(This article is based on a paper presented by the author at the Parliament of World Religions in Capetown, South Africa, December 1-8, 1999. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc, its Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, employees or volunteers)
"And whoever saves a life it would be
As if he had saved the life of all the people."
…..Qur'an, 5: 32
Every 27 minutes someone in the world receives an
organ transplant, but nonetheless every 2 hours 24 minutes someone dies waiting
for an organ to become available. Hundred of thousands more are on waiting lists
around the world.
The majority of the Muslim scholars belonging to various schools of Islamic law have invoked the principle of priority of saving human life based on the Qur'anic verse quoted above (5:32) and have permitted the organ transplant as a necessity to procure that noble end."
In Islam Organ Transplantation is governed by two Judicial Rules:
1. Necessities overrule prohibition
2. Choice of the lesser of the two Evils if both cannot be avoided.
Transplants are classified as follows:
1. Transplant of an organ from a living person
2. Transplant of an organ from a dead person.
3. Transplant of an organ from an Embryo.
Transplant from embryos
1. When embryos are aborted due to miscarriage
2. When embryos are aborted for medical, or criminal reasons
3. When embryo is externally developed for example -test-tube babies
THE SHARI'AH RULES AND LEGISLATION
1. Organ transplant within the same person: Examples are plastic surgery performed to restore function or shape, such as skin, cartilage, bones, veins, etc. Plastic surgery performed to change the person to elude the law is not permitted. Majority opinion is that it would not be allowed for cosmetic purposes.
should meet the following conditions: -
Third: The donor should not sell his/her organs for cash nor in exchange for other organs of the body, since life and the human body in all its totality is the property of God.
Organ transplant from one living person to another person is permissible in organs involving: Liver, kidney, lung, blood, skin if donor is in legal capacity. Donated organ must not disfigure the donor.
If donor is not of sound mind or dead, then the parents, spouse, guardian or ruler must decide. If the donor is under-age, in which case the donor's guardian has no right to donate parts of his/her body, since the guardian is appointed to protect and preserve the body of the ward.
4. Part of an organ such as cornea of the eye can be donated
5. Life-depending organ is prohibited. E.g. heart or brain from one living person to another. Donated organ should not risk the life of the donor.
6. Organ transplant is prohibited if a basic function of the body is damaged.
7. Organs from dead to the living person with prior permission of deceased or heirs.
8. Transplanted organ should not be sold. Or no material gain for the donor.
9. Transplantation is permissible from one Muslim to another and from a non-Muslim to a Muslim. Transplanting Muslim organs into those under Muslim protection is a matter of some disagreement, while the transplant of Muslim organs into non-Muslims is not permitted. (Reference No. 5).
The late Pakistani President, Zia-ul-Haq bequeathed his eyes for the blind. However Maulana Maududi declared it invalid. Later on Maulana Maududi changed his views.
Isn't donating organs also 'Sadaquatul-Jaariyah'- a lasting act of charity long after one's death (Hadith). Another Hadith says
"KULLU MA'ROOF SADAQAATUN"- all Good deeds are charity.
'AD-DAROORAAT RUBIHUL MAHZOORAT' (Qur'an 2: 173)
Necessity makes permissible what is forbidden.
Tolerating the lesser harm to remove or prevent greater harm, or choosing the lesser of the two evils (Hadith).
'AL-IBAHA ASLAN FIL-ASHYA'
Everything is presumed to be lawful (unless proven otherwise by a legal
Command). What Allah has not mentioned (as Haraam or unlawful) are things permitted for you as a favor.
Donation should be an act of 'EETHAAR' (selflessness/altruism). Organ selling for personal benefit is viewed by all jurists as strictly prohibited (Surah 90:13).
Currently organ donation does not offer any financial benefit to donors or their families, but there is still concern of a black market developing for organs. Should families receive financial aid if they decide to donate their loved one's organs? Can a black market develop if money becomes involved? Should people be able to buy another person's organ(s)? If a black market does result, will wealthy people have an advantage over the poor?
A sick baby needs a kidney to survive. The sick baby is kept on dialysis (kidney machine) until a suitable kidney can be found. Parents of the baby cannot afford the cost, nor do their kidneys match the baby's. The parents are willing to offer one of their kidneys what will be a suitable match for a rich patient who needs kidney transplant. In return the rich patient wants to compensate them with the full cost of their baby's transplant.
Can the principle of 'Daroorah' (dire Necessity, to save life) be applied in this case? Haleemah, the revered wet nurse of the Noble Prophet Muhammad (S) did not sell her breast-milk, so to speak, But she was compensated for it.
"Can there be a better reward for a good deed other than another good deed" Surah 55:60
Life is not static. With enlightenment, things change for the better. What was
once labeled as 'Haraam'--- microphone, Camera, video, TV, blood transfusion,
Artificial insemination, IVF-- are now commonplace among many as necessities
of life. Nobody measures the shadows any longer to check prayer Times-now the watch is watched.
There is continuing research into the use of
animal organs to make up for the lack of human donors, as well as genetically
engineering animals to produce human hormones, enzymes, and even whole organs.
Should animal organs be transplanted into human beings? Should we be genetically
altering animals' genetic codes to produce human hormones, enzymes, or organs?
Will altering other creatures' genetic makeup have any long-term effects? Who
decides what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to genetic
Recently interest and research into gene therapy
has exploded. Soon gene therapy may be capable of curing genetic disorders that
were previously fatal or incurable. Do we have the right to introduce new genes
into people? How do we know that it will help and not harm them? How do we know
that altering someone's genetic code won't have compounding effects on mankind?
Does man even have the right to alter a fellow person's genetic code?
1. Seeking cure is an obligation..
2. Saving of life or improving Quality of life is a must.
3. Using the forbidden for Necessity is allowed..
4. Choosing the lesser of the Two evils is preferred..
5. Whatever is forbidden is Specifically mentioned by Allah in the Qur'an.
6. We are warned not to forbid the Things Allah has permitted.
7. Haraam must be proven by an Authentic command.
8. Almighty Allah has not directly or indirectly prohibited organ donation
or transplantation. In fact, He has encouraged the saving of life at any cost.
1. International Conference of Islamic Jurists.
2. Contemporary Jurisprudence Research Journal, (Mujalat Al-Buhuth al-Fiqhiyyah al-Mu'asirah) P.O. Box 1918, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
3. Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyya 1973-1982.
4. Majallat al-Majma', 1987, Vol.1, p.37.
5. Sheik Muhammadal-Mokhtar al-Salami ( Muftiof the Republic of Tunisia)
"Transplantation of Nerve Cells with particular reference to Brain cells.", at www.Islamset.com
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