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Islam and Issues of Medical Ethics

Published: 22/12/2011 07:30:00 PM GMT
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Medicine is a field that is filled with difficult ethical dilemmas. Ethical issues involving organ donation, abortion, life support, or other similar problems almost never have easy answers. Medical issues will often clash with religious beliefs, in some cases going as far as to have to choose between life or being faithful to one's own beliefs. Muslims believe that the word of God is an essential guideline to every aspect of your lives. Because of this, it helps to know what the Quran says about common medical questions.



One of the most important aspects of Islamic ethics is the importance and sanctity of life. The Quran states that killing a single man is the same as killing all of humanity. Likewise, saving the life of a single man is the same as saving the lives of all people. Medicine is a noble profession, viewed favorably by the Quran. The precepts of the Hippocratic oath  are mirrored in the Quran: do no harm. However, Islam is a religion that is about submitting oneself to God. Muslims understand that the ultimate power over life or death is only in God and that, while God tests us, if a person dies or lives is only because of God's permission. Because of this, the Quran warns against forgetting that man should not “play God.”

When understanding what Islam means when warning against “playing God” it is important to understand the different view that Islam has about science. Science and knowledge are some of the highest pursuits that any Muslim can follow. Unlike many other religious systems that specifically warn against scientific progress in certain fields, through the Quran and the example of the prophet Muhammad Muslims understand that knowledge of the physical world is something that is necessary and that God has given us the intelligence and the ability to understand and manipulate the world around us. The warning against “playing God” applies against forgetting our place and becoming proud and hardened against God.

Many Muslims are openly against abortion. Many Muslims interpret the Quran as saying that conception begins from birth. However the most damning passages against abortion are those that warn against killing your children because of fear that you will not be able to sustain them or yourself. This denotes a lack of faith and belief that is impermissible to Muslims. Islam is also structured so that orphans or the poor will always be taken care of. Muslims believe in surrendering our will to God and understanding that only God has the power to give life or take it away. This is the main reason why Muslims are often ethically opposed to practices like abortion, euthanasia, or “pulling the plug” on a brain-dead patient.




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