Advertisement

Stem Cell Reviews and Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 151–161 | Cite as

Ethical Aspects of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research in the Islamic World: Positions and Reflections

  • Ilhan Ilkilic
  • Hakan Ertin
Article

Abstract

Rapid technological developments in human embryonic stem cell research are holding promises of future new medical treatment for a range of currently incurable chronic diseases. At the same time, stem cell research using human embryos raises radically new, previously unimaginable ethical issues posing a dramatic challenge to humankind. By analysing the discourses on these ethical issues we can show that the cultural values and religious convictions of all stakeholders involved play a decisive role in formulating ethical positions. In the Islamic world, too, stem cell research using human embryos provokes new discussions about the moral status of the embryo according to Islamic ethical norms. In our paper we describe the theological and philosophical criteria used in this debate and discuss some ethical positions vis-à-vis embryonic stem cell research formulated in the Islamic world, including official regulations existing in some Muslim countries. While most of the existing literature in this field is primarily descriptive, the present paper endeavours to examine not only the arguments and their historical conditions as such; in addition, we will for the first time provide a critical reflection on the methodology underlying commonly held positions. In our view, this reflection is of paramount importance in establishing a straightforward constructive dialogue between different cultures and academic disciplines.

Keywords

Human embryonic stem cell research Islam Ethics Beginning of life The moral status of the embryo Justice 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Dr. Rainer Brömer for his important comments and critical perusal of this manuscript.

