Question # 50: What does Islam says about donating organs? I would like to donate my eyes to any poor brother or sister after my death.

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: It is permissible to donate any organ (including eye) from a dead person to a living person, subject to the condition that permission be given by the deceased before his death, or by his heirs after his death. This is based on the principle of opting for the benefit of the living over that of the dead, considering that the living can, by regaining sight, benefit himself and the nation.

Long Answer: The Islamic Fiqh Council which convened in the fourth conference in Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 18-23 Safar 1408 AH/6-11 February 1988 CE, after studying fiqhi and medical research submitted to the Council concerning the issue of one person benefiting from the body parts of another, living or dead, has determined the following:

Excerpt – “…It is permissible to transplant an organ from a dead person to a living person whose life or basic essential functions depend on that organ, subject to the condition that permission be given by the deceased before his death, or by his heirs after his death, or by the authorities in charge of the Muslims if the identity of the deceased is unknown or he has no heirs.

It should be noted that the agreement on the permissibility of organ transplants explained above is subject to the condition that this is not done by selling the organs, because it is not permissible to subject human organs to sale under any circumstances. As for the beneficiary spending money in order to obtain the required organ where necessary or offering compensation or honouring the donor, this is subject to ijtihaad and further discussion.” (Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid)

The thirteenth Council of the Board of Senior Scholars was held in the city of at-Ta’if during the second half of Shawwal, 1398 H. The member discussed the cornea transplant, from the eye of one individual to the eye of another… The council, by majority, issued the following:

Excerpt – “After making sure that the person is indeed dead, doctors may proceed to remove his eye – as long as his relatives consent and as long as they are confident of a successful operation – and transplant it into the eye of another Muslim who needs it. This is based on the principle of bringing about the better of two benefits and removing the worse of two harms. Thus, we opt for the benefit of the living over that of the dead, considering that the living can, by regaining sight, benefit himself and the nation. The dead person loses nothing by the removal of his cornea since his eyes are about to be transformed into the dirt, underneath the ground. And because both eyes are closed, there is no apparent mutilation involved.” (Fatawa Islamiyah, The Board of Senior Scholars)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam