Fatwa ID: 06195
Answered by: Maulana Syed Johir Miah
Is organ donation permissible? Is there a difference between if a person is alive and donates their organ for egg kidney etc. and what about when a person has passed away and wants to donate their organ, is this permissible?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The Ulama have debated and written on the subject of organ transplant at great length.
As this is a contemporary issue the views of the scholars are based upon the general guidelines and principles of Shariah. Therefore there are respected differences of opinions on the subject.
The Ulama have differed in regards to the ruling of organ transplantation. Some have deemed it impermissible due to the sanctity of the human body and the pain involved in removing organs. 1
Since the Ulama have differed in regards to the ruling of organ transplantation, there are two views with regard to the permissibility or impermissibility of organ transplants.
One view is that it is not permissible to donate one’s organs or to have an organ transplant.
Another view is that it is permissible to donate one’s organs or to have an organ transplant.
One opinion with regards to organ transplant is that it is permissible (halal) and that is subject to conditions, due to the sacredness of the human body and the discomfort involved in removing organs.
This group of Ulama say that the modern-day procedure of organ transplant is not regarded as dismemberment and violation of the honour and sanctity of the human body.
They claim that the process is carried out with a dignified and respectable approach.
They say that there are situations where Shariah allows the honour and sanctity of the human body to be overlooked due to necessity.
For instance, if a pregnant woman died and the child was still alive, then a caesarean will be allowed to save the child.
It is a well-established principle of Shariah that
يخْتار أهْون الشرين The lesser of two evils will be chosen. 2
If one is confronted with two evils (prohibited acts), then one should choose the lesser of the two (due to necessity).
In order to save human life in desperate situations, items or actions that were unlawful under normal circumstances become lawful in Islam. Therefore this group of scholars are of the view that it will be permissible to transplant organs when there is no alternative available apart from the human organ and there is a definite fear of a loss of life.
Equally, when a healthy person on the advice of a doctor confirms that the removal of one organ (which is not vital for survival) will not put the donor at risk, then in this situation it will be allowed to donate that organ. However, it is haram to sell the organ.
They look at a number of things, such as;
Allah (عز و جل) has permitted taking medication, And He made for every disease a medicine. If there is something forbidden in that medicine, and you know the cure for it is in it, then the prohibition of its use has stopped, because the Almighty did not make your cure in that which was forbidden to you. 3
It is permissible for a sick person to drink blood and urine and eat dead meat for treatment if a Muslim doctor tells him that his recovery is in it, and he does not find permissible things to take instead of it. 4
They also have stated that it is permissible to take an organ from a living individual and place it in another individual who is in need of the organ to save his/her life or to bring into use a limb which is from the necessary limbs of a human.
However, the following conditions must be met:
Organ donation will be allowed if the following conditions are met;
(1) If there is no disrespect in the new procedure of the operation.
(2) The purpose is to save a patient’s life or to restore an important bodily function.
(3) A skilled doctor has informed you that there is a high chance of gaining health through this procedure.
(4) The limbs of a non-Muslim can be put in a Muslim body.
(5) If the donating person is dead, then along with his consent the consent of his heirs is also necessary.
(6) If the donating person is alive, then his consent is necessary, and also this procedure should not inflict severe harm to him. 5
If any ill person reaches a stage where a specific organ becomes unusable(to such an extent that if an organ from another human being is not replaced, then there is an immediate danger of loss of life, then in this dire need a human organ transplant will be permissible.
When a perfectly healthy person on the advice of an expert physician confirms that the removal of one kidney will not harm nor cause ill-health whatsoever, then it will be permissible with the condition that the kidney is donated and not sold.
The second opinion is that it is not permissible to donate one’s organs or to have an organ transplant.
This group of Ulama state that the usage of human organs is not permissible because of the nobility and respect of the human body.
Sayyidatuna Aisha (رضى الله عنها) narrated that the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has said that;
كَسْرُ عَظْمِ الْمَيِّتِ كَكَسْرِهِ حَيًّا
The breaking of the bone of a dead person is equal to the breaking of the bone of a living person.6
As for seeking a cure with a haram substance, it is not permissible to seek treatment in a forbidden person if he does not know that there is a cure for it.7
It is not permissible to sell carrion and blood due to lack of money, which is the cornerstone of the sale. They do not count anyone’s money, and it is from falsehood.8
The use of human parts is not permissible. It was said due to its impurity, and it was said due to its honour and this is the correct view.9
Therefore, it is not permissible to donate organs or to have organ transplants.
