Question: It is haram to sell or use human organs and blood. Moreover, according to a hadith that says “There is no cure in haram,” it is not permissible to receive treatment by haram methods. Then how can organ transplantation be permissible? Secondly, if an organ of a Muslim is transplanted to a disbeliever, then how will it respond on the Day of Resurrection?
As human organs are not considered personal possessions, they cannot be sold or donated. However, one may give permission so that one’s organs may be used in case of strong necessity (darurat). When one gives permission, it is permissible to get an organ by paying or not paying money and to use it in case of strong necessity.
If a Muslim specialist says to an ill person “There is no cure except organ transplantation for your illness,” then it is permissible to transplant an organ from someone else, dead or live. (Al-Hady-ul- Islami)
A religiously ignorant person says, “Organ transplantation is haram. When a live person undergoes an operation, he/she will experience torture. Torturing someone is haram. Then performing an operation is haram, too. As the Prophet said “Breaking the bone of a dead person is like breaking it when he is alive,” cutting into a dead person’s abdomen is haram like cutting into the abdomen of someone alive. When torture is inflicted on a dead person by way of an operation or transplantation, according to the hadith “Whoever harms a Muslim has harmed me. Whoever harms me, he has upset Allah,” one upsets Allah by doing so. However, our religion says that saving an organ is as indispensable as saving the life of a human.
When there is a darurat, many prohibitions become allowable. Cutting a body part from someone, dead or alive, is haram, and it means inflicting torture on him/her. However, if there is a darurat, this prohibition is suspended because there is a rule in our religion that darurat renders prohibitions allowable. (Majalla)
It is haram to use human body parts, e.g., hair, kidneys, milk, without a darurat. However, if there is a darurat, it is permissible to use them, that is, to transplant an organ. (Islam Ahlaqi)
It is permissible to lift a baby out of an already-dead pregnant woman’s womb through an opening cut if it is expected to live. Hadrat Imam-i A’zam ordered that the abdomen of a dead woman be cut open and the baby be taken out. Then the baby lived for a long time. (Ashbah, p. 123)
[He did not give up the idea of removing the baby from the uterus as it might be a torture on the deceased. Though the religiously ignorant people are angry with Hadrat Imam-i A’zam as they think that he inflicted torment on the deceased, we think that the woman felt very happy as her baby was saved.]
What Hadrat Imam-i A’zam did proves that organ transplantation from a dead person is permissible.
Cutting off an organ of a dead person is a kind of torment on him/her. However, if the organ excised is to be transplanted to a Muslim, the deceased derives pleasure from the operation. For example, if one is worn out in order to help someone else, one does not complain about it. On the contrary, one gets pleasure from it as it is a service in one’s eyes. Similarly, one who has lost money is sad. However, if one gives it to the needy willingly, then one is happy due to charity. Likewise, the animal slaughtered on Eid al-Adha is happy as it is of service to a Muslim. That pain is a pleasure for it. In fact, it is haram to inflict torment on an animal. Moreover, it is a sin graver than inflicting torment on a human. If one acts on what our religion says, these are not considered torment, but service.
It is asked, “If an organ of a Muslim is transplanted to a disbeliever, how will it respond on the Day of Judgment? How can a Muslim’s organ burn in hellfire?” Allahu ta’ala is free from incapability.
On the Day of Resurrection, everybody will rise from the grave in the same height and shape but with a body made from different atoms. The worldly bodies will rot and turn into dust. (Kimya-i Sa’adat)
The organ that will respond is not that which has rotted, but some other organ. Even if it is the organ that has been transplanted, can it not say, “When I was in the body of the Muslim, I did such and such good deeds, but when I was transplanted into the body of the disbeliever, I did such and such evil deeds”? Can there be error or incapability in the reckoning of Allahu ta’ala? The fact that human organs will speak on the Day of Reckoning is told in the Qur’an al-karim. (An-Nur 24, Yasin 65)
The soul, by means of the body given, will either attain blessings or incur torment. One who does not know true nature of the soul or who doubts Allahu ta’ala’s omnipotence thinks that a person who has been burnt to death becomes nonexistent and there is no questioning or torment in the grave. However, it is stated in a hadith-i sharif, “Torment in the grave is true” (Bukhari).
