|CLONING IN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE – PART 2|
|Published by Maularna|
|Wednesday, 23 May 2012 08:23|
In this new era, the technologies nowadays is used widely and completely especially by the scientists. Cloning is one of the technologies which is now widely used by Western scientists and researchers. The term clone is derived from the Ancient Greek word which is “twig” referred as the process whereby a new plant can be created from the twig. There are many views of meaning of cloning. Cloning in general is the replication of certain type of cells from a "parent" cell or the replication of a certain part of the cell or DNA to propagate a certain desirable genetic trait. Based on the dictionary, cloning is a cell, or cell product or organism that is genetically identical to the unit or individual from which it was derived. There are three diferrent aspects of cloning which are DNA cloning, therapuetic cloning and reproductive cloning.
DNA cloning means the transfer of a fragment of interest from one organism to a self replicating genetic element such as bacterial plasmid so DNA of interest can then be propagated in foreign host cells. While therapuetic cloning is production of human embryos for use in search such as taking stem cells from the produced embryos for study and for producing tissues to treat diseases. This is also called as embryo cloning. Therefore, reproductive cloning is a technology used to generate an animal that has the same nuclear DNA as another currently or previously existing one. Every single gene is exactly the same between the two in a process called "Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer" or (SCNT). Cloning in biology perspective is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature. For example the bacteria, insects or plants that reproduce asexually. While in biotechnology view, it refers to create copies of DNA fragments such as molecular cloning, cells which is cell cloning or the organisms.
How about the cloning processes in Islamic view? Most of the Islamic scholars considered non-human cloning is permissible based on their principle of lawfulness. However, there are some arguments among the scholars about human cloning. Some said totally prohibit, some promote and some allow the human clone. The differences happened due to the different interpretation on the principle of faith and understanding of scientific sciences. Based on the concept of Islam, the marriage between man and woman will results the birth of child through the mixing, fertilizing and growth of the couple’s egg and sperm in the womb of the female. The general conclussion based on Muslim jurist’s, in-vitro fertilization is allowed for the married couples those have difficulties in pregnancy in a normal way as long as the fertilised ovum is placed in the womb of the woman from whom the egg was taken. The fertilization should be the sperm of her lawful husband during their married life not after the divorce or after the death of the husband. The lineage in Islam is closely guarded. Not only adopting children, we are mean to remain far from adultery. All and more, protecting the lineage is very important to avoid any confusions. Prophet Muhammad S.A.W once said that one of the last signs is the slave girl gave birth the master. In the instance of cloning, this hadith will come to a reality. Cloning animals are lawful even it is difficult. It takes 300 trials before “Dolly” is created.
Human cloning is a identical twin of another person. Usually, the clone is not exactly as the replica of the original, but much as the younger identical twin. The process of human cloning is by implanting the womb of any human female with a donor's DNA and the host's egg. The host could be the original mother or a surrogate mother. The cloning done by the nucleus of an egg and selected DNA from the being cloned. These two are fused together using electrical current. This cell then grows into a genetic duplicate and implant in the womb until being the normal human being. If the case of surrogate mother, the child will born without the Wedlocks (adulterous) and if the original mother is used, the child will be born as an incestuous child. So a clone is not an identical person to the one being cloned in all aspects. An identical twin is not the twin in all aspects. They are two different human beings, if one dies the other lives on. Cloning should not be mistaken with the ability to live forever. It is just a genetic duplicate, the two would look the same, have some of the same likes and dislikes but would be two separate distinct human beings. The theological dimensions presented in Al-Quran about human cloning in the workings of nature associateed with reproduction is shown in Surah Al-Mu’minun verse 12-14, “We created (khalaqna) man of an extraction of clay, then we set him, a drop in a safe lodging, then We created of the drop a clot, then We created of the clot a tissue, then We created of the tissue bones, then we covered the bones in flesh; thereafter We produced it as another creature. So blessed be God, the Best of creators (khaliqin)!”. Muslim commentators concluded that human creation is a part of divine that will determine the embryonic journey to a human creature. Besides that, clone suggests the perceivable life at the future stage in development of embryo when Allah says, “thereafter We produced him as another creature”.
Since we are discussing the cloning in Islamic perspective, there should be the permissibility of cloning in Islam.The majority of the council members had reached a conclussion that cloning is permissible in plants and animals except for the human being. Cloning of human being will result the intractable social and moral problems therefore cloning of human cannot be permitted. Islam forbids all the human cloning because it against the law of natural reproduction. In Islam, cloning between family members to cure the disease is halal and encouraged (savab). This are like receiving blood and human kidney from family members, which is halal as well. Islam allow in-vitro fertilization for only some reasons. There are if the mother cannot pregnant normally and guarantee that no one will change the specimen in the lab to implant in the womb of natural mother. Besides, using a surrogate mother who is other than your wife is not allowed in Islam. Islam calls this as an adultery plain and incestuous. As a conclussion , Islam allows cloning if the original mother only was used in the process of cloning. We also must know that each clone have its difference and unique souls. It has been discussed of many scholars, they are declared that cloning is haram. Some others declared it as haram in society level unless it comes to a personal situation. Through the book of Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Al-Ansari, some scholars argued the permisibbility of human cloning based on the principle of lawfulness which means everything is allowed until an individual knows that it is impermissible based on the evidences. Allah says, “Do you not see that Allah has subjected to your [use] all things in the heavens and on earth, and has made his bounties flow to you in exceeding measure, [both] seen and unseen?”
