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Hijrah, Immigration: the Historical-Religious Setting

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Islam is a missionary political religion, an ever expending faith that has no borders and no political limits. It is intended to be the universal hegemonic religion for all mankind, by force of Jihad; by propagation of Da’wah; and by mass immigration, and by demography of high birthrate.

The issue of Hijrah in the Islamic Sharī‘ah is clear: it is forbidden for Muslims to leave Islamic lands and to reside in non-Islamic territories. This is according to the Hadīth:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: Allah’s Apostle said, “There is no Hijrah [from Mecca to Medina] after the Conquest [of Mecca], but Jihad and good intention remain.

That means, according to Islamic exegesis, Muslims cannot leave Islamic territory and cannot live in non-Islamic states and under non-Islamic rule. As long as there is an Islamic owned territory where Islamic law is the dominant, Muslims must live in it and must not leave it. This is according to the Islamic verse (Sûrat al-Nisā’, 4:97): “… angels will say: was not Allah’s earth large enough for you to migrate…?”

Islamic exegetes translate these verses that Muhammad had forbid Muslims to live under non-Islamic rule. Muslims must leave territories in which the Islamic law is not the supreme and Islam is not ruling there, and migrate to Islamic territory as soon as possible. This commandment was never abolished, and he who violates it is considered being Murtad, who deserves a death penalty.

All Islamic Schools of Jurisprudence (Madhāhib) agree to this and in fact could not give other legal ruling, since it is anchored in the Qur’an.

Ibn Kathir, one of the most distinguished and highly influential Qur’an exegete, explains: “One who remains with polytheists at a place and lives with them, he is like them.” Hijrah is not the only guarantee to Islamic honor, liberty, and peace, but it is a guarantee the Muslims will not assimilate among the infidels.

For Zamachshari, when a person has no capability to establish his Dīn, Hijrah, moving back to the Islamic state, becomes an obligatory duty. This is also the attitude al-Tabari, who does not use the word Mamnû’ (forbidden), but Harām (religious taboo) as to clearly indicate what is the punishment of living in a non-Islamic state. Ibn Rushd insisted that Muslims are not allowed to live under non-Islamic rule, not only because the Sharī‘ah does function there (the main of the Hanafī School); and not only the Sharī‘ah must always be the supreme law (the main of the Shāfi‘ī School); but because it is impossible that an infidel rules over a Muslim. A Muslim that freely immigrates to non-Islamic territory and allows a Kāfir to rule over him is in fact Murtad, and his penalty is death

al-Mawardi, though he agrees with other exegetes, also adds to the issue as follows: a Muslim can live in Dār al-Kufr only in two cases. One, he had kept up struggle for the dominance of Islam to convert the un-Islamic system into an Islamic one. Second, having no chance of leaving the land he lives in a dislike and disrespect situation. The reason is that Islam is destined to rule and conquer and not to be ruled and be conquered by others.

Abu al-A‘la al-Mawdudi has the same opinion: a Muslim can live in Dār al-Kufr only if he makes all efforts for the predominance of Islam in that land (Iqāmat al-Dīn), or he lives under compulsion of tyranny and corruption. In all other cases he must live only in Dār al-Islām. Hijrah is complementary to Jihad and helps to establish the “rule of Allah,” the Sharī‘ah, only through the Khilāfah system.

Historically, the Hijrah was in fact the flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, as the Meccans made their decision to execute Muhammad and his Sahābah. However, Islamic religious eschatology declares that the Hijrah It was a blessing act deliberately scheduled, decided, and executed by Allah for spreading his religion by means of expansion and occupation (Futûhāt) of the infidels’ territories. It was the command of Allah, promising the Muslims’ victory, a date that marked an essential stage for the establishment of the Islamic Ummah (Sûrat al-Nûr, 24:55). The Hijrah has become a cosmological transformation, an important factor in the process of consolidation and empowerment of the Islamic community.

