Blood and organ donation: What does Islamic law say?

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Donating blood from Shutterstock
Donating blood from Shutterstock
In order to meet the demand for blood in South Africa, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) must collect an average of 3 000 units of blood a day. However, only one in a hundred eligible South Africans is a regular blood donor.

Read: Severe shortage of organ donors in SA

Among the most common reasons people give for not donating blood is that they are afraid of needles, or they think there are already enough donors. We look at Islamic law regarding blood and organ donation:

In Islam violating the human body a sin, but the holy book states "...if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind".

What does this mean for donating blood and organs?

With regard to blood and organ donation, Islamic law considers necessity to overrule prohibition, which means that it is permissible for Muslims to participate in blood and organ donation in cases of necessity; and/or if the donation will save another person’s life.

According to the Modest Muse, the following conditions and limitations are applicable for Muslims who wish to participate in blood and organ donation:

- The organ may only be removed after a competent doctor pronounces the death of the donor and after every effort has been made to save his/her life.

- Transplant is only permissible if a competent doctor declares that the transplant is necessary for the suffering person to survive.

- The donor must be a healthy match and the transplant should not put their life or health in jeopardy.

- The organ(s) or blood may only used to save another life and not for cosmetic reasons.

- The organ(s) blood may not be sold or taken by under duress.

- If the donor is deceased he/she must have given consent before their death to donate the organ(s). The donor's family may also give consent for this.

- Blood or organ donation is not obligatory or part of the Islam faith, if someone is not convinced, then there is no sin on them for not donating.

Read more:

The health benefits of donating blood.
Why I am a blood donor
The donation process
Blood donation: what users say

**Health24 is not affiliated with any particular Islamic school of thought or biased towards any Islamic scholar.


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