This essay traces the emergence and development of the consensus against surrogacy arrangements, mostly in the Sunni world, on the basis of a number of institutional fatwas, recommendations, and decisions. Despite this consensus against surrogacy, jurists discuss in detail its potential effects if it is performed. This juristic attitude reflects an understanding of sharīʿah as a legal system that not only institutes rules for cases that match its moral vision but also regulates the consequences of cases that do not match that vision. In the absence of clear and binding legislation on surrogacy in most Muslim-majority countries, this body of religious and ethical deliberations represents the main resource for moral decision-making on surrogacy and its impact on the genealogical connections within the nuclear family.
This chapter examines the impact of genomic applications on family structure and relationships. It explores the range of available Islamic responses on some of the important questions that these applications raise and their relevance to both existing and prospective family members. It focuses on Islamic legal discourses on three main themes: premarital genetic testing, fetal sex selection, and germline modification. The chapter pays special attention to relevant deliberations and pronouncements by major scholarly councils and institutions. In the absence of unanimous Islamic ethical positions on these issues, this body of normative literature can be helpful in identifying the main contours of the ongoing ethical debates concerning these issues.
This article places the book Living with the Genome: Ethical and Social Aspects of Human Genetics by Angus Clark and Flo Ticehurst in the context of the double-edged nature of modern genetics. Although published in 2006, the book still provides a useful introduction to the range of ethical, legal, and social implications of modern genetic research and technology. It comprises 42 articles on a wide range of topics, which are drawn from the Encyclopedia of the Human Genome (one of the co-editors of the book, Angus Clarke, was also the editor of the “Ethics and Society” section of this reference work). The book is intended to enhance the readership of these topics by making these articles available to a wider audience beyond specialists in human genetics.
Discussions concerning science and scientific production in the Middle East often trigger a comparison between a glorious past and a gloomy present. The past witnessed a thriving scientific culture within the Islamic civilization. In the present, however, science is usually entangled in a series of debates, ranging from the normative dimensions of modern science to the larger social and political circumstances shaping current realities, particularly in light of an incessant juxtaposition, competition, or rivalry with an imagined West.
This paper examines bioethical discourses concerning genetic counseling within the area of assisted reproduction. More particularly, it investigates the extent to which mainstream Western or secular bioethics is considered lacking from an Islamic perspective. The paper argues that invocation, incorporation, and even interrogation of Islamic norms ensure the legitimacy of genetic counseling within the Muslim context. The paper suggests a distinction between two levels of analysis within Islamic bioethical discussions on the consequences of genetic testing. The first addresses ethical-legal dimensions and is primarily concerned with balancing immediate benefits and harms in this world. The second addresses theological and metaphysical dimensions and is primarily concerned with faith-based convictions and religious commitments. The paper argues that both levels are needed for a nuanced understanding of the process of genetic counseling within a Muslim setting. The paper gives special attention to institutional fatwas on two main issues: prenatal genetic screening and preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
This paper examines the role of biomedical technology in reconstructing traditional gender roles in the Muslim world. It questions the neutrality of this technology and explores the extent to which various applications of genetic and reproductive technologies can be used either to enhance or diminish gender equality. It concentrates on Islamic normative discussions surrounding pre-marital genetic testing and sex selection and emphasizes the role of these discussions for the proper accommodation of these technologies within the Muslim context.