Notes on Ethico-Legal Training for Healthcare Workers



This paper is an outline of preliminary ideas about training healthcare workers in ethics from an Islamic perspective. Ethics are universal values and there is convergence among many religions and belief systems about these values. Islam differs from others in that ethics is part of its Law. This makes the enforcement of medical ethics a religious duty that many Muslim health care workers will respect because it is based on belief and not coercion.


The training will not be confined to Islamic sources only. Western theories and principles of ethics will also be covered and comparisons will be made with the Islamic ones. The Islamic sources of ethico-legal guidance are from the Qur’an and sunnat. If a direct text is not available, the theory of the Purposes of the Law, maqasid al shari’at, and legal axioms, qawa’id al fiqh, are used to derive ethical rulings. Guidance is also obtained from books and edicts, fatawa, on medical jurisprudence, al fiqh al tibbi. There is no one western theories of medical ethics that can be compared to the theory of maqasid al shari’at. The 4 western principles of ethics (autonomy, beneficence, nonmalefacence, and justice) can all be subsumed under one Islamic legal principle of injury, qa’idat al dharar.



2.1 Theories and principles of medical ethics

2.1.1 Purposes and Principles of Medicine and ethics, maqasid wa qawa’id al tibaabat

2.1.2 Regulations of Medical Procedures, dhawaabit al tatbiib

2.1.3 Regulations of Research Procedures, dhawaabit al bahath

2.1.4 Regulations of Physician Conduct, dhawaabit al tabiib

2.1.5 Regulations about Professional Misconduct, dhawaabit al inhiraaf al mihani


2.2 The etiquette of the physician, adab al tabiib

2.2.1 Etiquette with Patients and Families

2.2.2 Etiquette with the Dying

2.2.3 Etiquette with the Health Care Team

2.2.4 Etiquette of Research on Humans


2.3 Issues in disease conditions, fiqh al amraadh

2.3.1 Uro-Genital System, jihaaz bawli & jihaaz tanaasuli

2.3.2 Cardio-Respiratory System, qalb & jihaaz al tanaffus

2.3.3 Connective Tissue System,

2.3.4 Alimentary System, jihaaz al ma idat

2.3.5 Sensory Systems, al hawaas

2.3.6 Patho-physiological Disturbances

2.3.7 General Systemic Conditions

2.3.8 Psychiatric conditions, amraadh nafsiyyat

2.3.9 Neurological conditions, amraadh al a’asaab

2.3.10 Age-Related Conditions, amraadh al ‘umr


2.4 Issues in modern medicine fiqh mustajiddaat al tibb

2.4.1 Assisted Reproduction, taqniyat al injaab

2.4.2 Contraception, mani’u al haml

2.4.3 Reproductive Cloning, al istinsaakh

2.4.4 Abortion, isqaat al haml

2.4.5 Genetic Technology, taqniyat wiraathiyyat

2.4.6 Artificial Life Support, ajhizat al in’aash

2.4.7 Euthanasia, qatl al rahmat

5.4.8 Solid Organ Transplantation, naql al a’adha

5.4.9 Stem Cell Transplantation, naql al khalaayat

5.4.10 Change of Fitra, taghyiir al fitrat



The ethico-legal training program starts from the premise that there is a gap between what is and what ought to be and that this gap can be closed by training. Training is learning on the job and is therefore very practical in nature. The trainers do not give lectures but rather facilitate discussion and interaction among participants that leads to learning. The training will be based entirely on study and discussion of cases of actual ethical problems that are encountered in hospital practice. Source material will be provided in advance of any workshops. As far as possible training will be brought to each health center of hospital. A total of 5 workshops each lasting 2-3 hours will be needed to cover the curriculum. Each workshop will be opened by a short introduction from the workshop facilitator. Then the participants will be divided into discussion groups each dealing with a group of related cases. Groups will present their findings in the plenary session followed by a general discussion. The facilitator will summarize the principles learned as well as correct any misunderstandings.



Success of the project requires holding an initial training program to train the trainers. Then the trainers will train others. Resource material will be provided as required. Additional material can be obtained from http://omarkasule.tripod.com.



ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. June, 2008