In the Name of Allāh,
the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful
Praise is due to Allāh, Lord of the worlds, may the blessings and peace be upon our master Muḥammad, the last of prophets, on his family, and all his companions.
Resolution No. 26 (1/4)
A Human receiving the Organs of another Human, Dead or Alive (Organ Transplantation)
The Council of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, holding its 4th session in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on 18–23 Jumādā al-Akhira 1408h (6–11 February 1988),
Having considered the Fiqh and medical research papers submitted to the Academy concerning A Human receiving the Organs of another Human, Dead or Alive (Organ Transplantation),
In light of the discussions highlighting the timeliness of this issue due to scientific and technological progress. Despite its proven effectiveness and pos- itive results, several harmful psychological and social effects have also come to light, as neither the guidelines prescribed by Shariah nor its objectives, which aim to ensure the well-being and dignity of humans and communities, and call for compassion and altruism, have been met,
Having summarized the points relating to this subject in its different aspects, forms and cases, each of which calls for a specific Shariah ruling,
Definition and Classification
First: The organ refers to any part of the human body: tissue, cells, blood, etc. such as the cornea, whether still part of the body or removed from it.
Second: Utility, which is the core of the matter, is the benefit accruing to the recipient, which enables him to remain alive, or to have a primary function of his body restored, whether it is eyesight or otherwise provided the recipient enjoys a respected life under Shariah.
Third: The form of benefiting from transplantation may be divided as follows:
- Transplantation of an organ from the body of a living person,
- Transplantation of an organ from the body of a dead person,
- Transplantation of an organ from a fetus,
First Form: Organ Transplantation from a Living Person
This occurs in the following cases:
- Transplantation of an organ from one part of the body to another part of the same body, such as grafting skin, cartilage, bones, veins or blood vessels,
- Transplantation of an organ from the body of a living person to In this case, the organ may be classified as essential for life or otherwise.
In this case, it may be a single organ, such as the heart or liver, or pair of organs, such as kidneys or lungs. As for the organs on which life does not depend, they could be organs that perform a primary function in the body or otherwise, or an organ which is self-renewing, such as blood, or is not self-renewing, and some have an effect on the lineage, inheritance and general personality, such as testicles, ovary, or cells of the nervous system, or have no bearing whatsoever.
Second Form: Transplantation of a Dead Person’s Organ
It should be noted that death may take two forms:
- All functions of the brain stop completely and no medical treatment can reverse the situation.
- The heart and respiratory system stop completely, no medical treatment can reverse the situation.
In both cases, due consideration should be given to the Academy resolution no. 18 (5/3) at its third session.
Third Form: Transplantation from a Fetus
It may be performed in three forms:
- Spontaneous abortion
- Medically induced or criminal abortion
- Fertilization outside the uterus (In-Vitro fertilization)
First: An organ may be transplanted from one part of the body to another part of the same body, provided it is ascertained that the benefits accruing from this operation outweigh the harmful effects caused thereby; also provided that its
purpose is to replace a lost organ, reshape it, restore its function, correct a defect or remove a malformation which is a source of mental anguish or physical pain. Second: An organ may be transplanted from the body of one person to the body of another person, if such organ is self-regenerating, such as blood and skin. It is stipulated in this case that the donor must be legally competent and that due attention must be taken to the conditions set by Shariah on this matter. Third: It is permissible to transplant from a body part of an organ that was removed due to a medical deficiency, such as the cornea, if, due to a disease, the
eye had to be removed.
Fourth: It is forbidden to transplant from a living person to another, a vital organ, such as the heart, without which the donor cannot remain alive.
Fifth: It is forbidden to transplant from a living person to another organ such as the cornea of the two eyes, which absence deprives the donor of a pri- mary function of his body. However, if it affects only part of the basic function, then it is a matter still under consideration, as explained in paragraph (8) below. Sixth: It is allowed to transplant an organ from the body of a dead person,
if it is essential to keep the beneficiary alive, or if it restores a primary function of his body, provided it has been authorized by the deceased before his death or by his heirs after his death or with the permission of concerned authorities if the deceased has not been identified or has no heirs.
Seventh: It should be noted that the medical consent, in the above cases, for performing organ transplantation, is stipulated that it is not done for financial reasons (selling an organ), because under no circumstances should a person’s organ be sold. However, incurring expenses by a person searching for an organ or a voluntary compensation as a token of appreciation is a matter still under consideration and Ijtihād.
Eighth: All the cases and forms other than the above cases, relevant to the issue, are still under research and consideration. They should be submitted for examination at the next session, in the light of medical data and Shariah rulings.
Indeed, Allāh is All-Knowing.