A practical comparison between Islamic and Christian End-of-life moral guidelines towards harmonization of End of Life Care

  • Pierre Mallia



This paper tends to identify common ground between the Islamic and Christian cultures. Since these two cultures are more and more coming to live in the same countries, it is important to acknowledge common ground since the laws of countries apply to all. The paper will go through several issues, including the stopping of futile treatment, the administration of ordinary and extraordinary care, defining the difference between death and allowing one to die, and indeed accepting death as sometimes being an inevitable and acceptable outcome. The paper will also discuss palliative care including pain relief and sedation. From here one delves into the case of Persistent Vegetative States and the morality of over-enthusiastic treatment which pushes people into this state.

 One will focus on the differences, such as passive euthanasia and analyze whether this is merely a difference of interpreting terms. There is also a phenomenon in some countries on querying the removal futile treatment and perhaps lack of a legal framework. At least one study shows concern with religious moral grounds. In conclusion one attempts to identify the common grounds on the end-of-life and whether indeed morality and laws in this regard is guided by religious positions. It is perhaps important that laws respect the moral normative values of populations, especially with pressure coming for more liberal positions. Even if the latter are introduced in many countries, such as euthanasia, the discussion of which is not the scope of this paper, it is important that health care (and legislation) recognizes the more common moral ground, the lack of which may be leading to more suffering.

Keywords: end-of-life, Islamic cultures, Christian cultures, passive euthanasia, palliative care