Principles of Islamic Medical Ethics

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Islamic bioethics refers to Islamic views on issues related to both the medical and research fields. Islamic bioethics is an extension of Shari’ah (Islamic law), which is itself based on two foundations: The Qur’an (the holy book of all Muslims) and the Sunna (the aspects of Islamic law based on the Prophet Muhammad’s words or acts). Islamic law is a compendium of morality, ethics, and legal rules. The fundamental basis of Islamic bioethics is that all rulings and actions must fall in accordance with Islamic law (Shari’ah). The objectives of the Shariah (Maqasid al-Shariah) is divided into three categories, dharuriyyat (essentials), hajiyyat (necessities), and tahsiniyyat (desirables). Of these, the most critical is “dharuriyyat” where five matters are given prominence for protection and preservation, namely the protection and preservation of faith, life, intellect, progeny, and property. Besides, contemporary scholars made use of the five qawā`id fiqhiyya (Islamic legal maxims) namely: intention, certainty, removal of hardship, elimination of harm, and custom, in their endeavor to determine the legal ruling for the various novel issues.

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