Comprehensive Healing: An Islamic Metaphysical Framework Applied to Xenotransplantation
Samer Wahood, Medical Student, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Darul Qasim College; Akbar M. Ali, MD, Darul Qasim College; Ahsan Arozullah, MD, Darul Qasim College; Omar Hussain, DO, Clinical Assistant Professor, Critical Care Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Darul Qasim College; Umar Shakur, DO, Chief of Cardiology, Insight Hospital and Medical Center, Darul Qasim College; Yasir Akhtar, MBBS, Clinical Adjunct Faculty, Lincoln Memorial University, Darul Qasim College; and Shaykh Mohammad A, Kholwadia, President, Darul Qasim College
Despite medical and scientific advancements inducing positive physiological outcomes through innovative pharmaceuticals and procedures, these outcomes may not always be synonymous with the Islamic concept of shifāʾ (comprehensive healing). Porcine valve replacements and heart transplants may provide tangible physical benefits to their recipients for a limited time; however, their use falls short of holistically healing the human being and caring for the soul. This paper elucidates an Islamic metaphysical framework that distinguishes medical treatments that result in physical benefit from halal treatments (morally and legally permissible in the Islamic sense) that avoid sin and facilitate the possibility of holistic shifāʾ. In a recount of the story of Abraham (peace be upon him), the Qur’an explicitly states that it is God who delivers shifāʾ to the sick [26:80]. This distinction is applied to porcine xenotransplantation and its metaphysical implications for the human being in the life of this world and the life hereafter. The use of any material from an animal that is not ritually slaughtered or an animal that is intrinsically impure (e.g. pig) for medicinal purposes is surrounded by controversy regarding its sinfulness in the Islamic ethico-legal tradition. Medical interventions that induce physiological benefits and improved health outcomes, without delivering shifāʾ, carry the risk of sin and its eschatological consequences.