Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 403–421 | Cite as

Predictors of Physician Recommendation for Ethically Controversial Medical Procedures: Findings from an Exploratory National Survey of American Muslim Physicians

  • Sundus Mahdi
  • Obadah Ghannam
  • Sydeaka Watson
  • Aasim I. PadelaEmail author
Original Paper


Physician religiosity can influence their ethical attitude toward medical procedures and can thereby impact healthcare delivery. Using a national survey of American Muslim physicians, we explored the association between physician recommendation of three controversial medical procedures—tubal ligation, abortion, and porcine-based vaccine—and their (1) religiosity, (2) utilization of bioethics resources, and (3) perception of whether the procedure was a medical necessity and if the scenario represented a life threat. Generally, multivariate models found that physicians who read the Qur’an more often as well as those who perceived medical necessity and/or life threat had a higher odds recommending the procedures, whereas those who sought Islamic bioethical guidance from Islamic jurists (or juridical councils) more often had a lower odds. These associations suggest that the bioethical framework of Muslim physicians is influenced by their reading of scripture, and the opinions of Islamic jurists and that these influences may, paradoxically, be interpreted to be in opposition over some medical procedures.


Physician decision-making Islamic bioethics Religiosity ḍarūrāh 



We thank the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) for collaborating on this project and providing access to their membership roster. Notably we recognize Rasheed Ahmed, Akrama Hashmi, and Dr. Ayaz Samadani’s efforts through IMANA. We also acknowledge the following individuals for their invaluable assistance: Maha Ahmad and Zahra Hosseinain for managing the data collection and survey development processes, Dr. Farr Curlin for assistance with study conceptualization, grant writing, instrument development, survey design and analysis, Julie Johnson for data-entry, John Yoon for critical commentary and survey design, and Heba Abdel-Latief for literature review and survey instrument development.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sundus Mahdi
    • 1
  • Obadah Ghannam
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sydeaka Watson
    • 3
  • Aasim I. Padela
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.The Centre for Islam and MedicineCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Division of Health Sciences, Warwick Medical SchoolUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  3. 3.Department of Public Health SciencesThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Initiative on Islam and Medicine, Program on Medicine and ReligionThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Section of Emergency Medicine, Department of MedicineThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  6. 6.MacLean Center for Clinical Medical EthicsThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  7. 7.The Initiative on Islam and MedicineSection of Emergency MedicineChicagoUSA

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