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Islam And Human Cloning Religion Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Advances in medical technology in the contemporary world have promised several answers to issues that have remained of concern in medicine. The current advancements in the field of human cloning for example have created new hopes in the minds of most medical professionals and the general public especially in the case of dealing with the emerging and re-emerging infectious and non-infectious diseases (Klotzko, 2001). However, the development of cloning as a technological advancement though anticipated has raised enormous questions with heated debates being raised about the issue. Though it has became a matter of normality for debates to occur in the field of science, scientists, scholars, politicians and religious groups have been the major groups concerned with issues of science. Among the debates concerned with human cloning entails the religious views and arguments. With various religions holding varying arguments and attitudes towards cloning of human beings, the issue has raised several religious ideas (Sadeghi, 2007).

In my research, I aim at addressing the various perspectives about human cloning that the Islamic religion holds. In the exploration of the debate about human cloning, I will also make distinct attempts to identify the various risks as well as benefits that are accrued through the procedures involved in human cloning as well as the general aspect. However, my major emphasis will be on the cloning means for religious concerns around conception and life. Further in the paper, I will assess the moral status of the human embryo which has formed the major area of current debate in the Islamic teachings and later conclude the paper with the assessment of the truth behind the religious debates.

Outline

Introduction

Brief context (as show above)

Thesis statement- The development of cloning as a technological advancement though anticipated has raised enormous questions with heated debates being raised about the issue especially in the religious field.

Description of structure of argument

Section 1: The ethical debate surrounding human cloning

Paragraph 1- The global debate on human cloning technology.

Revisit Klotzko

Paragraph 2- Criticisms and skepticism surrounding human cloning

Revisit Cahill, Sadeghi and Caplan.

Paragraph 3- Issue of ethics and the reaction of governments and key resolutions.

Revisit Klotzko

Section 2: Implications of Human Cloning

Paragraphs 1 and 2- The negative consequences of human cloning (moral and ethical issues).

Revisit Howie, Cahill, Gillon, Klotzko

Paragraph 3- Benefits of human cloning technology especially in therapeutics. The views of proponents.

Revisit Willgoos and Agnihotri

Section 3: Human Cloning and Islam

Paragraph 1: Islamic debates about cloning as a technology and the key tenets of their religious views.

Revisit Sadeghi, Voneky & Wolfrum

Section 3.1: Human Cloning and Ethics in Islam

Paragraphs 1-5: Describes the Islamic social teachings, beliefs, morals and values. The issue of human cloning and human life will be explored.

Revisit Howie, Cahill and Klotzko.

Section 3.2: Conception and Islamic Religion

Paragraphs 1 -2: The Islamic views about conception and life and their connection to human cloning.

Use Sadeghi and Al-Mazkur et al.

Section 4: Conclusion and Recommendations

Annotated Bibliography

Cahill, L. S. (2006). “Bioethics”. Theological Studies, 67: 1, pp 120+. Accessed on 8th February 2011 from

This is a journal article that addresses the issue of stem cell research in bioethics literature. The article describes various calls for the banning of the human cloning project and the reaction of governments towards the issue. Further, the article explores debates about the moral status of embryos according to theological perspectives. This article holds strong relevance to my research as it addresses the moral status of the embryo which is the central point in human cloning and Islamic religion.

Howie, J. (2002). “Ethical Issues for a New Millennium.” Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press. Accessed on 8th February 2011 from

This is an edited book that outlines the current ethical issues. Chapter five of this book which is authored by Richard M. Zaner and titled, “what a wonderful world!” creates a very interesting issue about human genome project. The chapter addresses several ethical issues about human cloning project that has promised the creation of a replica of human being. This chapter will help me in addressing the issue of ethics in human cloning and the relevant problems that the project has led to.

Klotzko, A. J. (Ed) (2001). “The Cloning Sourcebook.” New York: Oxford University Press.

