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Accordingly, the 3 leading principles related to the family, the child and reproduction are 1 the protection of the human being from the moment of its conception, 2 that the child is the fruit of marriage, as God commends husband and wife to have children, and 3 that integrity and dignity norms must be taken into consideration in all these matters Abdallah, The position of the Catholic Church regarding assisted reproduction follows the proclamation issued in by Pope Pius XII who defined artificial fecundation as immoral and illegal, because it separates procreation and sexual normal function Pope Pius XII, IUI can be accepted if the semen is collected by sexual intercourse while AID is forbidden because it involves a third party.

The beginning of the sixteenth century showed significant discontent with the Roman Catholic Church in some parts of Europe and in Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg challenging the authority of the Catholic Church. This was followed by similar acts of dissent in other parts of Europe creating various Christian sects collectively known as Protestants, each with its own Church. Today the main protestant denominations are the Lutherans, the Calvinists including the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists , the Anglicans, the Adventists, the Baptists, the Methodists and the Pentecostalists Fig.

Protestants vary in their beliefs on IVF, and unlike the Catholic Church, there is not one set of ethical guidelines for Protestant couples to follow regarding its use. Those who support IVF, limit its use to married couples. All the embryos must be replaced into the uterus and selective reduction is not allowed. Today, the number of Anglicans in the world is over 85 million. Of those, The Church of England has about 85 million followers worldwide. Consequently, it allows assisted reproductive techniques, IVF and ET and allows the doctors to use sperm obtained after masturbation.

The Church has recently accepted gamete donation by third parties, although it stated that individual Anglicans may decide not to use donor gametes. However, the Church of England expressed concern at offering fertility treatment to single women and gay couples. Her amendment was defeated by only one vote.

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Today there are 14 main Eastern Orthodox Churches, which are considered equal, although the Church of Constantinople has traditionally been considered the mother Church. The Church suggests adoption as an alternative to those couples unable to accept their sterility problem. If this is not possible, then the Church could accept fertilization techniques that do not involve surplus embryos, or include any form of donation or embryo destruction.

It traces its roots to St Mark the apostle who preached in Alexandria, Egypt in the early days of Christianity. It has about 15 million followers, who reside mainly in Egypt, although there are many Coptic communities in the USA, Europe and Australia. It is headed by the Pope of Alexandria and is independent from all other Churches Fig. It has about 15 million followers worldwide.

The Coptic Church is more lenient than other Eastern Orthodox Churches in its views on assisted reproduction. According to the late Bishop Gregorios, the Bishop of theological studies, Coptic culture and scientific research, IVF is accepted as long as the oocyte and sperm are taken from the husband and wife, fertilization occurred in vitro with no doubt about gamete mixing.

Embryo transfer must be performed to the mother who is the source of the oocytes. However, gamete donation is forbidden. On the contrary, the Christian Scientists Church does not condone IVF because of the use of medication and surgical techniques, but leaves the final decision to the individual couples. Muslims followers of the religion of Islam form about According to the Muslim tradition, Islam is not only a religion, but also a way of life, as the teachings of Islam cover all the fields of human activity: spiritual and material, individual and social, educational and cultural, economic and political, national and international Serour, Fig.

Islam is the religion of 1. In theory, their opinion is not binding but in practice Sunni Muslims follow the Fatwas issued by those bodies. In addition, the laws of Muslim countries follow these Fatwas in most of instances, particularly in matters of birth, death, marriage and divorce and consequently assisted reproduction. In addition, two guidelines have been issued on the same subject: 1 Guidelines from the Organization of Islamic Medicine based in Kuwait in and 2 Guidelines from the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization issued in Rabat, Morocco in Serour, Cryopreservation of spermatozoa and oocytes is also allowed as well as cryopreservation of embryos.

These embryos remain the property of the couple and may be transferred to the same wife in a subsequent cycle but only during the validity of the current marriage. Foetal reduction is also allowed if the prospect of carrying the pregnancy until viability is small. It is also allowed if the life of the mother is in jeopardy. Sperm and oocyte donation are obviously not allowed and pregnancy after the menopause is not allowed when using donated oocytes.

However, pregnancy after the menopause is allowed when using cryopreserved oocytes of the same woman in an existing marriage contract. Therapeutic cloning for regenerative medicine is also allowed, but reproductive cloning is prohibited. Somatic gene therapy is allowed but germ line gene therapy is still debated. For most Sunni Muslims, surrogacy is not permitted. In reality, the Fatwa from the Fikh Council issued in Mecca in had allowed surrogacy if the oocyte donor and the surrogate mother are both married to the same man.