For Islamic exegetes the Hijrah of Muhammad was the end of an era of weakness and marked a new beginning of success and victory. It was so important that the decision of Umar to mark the Islamic calendar beginning from the year 622 was accepted without any objection. The Hijrah was for the sake of the religion of Allah and the establishment of the Islamic Ummah to spread the religion all over the world. Therefore, the Hijrah is considered to be a Jihad for the sake of religion.

The Islamic eschatology declares: Medina was conquered by Hijrah and Mecca by the arms of Jihad. The first has strike the roots and the seeds of the Ummah, and the other has flourished its fruits worldwide. The first was the basis for development and the other was the pillar of manifestation and institutionalization. The first was the spirit that brought the existence while the other declared its triumph and victory worldwide. Therefore, Muslims must do their utmost to assimilate and integrate the infidels to Islam.

Muhammad forbade his followers to travel or to immigrate to a non-Muslim country: “I am innocent of any Muslim that lives amongst the Kuffār.” “Whoever collegiate or aggregate with non-Muslims and lives with them, he is one of them.” In the face of such a clearly defined prohibition, one must wonder how modern-day immigration is so widespread among the Muslims. Why is it that so many Muslims have chosen to live in the lands of the infidels, and do not return to the Islamic territory as soon as they have the opportunity? Do the economic-social burdens overcome the religious commandments?

Islamic exegesis and contemporary Muslim Imāms solve this issue as follows: it is forbidden to live in non-Islamic territory, in Dār al-Kufr, and staying there must be only temporary. Therefore, integration and assimilation of Muslim immigrants among the host states are forbidden. Yet, the sole reason for staying in Dar al-Kufr is to make all efforts to bring the non-Islamic territory under Islamic rule. If not, Muslims must do their best to leave back to Dār al-Islām territory.

This approach is elaborated in Surat al-Nisā’, 4:100:

“And whosoever leaves his country in duty to Allah, will find many places of refuge and abundance on the earth. And he who leaves his home and immigrate in the way of Allah and his messenger and death overtake him is sure to receive his reward from Allah…”

Khālid al-Mājid, one of contemporary influential Islamic exegetes, declares that it is a must upon Muslims to migrate from Dār al-Kufr to Dār al-Islām. However, it is lawful for the Muslim to stay in Dār al-Kufr under the following conditions: there is a valid reason to stay, as the necessity of an appropriate Hijrah; if he cannot find any Muslim country to migrate to, or he is persecuted there; and when he stays in Dār al-Kufr for a short period of time: to receive medical care, or business relations, or for education, or officially, serving his country as a diplomat. Under these, Hijrah is acceptable, and still the Muslim believer must remain faithful to Islam and to his brothers, and under any circumstance he should not favor his relation with the Kuffār over his Muslim brothers and Islamic belief.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih al-Munajid has issued a Fatwah: “It is not permissible for the Muslims to attend the festivals of the Mushrikīn (those who associate other gods with Allah)… Do not enter upon the Mushrikīn in their churches on the day of their festival, for divine wrath is descending upon them… Whosoever settles in the land of the non-Muslims and celebrates their new year’s festival and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.”

In answering to the question: “Is it allowed to take the nationality of the US or a European country?” Muhammad Taqi al-Uthmani, of the Majlis Mujma’ al-Fiqh al-Islāmi, answered in a Fatwah: “Taking permanent residence in a non-Muslim country, adopting their nationality, and making it one’s country of residence as its citizen is a matter of apostasy. He would not be regarded as a Muslim and is liable of being declared a Kāfir…” The best solution is the Muslim invites the Kuffār to Islam. Then, his stay in Dār al-Kufr is not only permissible, but he will be rewarded for the merit of it.