References

  1. 1.
    Ilkilic, I. (2005). New bioethical problems as challenge for Muslims and health literacy in a value-pluralistic society. Chennai Journal of Intercultural Philosophy, 7, 72–92.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ilkilic, I. (2006). Human cloning as a challenge to traditional health cultures. In H. Roetz (Ed.), Cross- Cultural issues in bioethics–the example of human cloning (pp. 409–423). Amsterdam: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sachedina, A. (2009). Islamic biomedical ethics: Principles and application. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Athar, S. (2008). Enhancement technologies and the person: An Islamic view. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 36(1), 59–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Al-Aqeel, A. I. (2009). Human cloning, stem cell research. An Islamic perspective. Saudi Medical Journal, 30(12), 1507–1514.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Musallam, B. (1990). The human embryo in Arabic scientific and religious thought. In G. R. Dunstan (Ed.), The human embryo, Aristotle and the Arabic and European traditions (pp. 32–46). Exeter: University of Exeter Press.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Motzki, H. (1991). Die Anfänge der islamischen Jurisprudenz: ihre Entwicklung in Mekka bis zur Mitte des 2./8. Jahrhunderts, Stuttgart: Steiner.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Khoury, A. Th. (1981). Abtreibung im Islam, CIBEDO-Dokumentation, Nr.11, Köln. 8–11.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bukhari, Muhammad ibn Ismail (1985). The Translation of the meanings of Sahih al-Bukhari in 9 Vols. Translated by Muhammad M. Khan, (Arabic-English), v. 8 Beirut.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Canan, İ. (1999). Kütüb-i Sitte Muhtasarı Tercüme ve Şerhi, Bd. 14. Ankara: Akçağ.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Beloucif, S. (2000). The Muslim’s perspective related to stem cell research. In The European Group on Ethics in Science and new Technologies to the European Commission, Paris.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Aksoy, S. (2005). Making regulations and drawing up legislation in Islamic countries under conditions of uncertainty, with special reference to embryonic stem cell research. Journal of Medical Ethics, 31(7), 399–403.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Yeprem, S. (2006). İslâm’ın kök hücreye bakışı. Diyanet Aylık Dergi, 191, 25–29.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Yeprem, S. (2007). Die Haltungen der Religionen zu Gentechnologie, In Sterbehilfe und einen interreligiösen Dialog, (pp. 195-201) Ankara: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bauer, H. (1917). Von der Ehe. Das 12. Buch von al-Gazalis Hauptwerk [Ihyā’ ‘ulūm ad-dīn]. Halle: Niemeyer.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Weisser, U. (1983). Zeugung, Vererbung und pränatale Entwicklung in der Medizin des arabisch-islamischen Mittelalters. Erlangen: Lüling.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Abdul-Rauf, M. (1977). The Islamic view of women and the family. New York: Robert Speller & Sons.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Šaltūt, M. (1971). Al-Islām, ‘Aqīda wa Šarī‘a. Bairut: Dār aš-Šurūq.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bowen, D. L. (1997). Abortion, Islam, and the 1994 Cairo population conference. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 29(1), 161–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Islamic Code of Medical Ethics (1981). Kuwait Document, International Organization of Islamic Medicine, Kuwait. 66.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ghanem, I. (1991). Embryo research: An Islamic response. Medicine, Science and the Law, 32(1), 14.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Jones, D. G., & Telfer, B. (1995). Before I was an embryo, I was a pre-embryo: Or was I? Bioethics, 9, 32–49.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Serour, G. I. u. A. Omran (Ed.) (1992). Ethical Guidelines for Human Reproduction Research in the Muslim World, Cairo, pp. 30–31.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Serour, G. I. (1997). Islamic developments in bioethics. In A. Lustig (Ed.), Theological developments in bioethics: 1992–1994 (pp. 171–188). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academics.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    The Fiqh Council of North America: Embryonic research http://www.irhsca.org/Embryonic%20Research.doc Accessed 26 December 2009.
  26. 26.
    Islamic Medical Ethics: The Imana Perspective, http://www.imana.org/PDF%20Files/IMANAEthicsPaperPart1.pdf Accessed 16 December 2009.
  27. 27.
    Mansooreh, S., & De Vries, R. (2008). Embryonic stem cell research in Iran: Status and ethics. Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, 5(4), 181–184.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Schienberg, J., & Katz, N. (2009). Iran: The stem cell fatwa. Frontline, http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/rough/2009/06/iran_stem_cell.html Accessed 22 December 2009.
  29. 29.
    Bagheri, A. (2006). Compensated kidney donation: An ethical review of the Iranian model. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 16(3), 269–282.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Week in photos: Cloned goat. National Geographic http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/04/photogalleries/week-in-news-pictures-126/photo4.html Accessed 22 December 2009.
  31. 31.
    Jafarzadeh, S. (2009). Iran at forefront of stem cell research. Washington Times. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/15/iran-at-forefront-of-stem-cell-research/ Accessed 22 December 2009.
