Medical ethics within the Islamic tradition and the specific issues in the modern scientific era
Dr. Abroo Aman Andrabi
Human life is considered as an invaluable gift from God, and should therefore be respected and protected. This is evident in many verses of the Holy Quran, one of the most important being: "If anyone slays a human being, unless it be [in punishment] for murder or spreading corruption on earth, it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind."(Holy Qur’an 5:32) This verse has ultimately fueled the interest in Islamic bioethics and within it exists, the two basic principles which ensure that the sanctity of human life is preserved: § Saving a life is obligatory. § Unjustified taking of a life is classified as murder and, thus, forbidden. Though Muslims recognize and maintain that God is the ultimate source of life (Holy Qur’an 2:258), the Qur’an illustrates that God has instilled in them reason, free will, the ability to distinguish between what is morally acceptable and what is unacceptable (Holy Qur’an 91:8) while also supplying the provisions of nature (Holy Qur’an 45:13). With these things, Muslims are held responsible for maintaining health and preventing illness. In the event that illness occurs, Muslims are obliged to seek medical treatment in a manner which is Islamically appropriate and permissible. Specific issues addressed in the modern scientific era are Genetic Manipulation, Assisted Conception, Adoption, Parental Screening and Termination of Pregnancy, abortion, fertility treatments, family planning, euthanasia, genetic research, cloning, stem cell research, Child Abuse, Disciplining, and Autonomy, Postmortem Examinations and Organ Transplantation, Issues in Boi- Technical Reproduction and many other issues. Therefore, in this paper I have simplified and highlighted certain key teachings in Islamic medical ethics and explored their applications. Though these are introductory, but I hope that the insights gained will aid medical practitioners of Indian society to better understand their Muslim patients and deliver care that pays due respect to their beliefs.