Travelling to the land of the Kuffār is impermissible (la Yajûz) unless two conditions are met: (a) that the person has knowledge (‘Ilm) to repel doubts (Shûbbahāt); (b) that he keeps his faith (Imān) to prevent him from falling into lustful desires (Shahawāt); and he keeps a strong animosity toward the Kuffār. If these conditions are not met, Muslims are not allowed to travel due to the Fitnah that exists there. Residing in Dār al-Kufr is absolutely forbidden as it involves mixing with the infidels. Muslims in a country that is not governed according to the Sharī‘ah should do their utmost to bring it under Islamic law. It is Bid‘ah not to call for and to work steadily for the implementation of the Sharī‘ah.

This also marks the ultimate message that integration and assimilation of Muslims among the host states in Dār al-Kufr are forbidden. This commandment is abiding: as long as there are infidel territories, as Dar al-Kufr exists on earth, the injunction of Hijrah continues to be obligatory up to Day of Judgment. The basis of this methodology is the Hadīth related to Muhammad:

“I charge you with five of what Allah has charged me with: to assemble; to listen; to obey; to immigrate; and to wage Jihad for the sake of Allah.”

The first three of the five commands are part of Imān, belief: to assemble means to join together the Muslim community, the Ummah, to work together for the Islamic cause, rest upon the principle of Tawhīd (Sûrat al-Baqarah, 2:255; Sûrat al-An‘ām, 6:103; Sûrat al-Rûm, 30:26–7; Sûrat al-Hadīd, 57:30). The other two, to listen and to obey means absolutely and wholeheartedly believe in Allah and his messenger, that is, obedience and submission (Sûrat ‘Imrān, 3:62; Sûrat al-Nisā’, 4:171; Sûrat al-Mā’idah, 5:73; Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:31; Sûrat Tā Hā, 20:8; Sûrat Hashr, 59:22). Muhammad, who was sent as the final prophet to all mankind, is the perfect model all believers must obey and imitate (Sûrat al-Ahzāb, 33:21; Sûrat al-Anfāl, 8:58; Sûrat al-Hujurāt, 49:22). This is Sunnat Rasûl Allāh, and Sirā al-Mustaqīm believers must follow. The other two, Hijrah and Jihad, are commanded for materializing the interests of Islam, to bring about Islam’s victory. To Immigrate and to wage Jihad for the sake of Allah are tightly connected with the best belief:

“Surely those who believed and immigrated and fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah, these hope for mercy of Allah… (Sûrat al-Baqarah, 2:218).

Surely those who believed and immigrated and fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah with their property and their souls, and those who gave shelter and helped — these are guardians of each other…” (Sûratal-Anfāl, 8:72).

“And (as for) those who believed and immigrated and fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah, and those who gave shelter and helped, these are the believers truly…” (Sûratal-Anfāl, 8:74).

“And (as for) those who believed afterward and immigrated and fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah with you, they are of you; and the possessors of relationships are nearer to each other in the ordinance of Allah; surely Allah knows all things…” (Sûratal-Anfāl, 8:75).

“Those who believed and immigrated and fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah with their property and their souls are much higher in rank with Allah…” (Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:20).

“Surely your Lord, with respect to those who immigrated after they are persecuted, then fought in Jihad in the way of Allah and are patient…” (Sûrat al-Nahl, 16:110).

This is the Islamic trilogy: belief (Imān) that leads to immigration (Hijrah) that is accomplished by holy war against the infidels (Jihād Fī-Sabīlillāh). Before Hijrah, Islam had to adopt patience and express the believers’ faith through Salāh and Zakāt; while after the Hijrah, Islam ordained for Jihad and conquests of their enemies. The primary purpose of Jihad is to create a world order characterized by total submission to Allah through Imān. These three are the components for spreading the message to establish the Islamic Khilāfah worldwide. From these verses, “those who believed” (Âmanû); are “those who immigrated” (Hājarû); and are those who “fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah” (Jāhadû). Belief, immigration, and conquests are the stepping stones for the expansion of Islam as the only legitimate lawful religion to the entire world.

