An Introduction to the Field of Islamic Bioethics

Islamic bioethics, as a subject of scholarly inquiry and as a repository of guidance, remains a field-in-formation for its content, scope and methodology are subject to debate. Ambiguities regarding the contours of an Islamic bioethics do not stem from the lack of a moral theology outlined by scripture, nor from a dearth of ethico-legal judgments about biomedicine formulated by Islamic jurists. Rather, the contemporary challenge is to devise bioethical frameworks that are both rooted in Islamic theology and law, yet are fully informed, and thus practically address,  the needs of patients, clinicians, religious advisors, and policymakers.

The challenges for “Islamic” bioethics are made more profound by the fact that notions about moral norms, the good, and the ethical are scattered across different Islamic sciences including moral theology (uṣūl al-fiqh), scholastic theology (ʿilm al-kalām), jurisprudence and law (fiqh), as well as within various genres and practices related to moral formation and spiritual development (taṣawwuf and adab). The multidisciplinary nature of bioethical inquiry also leads to a crisis of epistemology and legitimacy; it is not clear how much weight should be accorded to the reality on the ground (what is) when considering the moral ordering of society (what should be) as well as which register of contemporary bioethical discourse (clinical, political, societal) Islamic bioethics should attend to.

Consequently, this self-paced, intensive course introduces learners to (i) critical concepts in Islamic theology and law that undergird normative ethical frameworks, (ii) scholarly discussions regarding the methods, content and scope of an Islamic bioethics, and (iii) extant normative rulings and discursive products of applied Islamic bioethics related to end-of-life care, organ donation, and reproductive health. 

Target Audience

1. Physicians and allied healthcare practitioners

2. Medical students and trainees

3. Chaplains and religious leaders

4. Bioethicists

5. Others interested in the intersection of religious ethics and healthcare


Learning Objectives

At the completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the sources of Islamic morality
  • Identify the producers, consumers and the discursive material of Islamic bioethics
  • Describe the contentions around what constitutes the "Islamic" in Islamic bioethics
  • Apply critical analysis skills to decipher gaps in the Islamic bioethics discourse
  • Delineate the major Islamic juridical views on end-of-life healthcare, organ donation, and reproductive health
Additional information


Nabeel Palla
Phone Number: 
+1 (414) 955-1174
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 16.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™
    AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™
  • 16.50 Hours of Participation
    Hours of Participation credit.
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

In accordance with the ACCME® Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education, Standard 3, all in control of content must disclose any relevant financial relationships. The following in control of content had no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Aasim I. Padela MD



The following persons in control of content disclosed the following financial relationships which were reviewed via the MCW conflict of interest mitigation process and addressed.











ACCME Accreditation Statement:
The Medical College of Wisconsin is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement:
The Medical College of Wisconsin designates this live activity for a maximum of 16.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Hours of Participation for Allied Health Care Professionals:
The Medical College of Wisconsin designates this activity for up to 16.5 hours of participation for continuing education for allied health professionals. 

Available Credit

  • 16.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™
    AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™
  • 16.50 Hours of Participation
    Hours of Participation credit.


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