Ruling on Cloning
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

Here in the US, there is much debate about the issue of cloning and its implications. At the moment, federal funds have been banned by the president from being used for this purpose. Muslim scholars also seem to be divided on this issue. I want to know the status of cloning in Islam.


Islam does not in any way condemn man’s freedom in scientific inquiry unless it has ethical or moral implications. Cloning is a step forward in this direction. Human cloning, generally defined as the production of two genetically identical individuals, apparently cannot be objected to. However, human cloning is in a very very rudimentary stage at the moment. Currently, it is even very difficult to say whether science will ever succeed in this objective or not. It is also quite impossible to say what exactly will be the result. Cloning an adult sheep was extremely difficult to do; over 270 attempts were needed before Dolly was born. Many foetal lambs did not survive the early stages of development. Those lambs that were carried to term were born with health problems, including malformed kidneys, and all but Dolly subsequently died. See for example, The Washington Times, ‘Before there was Dolly, there were Disasters’ (March 11, 1997).

Furthermore, there are several unanswered questions at the moment: Will genetically identical people be physically and behaviourally identical, too? Will they have identical personalities? What if a clone is cloned again, and again? What would be the result and status of these subsequent ‘beings’? Will it be possible to clone the human soul, along with the body and if it is possible to clone the soul, what would this mean? In contrast, if the body is cloned, but not the soul, what would this mean? Until scientists are able to say something definite regarding these questions, a final verdict on human cloning would just be a wild guess.

For the moment, the only thing which can be said with certainty is that research and investigation in the area of human cloning cannot be objected to. Scientists say that human embryo research and embryo cloning can be used to conduct research into the development of contraceptives, in studies aimed at understanding the causes of human infertility and its solutions, in research involving genetic testing, genetic engineering, disease diagnosis, prevention and treatment, and tests on various medicines and medical procedures.

All this of course, cannot be disapproved in any way, unless, of course, something unethical comes up.

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