THE WESTERN LEAD

Qatar Today - - RESEARCH > LISTENING POST -

“There are peo­ple who be­lieve we can just bor­row from Western bioethics. But Is­lam is rich, di­verse and deep enough to pro­duce an­swers which will re­new th­ese fields them­selves and help them grow fur­ther.”

rep­re­sented in the In­sti­tu­tional Re­view Boards at Ha­mad and Weill Cor­nell. No re­search in­volv­ing hu­man sub­jects can hap­pen with­out ap­proval from th­ese IRBs, which are made up of sci­en­tists and ethi­cists. On the leg­isla­tive level, we have close col­lab­o­ra­tions with the Supreme Coun­cil of Health and have par­tic­i­pated in com­mit­tee work­ing on draft­ing a law gov­ern­ing con­duct­ing re­search on hu­man sub­jects, a pi­o­neer­ing law in the Mus­lim world.”

Does he think that there are/might be some is­sues where Is­lam might be at odds with pro­gres­sive thought, sim­i­lar to how the Catholic Church is fight­ing abor­tions? “We don't have a bind­ing author­ity in Is­lam and there hasn't been one since the Prophet who re­ceived divine rev­e­la­tion. So all that re­li­gious schol­ars are do­ing is ex­ert­ing their ut­most ef­forts to dis­cover divine law – what would God have said about this is­sue? That's why in Is­lamic law we speak in terms of prob­a­bil­i­ties. And no one group of peo­ple has the right to speak about Is­lam and this has never been the case any­time in history. So the only body that can speak about Is­lam is the so­ci­ety, and the re­li­gious scholar who gets the most sup­port from the so­ci­ety will rep­re­sent Is­lam. The very in­ter­nal struc­ture of Is­lamic author­ity will not al­low it to end up like the Catholic Church.”

“As a state you might cre­ate an Is­lamic author­ity who has con­trol of the re­li­gion in your state, but all you're do­ing is iso­lat­ing the body and its fol­low­ers from the main­stream. It's a dis­ser­vice to the group. Even in Shia Is­lam, the [Ay­a­tol­lah] Khome­ini has author­ity only over po­lit­i­cal is­sues and not nec­es­sar­ily re­li­gious ones. There are in­stances where his views on med­i­cal is­sues like IVF were not fol­lowed when draft­ing leg­is­la­tion be­cause he was in the mi­nor­ity. So in Is­lam, while you might have to con­sult an author­ity, you also have the right to choose that author­ity.”

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