Organ donation is giving an organ to help someone who needs a transplant.

Is organ donation permitted in Islam?

In Islam there are two schools of thought with regard to organ donation. The human body, whether living or dead, enjoys a special honour and is inviolable, and fundamentally, Islamic law emphasises the preservation of human life. The general rule that ‘necessities permit the prohibited’ (al-darurat tubih al-mahzurat), has been used to support human organ donation with regard to saving or significantly enhancing a life of another provided that the benefit outweighs the personal cost that has to be borne. 

What is the process for organ donation?

Organs are only removed for transplantation after a person has died. Because they have to be transplanted very soon after death, they can only be donated by someone who has died in a hospital, under particular conditions. Our Specialist Nurses for Organ Donation will check to see whether an individual is on the NHS Organ Donor Register, and in addition, the family of a potential donor will always be consulted. More information about the different types of organ donation is available here.  
Does organ donation affect burial?
After donation, the body is always returned to the family of the deceased in the same way as any death in a hospital where donation has not taken place. The family is then free to make whatever arrangements they feel appropriate or to follow your donation decision if you had made these known to them before your death. Donation does not delay this happening. 

Islamic support for organ donation

The following are some verses which have been used to support organ donation: 

“Whosoever saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.”
Holy Qur’an, chapter 5, vs. 32 

“Whosoever helps another will be granted help from Allah.”
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) 

“If you happened to be ill and in need of a transplant, you certainly would wish that someone would help you by providing the needed organ.”
Sheikh Dr MA Zaki Badawi, Principal, Muslim College, London 

Alternative views on organ donation in Islam

An alternative view clearly states that:

“The saving of life is not absolute, but subject to the amount of cost that has to be borne. Therefore, although the above quotation enjoins the saving of life this is not without restriction or caveats.

According to a similarly large number of Muslim scholars, organ donation is not permitted. They consider that organ donation compromises the special honour accorded to man and this cannot be allowed whatever the cost. Scholars, such as the Islamic Fiqh Academy of India, allow live donations only.”
Mufti Mohammed Zubair Butt, Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence, Bradford

Faith and personal choice 

Therefore it is very clear that in Islam:

“Organ donation is a very personal choice and one should consider seeking the opinion of a scholar of their choosing.”
Mufti Mohammed Zubair Butt, Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence, Bradford 

Organ donation and Islam

Making a donation is your choice. But it can be seen differently even in the same religious groups. If you have any doubt, you should approach your religious adviser. 

Make sure you talk to your family and friends about your decision so they know your wishes.

Further information