Please note: The answers on Hawramani.com constitute friendly advice rather than fatwas. Where relevant, we translate the opinions and fatwas of respected scholars and present them in our answers.

Is placing patients on life support (and taking them off when brain dead) permissible in Islam?

Is it haram to have someone on life support? Since their bodies only are living of a machine

The sources I have looked at all approve of it. The sources do not consider that a matter of debate, what they debate is whether taking a brain dead or almost brain dead patient off life support is permissible or not. Some sources allow it (the Saudi fatwa says if three doctors pronounce the patient brain dead or almost brain dead and say that there is no hope of recovery, then life support can be ended). The Qatari fatwa however considers it unjustifiable and forbidden regardless of whether there is hope or not for recovery. The Kuwaiti fatwa has the same opinion as the Qatari fatwa and says that a person must not be pronounced dead until all their tissues are dead.

According to Dr. Mashhur Fawwaz’s fatwa a patient can be declared dead and taken off life support if their brain function is known by experts to have been completely and irreversibly damaged so that there is no hope of regaining function or consciousness.

I do not know of any respected scholar who is opposed to life support. As for taking patients off life support, due to the disagreements on the issue, it is best if it is avoided.

Sources (Arabic): Fatwa 1 (Qatar Islamic Affairs Ministry) | Fatwa 2 (Saudi Fatwa Council) | Fatwa 3 (Kuwait Fatwa Council) | Fatwa 4 (the Palestinian scholar Dr. Mashhur Fawwaz)

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