Despite of the arguments about the issue of cloning and human cloning in Islamic perspective, there are also the advantages and the benefits of cloning process. The cloning issue also have the pro and contrast. Some of the advantages of cloning is to create the groups that are genetically identical for the use of research purposes. This research would attract many scientists. The process is limited in usefulness therefore to keep the homozygous line is difficult. Besides, the cloning also is to rapidly propagate desirable animal stocks. This is important for the importance of commercial purposes. Therefore, it improve the efficiency of generating and propagating transgenic livestock. Genetically altering farm animals by the introduction and expression of gener from other species proves to be a useful technology in future. Transgenic animals also can be used for the organ transplantation into humans. Cloning also helps to produce the targeted genetic alterations in domestic animals. It is helpful in studying mutations of genes in a very controlled manner. Cloning also used to pursue the basic knowledge about cell differentiation. The cell differentiation results the birth of cloned sheep, Dolly. The human cloning and human cells cloning also have the useful potential. Cloning humans can act as a research tool to understand how genes in cells can be switched off and on. Cloning of human or human cells also can grow the new skins for the burnt skins victims. Human cells can be clone to culturing the bone narrow to treat cancer patients besides it will manipulate the genes to cure sickle cell anemia. In addition, human cloning also as the potential application for human infertility. In Islam, eventhough the religious, ethical and dimensions are interrelated, we need to understand the legal aspects in cloning. The legists evoke two fundamental principles of ‘equity’ which is istihsan and ‘public interest’ which is maslaha. these principle only applied to protect against distress and constriction, refrain from caause harm and loss to oneself and others and lastly avert cause of corruption has precedence over bringing about benefit.
Despite of advantages and benefits of human cloning, there are also the disadvantages of cloning. The reproductive cloning is expensive and highly inefficient. There are more than 90% of cloning trials failed to produce a viable offspring which need to have more then 100 nuclear transfer procedures required. Due to the low success rate, the cloned animals tend to have more compromised immune function and higher rates of infection, tumor growth and many other diseases. Based on the Japenese research, it shown that cloned mice live in short period of time, and it died in early age. There also about a third of cloned calves born alive and died young, and mostly abnormally large. Many cloned animals lived in a short period to generate good data about how clones age. Doesn’t mean that when the cloned animals appear healthy at their young age is the good indicator of long term survival. The clones known to die mysteriously. For example, Australia’s first cloned sheep apeeared healthy and energetic on the day that she died. The results of her autospy failed to determine the cause of her death. The disadvantages of cloning is cloning have significant scientific uncertainty, medical risks, potential effects of aging, somatic mutation, and improper imprinting. A cloned child is not really a couple’s genetic child, but the child of only one of them. That imbalance may produce strains on the marriage the child might suffer identity confusion, and there is a risk of perpetuating the cause of sterility. In addition, women will be no longer need man to procreate. The companies also will use sciences to create human factories or manufacture the organs and the human trade will increase. What the most important is cloning will lead people to create many adulterous innocent children.
What is stem cells? Stem cells are cells that have not gone through the process of cell differentiation and therefore have the potential to give rise to many different kinds of specialized cells. Research on stem cells in Islamic perspective has many values for scientific understanding of human development and for the potential to treat human diseases. Experiments on the effectiveness and safety of the new drugs or treatments could be done on cell lines made from stem cells and also can produce the liver cells that can be functioning and transplanted into the patients that have failure liver. In addition, stem cells also used to produce insulin which can be transplated to patient with diabetis and cure many diseases. First, we will discuss about should an embryo which is formed within few days after the artificial fertilization and is not yet in the womb of its mother, be considered as human being with all the rights of human being? According to the Shari’ah, there are difference between actual life and potentiall life. It is clearly different between fertilized ovum in the dish and the fertilized ovum in the womb even the embryo is valuable, it has potential to grow as a human being. The embryos were produced in excess of what was required. The remaining embryos will be destroyed or frozen indifinitely. If these embryos treated as the human, it will be forbidden to produce in excess and will destroy them later and this can be called as abortion. Therefore, Muslim jurists mentioned that if someone attacks a pregnant women and aborts her baby in the early stages of her pregnancy, he is liable to punished for homicide. The second issue will be it is acceptable to destroy an embryo for the sake of research even the research can cure many diseases? The answer is the embryo is not in natural environment which is not in the womb. The embryos will not live survive in the dish so that this research will be not wrong but it will be encouraged because it can cure many diseases. Except for the misuse of the embryos will be unlawful. Definitely, the unuse of the embryos will be destroyed. It is encouraged to use an adult stem cells instead of embryonic cells. Therefore, the adult stem cells able to differentiate into different cell types.