However, in cases of extreme need and necessity where the life of a person is threatened, certain propitiations and restrictions are relinquished.
There is a famous principle of Fiqh which states:
الضرورات تبيح المَحْظُورات
“Necessity makes prohibition lawful.”10
It is from the above principle that jurists have said forbidden things become permissible when there is a desperate need.
In particular, in the medical field techniques have been refined and the human body is treated with much respect. Additionally, it is not considered disrespectful or against human sanctity to carry out organ transplants.
Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says:
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ ﴿
“We have indeed created man in the best of moulds” (Surah Tin, Verse 4)
وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلاً ﴿
٧٠﴾ and “verily we have bestowed the progeny of Adam specific honour and sanctity.” (Surah Isra, Verse 70).
However, to place another human being in that category and use them for benefit by performing an organ transplant, is against the honour and sanctity of mankind.
It is not permissible to sell or use human hair, just as it is prohibited to derive benefit out of it, because the human hair is honoured and it is not vulgar, so it is not permissible for any of its parts to be insulted and mistreated.11
Another reason that is considered by the Ulama who are of the opinion that organ transplant is not permissible is that the transplant process causes mutilation of the human body.
Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) records the words of Satan in the Quran when he said:
وَلأُضِلَّنَّهُمْ وَلأُمَنِّيَنَّهُمْ وَلآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُبَتِّكُنَّ آذَانَ الأَنْعَامِ وَلآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللّهِ وَمَن يَتَّخِذِ الشَّيْطَانَ وَلِيًّا مِّن دُونِ اللّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَانًا مُّبِينًا ﴿١١٩﴾
“I will mislead them and I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and to deface the (fair) nature created by Allah.” (Surah Nisa, Verse 119)
The above verse is referring to mutilation which is prohibited in Islam.
Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Yazeed Al-Ansari ( رضى الله عنه ) said that:
«نَهى النَّبِيُّ ﷺ عَنِ النُّهْبى والمُثْلَةِ»
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) forbade robbery (taking away what belongs to others without their permission), and also forbade mutilation of bodies.”14
However, in order to save human life (in desperate situations), items or actions that were unlawful (under normal circumstances) become lawful in Islam.
Allah (عز و جل) has stated in the Quran:
مَن كَفَرَ بِاللّهِ مِن بَعْدِ إيمَانِهِ إِلاَّ مَنْ أُكْرِهَ وَقَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بِالإِيمَانِ وَلَكِن مَّن شَرَحَ بِالْكُفْرِ صَدْرًا فَعَلَيْهِمْ غَضَبٌ مِّنَ اللّهِ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ ﴿١٠٦﴾
“Anyone who disbelieves in Allah after establishing his belief excepting him who has been compelled but his heart is content with faith. (Surah Nahl, Verse 106).
In another verse, Allah (عز و جل) says in regards to using prohibited items by a person dying of hunger:
فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِّإِثْمٍ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿٣﴾
“But whosoever is forced by hunger (to eat any of the forbidden things), not inclining willfully to sin, surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Surah Maidah 3)
From the above verses it is clear that unlawful things under extreme and desperate situations become lawful, however, even in those situations using human body parts remains prohibited (i.e. haram). “If a person feared death due to hunger and another person said to him: “Cut off my hand and consume it” or he said: “Cut a part of me and eat it”, it will be unlawful (i.e. haram) for him to do so.
Similarly, the one in dire need who does not find any deceased (to consume) and feared death, so a man said to him, Cut off my hands and eat them or he said, “cut a piece of me, and eat it, it is not able to do that. It is not correct to order him to do so, just as it is not permissible for the one who is compelled to cut a piece of himself, and then eat it.” 15
Some Ulama is of the opinion that organ transplant is unlawful.
