Are organ transplants (cornea) permissible?

Question:

Salaams

I would like to know regarding organ transplants and donors according to Islam, is it permissible or not?

One of the reasons is that I underwent a few cornea transplants and Alhamdulillah with my cornea transplant I underwent last year I can start seeing ,in fact I now have 20/20 vision in one eye after 21 years (Shukar Alhamdulillah) and one of my cousins mentioned it is not allowed to donate organs or have a transplant done and if was meant for me not to see then that is Allah’s will…

Shukran

 

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullahi wa-barakatuh.

 

Corneal transplantation, also known as corneal grafting, is a surgical procedure where a damaged or diseased cornea is replaced by donated corneal tissue (the graft) in its entirety or in part. The graft is taken from a recently deceased individual with no known diseases or other factors that may affect the viability of the donated tissue or the health of the recipient.1

The Fuqaha (Jurists) have ruled that generally organ transplants is prohibited on the grounds of the sanctity of the human body.[1]

If organ transplants was generally permitted then it would lead to disrespect of the human body, it would be commercialized and overall harm society and exploit the poor. The problem of illegal organ trafficking is widespread.

However Sharia’ takes in consideration both needs and requirements.

Various contemporary Fuqaha (Jurists) have ruled that under certain conditions, due to necessity, the modern organ transplant would be permissible.[2]

  • It is permitted to transplant or graft an organ from one place of a person’s body to another, so long as one is certain that the benefits of this operation outweigh any harm that may result from it, and on the condition that this is done to replace something that has been lost, or to restore its appearance or regular function, or to correct some fault or disfigurement which is causing great physical or psychological distress.
  • It is unlawful (haram) to take an organ from a living person, when doing so could damage an essential and vital function in his body.
  • It is permitted to transplant an organ from one person’s body to another, if it is an organ that can regenerate itself, such as skin and blood, provided that the donor is mature and fully understands what he is doing.
  • The organ must not be sold. It is not permitted to trade in human organs under any circumstance.
  • There should be no other reasonable alternative available in the view of experienced medical experts.

Upon availability, it is permitted to transplant an organ from a dead person to a living person when his life depends on receiving that organ or when vital functions of his body are otherwise impaired, requiring the kin of the deceased does not object. All efforts should be made to avoid transplanting of a non-Muslim’s organ into a Muslim and vice versa.

In our opinion, in the inquired case, providing the above mentioned requirements of Sharia’ are met, the cornea transplant is permissible.

NB: However, as each case differs from the other, clarification from reliable Ulama should be sought for each specific case.

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net

[1] (1)قال ( وَشَعْرِ الْإِنْسَانِ ) يَعْنِي لَا يَجُوزُ بَيْعُ شَعْرِ الْإِنْسَانِ وَالِانْتِفَاعُ بِهِ لِأَنَّ الْآدَمِيَّ مُكَرَّمٌ فَلَا يَجُوزُ أَنْ يَكُونَ جُزْؤُهُ مُهَانًا , وقال عليه السَّلَامُ { لَعَنَ اللَّهُ الْوَاصِلَةَ وَالْمُسْتَوْصِلَةَ } , وَإِنَّمَا لُعِنَا لِلِانْتِفَاعِ بِهِ لِمَا فيه من إهَانَةِ الْمُكَرَّمِ.(تبين الحقائق ص51 ج4)

 

[2] وَيُبَاحُ له بِالْإِكْرَاهِ أَكْلُ الْمَيْتَةِ وَشُرْبُ الْخَمْرِ وَيُرَخَّصُ له بِإِجْرَاءِ كَلِمَةِ الْكُفْر(البحر الرائق ص80 ج8 دار المعرفة )

ولو أن حاملا ماتت وفي بطنها ولد يضطرب فإن كان غالب الظن أنه ولد حي وهو في مدة يعيش غالبا فإنه يشق بطنها لأن فيه إحياء الآدمي بترك تعظيم الآدمي وترك التعظيم أهون من مباشرة سبب الموت.(تحفة الفقهاء ص345 ج3)

الضَّرُورَاتُ تُبِيحُ الْمَحْظُورَاتِ(الأشباه و النظائر ص85)

مجلس مجمع الفقه الإسلامي المنعقد في دورة مؤتمره الرابع بجدة في المملكة العربية السعودية من 18-23 جمادى الآخرة 1408هـ،الموافق 6-11 فبراير 1988م

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