In case of a darurat, something haram may be used as medicine, and healing may be obtained, because when there is a darurat, a haram thing turns into mubah. That is, healing comes from not haram, but mubah, as that haram thing has turned into mubah. For example, when wine, which is haram to use, changes into vinegar, it is mubah to use it. When a kidney is transplanted to a person who does not have it, healing is obtained, and the kidney works. If it were not mubah, then the hadith-i sharif “There is no cure in haram” would be wrong (never!). As there is healing in transplantation, it means that haram has turned into mubah. Those who do not understand this fine point are so ignorant as to claim that it is haram to transplant an organ or blood.
Hadrat Ibn Abidin says, “In the books Nihaya, Haniyya, and Tahzib, it is written, ‘It is permissible for an ill person to drink urine or blood or to eat carrion if a Muslim specialist says that it will be curative and there is no alternative medicine for his illness. It was reported that so is the case with wine. It is unanimously halal if it is for saving oneself from death.’ It is written in Fath-ul-qadir, ‘If a Muslim specialist says that human milk will certainly be curative for a particular disease and there is no alternative for it, it will be permissible for a person with that disease to drink and buy it.’” (Radd-ul-Mukhtar, vol. 5, p. 249; vol.4, p. 215)
As it is clearly seen, if it is known that human milk, blood, or urine, which is haram to drink, will be curative for a particular ill person, then it will be mubah to drink it. Then as it will be mubah to drink it, and the ruling regarding it is not included in the hadith-i sharif, “There is no cure in haram.” Though normally it is haram to drink or transplant blood, it is mubah if the case meets the conditions told above. So is the case with organ transplantation.
Question: Some people say, “When a kidney is transplanted to a person, qualities of the donor transmit to the recipient. For example, if the donor is stingy, the recipient will be stingy, too. If the donor is atheist, the recipient will be atheist, too.” Is it true?
It is not true. Human means soul. It is the soul that hears and controls the body. Even though the body gets tired after working hard, the soul does not get tired. There is no increase or decrease in the soul. For example, when one’s arm is amputated, there is no cut in one’s soul. As there is no change in the soul of a person with a donor’s heart transplant, there will be no negative effect of an immoral person’s heart on the qualities of the recipient because no change occurs in the soul.
The human lives by means of the soul. It has mind and thoughts thanks to the soul. Human organs are like the tools of a carpenter. When a human dies, the soul cannot perform a task with these organs as they are off. However, as the soul is not dead, it recognizes the other people. The souls of dead awliya’ help humans. Their help is not with the aid of their organs, because Allahu ta’ala makes the soul perform tasks without tools. For example, the soul of Khıdir ‘alaihissalam, who died, helps people in various ways.
If all the organs of a disbeliever are transplanted to a Muslim, there will be no change in the mind and thoughts of the Muslim. It means that the old tools of the carpenter have been replaced with the new ones. With the arrival of the new tools, the carpenter’s knowledge or skill does not shift. On the contrary, if his dull saw is replaced with a sharp one, it will be better for him. Even if one’s blood, heart, and brain are replaced with new ones, it will not affect one’s thoughts. One will live comfortably with these healthy organs. It is the soul that makes one do tasks. The soul does not become nonexistent when one dies or is burnt. Only it is deprived of its tools [body]. In the Hereafter, a new body will be created for it
Question: According to our religion, is the permission of the family necessary in order to transplant the organs of a dead person to someone else?
In our religion, none of a human’s organs are considered possessions, so they cannot be bought, sold, or donated. Neither the human himself/herself nor his/her family can sell or donate it. When a person dies, a doctor may transplant an organ from the dead person to an ill person if he deems necessary. It is not necessary to seek permission from anyone else.
If it is legally obligatory, one can write on paper, “I give permission that when I die my organs can be given to an ill person who needs.” Even if one does not write such a statement, an organ can be taken out from a dead person if the need arises.