HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Islamic Code of Medical Ethics Nears Adoption

As reported by, the 8th conference of the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences (IOMS) opened in Cairo on Dec. 11 and is poised to adopt the first Islamic code for medical and health ethics:

The code idea dates back to 1981 when the IOMS took the initiative of adopting the Islamic Document for Medical Ethics in a Kuwait conference “to keep human knowledge on the proper track prescribed by God as He declared Man as His viceroy on this planet.”

There are numerous published versions of an Islamic code of medical ethics, but the most complete and authoritative appears on the web site of the IOMS itself.

The Code consists of an Introduction and thirteen sections:

  1. Definition of Medical Profession
  2. Characterization of Medical Practitioner
  3. Relation between Doctor and Doctor
  4. Relation between Doctor and Patient
  5. Professional Secrecy
  6. Doctor's duty in War Time
  7. Responsibility and Liability
  8. The Sanctity of Human Life
  9. Doctor and Society
  10. Doctor and Bio-Technological Advances
  11. Medical Education
  12. The Oath of the Doctor
  13. Topics in Islamic Medicine

Further commentary on Islamic medical ethics can be found in an essay by Dr. Hossam Arafa, "Ethics of the Medical Profession from the Islamic Viewpoint," and an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, "Bioethics for clinicians: 21. Islamic bioethics," by Abdallah S. Daar and A. Khitamy (PDF version).

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