Religious Leaders’ Views on Radical Life Extension

No religious group in the United States has released an official statement on radical life extension. However, here are brief summaries of how some clergy, bioethicists and other scholars from 18 major American religious groups say their traditions might approach this evolving issue. (For an in-depth look at public opinion on radical life extension and related issues, see “Living to 120 and Beyond: Americans’ Views on Aging, Medical Advances and Radical Life Extension.” And for an overview of the scientific research and emerging ethical debate, see “To Count Our Days: The Scientific and Ethical Dimensions of Radical Life Extension.”)

Islam

Radically extending life “probably wouldn’t be a problem for most” Muslims, according to Aisha Musa, a professor of religion at Colgate University who has written about the issue from a Muslim perspective. According to Musa and others, Muslims believe Allah (God) knows the exact life span of each person  from birth to death, or what the Quran calls one’s “term appointed” (Sura 40:67). “Since you can’t really violate God’s plan for you, life extension is alright because it’s part of God’s will,” Musa says.

 

Given this outlook, many Muslims would likely see life-extending technologies as in accordance with God’s plan for humanity. “Whenever there is something new, Muslims believe that it has happened with God’s endorsement,” says Abdulaziz Sachedina, chair of Islamic studies at George Mason University and the author of “Islamic Biomedical Ethics.” “Whatever we do, God has a hand in it.”

 

Neither major branch of Islam (Sunni and Shia) has a central authority that would issue a decree on life extension. But Shia Muslims do follow religious leaders known as grand ayatollahs, who issue religious edicts, called fatwas, that are binding on their followers.

 

According to Mohsen Kadivar, a Shia theologian and philosopher based in Iran but currently teaching at Duke University in Durham, N.C., many Shia ayatollahs would likely sanction life-extension therapies as long as their object was not to extend life indefinitely. “There is a difference between life extension and immortality,” Kadivar says, adding, “The first is acceptable and the second is not acceptable, according to Islam and the Quran.”

 

Musa and Sachedina, who are Sunni, agree that striving for immortality would go against Islamic teachings because it would keep Muslims from heaven. “There is a deep-seated belief that death is a blessing,” Sachedina says. “We look forward to dying.”

 

Shia Muslims celebrate the Shura

26/11/2012

Hundreds of Shiite Muslims in Spain commemorated this weekend the day of Ashura, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the third Shiite Imam, Imam Hussein along with his 72 companions.
In Spain’s capital, Madrid, the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran organized religious ceremonies from the first day of the month of Moharam which hosted both Muslims and Christians of Spain.
In the capital of the of Catalonia, Barcelona, also similar acts where staged such as religious processions, despite the process of Catalan elections were held on Sunday.

Hundreds of Toronto Shia Muslims Commemorate Martyrdom Anniversary

Ahlul Bayt News Agency – August 11, 2012

 

In Toronto hundreds of Shia Muslims  participated in the procession of the martyrdom of Imam Ali (a.s) on August 10th. Despite a rainy day in Toronto, housands of Shia men and women were goatherd in the Miliken park in  Scarborough before start the procession there was a program held in the park in which Molana Sakhawat Hussain Sandralvi gave the speech. After the end of the program, procession was taken out from the park and moved towards Hussainiyah Pasmore after three hours procession end before Maghrib prayer.

Shia Muslims say that they met Iranian president

Members of the Rome-based Shia Muslim organization ‘Imam Mahdi’ released a statement saying that they met with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad was visiting Rome to attend the global food summit organized by the UN. The statement said that the meeting took place, even though the Italian media insulted Ahmadinejad’s presence at the FAO summit with the usual lies and distortions. During the meeting, Shia Italian Muslims felt that they had a duty to differentiate themselves between their community and the noise of other groups.