Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Incapacity Bill Written Evidence

119.Memorandum from Islamic Concern (MIB 969)

  1.  I would like on behalf of the 1.6 million British Muslims, including 30,000 Muslim doctors and health professionals, to present to you our clear united view against any intentional ending of the life of any patient, whatever means or way, direct or indirect, active or passive, by commission or omission; but especially by depriving patients of their basic human rights to food, fluid and life-saving treatment.

  2.  We British Muslims would like in particular to submit to you our strong opposition to the government's draft Mental Incapacity Bill.

  3.  All Muslims in Britain, Europe and all over the world believe that life is sacred and that only God, the Creator of all, is the Owner and Author of life. Only God Almighty will decide about the end of the life of each one of us. No doctor, judge, court, MP, Lord or relative can give any legitimate ruling to end the life of any patient or any innocent human being by any means or way.

  4.  All patients and the disabled, the old and the chronically sick are equal in the eyes of God and their life is sacred. For Muslim patients the best death is to die naturally without taking any step to end one's life. A patient who ends his/her life "has played God", "challenged God".

  5.  This is why all types of euthanasia (whether direct or indirect, active or passive), suicide and assisted suicide are prohibited by all the Holy Scriptures.

  6.  For example, God (Allah) said in the final holy book Al Qur'an:

    In the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful:

    —  "God/Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that died during their sleep . . ." (chapter 39, verse 42).

    —  "And (God) is the one who gave you life, then shall he ordain you to die, then shall he give you life again, truly mankind is ungrateful . . ." (chapter 22, verse 66).

    —  "Do not kill yourselves, for verily Allah has been to you most merciful." (chapter 4,verse 29).

    —  ". . . take not life which God/ Allah has made sacred" (chapter 6, verse 151).

  7.  It is also inhumane to take any step of action or omission intentionally to end the life of any patient. The provision of food and fluid is a basic human right and need for the sick and the healthy, for men and animals alike. No one has the right to stop it or withdraw it from any creature (with the intention of causing or hastening death) but we should provide it to all until the moment of natural death, as fixed by God Almighty. Otherwise one is killing the patient directly (euthanasia) and causing his/her death by starvation and dehydration.

  8.  Food and fluid are not to be considered medical treatment. It is ridiculous that healthy people who are having daily food and fluid could be considered to be having medical treatment.

  9.  Likewise, to omit a life-saving treatment is unethical, inhumane and against good medical practice.

  10.  It is in the best interests of patients to be given all possible means to protect their lives; care, love and counselling; family and social support; treatment for any sub-clinical depression; the best analgesic care; and to be allowed to die naturally, as God wanted according to his time, and not as the doctor, relative or court may have wanted.

  11.  The making of an advance decision with a suicidal intent should be illegal. Such a "living will" would be more accurately described as a "death will". Even if the law would allow for suicidal advance decisions, they should be rejected and certainly not regarded as legally binding.

  12.  Any court or "lasting power of attorney" should protect the life of every patient (mentally incapacitated or not) and prohibit any means or procedure which will end the life of any patient (direct or indirect, by commission or omission), especially food, fluid, or any life-saving treatment.

  13.  Many mentally incapacitated patients do not give their consent to withdraw or withhold food and fluid from them.

  14.  Patients with or without mentally incapacity have equal rights and equal obligations. Any mentally incapacitated patient should have the same protection for his/her life like any other patient, so that no exploitation of the vulnerable can occur.

August 2003

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