This is an edited book that has unique and concise information on cloning. The book’s strength lies on its exploration on various aspects of cloning. Further, the book gives notes on each chapter covered that makes it easy to use especially in my research. The book will therefore help me address issues such as the ethical debates about human cloning. Its several topics that cover several aspects of cloning will also help me explore broadly the required ideas in my research paper

Sadeghi, M. (2007). “Islamic Perspectives on Human Cloning.” Bioethics Press, ProQuest LLC, Journal of Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics, 13: 2: 32+. Accessed on 8th February 2011 from

This Journal article describes the Islamic perspectives on human cloning according to the views of jurists and Islamic jurisprudence. The article further explores the extent of current debate on this issue and gives out the probable dangerous outcomes of cloning. The articles will enable me get the required information on the catastrophic outcomes of human cloning as well as the various Islamic views about human cloning especially the views of jurists and Muslim world.

Voneky, S. & Wolfrum, R. (Eds) (2004). “Human Dignity and Human Cloning.” Boston: Martinus Nijhoff. Accessed on 8th February 2011 from

This is a very detailed book that gives concrete information on the issue of human cloning. The book addresses the issue of human cloning in relation to human dignity. It addresses creation and human dignity in the Islamic religion as well as other religions. This book will therefore help me to relate whether cloning is detrimental to human dignity as well as the dilemmas that human cloning has caused.

Running head: Human Cloning and Religion

Essay

Human Cloning: The Islamic Religion perspectives

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Abstract

The development of cloning as a technology in genomics and biotechnology has been met by the highest controversies in the world. Though the technology promises answers to several issues that have disturbed the minds of many scientists, it has been met with much criticism and controversies. Scientists have for a long time anticipated about coming up with human beings through the use of cloning techniques basing their facts on the successive applications of the technology in both plants and animals. Though the therapeutic use of this technology has been accepted by most people in the world, the use of the technology in coming up with new human life has been criticized by religious groups and governments. The Islamic religion is one of the religions that have showed differing views and attitudes towards this technology. The religion does not entertain the application of this technology citing its beliefs, teachings, morals, values and ethics. This research paper explored the human cloning technology in regard to the perspectives of Islamic religion.

Human Cloning: The Islamic Religion perspectives

Introduction

The issue of cloning gained fame during the year 1996 when a lamb famously known as Dolly, was born in Scotland after the mammary glands of a female adult sheep were cloned using scientific procedures. This raised the reactions that human cloning was also possible basing on the success of cloning procedures in animals. “Human cloning,” as described by Willgoos (2001, para 6) refers to the process of somatic cell nuclear transfer to create a human embryo which has the potential to be implanted into a woman’s uterus and develop into a child. Due to advancements in research, several research institutions made several attempts with high efforts to come up with human beings through cloning.

However according to Klotzko (2001) these attempts in research on human cloning have been met with mixed reactions in the political, scientific, and religious arenas. Though no scientist has announced success in cloning human beings, most nations have strictly addresses the idea and possibility of achieving positive results in human cloning with several groups citing the potential implications, moral responses as well as the legal aspects involved in the cloning of human beings. The religious sector has been in the forefront in addressing the issue of human cloning with religions having varied views and attitudes about the human cloning issue (Sadeghi, 2007).

The Islamic religion is noted as one of the religions that had varied views throughout the advancements in human cloning research. This essay addresses the ethical debate surrounding the issue of human cloning in a broader perspective. The essay briefly explores the major risks and benefits that cloning as a scientific aspect can lead to especially in the case of human beings. In a deeper insight, this essay paper addresses the various religious views about human cloning in respect to the Islamic religion especially around conception and life.

The Ethical Debate Surrounding Human Cloning

Since scientists identified in 1998 that through isolation and culturing of embryonic cells in human beings they could come up with genetically modified cells of human beings that could be used in therapeutic measures, heated debates arose with concerns over the ethical use of human cells in therapy. Continued advancements saw scientists arguing that they could as well clone human beings. This raised concerns about the perceived success of cloning technology with several politicians and religious groups terming the procedure as primitive and unethical (Klotzko, 2001).

The debate about the ethics about human cloning was however met with criticisms with several groups becoming hostile and skeptical. Caplan (2001) describes the ethical debate as having raised hostility and skepticism towards human cloning issue. Skeptical views raised by several personalities as argued by Cahill (2006) were based on the idea that the influential supporters of cloning were only aiming at achieving their hidden agendas hence their committed efforts to advance the scientific idea. Cahill (2006) denotes that further skeptical issues were about the constitutional and fundamental rights of the Americans that allowed them to reproduce through any means. Moreover, scientists argued that the advancement of science should not be hindered by ethical debates against what they perceived as the golden chances of scientific breakthroughs as well as avenues of gaining fame (Sadeghi, 2007).

