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Resolutions of Iftaa' Board

Date Added : 28-10-2015

Resolution No.(117): "The Avoidance of Patient Positioning on Life Support Equipment as regards Hopless Cases"

Date: 18/9/1427 AH, corresponding to 11/10/2006 AD.


The board received the following question:


Is it permissible for a medical team not to place a cancer patient on life support equipment, or a respirator, or to carry out renal dialysis for him/her if it has confirmed with certainty that such procedures are hopeless?


Answer: All success is due to Allah


The Board is of the view that it is permissible not to position a cancer patient on life support equipment, or a respiratory system, or dialysis machine if the treating team has confirmed and is certain that such procedures are hopeless (1) This is if this decision is backed by a report of an expert medical team comprising from three specialized, honorable, and trustworthy doctors, at least.

This is because patient positioning on the above system, or administering direct renal dialysis doesn`t help in his recovery, and neither hasten nor delay his death, because death is in the Hands of Allah Alone.  Allah The Almighty Says (what means): "But never will Allah delay a soul when its time [of death] has come. And Allah is acquainted with what you do." [Al-Munafiqun/11]. 


Evidence on the permissibility of refraining from treating such hopeless cases is what happened to Umar Bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) when he was stabbed in the mosque.  A drink made from dates was brought to him (2), which he drank, but it came out of a wound in his abdomen, then milk was brought to him, which he drank, and it came out of a wound in his abdomen as well, and then the people knew that treating him was hopeless because he was considered dead, and so they gave up on him. This indicates that when a patient is in a state of clinical death, he takes the ruling of a dead person. And Allah Knows Best.


Iftaa` Board

Head of the Iftaa` Board

                  Chief Justice / Dr. Ahmed Muhammad Hilayil

             Sheikh Abd al-Kareem al-Khusaawinah    

       Dr. Yusuf Ali Ghaythan

             Sheikh Saeed Abd al-Hafiz al-Hijawi        

Dr. Wasif al-Bakri

     Dr. Yaser al-Shamali




(1) The patient himself has the right to abstain from treatment if he is content with what Allah has decreed for him (namely, death), and prefers patience to treatment, but it is not permissible for a doctor to withhold treatment from a patient under the pretext that it is useless, since life and death are in Allah's hand.

(2) Wine: is a sweetened water with some dates for the purpose of being tasteful similar to juice, but not an intoxicated wine.


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