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Can Men Give Kiss of Life to Female Drowning Victims?

28 August, 2022
Q Dear scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. Is it permissible for a man to give the “kiss of life” (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) to a female drowning victim? Jazakum Allah khayran.

Answer

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:

  • The “kiss of life” is a means of resuscitation in cases of heart failure and stoppage of breath for any reason. Such a method requires breathing air into the victim’s mouth.
  • Therefore, the kiss of life is impermissible unless necessary, whether the rescuer and the victim are of the same sex or not.
  • Accordingly, it is permissible for a man to give a female victim mouth-to-mouth resuscitation only if there is no qualified female to rescue her; otherwise, it is impermissible.

In The Juristic Medical EncyclopediaDr. Ahmad Muhammad Kan`an, the Head of the Infectious Diseases Department affiliated to the Primary Medical Care Administration in the Eastern Region in Saudi Arabia, states,

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The kiss of life, or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, is, in fact, different from romantic kissing. It is an innovated medical method of first aid used for rescuing those suffering from heart failure or breath stoppage for any reason.

The kiss of life is given by taking a deep breath to fill one’s lungs, fixing one’s mouth tightly on that of the victim and blowing into his/her mouth while holding the victim’s nose and pressing his/her chest.

The whole process is repeated until the victim starts breathing again.

The kiss of life is legally permissible because it is a means of resuscitation. Yet, it goes without saying that it is impermissible unless necessary.

So, if it is certain that the victim has already died, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation becomes impermissible, for there is no necessity in such a case.

On the other hand, the rescuer should observe the known medical ethics and rules while giving the kiss of life. Thus, the rescuer should give it with neither lust nor pleasure. He should bear in mind, while trying to rescue a human’s life, the statement of Almighty Allah when He says: “who saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind” (Al-Ma’idah 5:32)

Allah Almighty knows best.

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