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SAGE Palliative Medicine & Chronic Care

Jul 14, 2022

This episode features George Muishout (Department of History, European Studies and Religious Studies, Amsterdam School for Historical Studies, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

To Muslims it is important that medical decisions are in accordance with Islamic values. In life-threatening illness, Muslims ask imams for religious advice on medical decision-making. So far, it is unknown how imams view and perform this task in palliative care.

Imams advise the faithful not to consent to withholding or terminating treatment based on diagnostics because they feel this does not align with belief in God’s omnipotence and will. Imams are reluctant to advise patients to consent to termination of treatment for fear that all Muslims involved will be held accountable for someone’s death by God in the afterlife. Fatwas by Muslim expert committees play an important role in shaping medical decision-making in palliative care.

Palliative care tailored to the cultural religious needs of Muslim minorities must be developed. Implementing adequate palliative care for Muslim minorities requires sustainable collaboration with imams and their congregations.