They further state the principle, that
إذا تَعارَضَ المانِعُ، والمُقْتَضِي فَإنَّهُ يُقَدَّمُ المانِعُ “
When proof of prohibition clashes with the proof of permissibility then preference is given to prohibition. 16
Their conclusion is that if a person is in a life-threatening situation it will be permissible for him to have an organ transplant.
In summary, the scholars have said that if there is a dire need and there is no violation of the sanctity and dignity of another human (e.g. people selling their organs etc), then there may be the possibility of permitting it.
However, this would be case-by-case permissibility and each case should be consulted with a mufti to get approval.
If one is faced with a particular issue, then that will be analysed and the ruling will be issued accordingly, which may be different from the general ruling of prohibition.
Only Allah knows best.
Written by Maulana Syed Johir Miah
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
1 Jadeed Fiqhi Masail, Page 55-59/5, Zamzam Publishers.
Fatwa Mahmudiyyah, 336/18, Darul Ifta, Jamiah Faruqiyyah, Karachi, Pakistan.
2 Al-Qawaidul Fiqhiyyah, Abdullah Bin Juday, Page 44.
Al-Manthoor Fil Qawaidil Fiqhiyyah, Imam Zarakshi, /, Wizaratul Awqaf, Kuwait, 1405 H.
Al-Ashbaah Wan-Nazair, 73/1, Darul Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, 1419 H.
3 وحاصِلُ المَعْنى حِينَئِذٍ: أنَّ اللَّهَ تَعالى أذِنَ لَكُمْ بِالتَّداوِي، وجَعَلَ لِكُلِّ داءٍ دَواءً، فَإذا كانَ فِي ذَلِكَ الدَّواءِ شَيْءٌ مُحَرَّمٌ وعَلِمْتُمْ بِهِ الشِّفاءَ، فَقَدْ زالَتْ حُرْمَةُ اسْتِعْمالِهِ لِأنَّهُ تَعالى لَمْ يَجْعَلْ شِفاءَكُمْ فِيما حُرِّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ
Raddul Muhtar, Ibn Abidin, 246/3, Darul Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, 1412 H.
4 يجوز للعليل شرب الدم والبول وأكل الميتة للتداوى إذا أخبره طبيب مسلم أن شفائه فيه، ولم يجد من المباح ما يقوم مقامه
Fatawaa Alamghiri, 355/5, Darul Fikr, Beirut. Second Edition, 1310 H.
وحاصِلُ المَعْنى حِينَئِذٍ: أنَّ اللَّهَ تَعالى أذِنَ لَكُمْ بِالتَّداوِي، وجَعَلَ لِكُلِّ داءٍ دَواءً، فَإذا كانَ فِي ذَلِكَ الدَّواءِ شَيْءٌ مُحَرَّمٌ وعَلِمْتُمْ بِهِ الشِّفاءَ، فَقَدْ زالَتْ حُرْمَةُ اسْتِعْمالِهِ لِأنَّهُ تَعالى لَمْ يَجْعَلْ شِفاءَكُمْ فِيما حُرِّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ
Raddul Muhtar, Ibn Abidin, 246/3, Darul Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, 1412 H.
مطلب في التداوي بالمحرم ( قوله ورده في البدائع إلخ ) قدمنا في البيع الفاسد عند قوله ولبن امرأة أن صاحب الخانية والنهاية اختارا جوازه إن علم أن فيه شفاء ولم يجد دواء غيره قال في النهاية : وفي التهذيب يجوز للعليل شرب البول والدم والميتة للتداوي إذا أخبره طبيب مسلم أن فيه شفاءه ولم يجد من المباح ما يقوم مقامه ، وإن قال الطبيب يتعجل شفاؤك به فيه وجهان ، وهل يجوز شرب العليل من الخمر للتداوي فيه وجهان ، وكذا ذكره الإمام التمرتاشي وكذا في الذخيرة وما قيل إن الاستشفاء بالحرام حرام غير مجرى على إطلاقه وأن الاستشفاء بالحرام إنما لا يجوز إذا لم يعلم أن فيه شفاء أما إن علم وليس له دواء غيره يجوز ومعنى قول ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه لم يجعل شفاؤكم فيما حرم عليكم يحتمل أن يكون قال ذلك في داء عرف له دواء غير المحرم لأنه حينئذ يستغني بالحلال عن الحرام ويجوز أن يقال تنكشف الحرمة عند الحاجة فلا يكون الشفاء بالحرام وإنما يكون بالحلال ا هـ
Raddul Muhtar, Ibn Abidin, 228/5, Darul Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, 1412 H.
