Cross-Cultural Issues in Bioethics: The Example of Human Cloning

By Heiner Roetz | Go to book overview

The Cultural and the Religious in Islamic Biomedicine:
The Case of Human Cloning

Abdulaziz Sachedina

Abstract: The present study investigates Muslim opinions about human
cloning in the context of Muslim culture that provides the moral presup-
positions and formal normative framework for moral choices and justifi-
cations. Every ethical system is ultimately a synthesis of intuitive and
rational assertions, the proportion of each varying from culture to cul-
ture. There is also in every culture an admixture of the ethnocentric and
the universal, of that which is indissolubly bound to a particular geogra-
phy, history, language, and ethic strain, and that which is common to all
humans as humans. In the case of human cloning, moral judgements re-
veal an amalgam of relative cultural elements derived from the particular
experience of Muslims living in a specific place and time, verified by the
timeless universal norms derived from the scriptural sources that possess
common elements applicable to all humans as humans.

Key Words: Islam, Cultural relativism, Istinsakh (making copy), Public
good, Natural-artificial, No harm no harrassment, Technically assisted
reproduction


1. Introduction

Islam, as a comprehensive religious-moral system, does not divide the public space in terms of spiritual and secular domains with separate jurisdictions. Rather it strives to integrate the two realms to provide total guidance about the way human beings ought to live with one another and with themselves as citizens, or professionals, or workers of one kind or another, or simply as human beings. Various human institutions, cultural and religious practices, and political systems have one major goal, namely, to serve God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Muslim ethics tries to make sense of human moral instincts, institutions, and traditions in order to provide a plausible perspective on the making of moral judgments, the fashioning of rules and principles, and devising of a virtuous life. Its judgments are ethical in the sense that they deal with the sense of what reasonable people count as good and bad, praiseworthy and blameworthy, in human relationships and human institutions. Ultimate questions connected with human suffering through illness and other afflictions, reproduction and abortion, death and dying, are within the purview of its relig

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