UAE: Over 160 to gather to discuss fatwas concerning scientific developments

Conference to discuss issues such as transplanting pig’s heart into human body, feeding infants through milk banks, autonomous robots


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 6 Nov 2023, 8:22 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Nov 2023, 11:49 PM

The UAE Council for Fatwa’s International Conference will pave the way for the introduction of innovative and flexible approaches that conform with Islamic Sharia and provide a road map for fatwas concerning scientific and technological developments, a top official said.

The two-day conference will start on Tuesday under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the chairmanship of Abdullah bin Bayyah, Chairman of the Council.

The conference will be held under the theme ‘Towards Shari’a Conceptualisation of Scientific Developments: Civilisational Methodology, Real-World Applications, and Ethics of Sustainability’.

It will feature a special session titled ‘Towards a disciplined and sustainable methodology that interacts with human needs’, and will have a dialogue about emerging issues in medicine, family, environment, sustainability ethics, and artificial intelligence.

Dr Omar Habtoor Al Darei, Director General of the UAE Council for Fatwa, noted that the conference was launched based on the announcement by UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, that 2023 is the ‘Year of Sustainability’. It will address issues raised by scientific development, which are considered to be some of the most important contemporary challenges that need to be the subject of discussion among scholars of Sharia and experts in various natural sciences. These include transplanting a pig’s heart into a human body, human genomes, feeding infants through milk banks, autonomous robots, microchip implants, and big data trading.

Dr Omar Habtoor Al Darei
Dr Omar Habtoor Al Darei

“Our conference is indeed a scientific platform and an annual integrative dialogue meeting because it depends on the cross-fertilisation of ideas, consultation and complementarity between experts and specialists; not only on legitimate opinions but also by inviting partners from science and other disciplines to present to us their factual perceptions on these issues and then build on the legitimate opinion,” he told Khaleej Times.

Dr Al Darei pointed out the Council’s first conference in 2020 on ‘Emergency Jurisprudence’ in response to inquiries related to the Covid-19 pandemic, provided answers to Covid-related religious questions, and offered proper Sharia solutions to many communities in dealing with the pandemic.

This year’s conference, Dr Al Darei said, will be an extension to discussing fatwas dealing with scientific developments. “Within a qualitative series of conferences, such detailed issues will be addressed from a religious point of view by examining the challenges and opportunities imposed by new changes and shifts in space, climate and environment, medicine, digitisation, and the field of artificial intelligence that has become an integrated partner in our lives.”

He pointed out that the conference’s vision focuses on the “formulation of proactive fatwa solutions that deal with scientific developments in the light of current challenges and societies as we live in them now”.

Scholars, experts from 50 countries

More than 160 scholars, intellectuals and scientific personalities representing more than 50 countries and 71 fatwa bodies from around the world will participate in the event. Medical, legal and technical institutions, universities and AI authorities will be represented at the event. There will be more than 50 discussions, and over 60 research will be published after the conference.

Dr Al Darei noted the conference would work on establishing new fatwas that result from deliberation that ensures scholarly integration with scientific expertise in all fields.

“This platform will be an annual event to discuss new issues according to this established methodology, so that we listen to everyone, recognise partners, and establish complementarity between religious scholars, scientists and experts, diverse institutions, and natural sciences.”

Al Darei added that the desired outcomes, results and recommendations of the conference include the exchange of experiences and expertise between various fatwa and Sharia institutions to support scientific research and create a scholarly and scientific point of reference that achieves convergence and coordination in this field.


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