Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Organ donation in Islam ‘encouraged’
Muslims are allowed to donate their organs, according to a fatwa issued in 1970
 
By Atiqa Hazellah
 
New Straits Times, 3 January 2012 
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Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria - Perak mufti
 
ORGAN transplant is permissible for Muslims to save lives, said Selangor and Perak (two of the fourteen states in Malaysia) muftis.
 
Selangor Mufti Datuk Mohd Tamyes Abd Wahid said myths, misconceptions and a general lack of understanding and awareness had led to an organ donation crisis among Muslims.

"All major religions, including Islam, encourage organ donation, especially when it can prevent death.

"There is also no requirement for the organ or tissues to be donated to someone of the same religion."
 
Tamyes said in Malaysia, the fatwa on the permissibility of organ donation and transplantation was issued in June 1970.
 
"Organ transplant is allowed when there is no other way to save the life of a patient, especially when he or she is suffering from organ failure.
 
"Donors must do so with utmost sincerity for the noble aim of helping the recipient, not to attain wealth and popularity," he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
 
He also advised donors to get consent from family members first to avoid any misconception in allowing organs and tissues to be harvested.
 
"Doctors face problems in explaining organ donation to the family members of a deceased person. With the consent, the wishes of those both living and deceased are respected."
 
Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said as long as the objective was to safeguard and to preserve life, organ transplant is permissible.
 
"Islam stresses that such transplants must not harm the organ recipient or living donor. Organs and tissues should not be traded, as Islam views such transactions trading as haram."
 
Statistics show that less than one per cent of Malaysians  have registered as organ donors while 14,037 people are on the waiting list.
 
Organ Donation Awareness Promotion Action Committee chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said only 184,774 Malaysians,  or 0.7 per cent, out of a population of 27 million had pledged their organs  upon their death.
 
"The lack of cadaveric donors is largely due to attitude, mindset, prejudices, misconception and even misconceived ideas of the public towards donating their organs upon death."
 
He said as of last December, the number of actual organ donors since the organ transplant programme started in 1976 had totalled only 352.
 
The Chinese led the number of registered donors with 101,566 people (55 per cent), Indians at 44,600 (24 per cent) and Malays at 33,386 people (18 per cent).
 
However, Lee said, the number of Malay donors had increased over the past five to 10 years ago, which made up only 3 per cent. 
 
He said his committee had been promoting organ donations through various campaigns at state levels and inviting muftis  to give their views to the Muslims.
 
"We also have been working closely with Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia religious experts and non-governmental organisations to give information and motivate the Muslims to donate organs."
 

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