In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
There are two views with regards to the permissibility or impermissibility of organ transplants.
One view is that it is not permissible to donate ones organs or to have an organ transplant. The usage of human’s organs is not permissible because of the nobility and respect of man.
It is stated in Fatawa Hindiyyah that whether a person is living or dead it is not permissible to use any part of his body. Firstly due to his respect and secondly, due to the pain and difficulty he undergoes in that limb being removed. (p.354 v.5)
Furthermore, the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam has said that the breaking of the bone of a dead person is equal to the breaking of the bone of a living person. (Muatta Malik p.90)
Therefore it is not permissible to donate organs or to have organ transplants. (Fatawa Mahmoodiyah p.432 v.12 & Fatawa Rahimiyah p.262 v.6)
However, in cases of extreme need and necessity where the life of a person is threatened, certain propitiations and restrictions are waived.
There is a famous principle of Fiqh which states:
“Necessity makes prohibition lawful.” (Al-Ashbah Wal Nazaair p.85)
It is from the above principle that jurists have said haraam things become permissible when there is a dire need. In particular in the medical field techniques have been refined and the human body is treated with much respect. Furthermore, it is not considered disrespectful or against human sanctity to carry out organ transplants.
Mufti Kifayatullah has written, “This doubt that it is unlawful to derive benefit from human parts should not remain because it is unlawful in situations in which there is desecration of a human. In situations where there is no desecration of a human, it will be permissible.” (Kifayatul Mufti p.143 v.9)
The conclusion we can come to is that if a person is in a life threatening situation it will be permissible for him to have an organ transplant. However, this does not mean he will be allowed to donate his organs at the time of death, as he is not the owner of the body and cannot do what he wishes with it.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.