Ethical Dilemmas and the Dying Muslim Patient


All health care providers may be confronted by a Muslim patient, but many health care professionals arelacking basic knowledge on the Muslim faith and medical ethics based on Islamic law (Shariah). One mustendeavour to differentiate between ethnic customs and Islamic tradition. It is important for staff to have ageneral understanding of the principles of Islamic beliefs and actions to attain better cultural competency andimproved patient care. Terminally ill cancer patients are vulnerable and require sensitive care of their physical,psycho-social, cultural and spiritual aspects and needs. Muslims believe that the purpose of life is a test fromGod with the objective of full obedience, the outcome being purification of the soul and the resultant judgmentafter life to be directed to heaven or hell. The Muslim goal is to live and die in accordance with God’s will, asrevealed in the Qur’an and practiced by the Prophet.