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 Islam and Current Medical Concerns
First Volume

The Full Minutes of the Seminar on Human Reproduction in
Islam, Held on May 24, 1983 A.D. (Sha'aban 11, 1403 H.)

Supervised and with an Introduction by
Dr. Abd EI-Rahman Abdulla Al-Awadhi
Minister of Public Health and of Planning
Chairman of the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences

     Edited by
Dr. Ahmad Rajaii Al-Gindi

Translated by
M. Muneer S. Asbahi, Ph.D.


Session Chairman, [Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Kamel]



In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Praise be to God and Peace and Blessings to His Apostle and his kin and Companions, and those who promote his Message until Doomsday. Warm greetings, brothers and sisters, and God's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be with you .

It was expected that Dr. Abd Al-Rahman Al-Awadhi, the Minister of Health, would be with us and chair this session, but some urgent business  developed in the last moment and kept him from attending. He sends you his greetings and hopes that we all cooperate in this last session tb finish the business expected of us. As you know the Recommendation Committee started its work at five and met for four full hours, from five to nine. It tried its very best to include in the recommendations what we arrived at in our sessions yesterday and today.
    As you know, there was a discussion over phrasing at the recommendation sessions, which resulted in what we have here. Certain subjects were discussed again and again when first raised then were discussed once more in the recommendation session to decide the best phrasing. I do not think we need to go into more discussion. As it is the practice in such seminars, the Recommendation Committee has been.trusted with the outcome of our work. What is left now is to have the recommendations read to, and certified by, you.
    The Committee is chaired by His Excellency Councellor Abdulla Al-Isa and he is assisted by members of the Committee. Would he kindly read to you what the Committee has arrived at.

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful


1. Milk Banks
2. Fetal Sex Selection
3. Cloning
4. Test Tube Baby and the
5. Surrogate Motherhood

6. Surgical Contraception (Sterilization)

7. Abortion
8. Medical Examination of the Other Sex
9. Other Recommendations

Date .(THird Day): Thursday, Sha'ban 13, 1403 H.; May 26, 1983 A.D. Time. 5.00-9.30 p.m.
   Place: Sheraton Hotel, [Kuwait] Roof  B.

Attending Members
1. Shoikt1 Abdulla AI-'lsa, Chairman.
2. Dr. Ahmad AI-Ghandour .
3. Or. Zakarriya AI-Berri.
4. Dr. Mullal'11l1ad Sulall'lrul 1\1..l\sllqar.
5. Dr. Khaled AI-Mathkour, Secretary .
6. Dr. Abd AI-Sattar Abu Ghuddah, Secretary.          
7. Dr. Hassan Hathout.
8. Dr. Abd AI-Hafez Hilmi.
10. Dr. 'Adel AI- Tawhid.
11. Dr. Ahmad Raja'ii AI-Gindi.
12. Dr. Ahmad Sharf AI-Din.

Minutes of the Session
    First, the Committee reviewed the reports submitted on the sessions of the seminar to be guided by them, together with the memoranda of the chairmen and secretaries of the sessions, in determining what has been arrived of recommendations at the seminar .

Milk Banks
1. The setting up of banks of mixed human milk is to be discouraged. If medical need calls for them, banks of human milk may be set up for premature babies. A group of participants believe, on the basis of the opinion of the majority of fiqh scholars, that the collection of milk should be . done in a way that guarantees the identification of each donor and each baby receiver. The nursing should be written down in records that are kept, and everyone involved should be notified to avoid the marriage of  persons who have a milk relationship entailing the prohibition of their  marriage.
    Others, however, believe there is no need to identify the donors and, receivers, on the basis of the opinion of AI-Laith Ibn Sa'd and the scholars of AI-Zhahiriyah School and their followers, who believe that milk relationships result only when a baby sucks the breast of a milk mother .

Fetal Sex Selection
    2. There was an agreement that the Islamic legal viewpoint is that fetal sex selection is unlawful when it is practiced at a national level, while on an individual basis, some of the scholars participating in the seminar , believe there is nothing legally wrong with the attempt to fulfil the wish of a married couple to have a boy or a girl through available medical means, while other scholars believe it is unlawful for fear that one sex might outnumber the other .

