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Q & A on AIDS - (Islamic perspective) (Health)

Q & A on AIDS - (Islamic perspective)

The following issues were discussed by the IOMS, The Fiqh Academy at Jeddah and WHO in various meetings held between the years 1980 - 2000.

Q: 1) What is AIDS?
A: This is an acronym of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome caused by a virus or HIV.  It results in extensive destruction of the body immune system which leads to increasing inability of the body to resist all types of infection, even those which are not normally associated with infection.

Q: 2) How the AIDS virus is transmitted?
A: It is transmitted from one person to another through body fluids such as sexual fluids (semen, fallopian and vaginal fluids) and blood. It is , therefore, passed during sexual intercourse among both heterosexuals and homosexuals, or through the blood in cases of blood transfusion or via syringes or injection needles.

Q: 3) How does the AIDS virus spread?
A: It spreads by three main causes -
1). By sexual intercourse which accounts for 90% cases. Promiscuity, sodomy, prostitution and sex with partners affected by venereal diseases contribute to increase in the rate of AIDS infection.
2). Through blood transfusion or the use of infected needles and syringes, especially among drug addicts.
3). Through infected mother to unborn babies.

Q: 4) What does the Islam say about the unlawful sexual act?
A: The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is reported to have said that " A person would be devoid of faith when he, or she, is committing an unlawful sexual act".

Q: 5) What are the Islamic approaches for protection against AIDS?
A: There are three measures recommended by Islam, as part of its moral code, which are essential for the prevention of AIDS. These are - (a) marriage, (b) proscription of sexual promiscuity, and (c) deterrence.

(a) Marriage: This is an effective means to protect individuals especially young people, from indulging in illicit sexual activity. The teachings of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) urge Muslims to make marriage affordable and easy for all members of society. He said: "When a man comes to you seeking marriage and if you are happy with his religious and moral integrity and honesty, give him your daughter; otherwise, immorality and corruption would spread among you all."

(b) Proscribing promiscuity: This is achieved through the following measures -

(i) Urging men and women to control their sexual urge and avoid the lewd gaze which could rouse sexual desires and lead to unlawful sexual contact. Allah says in the Quran: "Tell the believing men and women to lower their gaze and protect their chastity, for that is bound to render them purer. Allah is aware of all that they do." (An-Noor:30)

(ii) Advising women to dress modestly in public. Allah instructs the Prophet (PBUH) to tell believing women: "Not to show their adornments, except those that are ordinarily outward, and to cover their bosoms with their veil". (An Noor: 31). They are also urged: "Not to walk tantalizingly, with the intention of revealing their beauty." (An-Noor: 31). Women are taught to wear loose, plain and non-transparent clothes that preserve and enhance their dignity and modesty.

(iii) Discouraging men and women who are not barred from marrying from being together on their own in private, in order to avoid the temptation of sexual attraction.

(iv) Fighting permissiveness and loose social mingling between the sexes outside the inner family circle.

(v) Urging boys and girls as they come of age not to invade the privacy of their elders and peers without their permission.Allah says in the Quran: "Believers, do not enter the dwellings of others until you announce your presence and have greeted those inside them." (An-Noor: 27)

(vi) Forbidding all provocative activities such as pornography, provocative singing, dancing, music and films, that tantalize and arouse sensual feelings Allah says in the Quran: "Some people indulge in frivolous activity, so that they may, in their ignorance, lead others away from the path of Allah and hold it up in ridicule. These will receive a shaming punishment." (Luqman: 6).

(c) Effective deterrence: When education and upbringing fail and other preventive methods prove ineffective in stamping out permissive behaviour in society, resort must then be made to punishment, as a deterrence to others. However, such punishments must be prescribed under very stringent conditions of proof. In case of illicit sexual acts, for example, punishment cannot be meted out without either a full admission by the accused, or the unanimous testimony of four eye witnesses who must agree on every detail of the misdemeanour.

According to Quran, illicit sexual acts are punishable by one hundred lashes for offenders. It says: "Each woman or man who engages in illicit sexual acts shall be given a hundred lashes. Let no pity for them dissuade you from obeying God 's commands, if you truly believe in God and the Last Day and let their punishment be witnessed by crowd of believers." (An-Noor: 2)

Q: 6) What is the view of Islam on Sodomy and homosexual acts?
A: Quran severely condemns these practices. Allah says: "when our judgment came to pass we turned it (the city of Sodom) upside down and showered it with a torrent of claystones bearing the tokens of your Lord." (Hud: 82-83)

Q: 7) What is the Islamic Punishment for deliberate transmission of AIDS?
A: As no cure from the AIDS is, as yet, available, the premediated transmission of the virus is tantamount to poisoning/killing. And, killing with insidious means is a capital offence, and is not different from killing with a material instrument, and thus leads to capital punishment.

Q: 8) What is the Islamic point of view regarding the marriage involving AIDS carriers?
A: Any one who knows that he or she is an AIDS carrier must not enter a marriage relationship without disclosing the facts, for transmitting the disease is criminal and hiding the fact would be fraudulent, and both acts are objectionable.

Q: 9) Is annulment of marriage permissible in Islam if the infection is discovered after marriage?
A: Yes, Islamic law allows the annulment of marriage under such a condition.

Q: 10) Should an infected couple be allowed to marry?
A: They may be allowed to marry whether they choose to use condome during sexual intercourse or not. But since the risk of passing the virus from the mother to her baby is high, they should take all precautions to prevent conception.

Q:11) Is there right of sexual intercourse among infected spouses?
A: If one of the spouses is an AIDS patient, the other can refuse sexual intercourse. However, if healthy spouse agrees, then adequate precaution must be taken to reduce the risk of infection and conception.

Q: 12) Has the healthy spouse right to divorce or separation?
A: Yes, either spouse has the right to separate from another who is an AIDS carrier, whether the infection occurs before or after marriage.

Q: 13) What are the obligations of separation of spouses?
A: If the wife is the carrier, she will not receive entitlements of a divorced wife. The husband has the full right to reclaim the dowry he had paid or its equivalent if the marriage had already been consummated. However, if the husband is the carrier, the wife will receive her deferred dowry and the muta'ah or compensation.

Q: 14) Can an AIDS-infected fetus be aborted?
A: No, the baby cannot be aborted, as the AIDS sufferer should not be deprived of treatment and whose life must not be deliberately terminated.

Q: 15) Should a baby be aborted for the sake of an AIDS infected mother?
A: If the baby's continued presence in the womb threatens mother's life, the baby may be sacrificed for the sake of the mother because the baby's chance of life is much less than that of the mother.

Q:16) Can an AIDS suffering mother nurse her healthy baby?
A: As long as the mother takes the necessary precautions of hygiene and health care vital to prevent transmission of AIDS Virus, she can nurse her baby.

Q: 17) Are the AIDS sufferers terminally ill patients?
A: No, they cannot be considered terminally ill until the full symptoms of the disease are apparent and the patients begin to display signs of total disability and are no longer able to lead reasonably normal life, subsequently culminating in death.

Source: islamset


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