Praise be to Allah.
It is permissible to use morphine to relieve pain in cases of necessity.
What is meant by necessity is when the pain is too difficult to bear, and there is no permissible (halaal) painkiller that could be used for that purpose.
The scholars of the Permanent Committee were asked: What is the ruling on using pethidine (Demerol) or morphine, which are medicines that have an intoxicating effect, in cases of necessity or need?
They replied: If there is no other known permissible substance that could be used to reduce the patient’s pain except these two, then it is permissible to use either of them to relieve pain in cases of necessity. This applies so long as using it will not result in greater or equal harm, such as becoming addicted to its use.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Ghadyaan, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Qa‘ood.
End quote from Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah (25/77).
The basic principle is that it is not permissible to use medicine that causes intoxication, such as marijuana for example; rather we may confirm that no substance that causes intoxication can bring healing. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was asked about making medicine from alcohol, and he said: “It is a disease and is not a remedy.” Narrated by Muslim (1984) and Ahmad (18859).
But using this intoxicating substance for the purpose of relieving pain is permissible, if the following conditions are met:
- The patient’s need for that reaches the level of necessity.
- A trustworthy doctor testifies that the intoxicating drug is beneficial for the patient.
- Use of the drug is limited to the amount that will meet the necessity.
- This drug should be the only option available, meaning that there is no permissible type of medicine, or medicine that is less haraam, that could be used in its place.
- This drug should not cause the patient any harm that is greater than or equal to the harm for which it is being used. One of the greatest kinds of harm to the patient is his becoming addicted to using the drug.
With regard to medicine containing gelatin, the matter is subject to further discussion, depending on the type of gelatin used and whether it is of plant or animal origin.
If it is from an animal source, then the question is: is it from a halaal animal that was slaughtered in the prescribed manner; or from maytah (lit. “dead meat”), an animal that was not slaughtered in the prescribed manner; or from an animal that it is not permissible to eat, such as a pig?
We have discussed the ruling on that in many answers, which may be summed up as follows:
- With regard to haraam gelatin, it is not permissible to put it in medicine.
- If it is in fact put in medicine, then if it has become transformed (istihaalah) into another substance during the manufacturing process, and there is no detectable trace of the haraam substance in terms of taste, colour or smell, then there is nothing wrong with using the medicine that contains it.
- If it is a small amount that has been completely absorbed and left no trace in the medicine, then there is nothing wrong with taking the medicine in that case. In these two cases, it is permissible to sell the medicine and to prescribe it to patients.
It says in a statement of the Islamic Organisation for Medical Sciences – which researched the topic of Haraam and Impure Substances in Food and Medicine, with the participation of al-Azhar ash-Shareef, the Islamic Fiqh Council in Jeddah, the regional office of the World Health Organisation in Alexandria, and the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health, 22-24 Dhu’l-Hijjah 1415 AH/22-24 May 1995:
Istihaalah (process of transformation) means that the substance has turned into a different substance with different characteristics; this process turns an impure (najis) substance or a substance that is contaminated with impurity into a pure (taahir) substance, and turns a haraam substance into a halaal one.
Based on that, gelatin that is produced from the istihaalah of bones, skin and sinews of impure (najis) animals is pure (taahir) and it is permissible to eat it. End quote.
- If we assume that the haraam gelatin has remained as is, and is of a large quantity that has not been fully absorbed into the medicine, then it is not permissible to treat sickness with it or to prescribe it to the patient except in the case of extreme necessity, which is when there is no other medicine available.
Al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd as-Salaam (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It is permissible to treat sickness with impure substances (najaasaat) if there is no pure (taahir) substance that could be used instead, because the interests of well-being and good health are more important than the interest of avoiding impurity.
End quote from Qawaa‘id al-Ahkaam (1/95).
See the answer to question no. 175286.
And Allah knows best.