Genetic Disorders: Islamic View

10 October, 2018
Q As-salamu `alaykum. What’s the Islamic point of view on mental illnesses which are genetic and other genetic illnesses? What to do about them and how to prevent or cure them?


Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- We pray to Allah Almighty to grant all patients quick recovery.

2- It is also important to know that Allah Almighty promised a great reward for the one who has patience and contentment with divine decrees without boredom or worry.

3- Having said this, we should make it clear that patience and contentment do not contradict seeking medical treatment by all means.

Responding to your question, Dr. Hatem Al-Hajj, Dean of the College of Islamic Studies at Mishkah University and a member of the Permanent Fatwa Committee for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA), states:

When it comes to mental illnesses, the causes vary.

When the cause is organic/physical, Islam advises us to seek help from the experts. The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Seek treatments, for Allah has not created an ailment except He created its cure, except for one.They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is it?” He said: ‘Aging.’” (At-Tirmidhi)

This hadith does not only tell us to seek treatment, but it also encourages us by assuring that there is always a cure except from the inevitable.

If you are mainly asking about genetic diseases, Islam does allow all forms of research and experimentation respectful of human life and of benefit for humanity.

For example, Islam is not against stem cell research, given the cells will be obtained without violating human life or its origin.

The prevention of genetic diseases may be pursued through premarital testing, which is commendable in Islam if there is a reason to warrant it and permissible in all cases.

When the cause of the mental illness is grief and affects other issues related to lifestyle, Islam provides a complete solution for the prevention and cure of such illnesses.

Here are a few tips:

– Remind yourself that Allah’s decrees are irresistible; He said, “No calamity befalls on the Earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the book of decrees before we bring it into existence verily that is easy for Allah. In order that you may not be sad over matters that you fail to get or rejoice excessively because of that which has been given to you and Allah likes not prideful Boosters” (Al-Hadid 57:22-23)

– Know that this life is not worth your grief; Allah said, “Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement. Pomp and mutual boasting among you and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain there of the growth is pleasing to the tiller afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow then it becomes straw. But in the here after there is a seven torment and there is forgiveness from Allah and good pleasure, whereas the life of the world is only a deceiving enjoyment.” (Al-Hadid 57:20)

– Know that every affliction is minor if compared to your affliction in your religion. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Allah will relieve any slave who is afflicted with grief and anxiety from his anxiety and replace his grief with happiness if he says, ‘O Allah! I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your Hand, Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every name belonging to You which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Quran the life of my heart and the light of my chest, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety. O Allah! Teach me from it that which I am ignorant of and remind me with it that which I was made to forget; I ask You by Your mercy, for You are the Most Merciful, to grant me its recitation during the hours of night and day in the form which pleases You’”. The people asked: “O Prophet of Allah! Should we learn (i.e., memorize) these words’. He replied, “Yes! Everyone who hears this should memorize it”. (Ahmad)

– Surround yourself with a good and righteous company.

– Recreate and do that in halal ways, which are many.

– If unmarried and can marry, get married.

– Join your kin and give charity.

– Stay busy with helping the poor, sick, handicapped, elderly, orphan, incarcerated, and all of those who are in hardship.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.