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Are Muslims permitted to be organ donors or transplant recipients?

Muslims in the U.S. often wonder whether organ donation and transplant is permitted in Islam. Until now, the answer to that question has been less clear. 

On June 3, 2019, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC), Muslim Life Planning Institute (MLPI), and AaliaNetwork, LLC, announced the “Islamic Stance on Organ Donation and Transplantation."

Currently there are nearly 115,000 American residents desperately waiting for vital organ donations, many of whom are self-identified Muslims. The American Muslim Community has now in its possession an authoritative religious ruling which paves the way for Muslim families and individuals to answer the call to “Donate Life” and to help relieve that disparity.

On July 20th of 2016, The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) along with The Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) convened the nation’s first Fiqh Forum titled, “Reaching Consensus on Organ Donation: A Call to the American Muslim Community.”

It has been a rocky road since that initial Fiqh Forum: quite a few conventions and conferences where permissibility was discussed, yet remained elusive, concluded without a disposition. In the public's eyes the conversation became dormant and non-consequential. Yet, it was the public which remained a victim of this continual non-decision. Every day before and since July 20th, 2016, twenty American residents have died due to the lack of suitable organ donors.

Fate will have it that this past December 2, 2018, Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah of the Fiqh Council of North America answered that long-awaited question: What is the Islamic stance on organ donation and transplantation? The Council’s answer:

“The Fiqh Council agrees with many individual scholars, national and international fatwa councils in considering organ donation and transplantation to be Islamically permissible in principle.”