    3. Tte sominar rocommonds ftJrlttor rnodical and fiqh study of  questions related to human cloning, along the same lines followed in animal experiments, and does not favour a hasty ruling on these matters.
     4. There is an agreement that it is lawful to apply genetic engineering technology to microorganisms, by using recombinant DNA in the field of producing therapeutic drugs in abundant quantities. It is recommended that the properties of the said acid should be exploited in all fields that would benefit Muslims and keep them away from harm.

Test Tube Babies (and the Surrogate Mother-hood)
    5. The seminar concluded that such a practice is lawful if it only involves a married couple while the marriage is valid and sufficient and meticulous care is, taken to avoid lineage confusion, although even here there is some reservation under the pretext of pre-emptive (anticipatory) prohibition.
    It was also agreed that the practice is unlawful if it involves an alien party, whether in the form of semen, an ovum, an embryo, or a womb.

Surgical Contraception (Sterilization)
    6. It is agreed that surgical contraception is lawful bn the individual level in cases of necessity as determined by a trustworthy Muslim doctor and when other alternatives have been exhausted. On the level of the Muslim nation at large, it is unlawful, and the seminar denounces turning sterilization into a general campaign and warns against its exploitation in demographic wars that aim at turning Muslims into minorities in their own countries or in the world as a whole.

    7. Going over the views expressed by earlier fiqh scholars, with the keen insight and sound judgment they demonstrate, and noting that they i unanimously forbid abortion after the breathing in of spirit, i.e. after the first i four months of pregnancy, and that they differ over abortion before spirit is breathed in, with some opting for categorical prohibition or considering it,, reprehensible, and other prohibiting it after the first forty days and allowingit it before that, with some difference over the necessity for justifying   roasons; and bonefitting from a review of contemporary medical and scientific advances as established inpapers and by modern medical technology; the seminar concludes that an embryo is a living organism from the moment of conception, and its life is to be respected in all its stages, especially after spirit is breathed in. Aggression against it, in the form of abortion, is unlawful except in cases of maximum necessity. Some8 participants, however disagreed and believe abortion before the fortieth  day, particularly when there is justification, is lawful.

Medical Examination of the Other Sex
    8. It is lawful for a medical member of one sex to look at the 'awra of  amember of the other sex for purposes of medical examination, treatment,and medical education. Exposition, however, should be limited to what the  need calls for .

[Other Recommendations]
    9. Effort should be made to include in the curicula of medical schools  in the Islamic World a study of subjects of Islamic Law related to health, disease, and treatment, and to include medical subjects in the curricula of. collleges of Islamic studies.
  10. A permanent committee composed of fiqh scholars, doctors, and scientists should be established to look when necessary into cases that require technical knowledge and Islamic ruling.
  11. Due to the great benefit resulting from the seminar, the participants recommend holding others to discuss similar medical problems.
The participants wish to express their gratitude to and appreciation of the Government of Kuwait as represented by the Ministry of Health and other involved bodies for their efforts to make this seminar successful.

Dr Abd AI-Aziz Kamel

    I believe this is the end of the recommendations, and the Committee -has expressed what we all feel. We thank Councellor Abdulla AI-Isa.
    I believe that what has been written truly reflects the way we felt and thought in our debates. If it is acceptable, I move now to a final item.
    At the conclusion of this seminar that has brought together scholars from various disciplines: fiqh, medicine, law, and science, and from various countries of the Islamic world, I believe I express what we all feel of thankfulness and gratitude to his hospitable Islamic Arab country, including its Prince, Crown Prince, government, and people, for giving us this opportunity for fruitful dialogue, which deals with problems facing our contemporary Islamic World and strengthens the ties between scholars of various disciplines, different in their ways, united in their goals, all aiming at the glory of Islam and Muslims and at turning scientific and scholarly a hopes and opinions into fo~mulas that find their w~y to pract,ical application -~ and that are exchanged with other Arab and Muslim countries. The efforts made by the Ministry of Health, His Excellency the Minister, and the elite that assist him can only be met by great appreciation and gratitude, and by calling for more, by God's Will. I believe I express what we all feel by thanking those brothers who have participated in this conference, believing in its conception, planning for it, and putting it into practice; those who contributed with their opinions, their views, and their thoughts. I pray that this meeting is only a milestone on a road of special and fruitful cooperation through which we hope that our efforts are the fruition of earlier ones and a seed for future ones. Peace and God's Mercy and Blessings to you all.