Many people of various faiths are offended by the concept of cloning. Muslims too are concerned about the recent developments in genetic engineering. Some people are demanding to ban cloning all together because it interferes with the process of creation. Some say that it should be banned because it kills life (ie embryo). Some say that it should be banned because it will lead unethical and immoral practices. Some say it is good because it can provide cure for any birth defects, which could be diagnosed during the pregnancy cycle. Some say it is good because it can provide cure to many chronicle diseases.
Is cloning creation OR manipulation? Let’s discuss it further. What is creation?
See they not how Allah originates creation then repeats it: truly that is easy for Allah (29:19)
Say: “Travel through the earth and see how Allah did originate creation: so will Allah produce a later creation: for Allah has power over all things. (29:2)
Generally people think that the scientists and technologists create or invent things, which is in fact not correct. Scientists and technologists discover or develop things from the elements or compounds that are already created by Almighty Allah. Allah originates creation, while scientists discover or explore His creation. Whatever human invents, develops, discovers or creates are already in the knowledge of Almighty Allah. In fact, human gets the knowledge of all things from Allah. Allah alone decides through whom He will let the human discover the secrets of His creation? He almighty gives him/her the understandings of those things.
Allah originates creation from no physical /material elements. Whatever He wants to create He orders it, “TO BE” and it comes into existence. The dimensions, the shape, the ingredients and the characteristics of to be created things are included in Allah’s order. Allah does not experiment or learn as the scientists learn from their experiences. Scientists use Allah’s given material, explores its capabilities, discovers its secrets and manipulates its ingredients through experiments in order to develop some thing new for the people. Scientists and Researchers do not posses the capability to “originate” creation. For example, scientist can develop synthetic materials, grow human skin, possibly in the future they may grow human organs but in order to develop any thing, the original material comes from Allah’s creation such as the earth, humans, animals, birds, plants, space, waters, etc.… If somehow all the intelligence of all scientists of all times could be combined together, still this combined intelligence can not even make a wing of a mosquito on their own.
” Or who originates Creation then repeats it and who gives you sustenance from heaven and earth? (Can there be another) god besides Allah? Say “Bring forth your argument if ye are telling the truth!” (27:64)
It is Allah Who begins (the process of) creation; then repeats it; then shall ye be brought back to Him. (30:11)
The originating of creation is the creation of primeval matter. The repetition of the process of creation goes on constantly, for at every moment new processes are being called into being by the creative power of Allah, and according to His Laws. As far as Allah is concerned, there is nothing final, no first and last, for He is infinite. He was before our First and will be after our Last.
“Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is a greater (matter) than the creation of men: Yet most men understand not” (40:57)
” And We have made above you seven tracts; and We are never unmindful of (Our) Creation.” (23:17)
” What! are ye the more difficult to create of the heaven (above)? (Allah) hath constructed it” (79:27)
” Praise be to Allah Who created (out of nothing) the heavens and the earth Who made the angels messengers with wings two or three or four (Pairs): He adds to Creation as He pleases: for Allah has power over all things.” (35:1)
” And Allah has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills: for verily Allah has power over all things.” (24:45)
” Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of Creation) before We clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?” (21:30)
” He Who has made everything which He has created most Good. He began the creation of man with (nothing more than) clay” (32:7)
Allah’s creative work, as far as man is concerned, is recapitulated, in order to show man’s real position in this life, and the certainty of the future. It is also a process of creation when inorganic matter becomes living matter. Thus inorganic constituents of the earth are absorbed into fiving matter by way of food and living matter reproduces itself by means of sperm. This is deposited in the ovum and fertilises it and rests for a time in security in the mother’s womb. The first change in the fertilised ovum is the conversion into a sort of clot of thickly congealed blood; the zygote cells grow by segmentation; then the mass gradually assumes shape in its growth as a foetus. From the lump develop bones and flesh and organs and a nervous system. So far man’s growth is like that of an animal, but a further process takes place which makes the infant animal into the infant man. This is the breathing from Allah’s spirit into him (xv. 29). It may be a continuous process parallel to that of physical growth. The child is born; it grows; it decays and dies; but after death another chapter opens for the individual, and it is to remind us of this most momentous chapter that the previous stages are recapitulated. (23.12)
Allah is He than whom there is no other god Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He Most Gracious Most Merciful.