The issue of ethics in human cloning was therefore termed as of low relevance since the technology is seen as having potential in scientific advancements. However, as denoted by Klotzko (2001), governments such as the American government have withdrawn their funding in cloning research projects as well as passing laws banning research in human cloning. As ethical debates had stopped the use of several technologies since the World War II, the success of ethics in regard to human cloning has been seen as of no potency (Klotzko, 2001).The lack of potency regarding ethics in human cloning can be seen through the continuous defeat of bills tabled before the Congress that aimed at banning cloning in human beings. With continued debates and legislative measures and initiatives aimed at banning human cloning, it remains doubtful whether these initiatives will be fruitful (Klotzko, 2001).

Implications of Human Cloning

The idea of cloning human beings as noted by Gillon in Klotzko (2001) has not been positively addressed. With several countries banning research in human cloning and having been termed by the World Health Organization as “ethically unacceptable and contrary to human integrity and morality” (Gillon in Klotzko, 2001, p 184), only the negative implications and disapprovals of this technology are highly perceived. Gillon (in Klotzko, 2001, p 184) denotes that human cloning;

… treats people as means and not as ends, undermines human dignity, human rights, personal autonomy, personality, individuality, and individual uniqueness; it turns people into carbon copies, photocopies, stencils, and fakes”; “it would be dangerous and harmful to those to whom it was done, as well as to their families; it would particularly harm the women who would be bearing the babies… (p. 184).

Further, human cloning has been cited by the European parliament as an unjust procedure that contravenes the equality nature of human beings as well as leading to discrimination in women (Cahill, 2006). There are two major types of cloning that have raised negative concerns. The first one is the type of human cloning that involves the extraction of a human embryo cell and then cloning it to achieve an embryo of identical nature. The other type of cloning that was exercised during the cloning of the Dolly sheep includes the extraction of the nucleus from a cell and then inserting it into a sac of the other nucleus cell to be cloned (Howie, 2002).

Despite the discussed moral and ethical issues that term human cloning as a detrimental procedure, there are several proponents of the procedure who cite several benefits (Willgoos, 2001). Scientists and politicians as noted by Willgoos (2001) have cited that research on human cloning must be continued since this procedure promises a great potential in the development of science and medicine as well as benefiting the existence of human beings. Agnihotri (2008) argues that the procedures and techniques involved in human cloning can be used in the production of therapies for cure of infectious and serious diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart diseases as well as in the transplantation of organs. Further, cloning can be used as a research tool that can be useful in the scientific revolution especially in revolutionalizing study of cells. Therefore, cloning becomes useful in the study of cell differentiation in biotechnology and medicine (Agnihotri, 2008).

Human Cloning and Islam

The issue of cloning has taken central debate in the Islamic religion. Though Muslims are rarely interested in the technology, they are much concerned with the overall biological, social and ethical impacts of the procedures involved in cloning. The central tenets of Islamic perspectives on human cloning are centered on at least three major perspectives (Voneky & Wolfrum, 2004). The first issue is on how human embryonic cloning goes contrary to the ethical teachings and beliefs of Islam and whether it can be accepted in the religion. Secondly, the consequences of cloning to the Islamic society in particular and the general society is of particular interest and thirdly, the Islamic consideration of the stage at which a developing embryo can be termed as a living being is also a central issue (Sadeghi, 2007).

Human Cloning and Ethics in Islam

The Islamic ethical frameworks as well as the religious and social teachings regarding human life are the most critical issues about human cloning in the Islamic religion. As argued by Cahill (2006), Muslims question about human cloning basing their arguments on the teachings of the Quran that view human beings as distinct creations from God and hence no person should try to act as God. Cahill (2006) further denotes that the Islamic teaching relate the cloning of human beings as attempts to copy the work of God and is bound to lead to various errors in marital relationships. As argued by Caplan (2001), this has the capacity of disintegrating the family composition as well as tampering with the social lives of most human beings.

