Whoever Keeps It Alive, It Is As Though He Kept Alive All Men

Some colleagues talked to me about the outbreak of a negative phenomenon in our societies, which is the ignorance of CPR among the majority of people when it is most needed. I started investigating that phenomenon and I was horrified by the stories and accidents I heard about … Which was only the tip of the iceberg.


From what I heard, when an accident happens and people get seriously injured or when someone passes out from a stroke, a lot of times spectators gather around the accident or the patient and seldom is there someone who can act correctly and positively, which wastes very precious minutes, and sometimes tens of minutes are wasted. Those minutes could save the patient – God willing – without leaving him with a permanent damage caused by stopped blood flow from reaching the brain or the heart, hemorrhage or a stopped heart.

That reminded me of a personal experience. In 1991, I was on duty at the ICU in Mount Auburn Hospital in Boston, when a 60-year-old woman arrived in a full cardiac and respiratory arrest. After performing the necessary defibrillation and applying a medical ventilator, God’s will was to let her heart go back to work. Three days later, the medical ventilator was taken off and in six days she went back to normal and was sent home to practice her everyday life.


We found out later that the time between the occurrence of the cardiac arrest and the arrival of the ambulance was more than 12 minutes, which is long enough to cause death. However, this woman’s 14-year-old and 12-year-old grandsons called the emergency service and started rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth) and cardiac massage until the paramedics arrived and started their work. The paramedics assured the validity of the CPR performed by the grandsons according to what they saw.

When asking the grandsons about how they learned CPR, they mentioned that they learned it in school as it was a requirement. The patient is still alive and healthy today at 65 years of age.

It’s all in God’s hands and destiny is from God, but taking the necessary measures is required by every Muslim, as those measures are also from God’s will… This is what the Caliph Omar Bin Al-Khattab (may God be pleased with him) understood when he said “Escaped from God’s fate to God’s fate” when he refused to enter the plagued Levant and returned home. Then Abu Obaida Bin Al-Jarrah said “Is it escaping from God’s fate?” “If only someone else said it, Abu Obaida!” replied Omar. “Yes, we run from God’s fate to God’s fate. See, if you had camels and they went down a valley with two sides, one is fertile and the other is barren, it would be of God’s Decree if they grazed on either the fertile side or the barren one.”

Taking the necessary steps in this case in particular, when saving life is one of the objectives of Islamic Sharia, is a great matter to God, as he said “and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men.” We would even sin when a life is lost due to our failure to take the necessary steps which God gave us and ordered us to take.

The most important step to protect life is through the spread of medical awareness, CPR in particular, to as many people in society as possible. And this can only be achieved if we realize the importance of this issue and started working to provide educational programs for all school stages, private and public sectors, and mothers and fathers. It can also be achieved by providing moral and even financial support to complete these extensive programs which typically take less than half a day, where participants take part in performing CPR under the supervision of teachers, take a test and receive certification for completing the course. A lot of Western countries have these programs.


Protection of life is one of the highest objectives of Islamic Sharia which should not be neglected or overlooked, as it is a huge responsibility… The negligence of taking the necessary steps to protect life is a waste, injustice and ignoring the purpose for which it was created… It is a condemned – and not a praised – complacency.


Okaz Newspaper – Sunday 23 Muharram 1417 AH falling on 9 June 1996 AD