Allah’s knowledge extends to everything seen and unseen, present and future, near and far, in being and not in being: in fact these contrasts, which apply to our knowledge, do not apply to Him. His Grace and His Mercy are unbounded: see i. 1, and n. 19; and unless we realise these, we can have no true conception of our position in the working of His Will and Plan. (59.22)
Therefore, human does not create but manipulates and that is permissible in Islam as long as it is done to benefit Allah’s creation.
What is cloning and how it works?
(1) Nuclear Transfer
Jose Cibelli and his colleagues made their first human clone on October 13th, 2001. They used eggs from female volunteers in the Boston area. These women were all aged between 24 and 32, and had at least one child. The researchers injected the donated eggs – which had the nuclei removed – with the genetic material taken from the nuclei of cumulus cells. Cumulus cells are the tiny clouds of support cells that surround and nourish a developing egg in the ovaries. This is how the world’s first mice clones were made and the technique differs slightly from the one that produced Dolly the sheep. Nuclear transfer was pioneered at the University of Hawaii.
ACT says it actually produced three clones using the Hawaii method and that it took 71 eggs to make the first clone. Their report showed that two eggs divided to form early embryos of four cells, and one progressed to at least six cells before growth stopped.
(2) Parthenogenesis or “Virgin Birth”
In parthenogenesis, egg cells start to divide and form embryos; even through they have not been fertilized by a sperm, or been enucleated and injected with the genetic material from a donor cell as in “traditional” cloning. In laymen’s terms, it is basically a “virgin” birth. Technically, it is called parthenogenesis.
There are two kinds of parthenogenesis – natural and artificial. Natural parthenogenesis has been observed in many lower animals, especially insects such as aphids. In many social insects, like the honeybee and the ant, parthenogenesis gives rise to male drones. Fertilized eggs produce female workers and queens. However, no higher animals reproduce this way.
Artificial parthenogenesis does not naturally occur in nature. It has been induced in frogs and snakes, although it quite often results in abnormal development. Researchers have also reported that they have promoted eggs from mice and rabbits to divide into embryos by exposing them to chemicals. As early as 1983, scientists demonstrated that stem cells isolated from parthenogenetic mouse embryos could form a variety of tissue, including nerve and muscle.
Parthenogenetic Human Embryos
In ACT’s parthenogenesis experiments, 22 human eggs were exposed to chemical activation. If the human egg cell were to develop into an embryo without the addition of any genetic material from a sperm cell it would be a clone of the mother. After five days of growing in culture dishes, six eggs had developed into blastocoele cavities. This means the embryo has developed an inner and outer group of cells – the inner cells are the potential source of embryonic stem cells that can be grown into replacement tissues and organs to treat degenerative diseases.
· Theoretical Use
The ACT scientists suggest that one way this technique could be used would be for a woman with heart disease to have her own egg cells collected and activated in the laboratory to produce stem cells. The stem cells could then be implanted back into the woman to patch up the diseased area of the heart.
· Ethical Dilemmas
There are, however, ethical dilemmas in using this method. Because parthenogenesis would involve female egg cell manipulation with no additional genetic materials, some scientists believe that it is a more ethically acceptable method of producing stem cells than the conventional transfer of nuclear DNA material from another person. Others, however, still think that it is still just another example of science going too far.
Now Dolly sheep is dead and other cloned animals are producing signs of old age quicker than expected. Scientists are now saying that the cloning may create more problems than solving them.
Let’s the scientists explore and we will see that they will realize the limitation of human knowledge. After all, the best Creator is only Allah who has created all the creations and the knowledge for everyone.