Acta Cogitata: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy


Islamic bioethics acts as a normative guide to issues in the medical and scientific fields based on the religious perspective of Islam. In this paper, I will discuss one of the principles of Western biomedical ethics using this perspective. In particular, I will demonstrate how this principle should be reformulated, by Islamic understanding, into the principle of respect for justice. The principle of respect for justice can be viewed in the same way as the principle of respect for autonomy, composed of the negative obligation to refrain from actions that destabilize justice (such as causing harm to others), and the positive obligation to actively participate in justice. Values of family, society, and public interest are highly regarded and promoted in Islamic beliefs, and are therefore taken into consideration with significant weight in a Muslim person’s autonomous decisions. The ethical commitments that comprise the principle of respect for justice therefore narrow down Muslim individuals’ sphere of autonomous self-determination as viewed from the Western perspective of autonomy. Autonomy in Islam incorporates the interest of not just the individual, but considerations and ethical commitments for the collective as well. Understood in this way, the Islamic principle of respect for justice is directly applicable to various topics of interest in biomedical ethics, such as immunization, where it mandates vaccination as a moral obligation for Muslims.

Included in

Philosophy Commons