Islamic Biomedical Ethics: Principles and Application

Islamic Biomedical Ethics: Principles and Application

Sachedina A. Islamic Biomedical Ethics: Principles and Application. Oxford: University Press; 2009. Print ISBN-13: 9780195378504. DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195378504.001.0001

Abstract:This book undertakes to correlate practical ethical decisions in modern medical practice to principles and rules derived from Islamic juridical praxis and theological doctrines. This study links these rulings to the moral principles extracted from the normative religious texts and historically documented precedents. Western scholars of Islamic law have pointed out the importance of the historical approach in determining the rules and the juristic practices that were applied to the cases under consideration before the judicial opinions were issued within a specific social, economic, and political context. These decisions reflected aspects of intellectual as well as social history of the Muslim community engaged in making everyday life conform to the religious values. Ethical decisions are an important part of interpersonal relations in Islamic law. Practical guidance affecting all facets of individual and collective human life, have been provided under the general rules of “Public good” and “No harm, no harassment.” However, no judicial decision that claims to further public good is regarded authoritative without supporting documentation from the foundational sources, like the Qur‘an and the Sunna (the exemplary tradition of the Prophet). Hence, Muslim jurists, in order to infer fresh rulings about matters that were not covered by the existing precedents in the Qur‘an and the Sunna, undertook to develop rational stratagems to enable them to solve problems faced by the community. This intellectual activity led to the systematic formulation of the principles of Islamic jurisprudence, which has assumed unprecedented importance in connection with the distinct field of medical ethics in the Islamic world that shares the modern medical technology with the West. The book argues that there are distinct Islamic principles that can serve as sources for Muslim biomedical ethics that can engage in dialogue with both secular and other religiously oriented bioethics in the context of universal medical practice and research.

“Abdulaziz Sachedina is the leading Islamic thinker writing in Engish today.  Thus, his Islamic Biomedical Ethics is a welcome addition to the already extensive literature in the field because of his great knowledge of the classical and modern Islamic legal and ethical sources, his authentic religious commitment to the truth of Islam, and his willingness to engage perspectives from other traditions in what is becoming a genuinely multicultural field of moral discourse.”  David Novak, author of Jewish Social Ethics

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