The Eleventh General Conference: Towards a Civilized Project for the
Renaissance of the Muslim
Strengthening the cooperation with the establishment of scientific research outside the Muslim World
Strengthening the cooperation with the establishment of scientific
research outside the Muslim World
"The need for cooperation between Islamic scholars and Western
scholars in the development and application of new genetic technologies".
IMAM JOHARI ABDUL.MALIK
MUSLIM CHAPLAIN HOWARD UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON, DC 20059
I seek refuge in Allah from Shaitan. All Praise due to Allah, I praise Him and seek
His assistance, and I beseech His guidance, and I ask for His forgiveness. I bear
witness that there is no Deity but Allah, The One God, who has no partner nor
associates, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.
Therefore: Suratal Iqra (96 :1-19)
The growth of science and technology in the world today is advancing at a
phenomenal rate. The growth of this technological ability has and continues to
surpass the moral and ethical framework of the society and its thinkers. In the past
thirty years we have witnessed man's ability to transmit vast amounts of information,
communicate around the world in seconds and detect from a fragment of DNA the
life history of a human being that lived a thousand years ago. Scientists have
advanced technically to be able to manipulate our environment as well as the nature
of our genes. We have been able to determine the gender and health status of children
before they are born. We can look into the genes of a person and determine whether
they will have a disease later in life, should they jive into older age. Yet humanity is
asking the question will this growth in science and technology be used for the benefit
of mankind or against it? Will scientists and doctors use the new technology
ethically? Who will decide what can be done in the name of science and what should
not be done?
It is my thesis that with collaboration between the scholars of the Muslim worl4
and the scholars and scientists of the West, we can provide the intellectual and ethical
guidance for the next thousand years and beyond. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad,
SAWS was given by Allah The Qur'an Kareem, knowledge and wisdom (Hikmah).
This wisdom and methodology is lacking in the Western world.
I am an American convert or revert to the religion of Islam. In my comments
today when I refer to America I mean the United States of America. The culture of
America is young. The America civilization has contributed much good to the world
in the area of science and technology. With my undergraduate background in
chemistry, masters and doctoral work in genetics and human genetics I have learned
first hand how the intellectuals and scientists of the West are in dire need of the
perspective of Islam to temper the growth and application of their scientific
endeavours. In a recent study Americans reported that 80% of them do not trust
doctors. The physician is the practical link between the advance of medical science
and its power to touch each life in society. This lack of confidence indicates that
people fear that the knowledge may not be used in the proper manner. With these
concerns in mind it is our duty as Muslims throughout the Muslim world to give the
proper guidance as to the development and the use of new technologies.
Use of the INTERNET, attending and convening meeting and conferences such
as this to discuss matters that are relevant for our existence as a people and as a
plant. Allah promise! that he would raise up a khalifa on the earth. We, collectively
are that khalifa raised up from mankind, with the guidance of Qur'an, Sunnah of the
Prophet and the Wisdom of the Scholars. The global village is becoming increasingly
smaller everyday. We must engage in the public debate to guide the development of
society in the proper direction.
We must be acutely aware of technology transfer. Technology transfer is always
accompanied by culture transfer. The use of the medical technology has an affect on
the people and their sense of self and their choices. The values of the West are the
silent cargo of the transfer of technology. In collaboration with scholars, professionals
and researchers from the Islamic perspective we can reinterpret or redirect the focus
and use of technology. In America Muslim scholars, scientists and physicians are
engaging in the public debate regarding many ethical issues in the area of health and
science. As a biomedical researcher at the Children's National Medical Center and as
Muslim chaplain at Howard University in Washington, D.C., often serving on
committees or speaking publicly regarding the Islamic perspective on new medical
issues and technology. From the stand point of a genetic counselor I may be called
upon to discuss matters of fertility and reproductive options. The value laden issues
such as in-vitro fertilization and implantation can be useful to the western dilemmas
such as the issue of "Baby Doe" and surrogate motherhood. The legal battle that
ensued went to the Supreme Court of the United States. The society failed to have the
ethical discussion and informed public discourse before the use of the reproductive
The issue of the cloning of animal and human germ cells has the entire world
questioning why, how and who should use this technology or if it should be used at all.
