In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (PBUH).
Some Muslims have misconceptions about donating organs in one’s lifetime or after death. In Islam donating organs is allowed provided that some specific conditions are met. Here, I’ll explain to you the resolutions of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. These resolutions were issued after lengthy discussions among a number of scholars, doctors, and specialists.
First: What is meant here by ‘organ’ is any part of a person, be it tissues, cells, blood and so on, such as the cornea, whether it is still attached or has been separated. Second: The use or benefit that is under discussion is a benefit that is dictated by necessity in order to
keep the beneficiary alive or to keep some essential or basic function of his body working, such as his sight and so on, provided that the beneficiary is one whose life is protected by Shari`ah. Third: These kinds of benefit or use are divided into three categories:
a) Transplant of an organ from a living person
b) Transplant of an organ from a dead person
c) A transplant from a fetus
A) The first category, which is a transplant of an organ from a living person, includes the following:
– Transplant of an organ from one place in the body to another place in the same body, such as transplanting skin, cartilage, bone, veins, blood and so on.
– Transplant of an organ from the body of a living person to the body of another person. Organs, in this case, maybe divided into those on which life depends and those on which life does not depend. With regard to those on which life depends, they may singular organs, of which there is only one in the body, or there may be more than one. The former includes organs such as the heart and liver, and the latter includes organs such as the kidneys and lungs.
As for those on which life does not depend, there are some that control basic functions in the body and some that do not. There are some that are renewed automatically, such as blood, and some that are not; there are some that have an effect on offspring and on the genetic makeup and personality of the individual, such as testicles, ovaries, and cells of the nervous system, and some that do not have any such
B) Transplant of an organ from a dead person
It may be noted that death falls into two categories:
1. Brain death in which all bodily functions cease completely and cannot be brought back medically.
2. Where the heart and breathing cease completely and cannot be brought back medically.
Both of these categories were discussed in the resolution passed by the Academy in its third session.
C) A transplant from a fetus. Use or benefits, in this case, fall into three categories:
1. Where the fetus is aborted spontaneously (miscarriage)
2. Where the fetus is aborted deliberately by medical or criminal means
3. Where fertilization is done outside the uterus.
With regard to Shari`ah rulings:
1. It is permissible to transplant an organ from one place in a person’s body to another place in the same
body, but attention must be paid to ensuring that the expected benefits outweigh any possible harm; that is
subject to the condition that this is done to replace a lost organ or body part, or to restore its regular shape
or function, or to correct a fault or remove a deformity that is causing the person psychological or
2. It is permissible to transplant an organ from the body of one person to another if it is an organ that renews itself automatically, such as blood and skin. But attention must be paid to the condition that the donor is fully qualified and fulfill the shari’a conditions.
3. It is permissible to make use of organs that have been taken from the body of another person due to
sickness, such as taking the cornea from the eye of a person whose eye has been removed due to sickness.
4. It is permissible to transplant an organ from a dead person to a living person whose life or basic essential functions depend on that organ, subject to the condition that permission be given by the deceased before his death, or by his heirs after his death, or by the authorities in charge of the Muslims if the identity of the deceased is unknown or he has no heirs.
5. It is prohibited to transplant an organ on which life depends, such as transplanting the heart from a living person to another person.
6. It is prohibited to transplant an organ from a living person when its removal may cause an essential function to cease, even though his life does not depend on it, such as taking the corneas of both eyes. But if he will still have a partial function after removing it, then the matter is subject to further discussion as we shall see below in section
7. It should be noted that the agreement on the permissibility of organ transplants explained above is subject to the condition that this is not done by selling the organs because it is not permissible to sell human organs under any circumstances. As for the beneficiary spending money in order to obtain the required organ where necessary or offering compensation or honoring the donor, this is subject to ijtihad
and further discussion.
8. All cases having to do with this topic are subject to further research and discussion, and they should be studied and discussed in a future session in the light of medical data and shari’ah rulings.
Allah knows best.
Source: Quoted from Resolutions of the Islamic Fiqh Academy