Bioethics for clinicians: 21. Islamic bioethics

CMAJ. 2001 Jan 9;164(1):60-3.


Islamic bioethics derives from a combination of principles, duties and rights, and, to a certain extent, a call to virtue. In Islam, bioethical decision-making is carried out within a framework of values derived from revelation and tradition. It is intimately linked to the broad ethical teachings of the Qur'an and the tradition of the Prophet Muhammed, and thus to the interpretation of Islamic law. In this way, Islam has the flexibility to respond to new biomedical technologies. Islamic bioethics emphasizes prevention and teaches that the patient must be treated with respect and compassion and that the physical, mental and spiritual dimensions of the illness experience be taken into account. Because Islam shares many foundational values with Judaism and Christianity, the informed Canadian physician will find Islamic bioethics quite familiar. Canadian Muslims come from varied backgrounds and have varying degrees of religious observance. Physicians need to recognize this diversity and avoid a stereotypical approach to Muslim patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced
  • Attitude to Death
  • Bioethics*
  • Canada
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Humans
  • Islam*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Tissue Donors