Maqasid al-Shariah as a Complementary Framework to Conventional Bioethics

Science and Engineering Ethics 20 (2):317-327 (2014)


With the rapid advancements made in biotechnology, bioethical discourse has become increasingly important. Bioethics is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field that goes beyond the realm of natural sciences, and has involved fields in the domain of the social sciences. One of the important areas in bioethical discourse is religion. In a country like Malaysia, where Muslims make up the majority of the population, Islam plays a crucial role in providing the essential guidelines on the permissibility and acceptability of biotechnological applications in various fields such as medicine, agriculture, and food processing. This article looks at the framework of a complementary model of bioethics derived from the perspective of Islam. The framework is based on ‘maqasid al-shariah’ (purposes or objectives of Islamic law) which aims to protect and preserve mankind’s faith, life, intellect, progeny, and property. It is proposed that ‘maqasid al-shariah’ be used as a pragmatic checklist that can be utilized in tackling bioethical issues and dilemmas

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