Ruling on CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation)
Fatwa No: 99003

Question

Salam Alaykom. What is the ruling on CPR (cardio pulmonary resusitation) in islam? Is it ok to use it on the strangers and non mahraam?? PLease explain in full detail about the usage of CPR islamically speaking. Jazakallah Khayran

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

If CPR is a means of saving the life of a patient who is not Islamically allowed to be killed, then it is an obligation to resuscitate him. The scholars  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them stated that it is an obligation to save the life of such a person. They stated that saving him comes in priority over many other religious obligations if they come at the same time. For instance, saving the life of a person who is perishing comes in priority over performing the prayer at its prescribed fixed time and over fasting if doing so coincides with saving him; and so forth. That is because saving a soul fulfils two rights, one right towards Allaah and another right towards others while performing acts of worship only fulfils the right of Allaah.

As regards whether or not it is permissible for a person who is not a Mahram (i.e. a husband or a person whom one is permanently prohibited from marrying due to suckling, marital, or blood relations) to carry out this resuscitation with a marriageable woman, then it should be noted that there are two kinds of resuscitations:

1-CPR with medical equipments as in hospitals, which is permissible provided the woman is not in seclusion with the marriageable man. However, if there is a necessity to disclose the 'Awrah (parts of the body that must be covered in Islam) or her touching the man, then this is not permissible except in case of necessity when there is no man to do so. The ruling of a woman resuscitating a man is the same as that of a man resuscitating a woman.

2-Direct CPR by pressing on the chest and mouth-to-mouth breathing. We asked the specialists in the field about mouth-to-mouth breathing and they said that this method is very primitive and it is of no benefit as it does not by itself save the life of the patient. Since this is the case, it is not permissible neither for a woman to carry out this CPR to a marriageable man nor for a man to carry out this CPR to a marriageable woman. In this case it is not permissible to reveal the chest since it is possible to do this from above the clothes as we were informed by some doctors.

Finally, it should be noted that necessity should be valued according to its proper value as Allaah says (what means): {And know that Allaah knows what is within yourselves, so beware of Him.} [Quran 2:235]. Allaah also says (what means): {But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him.} [Quran 2:173].

Allaah Knows best.

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