Review of the Main Themes
Both studies under consideration are dedicated to identifying the relations between religion and science from various perspectives. At this point, the first , Fatalism, and Medical Intervention: Lessons from Egypt on the Cultivation of Forbearance provides an alternative view on the role of religious fatalism in advancing or hampering social, scientific, and technological progress.
The author redefines the existing notions and tries to highlight the actual reasons for the Muslim peoples reluctance to undergo medical treatment. The second article called Islam, Procreation and the Law discusses the moral and religious codes with regard to the notions of reproduction and sexuality treated from a historical perspective.
It also presents how religious views on reproduction and abortion influence legal issues in the Islamic countries. Despite different angles reviewed in the articles, they both provide a religious and historical insight in the current problems of medical treatment and health among the Muslim. In addition, they also reveal how religious and moral codes relate to social and legal issues.
The Main Ideas of the Articles
While representing the main ideas in the articles, both authors rely on historical resources and introduce an ethnographical approach to studying the problems. At this point, the author sheds light on different religious ideologies to infer an alternative definition of the religious fatalism with reference to such concepts as religious steadfastness and divine will.
In this respect, Hamdy argues, it is critical to unpack the various implications of the charge of fatalism as well as the social realities that it masks for a better understanding of the practices of both Islam and biomedicine1.
Looking from this perspective, religion is not a potential constrain to medical interventions and social progress, but peoples reliance on the so-called comfort mechanism. Because of poverty and poor social conditions, the Muslims strive to appease and, as a result, they oppose treatment.
Similar to Hamdy, Sachedina also refers to historical and religious background to provide explanation for current issues related to human health2. Specific attention, however, is paid to the way religion influences the current state of social and legal perception of reproduction, abortion, and sexuality. While referring to history and exploring the main provisions of Quran, the author builds a solid foundation for further discussion.
The major differences between ideas representation lies in the extent to which the authors rely on primary sources, such as Quran and other first-hand documents. At this point, Hamdy focuses more on scientific works and theoretical frameworks represented by other scholars in the field of research.
By referring to scientific works, the author argues, faith in divine will has often been interpreted as passivity, inaction, or false consciousness a functionalist mechanism to alleviate poverty and suffering3. In contrast, Sachedina relies heavily on primary documents to make a statement about the concept of reproduction and sexuality: Within the confines of marriage, sexuality is treated as one of the good things in life that a Muslim should enjoy. Marriage is commendable and is recommended for whoever can afford it4. Consequently, reference to diverge resources identifies authors attitude toward the role of science and religion in social life.
Confrontation between Religion and Science: Main Assumptions and Key Considerations
While estimating the role of religion in social and cultural life of the Muslim people, both articles reveals the rigid confrontation between religious ideologies and biotechnological progress. At this point, Hamdy discusses the role of religious fatalism with regard to terminally ill patients and re-orients the analysis to the way religious traditions disguise the social realities: religion is assumed to be a tool of manipulation by the powerful to keep the disadvantaged downtrodden5.
Similar to the first study, Sachedina considers religion the major challenging factor affecting social and legal spheres of life in the Eastern countries. In particular, the author underscores, Islam is a comprehensive system that regulates the spiritual as well as civic aspects of individual and communal life6.
Quran is considered to be the major source of laws dictating the behavioral patterns and of such medical and biological interventions as contraception, abortion, and sterilization.
Deep philosophical analysis has been represented in both studies to define what aspects of religion have a potent impact on the development of current scientific and technological issues, as well as how the current development of biotechnology.
In this respect, both authors have reached a consensus concerning false interpretation of the sacred book generating more misconceptions with regard the evaluation of medicine, science, and technology.
While addressing historical sources and interpreting relevant passages from first-hand documents, Hamdy recounts the case in which a patient Muhammad agreed to have dialysis procedures and rejected to transplant another kidney because of the Gods will: For Muhammad pain was not an abhorrence to be eliminated at all costssome pain was regarded as a blessing, as a reminder of God, and as something for which to be thankful7.
Hence, the author expresses his concerns with the way religious tradition manipulates peoples lives. The expectations also create challenges for legal issues in Islamic world. Within this framework, Sachedina underlines, Muslim countries have constitutional provisions indicating that Shariah is either a source or the source of legislation8.
With regard to the previous article, the given study is more focused on estimating the value of the Quran and religious schools in considering and justifying different issues related to womens health and reproduction.
On the one hand, both studies provide a heavy criticism of Islam as the major constraint in advancing science and technology and promoting social welfare. On the other hand, both authors attain much importance to Quran as the solid foundation of ethical and moral codes being congruent with contemporary outlooks on health issues.
To enlarge on this point, Hamdy notes that religion and spiritual foundations do not actually disapprove medical intervention, but interpret those as Gods will as far as the transplantation is concerned9. Because of misinterpretation, many Muslim people believe, transplantation could not possibly be pleasing to God10.
At the same time, thee author represents another experience approving of transplantation and explaining that God had given our bodies as a trust (amana) and that he was therefore responsible to take care of it11.
Representing this case enables to assert that sacred documents are often interpreted with regard to social changes to adapt to the ongoing environment. Sachedina also makes use of similar statement while considering the role of place of religion in shaping legal platform in the Muslim world.
At this point, the author explains the divergence in school of thought by various interpretation of Islam while considering the problem of contraception: family planningis occasioned by the peoples own choice and conviction, without constraint or compulsion on the condition that the means for effecting this planning is legitimate12.
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