Comparison of Islam and Judaism regarding Euthanasia

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Harun Ahmed M203

Comparison of Islam and Judaism regarding Euthanasia

Euthanasia gained a legal foothold in Holland. It went to the ballot box in two states in America but was defeated. Its lobby is getting more active. Islam and Judaism have definite views on euthanasia.

The principle regarding the sanctity of human life implies that human life is immeasurable, that there is no difference between a healthy person and a physically or mentally impaired person. Likewise, the life expectancy of a patient is immaterial. The life of a human being, whether long or short, is treated equally. Consequently, active euthanasia is absolutely prohibited even if requested by the patient.

Islam and Judaism have both stemmed out from the father of all religions, Abraham;

Therefore both more or less share the same beliefs.

Euthanasia comes in four forms:

Active: the result of positive action (e.g. lethal injection) on the part of a carer

Passive: the omission or termination of treatment which is prolonging the patient’s life

Voluntary: carried out at the express wish of the patient

Non-voluntary: carried out without the permission of the patient which may or may not be because they are not capable of expressing a view.

All religions teach us that life is sacred, it is a gift from God therefore we should protect it. Euthanasia involves the taking of life so it goes against the teachings of religions. Even if one is about to die and are in a lot of pain, all religions teach us that they should be looked after in the best possible manner. Euthanasia should not be an option.

“Do not kill (or destroy) yourselves, for verily Allah has been to you most merciful”                  (Qur’an 4:29)

From the above quote we can see that Islam quite clearly states that we should not take our lives or anyone else’s. We humans have no real idea how life comes into being, our brains are not complex enough to understand life, and therefore we should not mess around with it. Islam quite clearly says that only God has the divine right to take life, as it is he who gave it to us in the first place.

Euthanasia may be known as ‘mercy killing’ but from the point of a Muslim this does not exist. Mercy killing sounds as if a life is being taken as it is the only and best option in a certain situation. Even if a person has an incurable disease, Islam teaches us to make that persons last days on Earth as comfortable as you can. We should fulfill all the wishes of that person, and we should try and ease the pain as much as we can. Euthanasia is never an option!

Islam teaches us that we are only in this world for a limited period. This life is only a blink of an eye compared to the hereafter. This life is a test, and if we pass it we go to heaven. All the illnesses that we encounter are part of this test, and most of all it is a test of our faith. If our faith is strong then we should have the strength to have faith in God and we should eventually overcome it. In Islam we believe that whatever happens, even if it is bad, happens for the best. It is part of our destiny, it is meant to happen, and it is part of God’s plan. Islam also teaches us that no person will suffer any more than they are able cope with.

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Since we did not create ourselves we do not own our bodies. We are entrusted with them for care, nurture and safe keeping. God is the owner and giver of life and His rights in giving and in taking are not to be violated. Attempting to kill oneself is a crime in Islam as well as a grave sin.

The Shari'a (Islamic Law) listed and specified the indications for taking life (i.e. the exceptions to the general rule of sanctity of human life), and they do not include mercy killing or make allowance for it. Human life is ...

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