Is a health care directive permitted under Islamic law?

Yes, Sharī‘a permits and recommends health care directives.

Specifically, the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) supports a health care directive. Reports say the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) told his followers not to force medicine on a sick person if he or she does not want to take it. Hadiths also report that companions and family forced medicine on the Prophet (PBUH) when he was on his deathbed. The Prophet (PBUH) complained and said he did not want any more medicine. This was reported in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhāri.

Muslim jurists conclude that when a person is suffering from a terminal illness with a poor quality of life—and if medical intervention would be futile—to prolong life artificially is unacceptable. The scholars rely on the Sharī‘a principle that a person shall not harm himself or others to justify the suspension of treatment if the treatment does not improve the quality of life.

The Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA), for example, recommends all Muslims have a health care directive so physicians know their wishes if they are incapacitated or in a coma.

Use our HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE software to prepare your own state-specific, legally binding health care directive that is Sharī‘a-compliant.

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