  32. 32.
    Atighetchi, D. (2007). Islamic bioethics: Problems and perspectives. Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Al-Sayyari, R. A. (2005). Ethical aspects of stem cells research. Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases, 16(4), 606–611.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Knowles, L. P. (2009). Religion and stem cell research. Stem Cell Network. http://www.stemcellnetwork.ca/uploads/File/whitepapers/Religion-and-Stem-Cell-Research.pdf Accessed 22 December 2009.
  35. 35.
    Tebourski F, Ammar-Elgaaied AB. (2004) The developing country reaction to biomedical techniques and plant biotechnology: The Tunisian experience. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, 124-129. doi: 10.1155/S1110724304401053.
  36. 36.
    MENAFN the Peninsula: Qatar set to lead stem cell research http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?storyid=1093281347 Accessed 22 December 2009.
  37. 37.
    Muslim Word League. Islamic Jurisprudence Council Conference, Dec 13–17, 2003, Mekka, Saudi Arabia. Fatwa number 3. Regarding stem cells. Available (in Arabic) from http://www.themwl.org/Fatwa/default.aspx?d=1&cidi=152&l=AR&cid=12 Accessed 22 December. 2009.
  38. 38.
    Ilkilic, I., & Takim, A. (2009). Bioethik am Beispiel der Stammzelldebatte in der Türkei. In J. C. Joerden et al. (Eds.), Stammzellforschung in Europa (pp. 183–197). Frankfurt a.M: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Turkmen, H. O., & Arda, B. (2008). Ethical and legal aspects of stem cell practices in Turkey: Where are we? Journal of Medical Ethics, 34(12), 833–837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Turkish Ministry of Health General Directorate of Treatment Services (2005). Circular note of Turkish ministry of health on embryonic stem cell researches, circular number 2005/141, http://www.ttb.org.tr/mevzuat/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=347&Itemid=35 Accessed 22 December 2009.
  41. 41.
    Turkish Ministry of Health (2005). Guideline for assisted reproductive treatment centers, Turkish Ministry of Health, http://www.saglik.gov.tr/TR/Genel/BelgeGoster.aspx?F6E10F8892433CFFAAF6AA849816B2EF34DB62F0B84E69A8 Accessed 22 December 2009.
  42. 42.
    TUBA stem cell research group (2008). Current issues in stem cell researches. http://www.tuba.gov.tr/index.php?id=422 Accessed 22 December 2009.
  43. 43.
    Yeprem, S. (2006). Tüp bebek ve kök hücre gibi uygulamaların İslam dini açısından değerlendirilmesi. Diyanet Aylık Dergi, 186, 29–32.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (2006). Günümüz tıp dünyasında tartışılan tüp bebek ve kök hücre gibi yeni uygulamaların İslam dini açısından değerlendirilmesi. http://www.diyanet.gov.tr/turkish/dy/KurulDetay.aspx?ID=1162 Accessed 22 December 2009.
  45. 45.
    Karaman, H. (2005). Kök hücre. http://www.hayrettinkaraman.net/yazi/laikduzen/4/0109.htm Accessed 22 December 2009.
  46. 46.
    Siddiqi, M. (2002). An Islamic perspective on stem cell research, http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IC0202-404 Accessed 10. June 2008.
  47. 47.
    Larijani, B., & Zahedi, F. (2004). Islamic perspective on human cloning and stem cell research. Transplantation Proceedings, 36(10), 3188–3189.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Rizvi, S. A. H., Naqvi, S. A. A., et al. (2004). Embryonic stem cell research: An Islamic standpoint. In T. Gutmann, R. A. Daar, & R. A. Sells (Eds.), Ethical, legal an social issues in organ transplantation (pp. 391–399). Lengerich: Pabst Science Publ.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Hathout, H. (2006). An Islamic perspective on human genetic and reproductive technologies. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 12(supp. 2), 22–28.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Ilkilic, I. (2008). Stammzellforschung: Die innerislamische Diskussionslage. In U. H. J. Körtner & C. Kopetzki (Eds.), Stammzellforschung. Ethische und rechtliche Aspekte (pp. 222–232). Wien: Springer.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Saniei, M., & De Vries, R. (2008). Embryonic stem cell research in Iran: Status and ethics. Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, 5(4), 181–184.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Khadduri, M. (1991). Maslaha. In Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. 6 (2nd ed., pp. 738–740). Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Ilkilic, I. (2006). Modernisierung und Verwestlichung-Diskussionen und bioethische Fragen am Beispiel der innerislamischen Diskursen. In T. Eich, T. S. Hoffmann, T. S. (Eds.), Kulturübergreifende Bioethik, zwischen globaler Herausforderung und regionaler Perspektive (pp. 142–151). Freiburg: Karl Alber.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Hoodbhoy, P. (1991). Islam and science: Religious orthodoxy and the battle for rationality: Coexistence and conflict. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Açıkgenç, A. (1996). Islamic science: Towards a definition. Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic thought & civil.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Anees, M. (1989). Islam and biological futures: Ethics, gender, and technology. London: Mansell.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Walters, L. (2004). Human embryonic stem cell research: An intercultural perspective. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 14(1), 3–38.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for History, Philosophy and Ethics of MedicineJohannes Gutenberg University Mainz Medical CenterMainzGermany
  2. 2.Department of Medical Ethics and History of MedicineIstanbul University Faculty of MedicineIstanbulTurkey

Personalised recommendations