Does Islam allow the stigmatization of HIV/AIDS patients? Is it allowed for Muslims to treat AIDS patients differently than other people just because they have AIDS?

Religious Authority: 
Sano Koutoub Moustapha
Fatwa Question or Essay Title: 
Does Islam allow the stigmatization of HIV/AIDS patients? Is it allowed for Muslims to treat AIDS patients differently than other people just because they have AIDS?

Thanks for your important question, and we earnestly implore Allah to increase our knowledge about Islam and to guide us all to the best of deeds in this life and to the best reward in the hereafter.

Generally speaking, stigmatizing others and gloating over their misfortunes are not the traits of true and committed Muslims. That is why a Muslim should avoid offending the feelings of those who are afflicted by diseases.

Responding to the question, Dr. Sano Koutoub Moustapha, professor of Fiqh and its Principles, International Islamic University, Malaysia, states the following:
 

A Muslim is recommended to believe in the destiny and the will of Allah. At the same time, he is obliged to take precautions and measures in his or her life. In other words, he or she should not harm himself or herself intentionally.

In this regard, the permission or prohibition of treating AIDS patients differently depends on the consequences of the treatment in terms of whether it will cause any problem to the other person.

However, a Muslim should not be obvious in offending the feelings of those people who are suffering from this disease. God knows better and may He protect all Muslims from this terrible disease.

Moreover, the fatwa issued by IOL (Islam Online) Shariah researchers, adds: Stigmatizing and gloating over AIDS patients cannot be the trait of the Muslim who lives according to Islamic manners. A true Muslim can�t feel joy when he sees others� misfortunes whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims.

Instead of gloating over the misfortune of those who are afflicted by AIDS, we should help them get proper care and treatment. Instead of stigmatizing them for carrying or having a disease for which they may not be responsible, why don�t we make da'awa (summoning others to heed the call of God to Islam) for them? Why don�t we earnestly ask Allah to shower them with His mercy?

Once stigmatized and severely injured by the people of At-Taif, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) refused to pray against them although his Lord gave him the choice to take revenge for the injustice committed against him. To all this, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) declared, �No, I shall beseech Allah to make from among their progeny a generation of true believers!� More than that, the Prophet prayed for them to be guided and for their unjust acts to be forgiven.

Above all, gloating over others� misfortune is the manner of the unbelievers and hypocrites. Referring to this, Allah Almighty says, [If a lucky chance befall you, it is evil unto them, and if disaster strike you they rejoice thereat. But if ye persevere and keep from evil their guile will never harm you. Lo! Allah is Surrounding what they do.) (Aal-Imran 3: 120)

Based on all that is mentioned above, we can conclude that it is not permissible to treat AIDS patients differently just because they have AIDS. Instead, they should be treated kindly and given whatever medical treatment and care they need. Allah Almighty knows best