Advancements in the human sciences, particularly biological and life sciences, have heralded new insights into fundamental questions about the nature of human beings, the natural world, and experiences of life.
As fast-paced scientific developments and social change have left many in the Muslim world feeling unsettled and uncertain, Muslim scholars struggle to integrate traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge.
But what if biomedical knowledge informed and worked with Muslim theologies on the nature of being and life? Could we improve the health of American Muslims?
Professor Aasim Padela, M.D.––formerly at the University of Chicago and now at the Medical College of Wisconsin––is working to bridge gaps and discontinuities between religious knowledge and scientific knowledge in an effort to raise awareness of healthcare disparities and also to consider how better inclusion and accommodation of religious identity might be achieved.
Bridging religious knowledge and scientific knowledge is challenging given the lack of multi-disciplinary scholarly literature and exchange addressing the epistemic and relational questions at the interface of Islam and the human sciences.
This project worked to address this gap by encouraging scholarly conversations bridging traditional Islamic theology, metaphysics, and issues arising out of the field of biomedicine with:
And the production of an edited volume––Islam and Biomedicine (Springer 2021)––following the lecture series and symposia dialogues.
We identified and described the gaps in the growing body of Islamic bioethics literature and worked with scholars to fill these gaps by establishing theologically-rooted normative goals and setting the disciplinary parameters of the field. By doing so, Padela assisted––and continues to assist––Muslim patients, clinicians, chaplains, and Imams to engage with modern medicine faithfully.
We assessed how Muslim patients’ health behaviors and healthcare experiences are shaped by their faith, and mobilized that knowledge towards the development of evidence-based and culturally-tailored health interventions and policies.