5 Jadeed Fiqhi Masail, Page 55-59/5, Zamzam Publishers.
6 Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith 3207, 212/3, Al-Maktabatul Asriyyah, Beirut, Lebanon.Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 1616, 516/1, Dar Ar-Risalatil Alamiyyah, 1430 H.Sunan Dar Qutni, Hadith 3415, 252/4, Muassasatur Risalah, Beirut, Lebanon, 1424 H.
رَواهُ أبُو داوُد، وابْن ماجَه، والبَيْهَقِيّ بأسانيد صَحِيحَة، وفِيه سعد بن سعيد، وهُوَ مُخْتَلف فِي توثيقه، وقد رَوى لَهُ مُسلم فِي «صَحِيحه.
Khulasatul Ahkam, An-Nawawi, 1035/2, Beirut, Lebanon, 1418 H.
7 فإن الإستشفاء بالمحرم إنما لا يجوز إذا لم يعلم أن فيه شفاء، أما إذا علم أن فيه شفاء وليس له دواء آخر غيره يجوز الإستفتاء به
Al-Muheetul Burhanee, Ibn Mazah, 373/5, Darul Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah. 1424 H.
8 لم يجز بيع الميتة والدم لإنعدام المالية التي هي ركن البيع فإنهما لا يعدّان مالا عند أحد وهو من قسم الباطل
Al-Bahrur Raaiq, Ibn Nujaim, 76/6, Darul Kutub Al-Islami.
Fatwa Mahmudiyyah, 328-9/18, Darul Ifta, Jamiah Faruqiyyah, Karachi, Pakistan.
9الِانْتِفاعُ بِأجْزاءِ الآدَمِيِّ لَمْ يَجُزْ قِيلَ لِلنَّجاسَةِ وقِيلَ لِلْكَرامَةِ هُوَ الصَّحِيحُ كَذا فِي جَواهِرِ الأخْلاطِيِّ
Fatawaa Alamghiri, 354/5, Darul Fikr, Beirut. Second Edition, 1310 H.
10 Al-Qawaidul Fiqhiyyah, Abdullah Bin Juday, Page 43. Al-Manthoor Fil Qawaidil Fiqhiyyah, Imam Zarakshi, 89/1, Wizaratul Awqaf, Kuwait, 1405 H.
11 ولا يجوز بيع شعر الإنسان ولا الانتفاع به لأن الآدمي مكرم غير مبتذل، فلا يجوز أن يكون شيء من أجزائه مهانا مبتذلا
Al-Binayah, Aynee, 166/8, Darul Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah 2000.
12 Sahih Muslim, Hadith 2122, 1676/3, Dar Ihyat Turath, Beirut, Lebanon. 1412 H.
13 Sharhun Nawawi Ala Muslim, 103/14, Dar Ihyath Turath, Beirut, Lebanon. 1392 H.
14 Sahih Bukhari, Hadith Number 2474, 135/3, Dar Tuqin Najah, First edition 2001. 1422 H.
15 مُضْطَرٌّ لَمْ يَجِدْ مَيْتَةً وخافَ الهَلاكَ فَقالَ لَهُ رَجُلٌ اقْطَعْ يَدَيَّ وكُلْها أوْ قالَ اقْطَعْ مِنِّي قِطْعَةً وكُلْها لا يَسَعُهُ أنْ يَفْعَلَ ذَلِكَ، ولا يَصِحُّ أمْرُهُ بِهِ كَما لا يَسَعُ لِلْمُضْطَرِّ أنْ يَقْطَعَ قِطْعَةً مِن نَفْسِهِ فَيَأْكُلَ، كَذا فِي فَتاوى قاضِي خانْ.
Fatawaa Alamghiri, 338/5, Darul Fikr, Beirut. Second Edition, 1310 H.
16 Al-Ashbaah Wan-Nazair, Ibnu Nujaim, 100/1, Darul Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, 1419 H.