What is Living Will?
A Living Will for Muslims (called 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 Islamic 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 humanity's well-being (Masalaha). Islamic bioethics allow the refusing or allowing of treatments to preserve one life.
Why is the Medical directive important for a physician or doctor?
A Medical doctor has to decide between withholding or withdrawing treatments when a patient is in an unconscious coma-like situation. The only document that can speak on the patient's behalf is the living Will or medical directive. Without having written a Living Will, Doctors have to rely on verbally recorded communications from a patient. If that is not found, then the decision will be taken based on input from family members. The decision made by family members may not align with what you may have decided when you could. Any disagreements of opinions among family members can end up in court. Doctors rely on all this documentation because any medical treatment, procedure, or surgery performed without medical consent (Idhn al-Tibb) is worse than committing murder. Now you can visualize; how difficult it may be for Doctors and family members without Living Will.
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.
What are the restrictions regarding donating organs Islamically?
There are some restrictions on what you can and cannot donate in Islamic bioethics. For example, you cannot donate sex organs, and also, multilation, autopsy are not permitted in Islam unless required by legal laws for any specific reasons. If you do not create LivingWill, someone will decide on your behalf when you cannot decide for yourself due to hindrances. Someone will decide means it may be in favor or contrary to your wishes.
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.
Does Wassiyyah offer Jurisdiction (i.e., state, province, territory) specific Living Will?
Living Will created on Wassiyyah's are country-specific to meet Islamic and legal compliance. Wassiyyah provides Jurisdiction (i.e., State, Province, or Territory) specific Living Will (or medical directive) for Canada, the 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 terms should you know regarding end-of-life care and Islamic living Wills?
There are terms that you should be aware of are Natural death, Brain-death, Locked-in state, terminally 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, diarrhea, and dyspnoea, etc.
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