, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 1-10
Date: 30 Oct 2007

Aesthetic Surgery and Religion: Islamic Law Perspective

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Abstract

Background

Plastic surgeons are called upon to perform aesthetic surgery on patients of every gender, race, lifestyle, and religion. Currently, it may seem natural that cosmetic surgery should be perceived as permissible, and in our modern liberal age, it seems strange to attempt justifying certain surgical acts in the light of a particular cultural or religious tradition. Yet every day, cruel realities demonstrate that although the foremost intention of any scripture or tradition has been mainly to promote religious and moral values, most religions, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, invariably affect human behavior and attitude deeply, dictating some rigid positions regarding critical health issues.

Methods

A Web search was conducted, and the literature was reviewed using the Medline search tool.

Results

Islamic law closely regulates and governs the life of every Muslim. Bioethical deliberation is inseparable from the religion itself, which emphasizes continuities between body and mind, between material and spiritual realms, and between ethics and jurisprudence.

Conclusions

The rule in Islam is that individuals should be satisfied with the way Allah has created them. Islam welcomes, however, the practice of plastic surgery as long as it is done for the benefit of patients. Even if it clearly considers “changing the creation of Allah” as unlawful, Islamic law is ambiguous regarding cosmetic surgery. Its objection to cosmetic surgery is not absolute. It is rather an objection to exaggeration and extremism. It has been mentioned that “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty.”

This review was not supported financially by any organization, pharmaceutical company, or research board. The authors also do not have any financial or other interest from conducting it.
An erratum to this article can be found online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00266-009-9398-9.