The breathtaking panoply of twentieth-century biomedical advancements made it possible to follow, and even sometimes manipulate, what is going on inside the mother's uteruses during the gestational period. These radical scientific developments have had considerable impact on grasping some of the very basic concepts in our lives such as health and sickness, life and death and even the very notion of human personhood.

During the period 15-17 January 1985, about eighty Muslim religious scholars and biomedical scientists participated in a seminar organized by the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences (IOMS) in order to examine the impact of these scientific developments on understanding (the beginning of) human personhood from an Islamic perspective. This presentation will delineate the main points of the beginning of life debate in the IOMS seminar and highlight the roles of biomedical and religious arguments in this debate.


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  • Received: 01 March 2014
  • Accepted: 01 March 2014
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