The Definition of Death in Islam: Can Brain Death Be Used as a Criteria of Death in Islam?

  • Faroque A Khan Queens Hospital Center, SUNY Stony Brook, New York
Keywords: Islamic Medical Ethics, Brain Death

Abstract

In recent years, the two most natural human experiences of birth and death have become problematic. Not long ago, it was the case that when a severely handicapped infant was born, or when death approached the elderly, nature took its course. Now we can engineer changes in life, we can sustain life that, hitherto, could not be sustained. Even definition of death is in dispute. Merely possessing the ability to do something, be it genetic engineering, or organ transplants, does not, of course require us to do it. But having the ability requires us to choose. One of the ironies of our century is that the hard sciences have developed much more rapidly than our human ability to accelerate the development of new bioethical structures to guide us in making these difficult decisions.
Published
1986-06-25
Section
Islamic Perspectives