Q) Is it permissible to create a human being using cloning if this scientific process became possible? And what are the associated conditions?
A) Producing a living creature using cloning or similar techniques is permissible as these scientifically advanced methods use the same laws of nature that His Almighty has already created. Therefore, such discoveries may lead to an increase in our knowledge of God’s signs, great power and fine precision which would naturally result in strengthening the truth and highlighting the right message as His Grace has stated:-
‘We will show them our signs in the horizons and within themselves so that it becomes clear to them that it is indeed the truth’.
However, this process is not allowed if it was performed using an unlawful act. This might include, from an obligatory precaution perspective, the in vitro fertilisation of a female egg by a sperm of a stranger male so that a new person is born to an unmarried couple.
Overall, the scientific process itself is permissible except if it was accompanied by an unlawful act such as prohibited look at private organs or touching them.
We received an inquiry about this particular topic from some brothers in the United Kingdom during the international press debate. Their questions included various points which were suggested as potential reasons for the possible prohibition of cloning. These are as follows:-
1. Producing a human outside the family dimensions.
This point and its relation to the prohibition of cloning is not clear at all as there is no evidence within the Islamic Law that provides an obligation for the human to always follow the normal natural ways. On the contrary, the advancement of human is achieved by the renewal of various methods, use of nature’s secrets that God initiated by research and reasoning as well as increasing our knowledge. There is also no support for the claim that human creation ought to be within family dimensions; especially that few examples in history have not followed such a condition, such as the creation of the first human of clay and the birth of Prophet Jesus fatherless.
2. Cloning causes huge ethical problems because it enables criminals to use it and run off the hook of justice.
This issue does not qualify as a justification for prohibition either. It should be noted here that although criminal activity is rejected, however, producing a tool that might be used by a criminal is not considered unlawful at all. For example, there are a lot of tools produced around the world today which criminals may abuse but no one even suggests banning their production. It is even possible that wrong-minded people benefit from cosmetic surgery more than cloning, then is it rational for us to ban cosmetic surgery?!
In fact, positive or negative consequences of the advancement of the current civilisation follow the ethics of the society that we live within more than anything else. So, if the society was materialistic and immoral then the effects will be horrifyingly criminal as we can observe in many unfortunate outcomes of the new inventions of today’s civilised societies.
3. The accomplishment of cloning will be achieved after a sequence of possible unsuccessful experiments that would destroy the embryo even before the creation of the required living being.
This point seems to suggest that the potential risk associated with cloning may lead to the destruction of the fertilised egg; therefore, human cloning should be prohibited as it would act similar to abortion. However, the prohibited act is the active process of killing a respected living creature or the fertilised egg on its path to life such as intended abortion. One is even allowed to participate in the production of a living being that might die before completing the requirements of its life provided that the individual does not cause the death. Similarly, man is allowed to have sexual intercourse with his wife when she is ready for pregnancy knowing the existence of the risk of miss-carriage because of the weakness of the sperm and egg or the under-prepared environment for its development and growth.
Overall, we do not see any ethical barrier in front of human cloning except if it was associated with an unlawful act such as touching or looking at the prohibited private parts etc.