In a paper discussing these issues I received information from scholars attending a
conference here in Egypt three or four years ago. The Muslim nations must continue
and strengthen their commitment to convene such meeting to broadcast them by
satellite, to carry them on the INTERNET and to make the transcripts available in
the major world language immediately.
Through these links between the wisdom and insight of the Islamic philosophy
and technology of western scientists we may be able to have a greater role directing
the course of modern history.
The history of the Muslim world is full of examples of scholarship, which set the
world on the course of discovery. Ibn Sina is a scholar known to the world as a
scientist, philosopher and physician. Muslims are writing about him in the languages
of the West. These books not only encourage the minds of today but influence and
motivate the thinkers of tomorrow, both Muslim and Non-Muslim.
A modern day scholar, Yusuf Qaradawi, is having a profound affect on the
thinkers in America today. The Muslims in the West who do not have the benefit of
the language of Arabic are handicapped without the translation of important ancient
texts from the Muslim world.
This should cause us to rethink conclusions about the relations between the
West and the Muslim World. How can these links be strengthened? The area of
Bioethics is a growing field. A field in which basic science, psychology, philosophy,
law, public policy and religion all play a central role. The perspective of the Muslim
world is needed.
The scholars of Islam will be less likely to be accused of making erroneous
fatawa's when they are intimately involved in the discussion and development of new
technology. In issues where the limits of technology leave us to face the inevitable,
Islam and the power of the Islamic philosophy and culture can be a great assistance.
In the literature of death and dying, the perspective of the Muslim ideology and
culture can be most instructive. Those of Muslim scholars in the Muslim World in
collaboration with those of us in the West can create and contribute to the new body
of literature around dilemmas faced at the end of life. New institutions for care must
be developed when medical futility is confronted. Programs such as hospice care must
be constructed for those who see the futility of medical procedures in terminal disease
and wish to prepare for death with dignity. Conversely, the international
collaboration of Muslims should speak out on issues like euthanasia and the dangers
of physicians actively assisting death.
There must be international support for the building and maintaining of
Muslim Hospitals in the West. Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Adventist and other
Christian hospital systems are well known in the United States. Yet with the many
Muslim physicians there are no Muslim hospitals and no Muslim hospitals and no
Muslim health delivery system. There is a great need, as America loses faith in its
doctors, for Muslim to cooperate and provide the best form of dawah - the dawah of a
good example. The Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. has a
program called "Training the Trainer". It is a program coordinated by an Egyptian
physician, Dr. Ayman Elmohandes in the department of Neonatology. This program
is but one example of collaboration of doctors from the Muslim world working
outside the Muslim world to raise the quality of healthcare by training physicians
who will train others. I will leave a copy of this program with the organizers of this
Till-medicine will provide new opportunities for doctors with special expertise
in the different parts of the country or different parts of the world to see on a
television screen or monitor, the patient, the procedure and other information in real
time in order to bring the best health care and technology to remote places on the
CNMC has an International Program for patients who cannot be treated in
their local country but are referred for highly specialized treatments or surgery. The
director of the program at Children's Hospital is a Muslim, Ousama El-Baba. We are
also working to develop partnerships with hospitals in the Gulf as satellite institutions
in the Muslim world so that patients who cannot travel will have specialists brought
to the local area for treatment. There are many benefits to our continued cooperation.
Only Allah knows the limit. The reward for the world and the Muslim world will be
In conclusion, we can teach the West and they can learn how to structure a
system and design facilities with the vision of holistic health as ancient Muslims have
done. I have seen designs of the ancient Muslim hospitals with gardens and libraries,
family areas and the segregation of infectious and non-infectious patients. These ideas
when practiced in the Muslim world and communicated and instituted worldwide,
inshaAllah will assist in developing a civilized project for the renaissance of the
May Allah have mercy on those who worked with best intention and helped to
make this meeting possible. The President of Egypt, Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, the
conveners of this meeting and those who supported them. May Allah guide them and
us to the straight path. In enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil. And preserve us
all to return to places of work to advance the cause of Islam with the knowledge and
brotherhood/sisterhood from this meeting. Ameen.