THE STATUS OF MEDICINE

QUESTION:

May I respectfully enquire about a brother who is ill, and suffering an early level of incapacitation, which can be easily cured by the doctors and available technology at present, with Allah’s guidance and Wisdom.  However, he declines medical intervention and repeatedly refuses to do so, in spite of repeated appeals by the family of the brother and my insignificant self.  May I mention that failing to seek medical intervention, will result in a progressive deterioration of his condition with demise,  The condition is eminently curable, at this stage, Insha Allah, Aameen, and denying early treatment for this condition at present will render delayed therapeutic intervention ineffective. As I view the stance, adopted by the brother, it almost amounts to a focussed intention on self-termination, as I reflect the decision to be.
I will be most grateful for the Mufti Sahab’s learned and correct opinion on these matters?
Answer:
Medical treatment is not Waajib. ‘Demise’ – Maut – comes with precision at its appointed time. Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan Majeed: “No person shall die except with the permission of Allah at the appointed time.” There will be no delay or advance by even a second. Submission to medical treatment or abstention will in no way whatsoever affect the moment of Demise.
A person has the right – Shar’i right – to refuse medical treatment even if the sickness leads to death. This is the unanimous ruling of the Fuqaha of all Math-habs.
This has been the practical attitude of numerous Sahaabah and Auliya. They would refuse medical treatment, rely on Allah Ta’ala (Tawakkul) and accept with Ridha (Pleasure) His decree.
Once when Hadhrat Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) was severely ill, he was advised to call a hakeem. Ameerul Mu’mineen Hadhrat Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) responded:
“If I know that the cure for my sickness is to only touch my head, I will then too not do so.”
This was his level of Tawakkul and Ridha Bil Qadha. The attitude of the pious Ulama and Auliya of former times was to generally abstain from medicine. They were pleased with whatever condition Allah Ta’ala decreed for them. There are numerous examples of pious Muslims abstaining from medical treatment.
Besides their attitude of Tawakkul, the Fuqaha have unanimously issued the verdict that medical treatment is not Waajib regardless of the consequences.
This attitude and practice of abstention from medicine and medical treatment is further re-inforced by abstention from even dua for cure. Once a lady suffering from a type of fits came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) seeking his dua for cure. Aware of her degree of Taqwa, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) advised her against making dua for cure. While she accepted this advice, she explained that whenever she was apprehended by the fits, she denuded herself of her clothing. She therefore requested our Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to make for her to be saved from this calamity of self-denudation of garments. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) made the requested dua. Her sickness continued, but the problem of the clothes was solved. Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had explained to her the immense rewards of Sabr for bearing the sickness, hence she was pleased to adopt Sabr in lieu of the Rewards of Jannat.
This episode in particular, and the practice of the Auliya in general, adequately explains the insignificance and unimportance of medicine. Nevertheless, we are weaklings with defective Imaan and spiritually barren, hence it is perfectly permissible for us to resort to medicine and medical treatment. We are bereft of the spiritual mettle of the Salafus Saaliheen

FROM THE MAJLIS VOL 26 NUMBER 05

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