The Institute of Oriental Philosophy
   Public Lectures

Lecture: “Bioethical Issues in Islam” 

Dr. Aoyagi specializes in religious studies and history of Islamic thought. Having studied Arabic at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, she received Ph.D. in literature at The University of Tokyo and served there as an assistant professor of Islamic Studies courses. To date, The Institute of Oriental Philosophy has interacted with her through the lectures on marriage in Islam (2010) and principles and practices of Islamic mysticism (2012) as well as the seminar on bioethics (April, 2017).  

In her lecture, Dr. Aoyagi mentioned that it became necessary for the general public to build its consensus on medical technology influencing the dignity of life. She introduced that the bioethics emerged as a new discipline to bridge the public and medical front from late 1960s and to 1970s. Then, touching upon the outlines of bioethics and Islam, she explained the detailed bioethical issues in Islam such as fertilization and abortion, assisted reproductive technologies and terminal care.

What over one billion Muslims base are the Quran (the verbatim word of God) and the Hadith (various reports describing the words, actions, or habits of the Islamic prophet Muhammad). Unlike Catholicism, Islam does not have an ecumenical council to discuss and settle matters of doctrine and practice. Therefore, interpretation of Sharia (Islamic law derived mainly from the Quran and the Hadith) differs according to scholar or authority, time and area. Dr. Aoyagi stressed that such structure and background lead to a diversity of bioethical views regardless of a majority or minority in the world of Islam.

Regarding death as one of the most essential matters, Dr. Aoyagi added, “In Islam, death does not always scare Muslims but functions as a passing point. What Islam teaches rather is to overcome the scare.” She concluded by stressing, “Muslims take the way how the prophet Muhammad lived as a model in their real life. For them, to base the teachings of Islam is equal to live their ‘good life’.”

Organizer: The Institute of Oriental Philosophy
Lecturer: Dr. Kaoru Aoyagi (Associate Professor, Niigata University)
Venue: TKP Ichigaya Conference Center (Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo)
Date: October 31, 2017

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