Imān, Hijrah, and Jihad are tightly interconnected: Jihad is not complete without Hijrah; and Hijrah and Jihad are not complete without Imān. Each can be the pivotal goal: the primary goal of Imān is the establishment of the Islamic Ummah that rules over the world, and it is achieved by Hijrah and Jihad. It is also true that the primary goal of the Hijrah is the establishment of a world Islamic Ummah, and it is accomplished by Imān and Jihad. That is also to say that Jihad is the supreme means to bring about the Islamic world hegemony, and it is assisted by Hijrah and Imān. As Imān is basic and obligatory, so are Hijrah and Jihad. Thereby, Imān is a prelude to Hijrah, as Hijrah is a prelude to Jihad. Without Imān, Hijrah has no meaning, and without Hijrah, Jihad has no meaning. It can also be said that the aims and the objectives of the Hijrah are to revive Imān by performing Jihad, as to establish Islam’s authority in the world.

The Islamic confession ultimately states that humanity and all its governments belong to Allah and his messenger (Sûrat al-A‘rāf, 7:158; Sûrat al-Anbiyā’, 21:107). Muslim exegetes state without reference that Muhammad declared, “migration cannot be ended as long as there is Kufr in the world.” In the Ahādīth it is reiterated:

“Hijrah will continue until the sun rises from the West. Hijrah would not be stopped until repentance is cut off, and repentance will not be cut off until the sun rises from the West.”

“Hijrah ceases only when a place, a community or a country has been won over, and Fath (occupation) has been achieved. Only then, there is no Hijrah.”

As long as the enemy resists Islam and Islam is not regarded the only supreme political religious system by humanity, Hijrah continues to exit. It becomes a must by displaying and practicing the religion openly. This is the basis of the Muslims’ mass street praying in the main streets, a phenomenon that is known only in Dār al-Kufr, in Western countries. This is an absolutely 100% political declaration and it has nothing to do with religious belief, that is, “we are here and we come to dominate.” Moreover, Muslims in the West can perform Jihad and Da‘wah as a means of occupation only by multiplying the numbers of Muslim immigrants, by Hijrah. The power of Islam cannot be executed if the Muslims are few, without increase in numbers and without the arrival of more new Muslims, as it was proven all along Islamic history of occupations. As there can be no empowerment of the religion without Hijrah, Islam cannot be demonstrated in Dār al-Kufr if the Muslims were not to immigrate and settle down there as a planned strategy.

Here is the basis of Islamic demography as a product of immigration and birthrate. The emigration and settlement of Muslims in the West is a religious duty, forming and reorganizing the Muslims to establish an Islamic community, the Ummah. In due time its role will be ushering in and enforcing the Sharī‘ah as the only legitimate way of life. This is the primary objective of Islamic mission to the peoples of Dār al-Kufr, to the infidel’s states, to be occupied and be Islamized from within.

Muhammad Abd al-Khaliq recommends establishment and consolidation of Muslim communities in Dār al-Kufr by huge immigration and at the same time by practicing loyalty and allegiance to the Islamic Ummah alone. The immigrants must not accept the system of laws of the Kuffār and not to accommodate in the host societies. They must commence with the establishment of mosques everywhere; and practice their public prayers in the main streets, as a visible display of the Islamic power. The most important mission is to educate and indoctrinate the young generation born in Dār al-Kufr to follow the Sharī‘ah and by learning the Arabic language as a top priority. At the same time Muslims must produce inroads into the affairs of the host communities to weaken them from within and to facilitate their conversion to Islam, using Da‘wah and Jihad.

This is exactly how Muslim immigrants act and behave while residing in the West. Hijrah, in concert with military conquest of Jihad comprised the backbone of Islamic expansionism through history. It was in essence the Arabization and Islamization processes that have brought Islam to become dominant from Western Asia to Spain. It has transformed the Middle East, for example, from Christian-majority to Arab-Islamic dominance. Today, Hijrah is designed to subvert and subdue the non-Muslim societies and thus pave the way for eventually Islamization of these societies. Indeed, Hijrah has become one of the three Islamic strategies to occupy the world and at the same time one of the main important steps in the process of spreading Islam as the only victorious political religion.