However, this Fatwa was reversed in when men started to have second wives just to obtain their oocytes and then divorce them. Recently, a new debate has also opened in favour of permitting surrogacy comparing the surrogate mother to the wet nurse Serour, Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khamenei. Their current leader is the Agha Khan.

They are present mainly in Pakistan and surrounding countries, although many of them emigrated to Europe and the Americas Fig. This is a union between an unmarried Muslim woman and a Muslim man, which is contracted for a fixed time period in return for a set amount of money. The decision is made in the presence of witnesses, the IVF doctor and with the agreement of both parties infertile couple and donor.

However, this arrangement cannot be applied in case of sperm donation as the wife cannot have a second husband. Inhorn, Major traditions within Hinduism include Vaishnavism, which is devoted to worship of the god Vishnu, and Shaivism, organized around worship of the god Shiva. Hinduism is based in the teachings of the sacred Vedas and Hindu beliefs cover a large range or religious ideologies and philosophic systems starting with polytheism, atheism, pantheism and monotheism.

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Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings. It has around 1 billion followers around the world. Hinduism is a very liberal religion concerning assisted reproduction. In fact the Hindu religion agrees with most of the assisted reproduction techniques, but it demands that the oocyte and the sperm used in the procedure to better come from a married couple.


However, Hinduism also accepts sperm donation but the donor has to be a close relative of the infertile husband. In addition, abortion is not prohibited and the adoption of a child, which usually comes from a numerous family, is also practiced. The three major branches of Buddhism in the modern world are Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism and Vajrayana sometimes described as Tibetan Buddhism. Vajrayana Buddhism, the smallest of the three major branches, is concentrated in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and Mongolia. Only two other regions — North America 3. Buddhism emerged in India around BC and it is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama also known as The Buddha, the enlightened one.

Buddhism is also a very liberal religion regarding assisted reproduction.

Cultural Anthropology/Ritual and Religion

It allows the use of IVF without restricting the access to this medical procedure to the married couples and sperm donation is also permitted. In the Buddhist tradition, a child conceived from donated genetic material has the right to meet his genetic parents as he reaches maturity Ying et al. Japanese people can be adherents of Buddhism, Shintoism or both religions.

Shintoism is a Japanese faith that has been part of religious life in Japan for many centuries. Shi'as recognise these as useful texts relating to Islamic jurisprudence, but subject them to close scrutiny. Ultimately this difference of emphasis led to different understandings of the laws and practices of Islam. The concept of the Mahdi is a central tenet of Shi'a theology, but many Sunni Muslims also believe in the coming of a Mahdi, or rightly guided one, at the end of time to spread justice and peace.

He will also be called Muhammad and be a descendant of the Prophet in the line of his daughter Fatima Ali's wife. The idea has been popular with grassroots Muslims due to the preaching of several Sufi or mystical trends in Islam. Over the centuries a number of individuals have declared themselves the Mahdi come to regenerate the Muslim world, but none has been accepted by the majority of the Sunni community. However, some more Orthodox Sunni Muslims dispute the concept of the Mahdi because there is no mention of it in the Qur'an or Sunnah.

The Wahabi movement within Sunni Islam views the Shi'a practice of visiting and venerating shrines to the Imams of the Prophet's Family and other saints and scholars as heretical. Most mainstream Sunni Muslims have no objections. Some Sufi movements, which often provide a bridge between Shi'a and Sunni theologies, help to unite Muslims of both traditions and encourage visiting and venerating these shrines.

All Muslims are required to pray five times a day. However, Shi'a practice permits combining some prayers into three daily prayer times.

A Shi'a at prayer can often be identified by a small tablet of clay from a holy place often Karbala , on which they place their forehead whilst prostrating. Today there are significant differences in the structures and organisation of religious leadership in the Sunni and the Shi'a communities.

There is a hierarchy to the Shi'a clergy and political and religious authority is vested in the most learned who emerge as spiritual leaders. Shi'a institutions abroad are also funded this way. There is no such hierarchy of the clergy in Sunni Islam. Most religious and social institutions in Sunni Muslim states are funded by the state. Only Zakat is applicable.

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In the West most Sunni Muslim institutions are funded by charitable donations from the community at home and abroad. The persecution of the Prophet's family and the early Shi'as provide a paradigm of martyrdom which is repeated throughout Shi'a history. The relationship between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims through the ages has been shaped by the political landscape of that period. The majority of Sunni and Shi'a Muslims do not allow their theological differences to divide them or cause hostility between them. For example, Shaikh Mahmood Shaltoot of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the oldest institution of Islamic learning in the world, considers Shi'a Islam to be of equal status to the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence.

