Cloning and Islam
The meeting was held from 28 June through 3 July. The Governor of Makkah Mukarramah inaugurated the meeting and about 125 representatives from all parts of the Muslim world attended it. Three issues discussed in this meeting deserve special mention.
Cloning (Translated as Istinsaakh in Arabic) is a hot issue in the entire world today. The issue arose after the experiment in Scotland in which a cell from the body of a lamb was nurtured and it turned into another lamb physically identical to the original lamb. It raised the possibility that this could also be done with human beings, although no cloning experiments involving humans have been done so far. The debate the world over is whether human cloning experiments should be permitted. Many western countries including the U.S have banned such experiments. The Pope has also declared it wrong and has demanded a legal ban.
From an Islamic perspective, two issues have been discussed regarding cloning. First, does it bring into question Islam's belief about Allah's attribute as the Creator in any way? Second, should it be permitted? The Islamic Fiqh Academy first contacted the Organization of Muslim Doctors in Kuwait and organized a preliminary conference in Casablanca. Then the issue was discussed in this year's meeting of the Academy. The medical experts were also invited to the meeting who explained the process and its implications to the Academy.
Regarding the first issue, there was a consensus that cloning does not bring into question any Islamic belief in any way. Allah is the Creator of the universe but He has established the system of cause-and-effect in this world. Sowing a seed in the ground is the cause but only Allah produces the effect from it in the form of a plant. Similarly cloning is a cause and only through Allah's Will it can produce the effect. Just as the person sowing the seed is not the creator of the resulting plant, so the cloning technician is not the creator of the resulting animal. Allah alone is the Creator and all creation takes place solely through His Will.
Regarding the question of permissibility, the majority of the Academy members after discussion reached the conclusion that cloning is permissible in case of plants as well as in case of animals except human beings. The extension of cloning to human beings would create extremely complex and intractable social and moral problems. Therefore cloning of human beings cannot be permitted.
Another topic discussed in this year's meeting was the impact on fasting of various new medical procedures. The meeting discussed which procedures invalidate the fast and which ones can be used without any harm while fasting.
Justice Mufti Taqi Uthmaani, Deputy Chairman: Islamic Fiqh Academy
Translated from Urdu by: Khalid Baig