Taabah Foundation Senior Fellow presents at the Program on Medicine and Religion

On Sunday 3 August and Monday 4 August 2014, Tabah Senior Fellow, Jihad Hashim Brown, participated in the Initiative on Islam and Medicine Working Group at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.
The Working Group convenes its sessions with support of the John Templeton Foundation. The objectives of this round were to “Review the conceptual definitions and major debates regarding what ‘health’ consists of with an eye towards considering the telos of medicine/public health and how it relates to human flourishing;” and, “Introduce the major concepts related to the science of medical prognostication, risk assessment, and population health epidemiology. Specifically we will focus on concepts of and the tools assess risk at the clinical (patient) and community levels.”

Brown in his paper presented on “the theological conceptualisation and ethico-legal definition of maslaha (public benefit and medical risk)”; as well as, “the relationship between maslaha (public benefit), maqasid (aims & purposes), and darurah (dire necessity)”.


Ethics & Virtual Worlds: Second Life as a Case Study

An introduction to Linden Lab’s Second Life and virtual worlds, the ethics of virtual worlds, and an outline of related issues in need of informed Shari‘ah reflection.

Linden Lab’s Second Life is one of the many interactive virtual worlds where people spend a great deal of time and money. Virtual worlds include online metaverses, online computer games, and video games (e.g. Second Life, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft, and Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto). Participants in these increasingly-realistic life-like virtual universes engage in activities ranging from simple conversations and financial transactions, to simulated sex, violence, and rape, or even marriage and divorce. There is a real need to examine the legal status and ethical standing of interactions within these virtual worlds.

The first section of this Analytic Brief introduces Second Life and its applications, followed by a summary of criticisms and concerns that have already been raised.

The second section gives a summary of how ethicists have analyzed virtual behavior in the context of computer games and virtual worlds.

The third section of this Brief presents issues related to virtual worlds which are in need of informed Shari‘ah reflection from scholars and opinion leaders, and shows how classic Islamic legal reasoning already provides answers to many of the relevant issues.

A Global Ethic: Its Scope and Limits

Taha Abderrahman, the author, holds that a critical window of opportunity remains open for theistic world views to collectively provide a program of shared ethics. However, it is his assertion that recent attempts to furnish a set of fundamental criteria, in the name of world religions, have failed to deliver on the promise. Drawing on the richness of Islamic theological systems, the author endeavors to provide both a critical analysis and  a corrective prescription.