Euthanasia, abortions contravene Islam

Islam does not allow death by euthanasia or mercy killing, said UAE’s top religious preacher on Wednesday.


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Thu 29 Nov 2012, 9:47 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:30 PM

“Even if a physician knows that the patient has a one-in-a-trillion chance of survival, he should not commit the crime of killing,” said Sheikh Ahmed Al Kubaisi.

He added that the same rule applied to abortions even if it was known beforehand that the baby would be born with deformities.

Though the UAE law on medical liability does not have a specific clause on euthanasia, a religious fatwa does not allow medical professionals to carry out the death wish of the patient or their family.

“Mercy killing, as I understand, is not allowed in Islam because you are depriving a human being of life,” he said.

Islam states that the human being was created in the best form, he added.

The issues were highlighted and debated at the three-day second Annual Arab Conference on “Medical Liability - Legal Protection against Medical Malpractices.”

Experts said though the medical profession allowed doctors to remove a patient from life support if he or she was proven to be clinically dead, they could still be penalised in the UAE.

“It is a sensitive issue,” said Dr Ali Al Numairy, Vice-Chairman of the Arab Medical Union.

“There is a difference between dying a natural death (brain dead) and asking for death,” explained Dr Fawzi Omran, Director of Forensic Medicine at the Dubai Police.

He said that if life support was disconnected in the case of clinical death, it would not be called mercy killing.

“Euthanasia means to ease death and Islam is against such a practice,” he said.

Some US states and only a few countries worldwide allowed mercy killings, including Japan, Belgium and Holland.

“The UAE and Libya have criminalised and penalised euthanasia,” he said.

“While Japan supports it the most, Bangladesh is the biggest opposer.”

Citing a unique case of Saudi Arabia, Dr Omran said: “As per the law in Saudi Arabia, if a patient arrives to the hospital and is considered ‘dead’ by three doctors, he (or) she is not resuscitated.”

Experts also discussed the status of liabilities resulting from medical malpractices, the criminal, civil and legal views.

The UAE’s medical liability law that tackles all these angles is currently being updated.

“The ministry is working to amend a number of regulations according to Islamic values,” said Dr Mahmoud Fikri, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Policy Affairs at the health ministry.

Under the criminal law, doctors can be imprisoned for maximum three months and fined between Dh50,000 and Dh100,000.

Doctors agreed that a physician should fully explain the medical situation to the patient.

“If the physician does not give the proper explanation, he may be wrong,” Dubai Police Academy professor of civil law Dr Medhat Abdel’Al said.

However, Dubai Health Authority’s Dr Ahmad Sulaiman said in emergency cases, physicians should focus on saving lives.

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