In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Donation of organs is permitted in Islam. There is no difference between Muslim and non-Muslim in this regard.
Responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
Seeking treatment in Islam
Organ transplantation is a new method of treatment that has been proven to save lives and/or improve the quality of people’s lives. Islam encourages us to search for cures and seek treatments for all ailments.
The donation of an organ is an act of charity and Allah loves those who are charitable and help remove the pain and suffering of others. If done with the intention of serving Allah and helping His creation, such an act of benevolence merits great rewards.
Ruling on organ transplantation
Since organ transplantation is still a developing science, scholars who are competent in pronouncing religious decrees on such topics have been individually and collectively deliberating on this issue for some time.
They have generally approved the donation of organs with two provisos:
- No harm is brought upon the donor; and
- The donation is made freely, in good faith and out of love of God.
Scholars have sanctioned the donation of organs both by the living and the dead who have left a will or testament, or by the consent of their relatives (who constitute the Islamic next of kin).
The above decrees by scholars have been based on their understanding of the principles of Shariah, which emphasize the priority of saving lives over any other consideration.
However, scholars stress that donations of organs can only be done by free, willing adults, who are in complete possession of their mental faculties. Therefore, it is a consensus that minors are forbidden from donating their organs.
Such seriousness of scholars can be demonstrated in the decree issued by one council discussing this very topic: the stipulation was made that living donors must be over the age of twenty-one.
Another organ donation condition stipulated by scholars is that the organ being considered for donation cannot be vital for the donor’s own survival. That is to say that a person cannot donate an organ if it will cause him/her long-term harm.
Ruling on accepting organ donation
As donation of organs is permitted, so is accepting organ donation. There is no difference between Muslim and non-Muslim in this regard. In other words, as one is permitted to donate to another human being, regardless of whether he is a Muslim or non-Muslim, likewise we are allowed to receive organs, regardless of religious differences.
Ruling on blood donation
As far as blood donating and receiving is concerned, it is also generally agreed among scholars that it is permitted in Islam.
Is blood impure?
Regarding the question of why blood is considered najas (impure), we can only say that this is because blood, notwithstanding the miraculous good it does in one’s own internal system, does not serve a purpose for humankind outside of the body.
God has clearly stated in the Quran that He “has forbidden for you only that which is impure (and therefore unwholesome)”. Therefore, as God knows what is good for us and what is bad for us in a perfect sense, it can be understood that His decrees regarding blood can only lead to our own overall benefit.
For answers to questions regarding whether blood from cuts or bruises would invalidate wudu (ablution), see this fatwa: Does Blood From Wounds Invalidate Wudu or Prayer?
Almighty Allah knows best.