(By the editor, Tribune International); To end life voluntary or assisted suicide or euthanasia is legal in many countries but at the same time illegal in most countries.

Syed Atiq ul Hassan

I believe suicide or assisted suicide is illicit in all major religions of the world. The creation and ending of human life are in the hands of that power who created this world including all creatures living or breathing on this earth.

Being a follower of the Islamic faith, I can tell you that Islam is against euthanasia or assisted suicide, or suicide by any human being. Muslims believe that human life is sacred and only through Allah’s (God’s) will human beings arrive in this world, and it is the Almighty above that decides when and how long that human life must live or end. Therefore, Allah (God) owns the ownership of a man and woman and whoever person is associated to that human being including their parents, grandparents, siblings, relatives, and people dear to them, and it is indeed in His (God’s) hands who He keeps alive.

I understand Christians believe that life is given by God, birth and death are part of life processes that God has created, hence no human being has the authority to decide to end his or her life neither anyone else authority to take any other human life or assist to suicide.

In Judaism and Jewish law (Halakhah) assisted suicide or suicide is prohibited. In Jewish law, the preservation of human life is a cardinal commandment. Both suicide and self-endangerment are forbidden (Genesis 9:5; Deuteronomy 4:15). Maimonides explains that our bodies are Divine property and any deliberate attempt to destroy them is prohibited.

Therefore, arguments and decisions by medical experts or scientists that a person’s life is no more worthy to be alive is nonsense, unethical and immoral. Similarly, quality of life or classified the value of life by any doctor or medical expert is irrelevant in deciding the end of anyone’s life. Also, humans should not have decisional rights for euthanasia for themselves or anyone else to assist them for suicide. No person should have the authority to decide about the end of life of anyone.

It has been unfortunate that six Australian states have already passed the legislation of assisted suicide or euthanasia scheme for eligible individuals and in effect now this scheme in Victoria and Western Australia. This law refers to assisted suicide as ‘voluntary assisted dying.

I don’t agree with the term ‘Eligible Individuals’. I understand this terminology is used for a person who has been suffering from terrible health conditions and illness and deemed by medical experts that a person may not survive, still, no specialist can 100 percent guarantee that how long the person will live in this world, hence assisting patient or operating procedure to die is killing a living person.

We should acknowledge and respect the modern technology and advancement in assessing health conditions of a person and appreciate the way health experts can assess and measure an expected remaining time in a patient’s life, yet no one can give the exact time or day or circumstances of death. We have witnessed throughout the world remarkable stories of patient recoveries that have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses. I do agree, there might be a small percentage of chance they may survive by some miracle, but no one can be certain that the probability is likely or unlikely or say that is impossible. The Almighty above, Creator of that person, can with His will recover a patient and bring them back to a healthy state and body at any time which generally we say as ‘miracles do happen’. Hence, we should respect the life of our fellow human beings and look after them until they are alive doesn’t matter in whatever conditions they are going through. I understand the argument of people choosing to remove patients that have been on life support for several years, yet we have seen a case in the UAE, in 2019 where a patient’s mother in United Arab Emirates (UAE) who was seriously injured in a traffic accident in 1991 made miraculous recovery after emerging from a 27-year-long coma. Her son Omar Webair in an interview said he was just 4 years old when his mother had the accident, but their family never gave up and they prayed for her, and they hoped she would recover one day.

Similarly, Terry Wallis, a US-based man had a car accident at age 19 but made an astonishing recovery after being 19 years in a coma like state.

In the process of technological or medical advancement, we should not be so authoritarian to decide or assist an ill person towards ending their own life. We should also keep in mind the mental state of a person and the psychological impact that a patient face going through pain or undergoing tough medical treatment, and how ending their life may seem like the only best solution to reduce their pain or the burden, or struggle upon family members.  Our modern technological advancement and amazing medical science achievements are to save lives and respect those who are extremely ill and still been able to be alive, and when they die through a natural process, we should respect the end of their life.

Currently, a bill, introduced by Alex Greenwich, on assisted suicide or euthanasia is under debate in the NSW parliament. Some parliamentarians are in support of euthanasia, and some are against it. The NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, on this matter recently said, his government can do more in palliative care and would continue to do so regardless of the outcome of the debate. Mr. Perrottet must express his consent in this debate. I understand Mr. Perrottet is a very faithful politician. He is close to his religious faith; therefore, I believe he and most parliamentarians will also oppose this bill.

(The writer, Syed Atiq ul Hassan, is a Sydney-based journalist, a writer, a community representative, and editor Tribune International; his email is shassan@tribune-intl.com ).

Concluded on 13 November 2021

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