All religions, and Islam in particular, are greatly concerned about the preservation, dignity, and honor of human life. Islam has made human life sacred and has safeguarded its preservation. According to its teachings, aggression against human life is the second greatest sin in the sight of Allah, second only to denial of Him. The Qur’an declares, (Whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind) (Al-Ma’idah 5: 32).
Because the human race constitutes a single family, an offense against one of its members is, in fact, an offense against the whole of humanity.
Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi president of the Fiqh Council of North America, states the following: Islam considers human life sacred. Life is to be protected and promoted as much as possible. Allah says in the Qur’an: (Take not life which Allah has made sacred except by way of justice) (Al-An`am 6: 151).
There is no provision in Islam for killing oneself or another person to reduce his/her physical or emotional pain or suffering from sickness or disease. It is the duty of the doctors, patients’ relatives, and the state to take care of the sick and to do their best to reduce the pain and suffering of the sick, but they are not allowed under any circumstances to kill the sick person. The sick person also should patiently endure the pain and should pray to Allah. If he/she is patient, there will be a great reward and blessing for him/her in the eternal life.
If, however, a number of medical experts determine that a patient is in a terminal condition, there is no hope for his/her recovery and all medication has become useless, then it could be permissible for them, through a collective decision, to stop the medication. If the patient is on life support, it may be permissible, with due consultation and care, to decide to switch off the life support machine and let nature take its own time. Under no condition it is permissible to induce death. As long as a person is alive, it is his/her right to be fed. Medical experts and relatives should not withhold nutrition from a living person. They should do their best to provide him/her with necessary nutrition by whatever method is possible.
As Muslims we are as much concerned of the well-being of others as our own. We evaluate this matter from the universal perspective of the Shari`ah. If the decisions of life and death are given to human beings, whether individuals or states, the consequences will be terrible for all of humanity. Human life will become a means for whatever end some people may decide or determine. It will lose its sacred character and will become trivial.
All religions, and Islam in particular, are deeply concerned about the preservation of the dignity and honor of human life. Only the Creator of life (Allah) has the ultimate decision about life and death.