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What to do for the dying Muslim patinet

بِسۡمِ اللهِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِيۡمِ

A fundamental tenet of the Muslim faith revolves around the belief in Divine predestination (Qadar), wherein fate is predetermined by the Almighty. In this perspective, all suffering and death are ordained by the Will of God. Muslims with a firm faith, therefore, perceive sickness as part of God’s Will and as a potential means of atonement for sins, while also acknowledging the importance of seeking remedies for illness.

1. In cases where death is anticipated, it is paramount to prioritize the patient's wishes, allowing them to choose their preferred location for their passing, if feasible. For patients in hospital settings, efforts should be made, if possible, to provide a solitary room with natural lighting, removed from the hustle and bustle of the ward, to afford both the patient and their family a sense of tranquility. Ideally, many Muslims express a preference to die at home, and facilitating this desire, when safe and feasible, would be greatly valued.

2. Upon the impending death of a Muslim patient, immediate notification of the next of kin is advised. Muslim relatives may desire to be present alongside the dying individual, offering spiritual guidance and solace, while also respecting the patient's wishes for privacy.

3. In situations where no Muslim relatives or acquaintances of the deceased can be reached, or if the deceased had no next of kin, it is recommended to contact the hospital's Muslim chaplain. However, as a general guideline, the presence of a Muslim imam or chaplain is not deemed necessary at the time of a Muslim's death, as there exists no concept of last rites within Islām akin to those found in Christianity, particularly among Catholics.

4. Family members may choose to recite passages from the Holy Qur’an and engage in other prayers in the presence of the dying individual.

5. It is customary for the patient’s family to position the individual so that their face is oriented towards the Sacred Mosque in Makkah, which, in the UK, lies in a south-eastern direction. Efforts to accommodate this practice, where feasible and safe, would be appreciated.

6. Islāmic tradition encourages the visitation of the sick, resulting in many visitors attending to the ill and dying person. Similarly, after death, numerous visitors may arrive to offer condolences. It is important to manage the number of visitors effectively to avoid inconveniencing other patients.

7. In cases where death occurs suddenly or under traumatic circumstances, the impact on relatives and caregivers is likely to be heightened, necessitating additional time for initial adjustment and support.

8. Providing the support of the hospital's Muslim chaplain or other suitable religious figures is recommended to offer spiritual guidance and consolation to the grieving family members.


Dr. A. Hussain