialists with experience in diagnosing brain death. One of the two doctors of the team should be a specialist in neurology, neurosurgery or intensive care.
If a number of medical experts determine that a patient is in a terminal condition, and there is no hope for his/her recovery and all medications have become useless, then it permissible for them, through a collective decision, to stop the medication.
Hukm of Euthanasia • Islam opposed euthanasia, regards it as an act of murder. “Do not take life, which Allah made sacred, other than in the course of justice.” ( Surah Al-Isra' 17:33) “Do not kill (or destroy) yourselves, for verily Allah has been to you most Merciful” ( Surah An-Nisa’ 4:29).
Fatwa of Prominent Muslim Scholar Sheikh Yusof Al-Qaradawi • Euthanasia is Islamically forbidden for it encompasses a positive role on the part of the physician to end the life of the patient and hasten his death via lethal injection, electric shock, a sharp weapon or any other way. This is an act of killing, and, killing is a major sin and thus forbidden in Islam, the religion of pure mercy.
As for the suspension of medical treatment via preventing the patient from his due medication which is, from a medical perspective, thought to be useless, this is permissible and sometimes it is even recommended. Thus, the physician can do this for the sake of the patient’s comfort and the relief of his family. Nothing is wrong in this, Insha’ Allah (Allah willing).
Thus, due to his fatwa, the active euthanasia is totally prohibited in Islam. • But, the passive euthanasia is permissible as long as there is no hope for the patient to recover.
The Islamic Code of Medical Ethics endorsed by the First International Conference on Islamic Medicine includes: “Mercy killing, like suicide, finds no support except in the atheistic way of thinking that believes that our life on this earth is followed by void. The claim of killing for painful, hopeless illness is also refuted, for there is no human pain that cannot be largely conquered by medication or by suitable neurosurgery...”
On pain, suffering and endurance, Islam has special consideration: “Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure” ( Surah Az-Zumar :10).
Conclusion • Active euthanasia is haram in Islam because it is likely the act of murder according to Quranic verses and fatwa of Muslim scholars. • It is permissible due to some conditions- passive euthanasia. • The patient that request for euthanasia in order to stop his burden and pain is considered as committing suicide.
When someone in pain or suffering severe disease, he must be patient and willingly accept it as well as attempted to get better treatment. Prophet Muhammad taught “When the believer is afflicted with pain, even that of a prick of a thorn or more, God forgives his sins, and his wrongdoings are discarded as a tree sheds off its leaves.”