Confirmed Participant List

Presenting Papers

Dr Mir Qasim Jafarzadeh, UNESCO Chair.
"Surrogacy Agreements.  Are They Valid or Void? -
An Examination of Shi'ah Fiqh."
   Dr. Jafarzadeh holds a doctorate from the University of Sheffield, UK and his research interests are intellectual property, medical law and ethics, and international trade law.

Ayatullah Dr S M Muhaqeq Damad
, UNESCO Chair.
"The Question of Abortion in the Light of  Shi'ite Teaching."
   Dr. Damad is a graduate of Tehran University and the Hawza Ilmiyyah Qum.  His current research is in the fields of Islamic law, jurisprudence and theology (kalam).   He is the author of 13 books on law, theology and philosophy.

Abortion the Shiite Tradition


For a long time , the human societies, were facing a problem named abortion. Anthropological studies among African tribes demonstrate that even among the prehistoric people abortion was common; and in Hamoorabi Law, that was comprised about 2300 BC penalty for abortion is codified.

Modern medical laws also existed in ancient Iran, and prescribing medicines for abortion had a fine; however, it was considered  as an unforgivable sin. During the Avesta period, using instruments for abortion was not permitted; and  abortion wasmet with had the most severe penalties. The Romans had also considered a high penalty for abortion. Gradually, by the appearance of monotheist religions;  protection of the embryo became obligatory. In the Jewish religion, abortion was prohibited, but abortion for health reasons was permitted. Christianity is also against abortion and forbids it and the opposition of the catholic church to abortion is well know.

In principal, the holly religion of  Islam is also against abortion; and does not allow it, except  in some exceptional cases in our time today, we have no absolute freedom of abortion anywhere, on the other hand, we have no absolute ban on abortion anywhere either. Consider ring abortion as a criminal act is no longer acceptable.
Obviously, we could consider the uncommon popularity of abortion, as a result of the modern civilization. However, absolute freedom of abortion is unacceptable, and on the other hand, its absolute prohibition would be unjustifiable.

The studies carried out demonstrate that the position of the human society is in a manner that abortion is very common; and unfortunately the main part of it is carried out by unskilled and semi specialists in secret: because abortion cann't be carried out except under certain exceptional circumstances.
Following factors are accepted as reasonable cause for abortion: protecting life and health of the mother, abnormalities of the fetus, moral, economic, and social reasons.

The issue therefore is which of the previous methods is acceptable to Shiite school of jurisprudence.

Dr S M Ghari S Fatemi,
Al-Mahdi Institute and UNESCO Chair.
"A Comparative Approach to the Permissibility of Egg and Embryo Donation - Kantian Ethics and Shi'ite Teachings."
   Dr. Fatemi is a graduate of the Hawza Ilmiyyah Qum, the University of Tehran (Law) and gained his doctorate at the University of Manchester, UK.  His interests are international law, human rights, and he has written on medical ethics, and the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

Both issues of egg and embryo donation are an unprecedented questions in Shi`i teachings, but a very sensitive and controversial one. Yet from the Shi`i point of view two central questions can be examined. The first question relates to the very nature of such issues, that is whether such acts according to Shi`i teachings are permitted or not and the second one concerns the status of the baby. In this survey I will examine various aspects of the first issue, i.e. the question of permissibility of egg and embryo donation in the light of Shi`i teachings.