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 (2005)
Stem cell research is a newly emerging technology that promises a wide variety of benefits for humanity. It has, however, also caused much ethical, legal, and theological debate. While some forms of its application were prohibited in the beginning, they have now started to be used in many countries. This fact obliges us to discuss the regulation of stem cell research at national and international level. It is obvious that in order to make regulations and to draw up legislation at national or international levels it helps to know the perspectives of different cultures and faith traditions. In this article the issue is explored from an Islamic perspective. Firstly, some basic information is given about Islam to explain how laws are drawn up and regulations made in this tradition. Secondly, the principles on which the laws and regulations are based are applied to stem cell research, and finally the permitted and prohibited methods of stem cell research are described. The discussions throughout the paper demonstrate that while some ethicists argue that stem cell research is unethical in the Islamic tradition, tradition permits it as long as such research is aimed at improving human health
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DOI 10.1136/jme.2003.005827
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