Contextualizing the Islamic Perspective on Social Responsibility: A Response to Aasim Padela
The sacredness of human life is shared by all religions and cultures, despite existing differences in the content and value that individuals and societies attribute to the idea of being healthy or sick. Being considered as the text of God, the Qur'an is the main source of moral and ethical principles that should govern personal and social life of Muslims. Thus, its understanding and interpretation has a major and decisive impact on the rules of life as well as laws in most if not all Muslim states and societies. The approach based on a textual/wording interpretation of the commandments and prohibitions of the Qur'an and other derived historical texts may not take into account the context in which it was revealed or elaborated. Therefore, a pragmatic and contextualizing approach based on anthropology and sociology is more adapted to the evolving needs and aspirations of Muslims all over the world. Respect for human life includes the duty of taking care of ills, protecting health for all, and prohibiting “doing harm” to others. The Islamic religious duty of protecting human life implies that Muslim state’s governments have the responsibility to care for the ill, to provide equal access to healthcare services and to the conditions that are necessary to be in a good health like adequate clothing, housing, food, and environment, as well as the protection of personal security, as stated in Art 14 of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights.
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