However, current global political conditions mean there has been a degree of polarisation and hostility in many Muslim societies. The term Rafidi meaning "Rejecter" has been applied by radical Sunnis to disparage Shi'as. In turn the Shi'as will often use the label Wahabi, which refers to a particular sectarian movement within Sunni Islam, as a term of abuse for all those who disagree with Shi'a beliefs and practices.

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Find out more about page archiving. Sunni and Shi'a Last updated Introduction The division between Sunnis and Shi'as is the largest and oldest in the history of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad When the Prophet died in the early 7th century he left not only the religion of Islam but also a community of about one hundred thousand Muslims organised as an Islamic state on the Arabian Peninsula. Leadership claims Both Shi'as and Sunnis have good evidence to support their understanding of the succession.

The division Seeds of division Ali did not initially pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr.

Schools of Islamic theology

Widening of the divide Islam's dominion had already spread to Syria by the time of Ali's caliphate. However this solution of human arbitration was unacceptable to a group of Ali's followers who used the slogan "Rule belongs only to Allah", justified by the Qur'anic verse: The decision is for Allah only. He telleth the truth and He is the Best of Deciders Qur'an. Expansion Sunni and Shi'a expansion As Islam expanded from the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula into the complex and urban societies of the once Roman and Persian empires, Muslims encountered new ethical dilemmas that demanded the authority of religious answers.

Sunni expansion and leadership Sunni Islam responded with the emergence of four popular schools of thought on religious jurisprudence fiqh. Shi'a expansion and leadership Meanwhile, the leadership of the Shi'a community continued with 'Imams' believed to be divinely appointed from the Prophet's Family. Another hadith states that just like Jews split into seventy-one sects and Christians into seventy-two, Muslims will split into seventy-three, all of them destined to hellfire, except one. This word, inferred from several hadiths, [7] conveys the idea of being in this world without being of this world, making Salafism a non-geographical fortress : wherever they go in the world, they have one identity, they are first and foremost Muslims.

They are never at home except in Islam. Innovation vs.

Spread of Islam

Two distinctions are necessary here. Moreover, Wahhabism is traditionally more focused on literalist theology than on ijtihad in Islamic law. For Salafis this is an everyday principle, concerned with very practical things: some examples might help to understand the point. This is an area where there is a lot of friction between Salafis and other Muslims. Greeting people is also a controversial subject: Salafis would mostly not wave, because the Prophet and his companions are said never to have done so to each other. One of the most distinctive feature of Salafis is their way of dressing. Finally, Salafis insist that only strictly Islamic names can be given to new born babies Muhammad, Fatima, Hasan… , while non-specifically Muslim names are to be avoided.

As may be inferred, Salafis have a hadith for any occasion. Being a Salafi is imitating the Prophet Muhammad in the tiniest detail. This is how you show your piety. Even though Saddam Hussein was considered an apostate, Sunni Muslims represented an important component of the Iraqi army. According to Salafis, faith consists of three elements: belief of the heart, speech of the tongue, acts of the limbs.

They also believe it is a flexible concept: faith decreases when you act against Islam and vice-versa. Sins at the second level — without conditions of conscious intent — and sins at the third level i. In other words, a Muslim who does not pray while admitting that he is neglecting a religious duty, remains a Muslim. But if he states that there is no need to pray, then he falls into major unbelief. The distinction between faith and unbelief plays a very practical role in politics too. According to some Salafis, this passage also implies that following a man-made system of laws is equivalent to follow different gods.

Both Muslim countries like Egypt and non-Muslim countries like the US that are not based on Islamic law are consequently ruled by polytheists. Yet, other Salafis recognize that poor countries are forced to deal with other nations and they are obliged to adopt foreign law systems for economic reasons. Since this choice is forced upon these countries, you cannot blame them. Nonetheless, a country that consciously exchanges sharia for an entirely different system of law — for example adopting a secular Constitution — is ruled by unbelievers.

Salafis are not a homogeneous group ; they are actually quite divided. The overwhelming majority of them are quietist , apolitical and mostly focused on education and missionary activities. They feel safe inside their own castle. A second category are political Salafis , who differ from quietist Salafis on one point only: for them, political activism, demonstration and parliamentary participation is compulsory. Finally, there is a minority of jihadi Salafis, who sometimes embrace weapons. However, only jihadi Salafis consider that jihad should be directed at apostate Muslims in the Islamic world.

Becoming a Salafi is very easy: it might be as simple as praying once in a Salafi mosque suggested by a friend and deciding to join them. What makes this religious movement so appealing? Probably the fact that Salafism is very simple. Within its framework, every question has an answer — usually one correct answer only — while very few areas allow legitimate disagreement.