Praise be to Allaah.
Every branch of knowledge that people need in their
religious or worldly affairs is not forbidden in and of itself with regard
to studying, learning and understanding. But what is of concern is how
this knowledge is used and applied. There is nothing wrong with studying
accountancy – for example – but the problem is with the practical
application of it in the real life financial world, such as working in
riba-based banks and other institutions. The same may also be said
concerning medicine. It is a branch of knowledge that is very important
and people cannot do without it, but sometimes in real life it is used for
things that are forbidden in Islam, such as cosmetic surgery for the
purpose of beautification, abortions, and so on.
The same may be said concerning the science of genetics,
which is defined in al-Mu‘jam al-Waseet (2/1024) as the science which
examines the transmission of characteristics in living beings from one
generation to another and explaining the way this occurs. It is an important
branch of knowledge, one of the greatest benefits of which is knowledge of
hereditary diseases and how to protect against them and treat them. It may
also be used for beneficial purposes in plants and animals. But at the same
time there is room for those who are toying with what is called cloning. We
have discussed a little about what is permitted and what is forbidden with
regard to cloning and genetic engineering in the answers to questions no.
What matters then is not the theoretical study of genetics;
rather it is the practical application thereof. Whatever is permissible and
beneficial is encouraged by Islam, and whatever is haraam and harmful, is
forbidden by Islam.
In a conference of the Islamic Association of Medical
Sciences in Kuwait, which was held under the heading, “Genetics, Genetic
Engineering, the Human Genome and Gene Therapy: an Islamic View,” with the
participation of the Islamic Fiqh Council in Jeddah, the Local Chapter of
the World Health Organization in Alexandria, and the Islamic Organization
for Education, Science and Culture, which was held during the period 23-25
Jumaada al-Aakhirah 1419 AH/13-15 October 1998 CE, the following statement
Islam is the religion of science and knowledge, as it says in
the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the
“Say: ‘Are those who know equal to those who know not?’”
Islam does not hold the human mind back from beneficial
scientific research, but it is not permissible for the results of this
research to be put into practice until they have been measured against
Islamic guidelines. Whatever is in accordance with sharee‘ah is permitted,
and whatever goes against it is not permitted. The science of genetics with
its various aspects – as with all additions to knowledge – is something that
Islam encourages and Muslim scientists should be in the forefront of it.
And Allah knows best.