Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Islam and the four principles of medical ethics
  1. Yassar Mustafa
  1. Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Yassar Mustafa, Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2WB, UK; yassar.mustafa{at}


The principles underpinning Islam's ethical framework applied to routine clinical scenarios remain insufficiently understood by many clinicians, thereby unfortunately permitting the delivery of culturally insensitive healthcare. This paper summarises the foundations of the Islamic ethical theory, elucidating the principles and methodology employed by the Muslim jurist in deriving rulings in the field of medical ethics. The four-principles approach, as espoused by Beauchamp and Childress, is also interpreted through the prism of Islamic ethical theory. Each of the four principles (beneficence, non-maleficence, justice and autonomy) is investigated in turn, looking in particular at the extent to which each is rooted in the Islamic paradigm. This will provide an important insight into Islamic medical ethics, enabling the clinician to have a better informed discussion with the Muslim patient. It will also allow for a higher degree of concordance in consultations and consequently optimise culturally sensitive healthcare delivery.

  • Religious Ethics
  • Distributive Justice
  • Autonomy
  • History of Health Ethics/Bioethics
  • Minorities

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.