Bioethics and Organ Transplantation in a Muslim Society

Bioethics and Organ Transplantation in a Muslim Society

A Study in Culture, Ethnography, and Religion
Farhat Moazam
Distribution: World
Publication date: 8/4/2006
ISBN: 978-0-253-11220-0
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“Dr. Farhat Moazam has written a wonderful book, based on her extraordinary first-hand study. . . . [S]he is an exceptionally gifted and evocative writer. Her book not only has the attributes of a superb piece of intellectual work, but it has literary artistic merit.” —Renee C. Fox, Annenberg Professor Emerita of the Social Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania

This is an ethnographic study of live, related kidney donation in Pakistan, based on Farhat Moazam’s participant-observer research conducted at a public hospital. Her narrative is both a “thick” description of renal transplant cases and the cultural, ethical, and family conflicts that accompany them, and an object lesson in comparative bioethics.

Author Bio

Farhat Moazam is a pediatric surgeon, trained in the United States as well as Pakistan. She was founding Chair and Professor of the Department of Surgery, and Associate Dean of Postgraduate Education at the Aga Khan University Medical College in Karachi. She received her PhD in Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, and is currently Professor and founding Chair of the Center of Biomedical Ethics and Culture, SIUT in Karachi, Pakistan.


"Offering a unique contribution to the literature on interpretations of organ donation within Islam, Moazam deftly exposes a diversity of views, sketching the tensions between fatawa which prescribe both duties to save human life, and duties to respect the sacredness of the body. . . It is this essential humility suffusing Moazam’s narrative which makes her many insights so powerful and so plausible. I am elated that this is her first book, and not her last one." —American Journal of Transplantation

"This stylishly written book is much more than an account of comparative medical ethics. It is an insiders's story of how modern medicine can be made to work successfully in traditional societies where the demands of religion and extended families are central. It also details the daily struggle for survival in a megacity, and shows what happens when successive governments fail to provide basic housing and healthcare for the poorest." —New Scientist

"This is a superb and insightful ethnography, with a wide appeal. It is highly useful for those with interests in the fields of healthcare, bioethics, or culture." —Journal of the American College of Surgeons

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Table of Contents


1. The Stage: Backdrop, Props, and Protagonists
2. Webs of Relationships and Obligations
3. Giving and Receiving Kidneys: Perspectives of Pakistani Patients and Families
4. A Surgeon in the Field
5. Conclusion: Ethics and Pakistan

Selected Bibliography