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Living Will or Advance directive for Muslims


What is Living Will?

A Living Will for Muslims or a Medical directive for Muslims is a legal document covering your end-of-life medical wishes, including withholding medical treatments, organ donations, transplantations, etc. The Living will is a strong estate plan that speaks when you cannot decide due to inability or mental incapacity. The Living Will demands moral and ethical respect for the patient. Islam law regarding medical bioethics emphasizes the protection of life (Hifz al-Nafs) and the well-being (Masalaha) of humanity. Islamic bioethics allow the refusing or allowing of treatments to preserve one life.


What are the different names of Living Wills?

Living Will also refers to Medical directives (MD), Healthcare directives (HD), Advanced health directives (HD), Advance Healthcare directives (AHCD), Advanced medical directives (AMD), or Advance care planning (ACP) documents.



How is the Medical directive important for a physician or doctor?

A Physician or a Practitioner cannot decide to withhold or withdraw treatments without a written Living Will or verbally recorded communications from a patient. If any medical treatment, procedure, or surgery is performed without medical consent (Idhn al-Tibb) is as worse as committing murder. If there is neither of these available, then the decision will be taken based on feedback from family members. Any disagreements of opinions among family members can end up in court.


What is the difference between Islamic Living Will (or Medical directive) and Islamic Last Will (or Wasiyyah)? 

Living Will is about appointing someone to look after the medical treatment-related decisions you wish to make in a lifetime. Islamic Will is for designating someone (i.e., an executor) to manage property distribution after you die. Both documents cannot be created or changed after a person becomes mentally incapable. Living Will is effective while you are alive, and that's why it is called "Living" will. On the other hand, Islamic Will is effective only after death, which is why it is called the "Last" will. No legal action can be performed from the Islamic Will document when a person is alive. Islamic Will becomes irrevocable and legally binding after death. Islamic Will or Last Will relates to property. Living Will relates to your medical treatments.


How does Living Will differ from Power of Attorney for Healthcare?

Living Will and the Power of Attorney for Healthcare are valid while you are alive. Living Will refers to medical treatments, organ donations, and transplantation-related preferences. Power of Attorney for Healthcare, on the other hand, refers to decisions you want to make about your day-to-day needs, including financial, medical, or personal. Both documents cannot be created or changed after a person becomes mentally incompetent. 


Can I make Living Will to prevent or withhold treatments, organ donations, or organ transplantations?

Yes, of course. Creating Living Will does not mean you have only the options to choose medical treatments, organ donations, or transplantations; instead, you choose to prevent all these. It is true vice-versa as well that you may decide to allow treatments, organ donations, or organ transplantation. It's your time to allow or disallow medical treatments and other preferences through Living Will. The choice is yours before it is too late (i.e., accidents, pandemics, disasters, chronic illness, or disability). There are some restrictions as what you can and cannot donate in Islamic bioethics for example, you cannot donate sex organs in Islam. If you do not create LivingWill, someone will decide on your behalf when you cannot decide for yourself due to hinderances. Someone will decide means it may be in favor or contrary to your wishes.


In which countries Living Will differ from one Jurisdiction (i.e., state, province, territory) to another?

Living Will may differ from one country or Jurisdiction (i.e., state, province, or territory) to another for the United States, Canada, Australia, and some European countries, so your Living Will must comply with jurisdiction-specific laws for these countries. Wassiyyah provides customized legally and Islamically compliant Living Wills for all world countries. Due to the complexity of laws worldwide, you should not use available free templates for creating your Living Will.


Does Wassiyyah offer Jurisdiction (i.e., state, province, territory) specific Living Will?

Living Will created on Wassiyyah's are country-specific to meet legal and Islamic compliance. Wassiyyah provides Jurisdiction (i.e., State, Province, or Territory) specific Living Will (or Medicaldirective) for Canada, United States, Australia, and some European countries where the laws differ from one jurisdiction to another. In short, whenever required, Wassiyyah provides jurisdiction-specific estate plans.



What are the Islamic implications of creating a Muslim Living Will?

The field of Islamic Bioethics (and Medical Bioethics in general) is vast and still developing. Islamic Bioethics plays a significant role in deciding Living Will preferences. However, it does not stop you from creating Living Will because you can always change your preferences as long as you are mentally capable. There is also Islamic jurisprudence (Usul-al-fiqh) opinion that differs. Islamic bioethics is an essential subject from the Islamic faith perspective, and we suggest you should learn about your rights to choose what you wish about medical End-of-life preferences, including withholding treatments in unconscious coma-like situations, organ donations, organ transplantations, and more. Wassiyyah offers blog articles to learn more about Islamic bioethics under Premium membership.


Should I create Living Will or not?

Despite medical science challenges, Islamic bioethics interpretations issues, and the unknown of our future stage, everyone should create their living will, as most medical professionals agree. You can pick and choose the best work for you and your faith; otherwise, someone has to decide on your behalf, which may be contrary to or against your wishes. It's your legal right, and the time you should make it before it is too late. Creating Living Will would give peace of mind to you and your family. No sadness or regret for you and your family. It becomes challenging for medical professionals near the end of life due to a lack of a patient's End-of-Life health care plan, i.e., Living Will.

What are the terms you should be aware of regarding illnesses in relation to Islamic living Wills? 

There are terms that you should be aware of are Natural death, Brain-death, Locked-in state, erminally ill or Terminal state, Comatose (eye-closed unconsciousness), Traumatic or Nontraumatic Vegetative or Vegetation state (eye-opened unconsciousness), Irreversible and Persistent Comma, Cognitive impairment, Respiratory failure, Cardiac arrest, Paralyzed with receptive and expressive aphasia, Futility, Dialysis, nausea, aspiration pneumonia, hyperkalemia, diarrhoea and dyspnoea, etc.

What are the terms you should be aware of regarding advanced care treatments in relation to Islamic living Wills? 

There are terms that you should be aware of are Palliative care, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Do-not-Resusciate (DNR), Life support or Life prolonging or sustaining medical interventions, Feeding tube, Gastrostomy tube, Artificial or Critically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH), Intensive care unit (ICU), Intravenous line (IV), Tracheostomy, Transfusion, Ventilator or Mechanical ventilation, Psychosurgery, etc. 

What terms should you be aware of regarding the medical procedures after death related to Living Will? 

There are terms that you should be aware of are Organ donations or transplantations, Anatomical gift, Autopsy, Postmortem or mutilation, etc. 

If you are confused or don't know where to start, please JOIN US​ to receive your free E-Book "Beginners guide to Islamic estate planning," specially designed for those who seriously want to make their estate plan completed in the easiest and quickest way.

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