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What are the Islamic views on tissue donation/organ in general? ( Is it allowed or not allowed?) 2) What are your views on tissue/organ donation for research? (Is it allowed or not allowed?)



I am a medical student in New York doing research on religious perspective towards organ/ tissue donation for education and research. I am looking for your help with information on the Muslim perspective on the issue. I would like to just note that this is organ donation post mortem specifically for education and medical research and not transplantation to another human being as that is directly life saving. I attached my questions below and can provide any further information if necessary. Thank you in advance.

1) What are your views on tissue donation/organ in general? ( Is it allowed or not allowed?)

2) What are your views on tissue/organ donation for research? (Is it allowed or not allowed?)

3) Would this change knowing that tissue/organ donation will directly save a life? (Yes, No)

4) Are there any exceptions to this viewpoint? (Yes, No)

5) How do you come up with this viewpoint? i.e. interpretation of text, oral law, tradition


Bismillah ArRahman ArRaheem

Wa-Alaykum As Salaam
1)   There are specific rules that need to be considered with regards to donations.
a) Donating from a live person to another is allowed where is allowed where there is no significant harm to the donor such as in the case of kidney donation where the donor has another healthy kidney.  However, eyes, limbs such as the hands and legs and similar parts of the body are not.
b) As from donations from the deceased to the living based on the will of the deceased requesting to donate their organs upon death, it is fine if:
i) The donor is non muslim, OR
ii) The life of a muslim depends on this donation, even if there was no will to that effect.
However other than in these two instances it is problematic.
Also note, “diya” (which is an amount one must pay for committing an act not permissible in certain circumstances), is payable if there was no will, but if there was a will it is not payable by the person operating (ie the person making the surgical cuts to extract the organ).
2) With regards to research, this would fall under extraction of organs for the purpose of education, autopsy, crime investigations etc.  The answer provided is as follows:
This is not allowed in the case the corpse is of a Muslim if the life of another Muslim does not rely on this action, albeit in the future, or that there is significant future gain that outweighs the harm done.  Diya is payable upon the individual performing this action regardless of whether it is allowed or not.

It is allowed for the corpse of a non Muslim, if during the lifetime of the corpse they are not considered “Mahqoon Al-Dam” (their killing would have been be unlawful in their lifetime), or that their own religion allows it in all circumstances, or having given their permission during their lifetime, or the permission of their responsible guardian after their death.  Likewise where there is doubt if this individual is “Mahqoon Al-Dam”, and there is no evidence that they were.

3) See above (q1).

4) See above. (q1).
5) These points of views are extracted from the Holy Qur’an, traditions of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his Purified Household, and traditions of the Ahlul Al Bayet Peace Be Upon Them.  The opinions expressed are as per the teachings of Syed Sistani, may his life be preserved, and his interpretations of these traditions.
Additional point:
There is a difference between the “brain dead” and the death of a human being Islamically.  While the Western Medicine considers some one to be clinically dead if their brain stops functioning, Islam considers one dead only if and after the heart and lungs stop functioning.  This difference is important in determining whether one can now approach a body to extract an organ or not!  So if one is brain dead, but the heart and lungs are working, an the heart, for example, is extracted, the surgeon is considered to have killed the individual.
Sources: (Arabic) and main reference for question 1.  (Arabic) main reference for question 2.
More information: (English)
Insha-Allah this has been helpful.
S.L. Al-Hakim