Further, the Islamic religion questions the procedure arguing that it automatically interferes with the growth of families as well as affecting aspects of motherhood and fatherhood. Rab & Khayat (n.d) show the Muslims argument that God created a female and a male so that the two could join hands and form a family through procreation. It was the wish of God that a man and a woman shall together procreate in order to fill the earth. It therefore becomes questionable what the role of marriage would play if several individuals are able to come up with human beings through cloning. This as noted by Klotzko(2001) means that a man will not be in need of a woman and vice verse hence contravening the wishes of God , the creator of human beings. Though Cahill (2006) does not state this aspect, in biological perspectives, it becomes obvious that a man may turn out to be superfluous contrary to females whose ova and uterus will be in much need. As denoted by Caplan (2001), this fact is enough to create a corruption of the societal functioning as well as affecting the natural balance since human cloning is believed to interfere with all the functions of interpersonal relations.

According to Islamic teachings, the relationship between spouses signifies the cornerstone of the functioning of social institutions that was the reason why Allah created a male and a female and blessed them to become one entity. Therefore the connection of a man and a female as demanded by religion is contravened by the manipulation of embryo through human cloning. Though Muslims hold a unanimous endorsement on the use of cloning in therapeutical advancements, Sadeghi (2007) argues that the Sunni and Shiites demand that the lineage of a child must not in any instance be religiously blemished. Due to this, the Islamic religion as denoted by Howie (2002) therefore demands that the lineage involved in the reproduction must not be contravened through procedures such as human cloning and hence must be bound within the limits of spousal associations.

The Islamic stand regarding human cloning based on the religions teachings, morals, beliefs and ethics therefore is that cloning of human embryo is a moral as well as religious contravention and therefore the technology must not be employed in any aspect apart from in therapy (Howie, 2002).

The consequences of cloning to the Islamic society are also key issues about this technology to the Islamic religion. According to the religion, due to the advancement of this technology, there are fears about the ability of human beings to regenerate naturally (Howie, 2002). Therefore this technology acts contrary to the values and systems in which the human nature has acted within since history. Due to the consequences that human cloning holds, then the Islamic religion is justified to act against all forms of human cloning. According to Klotzko (2001), though Islam as a religion encourages the development of research as noted by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi one of the leading Islamic researchers, the creation of new human beings through artificial ways however contravenes the morals of the religion. This therefore creates a very big twist in the perception of human cloning and therefore becomes a very difficult issue to address even in the contemporary society (Howie, 2002).

Conception and Islamic Religion

Since this research aimed at also addressing the religious views about conception, it is worth to scrutinize the Islamic views about conception and life. Human cloning is believed to in the first place tamper with the natural development of the embryos (Sadeghi, 2007). A seminar held in Kuwait in 1985 addressed the issue of Human life with key insights on inception with particular interest on the Islamic religious beliefs and teachings. This seminar believed that inception consists of three stages. The first stage as described in the seminar was the fertilization stage of ova and sperm to form the zygote where the genetic composition is developed. The second stage is when the fertilized zygote is implanted in the womb while the third stage is reached when life is embedded into the developing fetus which according to Islam starts at day 120 after inception (Al-Mazkur et al, 1985).

According to the teachings of Islam, since conception, an embryo is considered as a living thing and therefore must not be tampered with even through abortion. However, the moment when life is embedded into the embryo, it acquires full human status which occurs 120 days after inception. This shows that Islam as a religion does not in its full status prohibit early embryonic research though it questions the ethical and moral ways through which this research is carried out (Sadeghi, 2007).

Conclusion and Recommendations

The issue of human cloning has taken central debates in the contemporary world. This research has established that though research in medicine and science holds a promising advancement through cloning, the technology is under much criticism. From government bans, withdrawal of funding for research to religious concerns, research in human cloning has not been simple to conduct. The Islamic religion though does not prohibit therapeutic cloning has been against human cloning technology citing ethical, moral, as well as religious beliefs and values against the technology. Further, with the detrimental consequences that outweigh the merits, the technology remains a prohibition throughout the world.

It is therefore necessary to recommend that though scientists aim at advancing research in science, the debate on human cloning should not be centered on the scientific merits only. Further, scientific advances cannot be termed as threats to religious belief and values but the human culture and values must be borne into the minds of all the stakeholders involved in human cloning research and development. I can therefore recommend that since the world aims at advancing in technology and research, constructive dialogue is necessary that will enable the development of consensus regarding all the aspects of an upcoming technology.


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