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New Social Compact

Will COVID 19 further exacerbate xenophobia and populism?

Gary Rynhart

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Refugees and migrants gather at the Pazarkule border crossing near Edirne, Turkey, hoping to travel into Greece. © UNICEF

The onset of COVID 19 saw a significant rise in racism and xenophobia.  From racist incidents against Africans in Guangzhou to anti-Asian racism to just about everywhere. 

This comes after a decade of rising xenophobia driven by the fallout from the global financial crisis of 2008. Duarte, Trump, Erdogan, Bolsonoro, Johnson, Xi Jinping and Putin all traded successfully in these waters.  Last year the United Nation’s Secretary-General António Gutiérrez formed a special UN team to combat hate speech. As an example of the growing hate discourse he cited ‘how the debate on human mobility, for example, has been poisoned with false narratives linking refugees and migrants to terrorism and scapegoating them for many of society’s ills.’ The fear now is that as the global economy enters a prolonged period of economic recession this will create a fertile environment to extenuate further xenophobia along with its populist political cheerleaders.

2020 also saw the Black Lives Matters movement emerge into the political and social discourse in what seems like an epoch defining way. Add it all together and it seems that we have reached a tipping point of global racial discord and distrust of the ‘other’.

History can be instructive here. The onset of the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920 was bookended eleven years later by a global financial crash in 1929. The exact opposite sequence has now happened. The global financial crisis of 2008 has been bookended by COVID 19, also eleven years later in 2019.

This disrupted sequence may actually prove significant. The first (financial) crisis in 2008 ushered in many populist politicians; the second crisis (health) exposed them. Many of the most badly affected countries, as a consequence of poor crisis management, come from this pool of populist administrations.

The economic consequences of the shutdowns are already playing out and more pain will follow through into 2021, but electorates and populations do have the near history hindsight of populist promises post the 2008 financial crisis to consider. This may well in time steer populations away from the same fiery promises of nationalist exceptionalism and sunlit uplands.

Some commentators think the advent of vaccine nationalism will provide political deliverance for these same populist leaders. Yet if countries with a large number of cases lag in obtaining the vaccine and other medicines, the disease will continue to disrupt global supply chains and, as a result, economies around the world. That is in nobody’s interest.

Additionally, the assertion that xenophobia and discrimination are all on an upward trajectory can be contested. For example, according to a 2019 Pew Research Centre survey of 18 countries, in 1994 63 per cent of US citizens felt immigrants were a burden on the country. Fast forward 25 years and the figures are reversed. By a ratio of two to one, US citizens are pro-migration.  According to the same Pew survey, majorities in top migrant destination countries, which host half of the world’s migrants, say immigrants strengthen their countries. Majorities in the UK, France, Spain, Australia, Canada, Sweden and Germany all agree with the statement ‘migrants make my country stronger’.

There is also a generational shift in play. According to the results from the 2017 ‘Global Shapers Survey’ by the World Economic Forum, for a large majority of young people, identity is not about region, geography, religion or ethnicity; they simply see themselves as ‘human’. This is also the most popular answer choice across all regions. Majorities in the US among Generation Z (born after 2000) and Generation Y (born after 1981) say increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the US is a good thing for society. In 1958, only four per cent of Americans approved of inter-racial marriage, according to Gallup polling. Support only crossed the 50-per-cent threshold in 1997. It has now reached 87 per cent.

All this is has been feeding into the calculus of global companies who are becoming unlikely champions in the fight against xenophobia.

