Organ Donation (in Islam)

Every now and then (for over a few years), I’ve been engaged in a conversation (or debate… whatever you want to call it) on whether or not organ donation is permissible in Islam.

Each time, the conversation and/or debate would conclude without an answer — just both sides very stubbornly attached to their argument. While it is nice that each side was so passionate about it just as I am, I left each time not getting an answer.

One of the biggest arguments against organ donation in Islam I have heard is that the human body [and therefore all the organs of a human body whether one is a Muslim or a non-Muslim] is sacred and must not be tampered with. Another argument I have heard, and it applies to any topic actually, is that when the evidence for either side isn’t clear cut, it is better to be on the side of caution.

I see both sides of the argument, but at the end of the day I just did not understand how something that could potentially save the life/lives of other(s) would not be permissible. Especially that, if it is okay to receive an organ transplant, why wouldn’t it be okay to donate?

Feel free to add more to either side of the argument.

Last week, when I went with my mom for her pre-testing for her procedure/minor surgery later this week… they asked about whether she would like to be an organ donor (which is a standard question they ask at hospitals amongst many others). That, of course, brought me right back to the debate over organ donation.

This time, however, I took a more hands on approach. I did a lot of research online. The research I did on my own guided me a little closer, but I did not find a definite answer.

I was reaffirmed in the fact that it is permissible to donate an organ when one is alive as long as it doesn’t cause harm/death to the donor. I wasn’t, however, able to find a consistent answer for cases after an individual’s death.

Finally, I contacted someone who I thought would be able to shed some light on the matter for me. Fortunately, he gave me the contact information for someone who was able to help me.

A part of the answer I was given was:

This is one of the contemporary questions for which the jurists have yet to find a compellingly decisive response.  So your research has delivered you to the correct answer: that there is no hard and fast rule.  Being that the jurists are in dispute about it, the common Muslim is not to be held accountable, whichever opinion he or she takes.

He went on to say that which ever stance one decides to take, must be supported.

If you click here, you can read both sides of the argument. I am sure you can do your own research, but this is one of the best links I found that discussed both sides of the issue.


  1. Why is it okay in Islam to be a recipient of an organ if it is necessary to live but not to be a donor when dead to help save a life? Quite hypocritical of a situation. It is okay to take but not give? To save one life is like saving the world, I heard that or something like that.

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