Some cases about human cloning are Malaysia decide to ban human cloning reported that Malaysia’s highest religious desicion-making ban the human cloning because the procedure is unnatural and totally against the Islam. Ismail Ibrahim who is the head of the Muslim council said that human cloning generated a lot of interest around the world. He said there’s no problem with cloning the animals or foods, but it completely different with human being. Same goes to the cases of human cloning in Cairo. Tunisia will ban the human cloning in Arab countries which is said by the Arab League. Leading clerics in Arab countries have announced cloning as contrary to Islam. The arguments against human cloning can proved that Allah is the Creator not the humans those do not have right to interfere with God’s plan. Besides, cloning will results harmful to the society and disruption in nature due to the possibilities of overpopulation and famine. Therefore, cloning is an unnatural way of reproduction. While for the arguments for cloning, cloning is a form of creation from materials that we have which is the God’s ability. In addition, Islam encourages us to do research and investigation while cloning is lawful if the research is to cure the diseases. Al-Qadrawi stated that Al-Quran says about the variations among people as a sign from God who created human being in different forms and colors, just as Allah creted them different from the animals. This variety showh the richness of life. “Copying” will lead to the errors of marotal relationship where spouses will not be able to recognoze their partners, lead to serious social and ethical consequences. However, Al-Qadrawi state that the technology also can be used as long as it does not lead to aggression.
Dolly was a female domestic sheep and first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cells using the process of nuclear transfer. She was cloned by Lan Wilmut and Keith Campbell at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh in Scotland. She was born on 5th July 1996 until she was six due to the lung disease. The cell used as the donor for the cloning of Dolly was taken from a mammary gland and the production of a healthy clone proved that cell taken from a specific part of the body could create a whole individual. Dolly has three mothers which one provide the egg, one provide the DNA, and the last one carried the cloned embryo. The cell nucleus from an adult is transferred into an unfertilised oocyte which the nucleus is removed. Hybrid cell is simulated by using electric current and develop into a blastocyst then implanted into her surrogate mother. Dolly’s life is at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh. At there, she bred with a Welsh Mountain ram and produce six lambs. Her first lamb was Bonnie, and next was the twin, Rosie and Sally and then gave birth the triplets, Lucy, Darcy and Cotton. In the auntumn 2001, Dolly at the age of four developed arthritis and began to walk stiffly but she was successfully treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. On 14 February 2003, Dolly died because of the progressive lung disease and severe athritis. Finn Dorset which is the nuclear donor has a life expectancy around eleven to twelve years, but Dolly lived only six years of age. Scientists thought that the disease does not related with the cloning of Dolly. She has been called as the world’s most famous sheep by BBC News and Scientific American. After Dolly, many scientists tried to clone other animals such as horses and bulls. Making cloned animals is highly inefficient because Dolly was the only lamb that survived adulthood.
As the conclussion, from all the aspects, the cloning is definitely unlawful in Islam except for reasonable reasons that is lawful in Islam. All cases introducing the third parties those who donor the sperm, the egg or the womb in marriage is definitely unlawful inIslam. All Muslim countries should formulate necessary legislation to prevent the foreign researchers using Muslim countries for experiment on human cloning. The Islamic organization should be monitor more on scientific developments especially in the field of cloning according to Sha’riah and Islam. Therefore, we as Muslims should not deny our fitrah by cloning people as the evil or Satan always wants us to change the creation of the God like in a Quran verses, “They, leaving Him, call but upon female deities: They call but upon Satan, the persistent rebel! Allah did curse him, but he said: "I will take of Your servants a portion Marked off; And surely I will lead them astray, and surely I will arouse desires in them, and surely I will command them and they will cut the cattle' ears, and surely I will command them and they will change Allah's creation. Who chooses Satan for a patron instead of Allah is verily a loser and his loss is manifest. Satan makes them promises, and creates in them false desires; but Satan’s promises are nothing but deception. They (his dupes) will have their dwelling in Hell, and from it they will find no way of escape.”. In the hadith narrated by Bukhari Moslem, “People who have the worst severe in punishment with Allah in Judgement Day is they who create the things similar with Allah’s creature” . This hadith tells us that Allah explains in the future that people will be able to create the creatures. So then, right now, many scientists did many researches on it. Allah also will not bless an d prohibit any kind of creating other creatures that created by people. As the prove, if the clone is successful, the new cloned creature will not have long time to live and usually will easy to get sick.
Surah Al-Mu’minun, 23.’Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Text and Translation, 407-408
Surah Luqman,31, ‘Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Text and Translation, 501
Agence France Press, 3 March 1999
Surah Al-Nisa, 4, ‘Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an: Text and Translation, 107