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By Amyn B. Sajoo

Fresh political and social occasions, in addition to advances in technology and know-how, have posed demanding situations to the conventional Muslim discourse on ethics.
In this booklet, new in paperback, Amyn B. Sajoo examines those demanding situations and severely analyzes the consequences of rising tasks in political pluralism and civic tradition in addition to strikes in bio-medicine and environmental conservation. He considers how the contours of public ethics in Islam should be redefined to supply shared conceptions of the nice and the virtually invaluable in pluralist societies.

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E decline of ijtihad was accompanied by a pattern of compartmentalizing law and politics, so that the latter – siyasa – became the domain of the caliph or sultan, as an exercise in kingship. e law, in all its potent civic and religious if not intellectual authority, was the domain of the ulama or religio-jurists. ⁵⁶ Although this did not preclude ad hoc ethical judgments by communities and individuals about the conduct of civic affairs through to the modern era, the sacralization of the law inevitably curtailed the scope, potency and systematization of such a critique.

Nevertheless, the assumption holds that the proper basis for a modern civic culture, of universal application, involves the pursuit of a secular civil divested of private virtue. Applied to the transitional societies of the Muslim world, this paradigm is seen to run into profound, if not sui generis, barriers of history, ideology and religion. In particular, Islam’s supposed merging of the categories of secular, sacred and state (duniya, din, dawla), as well as the concept of umma as a transcendent community, are 25    seen as inherently problematic for an inclusive, pluralist and secular ethos where one freely associates with others outside the control of the state.

It is doubtful that maslaha could justify the second choice as a rationale for cloning. ⁶⁵ en there is the prospect that embryos created by the same process of fusion for therapeutic cloning may end-up being implanted for reproductive purposes, either by accident or by design to circumvent legal constraints. ⁶⁷ As Muslim health professionals and scholars reect on these questions,⁶⁸ the rush of developments in the laboratory and biotechnological market only elevates the ante. Euthanasia While the ethics of genetic intervention and abortion begin with the primacy of the life’s sanctity in Islam, and then may venture into qualifying factors of the public welfare that shape the nal response to the specic issue, euthanasia as an active act of ‘mercy killing’ (literally ‘good death’) is approached in more absolute terms.

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