Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 95–104 | Cite as

Wilāyah (authority and governance) and its implications for Islamic bioethics: a Sunni Māturīdi perspective

  • Ahsan M. Arozullah
  • Mohammed Amin Kholwadia


Juridical councils that render rulings on bioethical issues for Muslims living in non-Muslim lands may have limited familiarity with the foundational concept of wilāyah (authority and governance) and its implications for their authority and functioning. This paper delineates a Sunni Māturīdi perspective on the concept of wilāyah, describes how levels of wilāyah correlate to levels of responsibility and enforceability, and describes the implications of wilāyah when applied to Islamic bioethical decision making. Muslim health practitioners and patients living in the absence of political wilāyah may be tempted to apply pragmatic and context-focused approaches to address bioethical dilemmas without a full appreciation of significant implications in the afterlife. Academic wilāyah requires believers to seek authentication of uncertain actions through scholarly opinions. Fulfilling this academic obligation naturally leads to additional mutually beneficial discussions between Islamic scholars, healthcare professionals, and patients. Furthermore, an understanding derived from a Māturīdi perspective provides a framework for Islamic scholars and Muslim health care professionals to generate original contributions to mainstream bioethics and public policy discussions.


Biomedical ethics Islam Islamic ethics Decision making 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Darul QasimGlen EllynUSA

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