Islamic Perspectives on the Beginning of Human Life: Jurisprudential, Theological and Social Implications

On 6th-7th July 2023, AMI hosted a two-day workshop dealing with “Islamic Perspectives on the Beginning of Human Life: Jurisprudential, Theological and Social Implications” in its ongoing series on Contemporary Fiqhī Issues.

The multidisciplinary workshop included experts in traditional Islamic sciences of various dispositions, academics, and medical practitioners from the UK, USA, Europe and the Middle East.

The opening day of the workshop focused on questions regarding the juristic opinions on the moral status of the embryo, which has important implications on pressing medical practices such as abortion and using embryos for research.

The final panel of the day addressed the use of artificial reproductive techniques to conceive a child, including the permissibility of IVF and using a sperm donor for infertile couples or single women without a partner.

In addition to the jurisprudential issues regarding IVF, Iran was used as a case study to explore the social and ethical aspects of the practice in a country where the leading cleric has permitted IVF.

On the following day of the workshop, the focus shifted from jurisprudence to ethical and theological discussions. The morning panels considered issues such as choosing the sex of a child and the ethical implications of conceiving a child knowing that they will suffer from severe and painful genetic defects. This raised questions about whether premarital genetic testing should be mandatory, as is the case in many Gulf countries, and the social effects of irradicating certain forms of disabilities.


The closing two panels delved into deeper questions regarding the nature human soul and the origins of humans. For example, can AI or a human clone have a human soul? Are we living in a simulated reality? What does Islam say about human evolution?


The participants who presented their findings at the workshop were:


Presenter Title of Paper View Abstract
Dr Yaser Mirdamadi (Institute of Ismaili Studies) An Apophatic Critique of “Sanctity of Life
Click here
Shaykh Dr Rafāqat Rashid (Al-Balagh Academy) Embryo Moral Status and Ontological Grounding
in Islamic Ethics: Examining Ethical Implications
of Contemporary Medical Practices Through
Sunni Jurisprudence
Click here
Dr Khaoula Trad (University of Hamburg) The Evolution of the Idea of Ensoulment in Abū
Bakr Ibn al- ʿArabī’s Oeuvre
Click here
Mrs Hatice Kubra Memis (University of Exeter) Islamic Jurisprudence on the Beginning of
Human Life and Its Legal Implications on Foetus
and Mother
Click here
Dr Mohammad Rasekh (Shahid Beheshti University and Institute of Ismaili Studies) Is Foetus a Person under the Imami Fiqh? Click here
Prof. Mustafa Mohaghegh Damad
(The Academy of Sciences of Iran)
Sharia Perspectives on Artificial Insemination:
Exploring Permissibility and Ethical
Click here
Dr Mansooreh Saniei (King’s College London) Embryo Politics, Morality and Shia Islam Click here
Dr Ali Fanaei, Dr Elham Farahani, Ms Arefeh Sadat
(AMI, Mofid University)
Sex Selection from a Religious and Moral Point of View Click here
Prof S. M. Ghari S. Fatemi, Dr Munzela Raza, Dr
Imranali Panjwani
(AMI, Beheshti University, Anglia Ruskin University)
DNA Constructed Knowledge: A Critical
assessment of the UK Legal System and fiqhi
principle of Qā’ida al-firāsh
Click here
Dr Rahim Nobahar
(Shahid Beheshti University)
Moral and Legal Responsibility for reproduction
of a generation with genetic defects: An Islamic
Click here
Prof. Mohammed Ghaly
(Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar)
Testing children’s genes, testing adults’ values:
Which life is worth living?
Click here
Prof Mohammed Basil Altaie (University of Leeds) Biological Evolution: An Islamic Kalām
Click here
Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain (AMI) Human reproductive cloning: Theological and
Ethical Implications
Click here
Dr Amina Inloes (The Islamic College, London) Artificial Intelligence and Twelver Shiʿi Theology:
The End of Anthropocentrism?
Click here
Mr Rizwan Virk (Arizona State University) Islam and the Simulation Hypothesis Click here