Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared
SPECIAL ISSUE PAPERS
Rituals of Infant Death: Defining Life and Islamic Personhood
Article first published online: 2 AUG 2013
© 2013 The Author. Bioethics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Special Issue: Islamic Bioethics: Text and Context
Volume 28, Issue 2, pages 84–95, February 2014
How to Cite
Shaw, A. (2014), Rituals of Infant Death: Defining Life and Islamic Personhood. Bioethics, 28: 84–95. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12047
- Issue published online: 2 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 2 AUG 2013
- Wellcome Trust UK
- pregnancy loss;
- British Pakistani Muslims
This article is about the recognition of personhood when death occurs in early life. Drawing from anthropological perspectives on personhood at the beginnings and ends of life, it examines the implications of competing religious and customary definitions of personhood for a small sample of young British Pakistani Muslim women who experienced miscarriage and stillbirth. It suggests that these women's concerns about the lack of recognition given to the personhood of their fetus or baby constitute a challenge to customary practices surrounding burial as a Muslim. The article suggests that these women's concerns cannot be adequately glossed as a clash of Islamic belief versus Western medicine. Rather, they represent a renegotiation of Islamic opinion and customary practices within the broader context of changes in the medical and social norms surrounding pregnancy loss and infant death in multi-ethnic British society.