According to a 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 69 per cent of employees who believe their senior-management teams are diverse see their working environments as motivating and stimulating. And 78 per cent of Millennials who say their top teams are diverse report that their organizations perform strongly in generating profits. Firms seen as diverse and perceived to have a diverse workforce are rated highly by Gen Y and Z. They want to work for them and buy their stuff.

In many ways, COVID 19 will probably push the private sector further in the diversity and inclusion direction, although the need to do this is in a more structured way (a recent global survey found only 35% of companies gathered data on company diversity).

Diversity particularly in decision-making brings multiple perspectives to bear on problems. This is not just corporate guff – this stuff really matters.   There is plenty of empirical evidence to back all this up. In the 2008–09 global financial crisis, banks with a higher share of women on their boards were more stable than their peers and the evidence suggest that banks run by women might be less vulnerable in a crisis.

This is not to downplay the pervasive threat that xenophobia presents. It continues to impact on millions of people’s daily lives, often in most distressing ways. Migrants are still being washed up on Greek beaches while the well-heeled look the other way.

Yet, there is plenty of counter evidence for optimism.  Populist leaders have been found out. Greater global connectivity is helping create greater awareness of different perspectives, views, cultures and ways of doing things. Many Front line workers in hospitals treating the victims of COVID 19 (along with supermarket workers and cleaners) are migrants leading to a greater appreciation of their role in societies.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell remarked that collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.

With so much talk of ‘herd immunity’ COVID 19 has clearly demonstrated  that we are all in fact part of the same herd.

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Euthanasia, Living Will and The Analysis In India

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Euthanasia, i.e. mercy killing, refers to the act of painlessly putting to death a person who is either very old or very ill to prevent further pain and suffering. It is basically a practice that is done on people suffering from incurable diseases or incapacitating physical disorder wherein they are allowed to die by the withdrawal of artificial life support system or withholding of medical treatment. On 9th March 2018, the Supreme Court of India, in a historical decision, legalised passive euthanasia and the right of terminally ill persons to give advance directives for refusal of medical treatment. Therefore, the concept of ‘living will’ was recognised which essentially refers to the document that the person writes in a normal state of mind seeking passive euthanasia when he reaches an irreversible vegetative state or when he gets terminally ill. For a comprehensive understanding of this whole topic, we have demarcated between different types of ‘mercy killing’ in the next section. Also, we will discuss the concerned judgement in detail not forgetting to mention the backdrop that led to the much-anticipated move. Additionally, we will try to summarise the arguments of both the supporters as well as the dissenters of the move before finally moving to the conclusion.

Active Euthanasia, Passive Euthanasia, Indirect Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Active Euthanasia refers to the deliberate act of ending the life of a terminally ill or incurable patient through the administration of a legal drug or injection by the physician. Passive Euthanasia is the withdrawal or withholding of artificial life support system when the patient requests to do so or when prolonging of his life is termed futile. Indirect Euthanasia means the provision of treatment with an aim to reduce pain and suffering, but which eventually speeds up the process of death. And, assisted suicide (also called physician-assisted suicide) refers to the situation when the doctor intentionally and knowingly provides the patient with the knowledge and/or means to commit suicide. The laws regarding euthanasia differ throughout the world. In countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, euthanasia has been legal since 2002. The practice of ‘Assisted Suicide’ is legal in European countries of Switzerland and Germany. In England, both euthanasia, as well as assisted suicide, are illegal. In most of the U.S., euthanasia is illegal but physician-assisted suicide has been legalised in ten of its states. In India, passive euthanasia was legalised two years back. The next section discusses the same in detail.

