Can a non-Muslim issue a fatwa

Self-determined at the end of life: IslamLife is not yours alone

Self-determined death and Islamic belief - that is a contradiction for many Islamic scholars.

"The body is a loan from God. And God is the actual owner. Man is only the owner of his body and that is why it is fundamentally important that man should preserve his body and therefore prevent his death. That is why he can Muslim does not freely decide about the end of life. "

Fixed deadline

Says the Islamic theologian Hadil Lababidi from the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen.

"This is based on the attitude that man is not allowed to freely dispose of his body. Dying should ... or the time of death should be left to God. The fixed time limit is given by God. Dying should neither be delayed nor premature." be brought about. "

Yet another reason has been passed down why suicide and euthanasia are prohibited. Even if someone is seriously ill and has a long period of infirmity before death.

(imago images / Shotshop) Judaism: Don't kill, don't suffer
Dying in dignity is a central concern in Judaism. Whether and which form of euthanasia this includes is controversial. The Jewish tradition is critical of assisted suicide. "But nowhere in the Torah does it say 'You must live' as a commandment," says Rabbi Elisa Klapheck.

"Active intervention in the end of life is a grave sin. The person who chooses to do so commits the greatest sin in Islam and would then be held accountable in the hereafter. That is the theological background, which is why it is forbidden from an Islamic perspective. "

However, the sources on euthanasia or suicide are not clear.

"There are no statements in the Koran that deal directly with the subject. There are hadiths that tend to go into this context."

Punishment for suicide in the afterlife

Mira Sievers, junior professor and Islamic theologian at the Humboldt University of Berlin. A verse in the Koran that can be understood in the sense of a prohibition of killing is, for example, in the fourth sura, verse 29:

"He says: 'And don't kill each other.' Or the Arabic formulation can also be understood as: 'Don't kill yourself.' And if you look there in the classical sources, if you look at how the classical exegetes interpret it then you can see that they said: Yes, the verse has to be understood in both directions. 'Don't kill each other', but also: 'Don't kill yourself.' Yes, and of course that then provides a basis for it that scholars have said, "Well, it is forbidden to kill yourself."

And in a hadith, i.e. from the commentary on the Koran, which is said to go back to Mohammed himself, there is talk of a man who was seriously injured. MIra Sievers:

"And that's why he cut his arm and ultimately bled to death from it. And this is commented on in such a way that this person will be punished in the afterlife."

(Unsplash / Igor Ovsyannykov) Buddhism: Self-determined until the end of life
Traditionally, assisting suicide is forbidden in Buddhism. Meditative exercises are designed to take away the fear of death and pain. In practice, however, there is also a debate among Buddhists about euthanasia.

Suicide even in an emergency is rejected here. And the vast majority of Islamic legal scholars also reject suicide and active euthanasia, says Mira Sievers. However, that does not mean that the question of self-determination in dying is completely resolved. There is a creation theological background. According to Sievers, this means that God gives life to man. And that both life and death thus belong in God's dispositions for the first time.

"With that, and this is important to me to emphasize, nothing has been said directly on the subject of euthanasia. From an Islamic-theological point of view, it would be rather unacceptable to assume that one could, so to speak, anticipate a divine decree. Sunni theologians in particular have Discussed a thousand years ago whether, for example, a person would be killed or murdered, whether this would mean that the person would then die earlier than it was intended for them, and they would say: No, that is not the case. Rather, that is not a contradiction in terms. But as I said, I believe that, in terms of the theology of creation, it is very important that first of all giving life is a central component of the divine act of creation. "

Let it die

According to this understanding, human self-determination is tied to God's commandments and should first and foremost preserve life. Then there are exceptions, which are justified in modern medicine, which can artificially lengthen life. And so can become an incredible suffering and burden.

Each case must be assessed individually. For example, if a person has a fatal muscle disease that in the end stage leads to suffocation and if this person is already connected to a ventilator, switching off would still be permissible, says Hadil Lababidi:

"Because switching off in itself does not cause death. Rather, the underlying disease causes death here. Letting die is allowed in this sense."

In this case, allowing to die means discontinuing treatment because recovery would not be possible in the last phase of life, when the process of dying has already started.

"Here, Islamic law allows useless therapies to be discontinued. After the smaller family has agreed to the consultation with the doctor. In this case, self-determined dying is permitted in the case of futile measures. That does not mean, however, that active euthanasia in the case of terminally ill people People is allowed. "

Active euthanasia means killing on demand. This is not allowed by the German legislator anyway. The right to an assisted suicide regardless of illness is now being discussed - that is, one has to be able to ingest a lethal drug that someone else has made available upon request. For example, if someone has a brain tumor that is causing them excruciating pain. And at the end of his life, complete immobility with sickness in bed awaits him - what then? Is he allowed to commit suicide from an Islamic theological point of view? Lababidi:

"In that case it would also not be allowed to carry out the assisted suicide ..."

Because the dying process in the narrower sense has not yet started. This would have to be discussed further.

"In the end the believer decides for himself"

We are not completely autonomous and the self-determined also has its limits.

Perhaps the theory about euthanasia and assisted suicide differs again in practice if you are affected yourself.

"Believing Muslims, even if their faith, their religion is very important to them and they of course adhere to it, both in life and in death, before death, are of course not unaffected by the pain and all the suffering that lies ahead, when a person dies. And I think, no matter how many there are, how many regulations there are, how sophisticated they are, which standards are set - in the end, in practice, the believer decides himself. "

Says Serdar G√ľnes, an Islamic scholar from Frankfurt.

"And I think it would be wrong to see believers, no matter what religion they live in, as a belief machine that only keeps the prohibitions or the commandments by means of a checklist, so to speak. A person naturally has an understanding, is a contradicting one Being, is a colorful person with a lot of experience who is also shaped by suffering. And I think these regulations are not the measure of all things or, so to speak, do not give a final opinion, but are certain pointers that you can use to orient yourself. But it would be wrong to look at the finger, you have to look in the direction of the finger pointer. And if you adhere to this hermeneutic principle, then I believe that one can, so to speak, align theory with practice instead of subordinating practice to theory . "

The discussion about euthanasia among Muslims is only just beginning. The theologian Mira Sievers does not find that God's mercy has its limits when it comes to euthanasia. When dealing with the dying of people in extreme situations, one cannot use the afterlife punishment as a means of pressure.

"This otherworldly punishment is always at God's disposal. Of course, as human beings, we can never see what the exact individual conditions of a situation are. And that's why, I think, it is also important here when it comes to the specific person or the person That they don't behave presumptuously there and just say: In your case you should be patient now and endure this illness, and you will be punished if you, if you, if you are of the opinion ... that you can no longer bear this suffering. "

The Islamic theologian Mira Sievers would like more courage in formulating personal positions in the euthanasia discussion. Personal experience is always a factor of its own, which Islamic theology must take into account. Nobody can say from the outside when the tolerable level has been exceeded for a person.