Memorandum from Islamic Concern (MIB 969)
1. I would like on behalf of the 1.6 million British Muslims,
including 30,000 Muslim doctors and health professionals,
to present to you our clear united view against any intentional
ending of the life of any patient, whatever means or way,
direct or indirect, active or passive, by commission or
omission; but especially by depriving patients of their
basic human rights to food, fluid and life-saving treatment.
2. We British Muslims would like in particular to submit
to you our strong opposition to the government's draft
Mental Incapacity Bill.
3. All Muslims in Britain, Europe and all over the world
believe that life is sacred and that only God, the Creator
of all, is the
Owner and Author of life. Only God Almighty will decide
about the end of the life of each one of us. No doctor,
judge, court, MP, Lord or relative can give any legitimate
ruling to end the life of any patient nor any innocent
human being by any means or way.
4. All patients and the disabled, the
old and the chronically sick are equal in the eyes of
God and their life is sacred. For Muslim patients the
best death is to die naturally without taking any step
to end one's life. A patient who ends his/her life "has
played God", "challenged God".
5. This is why all types of euthanasia
(whether direct or indirect, active or passive), suicide
and assisted suicide are prohibited by all the Holy Scriptures.
6. For example, God (Allah) said in the final
holy book Al Qur'an: In the name of God, the Most Compassionate,
the Most Merciful: - "God/Allah takes the souls at
the time of their death, and those that died during their
sleep . . ." (chapter 39, verse 42). - "And
(God) is the one who gave you life, then shall he ordain
you to die, then shall he give you life again, truly mankind
is ungrateful . . ." (chapter 22, verse 66). - "Do
not kill yourselves, for verily Allah has been to you
most merciful." (chapter 4,verse 29). - ". .
. take not life which God/ Allah has made sacred"
(chapter 6, verse 151).
7. It is also inhumane to take any step
of action or omission intentionally to end the life of
any patient. The provision of food and fluid is a basic
human right and need for the sick and the healthy, for
men and animals alike. No one has the right to stop it
or withdraw it from any creature (with the intention of
causing or hastening death) but we should provide it to
all until the moment of natural death, as fixed by God
Almighty. Otherwise one is killing the patient directly
(euthanasia) and causing his/her death by starvation and
8. Food and fluid are not to be considered
medical treatment. It is ridiculous that healthy people
who are having daily food and fluid could be considered
to be having medical treatment.
9. Likewise, to omit a life-saving treatment
is unethical, inhumane and against good medical practice.
10. It is in the best interests of patients
to be given all possible means to protect their lives;
care, love and counselling;
family and social support; treatment for any sub-clinical
depression; the best analgesic care; and to be allowed
to die naturally, as God wanted according to his time,
and not as the doctor, relative or court may have wanted.
11. The making of an advance decision
with a suicidal intent should be illegal. Such a "living
will" would be more ccurately described as a "death
will". Even if the law would allow for suicidal advance
decisions, they should be rejected and certainly not regarded
as legally binding.
12. Any court or "lasting power
of attorney" should protect the life of every patient
(mentally incapacitated or not) and prohibit any means
or procedure which will end the life of any patient (direct
or indirect, by commission or omission), especially food,
fluid, or any life-saving treatment.
13. Many mentally incapacitated patients do not give their
consent to withdraw or withhold food and fluid from them.
14. Patients with or without mentally incapacity have
equal rights and equal obligations. Any mentally incapacitated
patient should have the same protection for his/her life
like any other patient, so that no exploitation of the
vulnerable can occur. August 2003
Memorandum from the Islamic Medical Association UK (MIB
4 I am writing to you to express my deep concern and objection
to the new Mental Incapacity Bill in context of the potential
of withdrawal of food, fluids and necessary treatment
to terminally ill/mentally incapacitated patients.
Islam like other monotheistic faiths upholds the sanctity
and sacredness of life, so much so that an analogy of
any individual terminating an individual's life is given
in the Quran (chapter 5: verse 32); it is likened to the
"slaying of the whole of mankind and on the contrary
anyone saving a life, it is as if he has saved the life
of all of mankind".
We have a responsibility and a duty to protect the most
vulnerable in society as healthcare professionals and
to place a clear and defining line between treating and
harming our patients. One area where this can truly be
exemplified is in the last hours, days or months of any
terminally ill/mentally-incapacitated individual. Why
deny their basic human rights; to the simplicities in
life such as food and drink, when they are at their most
vulnerable, possibly unaware or unconscious.
Many individuals cite "to die with dignity"
is a basic human right and I would agree, to die with
dignity means as medical healthcare professionals to provide
necessary nutrients, fluids, medicines, analgesia and
counselling/company to make an individual comfortable
during their remaining years.
The introduction of any legislation allowing the withdrawal
of food/fluid from any patient or to neglect life saving
treatment is euthanasia by omission and a crime against
the sanctity of life. The potential for abuse of this
type of legislation by all members of society for personal,
social or political gain is too of grave concern. This
has only been recently emphasised-by the "Shipman"
enquiry where advantage of the more vulnerable groups
of society lead sadly to numerous deaths over five decades.
Hence, I urge you on behalf of the members of the Islamic
Medical Association (IIMA) to reject the introduction
of the Mental Incapacity Bill and return basic human rights
to all in society at a time where each and every one of
us will be at our most vulnerable. August 2003