Euthanasia in India: The Aruna Shanbaug Case and the Common Cause Judgement

The case of Aruna Shanbaug has been quite instrumental in changing the euthanasia laws in India. Ms. Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug was an Indian nurse who in 1973, was sexually assaulted by a ward boy in the hospital as a result of which she went into a vegetative state. In 2010, a plea was filed by activist Ms. Pinki Virani before the Supreme Court seeking euthanasia for Ms. Aruna Shanbaug. The Court took up the plea and finally, on March 7, 2011, delivered the historical judgement. Ms. Virani’s plea got rejected but at the same time, broad guidelines were issued legalising passive euthanasia in India. It was held that the decision to withdraw life support must be taken by parents, spouse or other close relatives in the absence of all of whom, the ‘next’ friend would be entrusted with the responsibility. In this particular case, the hospital staff that had been taking care of Ms. Aruna for years was called the ‘next friend’ and not Ms. Virani. In 2015, Ms. Aruna Shanbaug, after 42 years of constant suffering died of pneumonia at the age of 66 but not before playing a vital role in influencing upcoming euthanasia-related laws in India.

In a separate move, ‘Common Cause’, an NGO working for people’s rights, approached the Supreme Court under Art. 32[1] of the Constitution in the year 2005, wherein they prayed for the declaration that ‘Right to Die with Dignity’ be made a fundamental right under Art. 21 [2] i.e. Right to Life. Additionally, they requested the court to give directions to the government with regards to the execution of living wills in case a person gets terminally ill. The argument was that subjecting terminally ill people or the people suffering from chronic diseases to cruel treatments denied them the right to live with dignity. On February 25, 2014, a 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by the then CJI P. Sathasivam started final hearing in the case wherein it came out that the previous judgements given in the case of Aruna Shanbaug v. Union of India (2011)[3], as well as the case of Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab (1996)[4], were inconsistent. The matter was then referred to a 5 Judge Constitutional Bench. And finally, on March 9, 2018, in a historical decision, CJI Deepak Mishra led bench recognised the concept of ‘living will’ that was to be drawn by terminally ill patients for passive euthanasia and also laid down comprehensive guidelines for the same. Hence, the ‘Right to Die with Dignity’ was held to be a fundamental right.[5]

Euthanasia- a good or a bad thing?

The proponents of Euthanasia argue that allowing an incurable patient to die will alleviate the constant pain and suffering that one has to go through when in the vegetative state. The other point which they talk about is that ‘right to die with dignity’ is a matter of personal choice and no-one else should be allowed to interfere in the patient’s decision. It has also been said time and again that timely executed euthanasia could also relieve the financial burden on the family of the patient which in case of absence of the law, could exert a lot of financial burden on poor households.

Moreover, coming to the major points that the opponents say, the fact that the law on euthanasia could be misused is always talked about. It is argued that children of old and ill parents would certainly want to neglect their parents when they are needed the most. This does not fit with the kind of social and cultural environment that we have in India, where parents are supposed to be provided with care when they get too old. Also, the opponents lay emphasis on the sanctity of life and reckon that accepting euthanasia would lead to a reduction in society’s respect for life.

Benefits of recognising Living Will

Recognition of Living will indeed have some good impact. The concept essentially requiresa person to write the will as an advance directive when he is capable of making a sensible decision. And, thus, this rules out the possibility of the situation when the patient, being too ill, is not able to make an informed and competitive decision especially so in the case of Mentally Challenged patients and the patients who are incoma. Also, the living will, to much extent, would relieve the moral burden from the family member who actually takes steps for euthanasia, for ultimately, he would be fulfilling the informed wish of the patient only. Passive Euthanasia could sometimes, in exceptional circumstances, lead to the allegations of murder so the existence of a living will have a role to play in preventing such situations. In and all, the legalisation of ‘living will’goes a long way in effective implementation of the laws of euthanasia in India.

Concluding Remarks

In the course of this article, we tried to explain with clarity the concepts of euthanasia as well as ‘living will’. We listed out the arguments of both the proponents as well as the opponents of euthanasia and also mentioned how the ‘living will’ is going to have a positive impact. Giving due importance to the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Common Cause Case, the long-anticipated Fundamental Right to Die with Dignity has finally been accepted. The legalisation of Passive Euthanasia, along with the recognition of ‘living will’ would make a lot of difference in how the severely ill patients meet their death. Having a dignified death is equally important as having a dignified life, so in that respect, the laws on euthanasia would come out to be of vital importance. As far as the living will is concerned, it is definitely going to simplify the entire process of euthanasia. In the end, we could just hope that the laws are able to achieve the desired objectives.


