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Islamic Laws of Medicine by Ayatollah Sistani

Islamic Laws of Medicine is a comprehensive exploration of the intersection between Islamic principles and medical ethics.

It explores a variety of healthcare topics, from patient rights and responsibilities to the moral duties of medical personnel. This work provides a deep understanding of the Islamic perspective on medical practices. Islamic Laws of Medicine serves as a valuable resource for scholars, healthcare practitioners, and individuals seeking to navigate the ethical dimensions of healthcare within an Islamic framework.

Islam provides a universal system for the well-being of a person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual component because each must work in unison for the individual to thrive and advance. Moreover, deficits or dysfunction in any of these components can create setbacks, which, if not appropriately resolved, have the potential to hamper progress. Yet, it is sometimes inevitable that human beings face challenges, particularly physical and mental issues that arise due to the wear and tear of daily life. As such, Islam promotes the practice of medicine and the advancement of treatment for all forms of ailments. It provides a specific set of rules that govern how these practices should be carried out and the responsibilities that fall upon its professionals. Thus, this booklet describes a comprehensive set of rules in the form of answers to queries posed to the jurist on topics ranging from permissible and prohibited forms of treatment, contemporary approaches to disease management, medical ethics, and patients rights.

Medicine is an essential field in the lives of human beings. The symptoms of life (e.g., strength, weakness, health, illness) are part of being human, and each body requires attention and treatment, both from an internal and external perspective. For this reason, the field of medicine and physicians have always held a respected status throughout the history of human civilization. It has been narrated in a tradition from the Noble Prophet that, “Knowledge is two types, knowledge of religions and knowledge of bodies.”‘ Therefore, if a person seeks to pursue this role in life, they must be well-informed of the essential religious details that accompany the science, its theories, training, career, treatment, and everything else related to its practice. It has been reported that the Noble Prophet said, “When God wishes good for a person, He bestows upon them the understanding of religion.” Medicine has developed drastically in the modern era, along with its various related fields. Specialties, and methodologies, which have advanced and increased in number. As such, the religious questions and inquiries regarding it have increased. Some of these questions are essential in the proper execution of religious practice, while others are complicated and require clarification. Many have not been researched or previously answered. The respected reader will find many fascinating discussions on matters such as brain death, organ transplantation, organ trade, trans-gender surgeries, artificial insemination, and many other topics. The Twelver Imamate jurisprudential school, which follows the path of the virtuous Imams (pbut), excels in deriving the authentic rules. Its intellectual foundations were covered by Imams Muhammad al-Baqir and Jafar al-Sadiq (pbut) who established the general criteria and allowed the learned religious students who had reached a level of understanding and practice to interpret the branches of religion and its applications based on the religious scriptures. Therefore, we find that the Imamate jurisprudential school automatically keeps up with developments of life and has an edict on most, if not all, modern and contemporary issues. With its continuously dynamic approach, firm juristic foundations, and precise research methods, the Imamate jurisprudential school continues to provide clarity to the believers in all the religious needs of their life and personal pursuits, including their medical care.

Therefore, this book is an example of the comprehensive and robust knowledge of the religious seminaries, which provide splendid services to those who want to faithfully apply Islamic rules to every aspect of their lives. It is a compilation of questions and inquiries submitted to the supreme religious authority, His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Hussaini al-Sistani (may God prolong his life), on different medical matters to which he responded with his blessed opinion. The book begins with an introduction about the importance of medicine as narrated in the Holy Quran and concludes with a number of recommendations from His Eminence to doctors, nurses, medical students, and those who work in this field. They are moral and heartfelt recommendations which bear our attention and implementation. I.M.AM. deemed it necessary to translate and publish this compendium to fulfill the needs of many who continuously ask us about this issues. We ask the Lord Almighty to benefit the believers from its publication.

Table of Contents

I. Medicine in Islam

The Status of Medicine

For Every Illness is a Cure

Recovery is in the Hand of God

 II. Medical Manners and Morals

  1. Assuming Responsibility
  2. Piety and good counsel
  3. Identifying the illness before prescribing the medication
  4. Give the patient hope
  5. Limiting medicine to specialists

III. General Medical Guidelines

  1. Habits that reduce the need to visit a doctor:
  2. Avoid medicine except when necessary:
  3. Prevent illnesses:
  4. Habits that increase fitness:
  5. Habits that increase longevity:
  6. Habits that destroy the body:

 IV. Spiritual Treatment

 V. Studying Medicine

Falsifying Reports for Benefit:

Cost of a medical checkup:

Sexually-Transmitted Diseases (STD), including due to prohibited acts:

Prescribing medications that are addictive

Cosmetic Surgery

Transplant Surgeries

Tests to determine virginity

Medical procedures

Procedures that cause cognitive side effects

Dispensation of medications

Circumcision with electrical equipment

Hospital employees

Men specializing in women’s health

Seeking treatment from a doctor of the opposite sex


Exposing intimate parts

Human cloning

Cesarean procedures

Artificial Insemination

In-Vitro Fertilization

Ejaculating and storing semen

Birth Control

The Diyyah and Kaffarah of Abortion

Conjoined Twins

Blood Transfer, Testing, and Selling

DNA and Paternity Tests

Organ Donation, Selling, and Transplanting

Transplanting Pig Liver

Removing Human Parts

Clinical (Brain) vs. common understanding of death

Mental Conditions
Suicide in Shariah
Informing patients they have a deadly disease
Seeking refuge in the Ahl al-Bayt (p) at the expense of seeking medical treatment
Rulings of Ritual Purity and Impurity
Fasting with Illness
Fasting and Pregnancy
Fasting and Breastfeeding
VI. Guidance of the Religious Authority to Medical

Bibliographic Information

Title: Islamic Laws of Medicine by Ayatollah Sistani

Author (s): Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani

Publisher: Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya

Length: 304 Pages


Pub. Date: June 27, 2023

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