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Resolutions of Iftaa' Board

Date Added : 28-10-2015

Resolution No.(117) by the Board of Iftaa`, Research and Islamic Studies:

“ Ruling on Removing Life Support Equipments from a Patient who has no Hope of Recovery ” 

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


Is it permissible for a medical team  not to place a cancer patient on life support equipments, 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 place a cancer patient on life support equipments, or a respirator, or dialysis machine if the treating team has confirmed and is absolutely certain that such procedures are hopeless (1). This is provided that 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 placing the patient on these devices, or administering direct renal dialysis doesn`t help in his recovery, and will not hasten or 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, 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.


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