[1]The Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 32.

[2]The Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 21.

[3] Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug v. Union of India, (2011) 4 SCC 454.

[4]Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab, (1996) 2 SCC 648.

[5] Common Cause (A Regd. Society) v Union of India and Anr, 2018 5 SCC 1.

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Reimagining Governance after Covid-19

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What will it take to rescue the global economy in the wake of COVID-19? Are adjustments, improvements or amendments enough? Haven’t we done this before? Maybe it’s time to rethink this with a mindset, not of ‘starting again’ which would tend to invite ‘again’ thinking, but instead to begin with a completely blank slate – no preconceptions – just goals.

 I suggested a new paradigm, a total reset.

Change most often happens incrementally, over decades, if not centuries and many historical truths define the present long past their relevance. For one, the fundamental principles of our global economy still rest on the agrarian and industrial revolutions. Tilling the soil and staffing factories remain the foundations of today’s economic planning – despite the fact that we have well entered the digital, automated world.

Another of these historical, yet increasingly outdated conventionsis the pervasiveness of male leadership.

The position of women has evolved incrementally and at best- unevenly – throughout the world. Although women comprise half the population, the world’s political, economic and social systems continue to be based on designs stemming from and reflecting men’s nature. 

All things being equal, it is very costly to knock down the entirety of something and start from scratch. Perhaps fortunately, the devastation caused by COVID-19 is happening at a time of acute and increasing awareness of the imbalance in society. This offers a rare, first-ever opportunity to revisit the definition of effective.

That is whyit make sense to re-architect these systems now, imbuing governance with a mix of qualities of success that are peculiar to women as well as those of men.An op-ed in the British Medical Journal recently noted that to avoid ‘groupthink’ and blind spots, policy decisions must include representatives with diverse backgrounds.  But during the outbreak of covid-19 the male-led governments of the UK and Sweden relied mainly on epidemiological modeling by internal advisors. Few channels were open for dissenting views. By contrast, Merkel looked to outside sources, beyond epidemiology to medical providers, and as far as South Korea’s successful testing and isolation procedures.

Two notable characteristics of leadership of women leaders during Covid-19 were inclusiveness and compassion: embracing diversity in political institutions and empowering society. In the battle against corona this meant transparency, clarity of responsibility with everything visible – not behind the scenes. It meant swiftly finding ways to allow the populace to become stakeholders in the solution. It included appealing to the citizenry with an executive demeanor that conveyed commitment and a sense that there was a consistent plan of action that demanded civic responsibility while at the same time, leaving the people with a great deal of discretion and personal influence over their own experience. 

Compassion informed a compelling vision presented with warmth. 

Some like Peter Huang of the University of Colorado Law School, have already noted the most important leadership lesson of COVID-19:put more women in charge. But is that enough when the system itself is informed by and imbued with male characteristics, language, energy?

Societal norms are defined and shaped by millennia of men at the helm.  Thus most women remain compelled to conform to the existing framework, created by and for men, to attain and hold their positions. In most cases, that means; act like a man. Adapt to systems where leaders are expected to be aggressive, domineering and cut-throat.

The devastation wreaked by COVID-19 shows that the existing framework is no longer relevant, opening an opportunity to invent something totally new. The virus has created a moment where we can begin to see the possibilities devoid of the limitations of our old ways. The time has come to expand the definition of what is effective and reimagine measures for governance based on entirely new systems that emerge from a cooperative process of creation. For the first time in the history of humanity, society can be built on foundations rising from a fully cooperative process between men and women.  With a clean slate and a balanced – male and female, yin and yang -defined approach, we have the opportunity to do it right.

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