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Question: what is a Muslims view on euthanasia and assisted suicide?
Answer:

 To answer this question let us first define euthanasia.  According to MediLexicon's medical dictionary:

Euthanasia is:  "A quiet, painless death." Or "The intentional putting to death of a person with an incurable or painful disease intended as an act of mercy."
 
Active euthanasia is:
"A mode of ending life in which the intent is to cause the patient's death in a single act (also called mercy killing)." 
 
Passive euthanasia is:
"A mode of ending life in which a physician is given an option not to prescribe futile treatments for the hopelessly ill patient."
 
Now that we have clear definitions, let me state the Islamic position on this issue:
 
Islam does not allow Euthanasia in the sense of putting to death of a person  (no matter whether the individual is suffering from an incurable disease or not) whether done as an act of mercy or otherwise. 
 
Life in Islam is a divine gift, and we are not allowed to take it away except by the sanction of the Law-giver. There is no room for mercy killing whether it is done by the person himself or through the assistance of a third party: a physician or otherwise.
 
As for passive euthanasia, in the sense of withholding medicine or treatment from a terminal patient who has no hope for recovery, that is another issue. 
 
It is allowed to do so in the following instances:
 
1.  A patient may refuse a particular treatment or medicine – if he does so on his own free will. Although we are recommended to take medicine and receive treatments, a person may choose to refuse it if it is merely intended to prolong his life and does not have cure and a physician determines the treatment is futile; 
2.  A person may write a will to the effect that he should not be allowed to live on a life-support machine if there is no hope of recovery for him.
3.  Likewise, the device can be pulled by order of the family at the advice of a physician – if determined by the medical experts that there is no hope of recovery or treatment for his or her condition.

 

 

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