Are Muslims permitted to be organ donors or transplant recipients?

Arab American Muslim young man in sport jacket smiling at camera

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

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.”

Since that initial Fiqh Forum quite a few successive rounds of deliberation over the religious, social, and biomedical aspects of the procedures were discussed at length. After much deliberation and a second Fiqh Forum, on 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.”

Many Arab Americans and Muslims in Michigan have received organ transplants and become organ and tissue donors. These stories are important for educating and inspiring the community to save and heal more lives.

In 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.” Additional perspective, nuances, and background information on this determination are available for medical professionals and other interested parties through a Transplantation Direct journal article.

 

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