Thursday, February 24, 2005

An Islamic Perspective on Stem Cells Research in Brief
Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D.
Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
7102 W. Shefford Lane
Louisville, KY 40242-6462, USA

Website: http://WWW.IRFI.ORG
I would like to congratulate and commend Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqui for his painstaking efforts in studying and explaining to readers the difficult
subject of stem cells. I am very pleased at his comments and conclusions which are highly scientific and rational. The definition of the embryo is the age of the conceptus to the end of the 8th week (56 days). Hence the embryo is not a human being, whether grown in a petri dish (in vitro fertilization) or inside the uterus of a mother (natural environment) and according to Islam it does not have a soul. From the 9th week to the 38th week (full term) it is called “fetus”, which means the young one in Latin. In the beginning of the fetal period, the face has a human appearance and the head is formed, but one cannot say that the head is fully formed. The brain continues to grow in the fetal period and even after birth. In fact, the brain increases fourfold in size and weight from birth to maturity. The Qur’an does not say when the soul enters the body. However, a Hadith says, “the soul is breathed into the body” when the fetus is 120 days old in the womb .(Sahih Bukhari Hadith, Vol. 4 Hadith No. 549). Henc, according to Shariah it is permissible to abort the embryo or even the fetus in certain conditions such as rape, endangerment to pregnant mother’s health, or therapeutic abortion. I personally support the opinions and views expressed by Dr. Muzammil H. Siddqui in support of research on embryonic stem cells. In his article, I did not see anywhere the mention of fat cells that could be harvested as stem cells. I am herewith enclosing my article on stem cells from fat for favor of enlightening your readers and it throws new light on stem cell research. (The article will appear in a subsequent issue of Pakistan Link - Editor)
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