During the heart-wrenching moment of a loved one’s death, the question of organ donation is often broached in the hospital and many Muslim families realize they don’t know where their faith stands on organ donation. Gift of Life Donor Program hopes to change all that and has enlisted religious scholar Tahir Wyatt, education director at Philadelphia’s United Muslim Masjid, to clarify Muslim principles so families can make an informed decision.
Last month, Mr. Wyatt told an audience of more than 200 people at Masjidullah, a mosque in Philadelphia, the following:
“You won’t find a book in the Quran and a verse that talks about donating a liver, kidney, or pancreas however, most Muslim scholars agree that organ donation is permissible with certain criteria…. If the donor is living, Islamic principles say the person must have reached the age of puberty, must be mentally competent,is able to donate the organ without detrimentally affecting his own quality of life, and should not profit financially from it.”
Mr. Wyatt said that there are “gray areas” in cases in which the person is brain dead and on life support (which makes organs eligible for harvesting). “I don’t think we can categorically say that brain death is not death or that brain death is death. In Islam, if three doctors determine that a person is brain dead irreversibly, that can be considered death. Only after that can the organs possibly be donated.”
The scholar concludes with this important point: “In Islam, ‘the person who saves a life, it’s as if he has saved the lives of mankind.’”