Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta



We have reviewed request no. 2689 for the year 2004, which includes a question concerning the ruling for euthanasia in Islam, meaning: when a patient asks their doctor to terminate their life because of excruciating pain or disability; or when a doctor decides that it is better for the patient to die than to live disabled or in pain.



God, Exalted is He, is the most merciful with His servants. He is even more merciful to someone than their own mother, father, and everyone else. God says, "And your God is one God, there is no God but Him, the most merciful" (Quran 2:163), and in another verse, "And my mercy encompasses everything" (Quran 7:156). The verses in the Noble Quran which revolve around this meaning are numerous, and the Prophetic accounts mention this concept with vibrant clarity.

The body that God gives an individual is not a personal possession, which one is free to dispose of as he wishes. Rather, it is a trust for which he will be held accountable by the Creator, glory to Him, on the Day of Judgment.

In the Quran, God says, "and let not your own hands throw you into destruction" (2:195). A patient who asks his physician to end his life in one way or another is considered to be committing suicide (may God protect us!). In their collections of authentic hadiths, Imam al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim related through Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Whoever hurls himself off a mountain and kills himself will be [repeatedly] hurled into the flames of Hellfire, where he will abide eternally. Whoever drinks poison and kills himself, will be in the Hellfire eternally; his poison will be in his hand and he will drink from it. Whoever kills himself with an iron blade, the blade will be in his hands and he will stab himself in the stomach in Hellfire eternally."

Al-Bukhari and Muslim also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "A man from those who came before you suffered from a sore. When it caused him intense pain, he pulled an arrow from his quiver and lanced it. The blood did not stop flowing until he died. Your Lord said: I have made Paradise forbidden for him."

As for a physician terminating the life of a patient for a reason he personally deems justifiable: it is – may God protect us! – the unlawful taking of human life. Our Lord, all praise to Him says, "Should anyone kill a believer intentionally, his requital shall be hell, to remain in it [forever]; God shall be wrathful at him and curse him and He shall prepare for him a great punishment" (Quran 4:93).

Based on this, and in reference to the question: euthanasia in its two forms described in the question is not permissible. It is considered an enormity [kabirah], as attested in a mass of Prophetic reports. It is incumbent upon physicians to know that it is not allowed to obey others (wishes or orders) in a matter that is disobedient to God. Whenever a patient asks this of them, they must not accede, nor are they to kill another person without right.

And God the Almighty knows best.

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