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Resolutions of Iftaa' Board

Date Added : 02-11-2015

Resolution No.(2) by the Board of Iftaa`, Research and Islamic Studies:
“ Ruling on Donating Corneas ”
Date: 11/7/1404 AH; 11/4/1984 AD

What is the ruling on people who donate their corneas, after their death, to the blind?
All perfect praise be to Allah; and may His blessings and peace be upon Prophet Mohammad and upon all his Family and Companions.
Principles of Islamic law permit making use of the dead peoples` corneas, by transplanting them in the eyes of the blind, or those in danger of becoming blind, within the following conditions:
1-Confirming the death of the donor.
2-Doctors assuming that the transplanting of the corneas will most probably be a success.
3-The deceased had given permission before he/she died, or his heirs permitted it.
Amongst the evidences, derived from Islamic law, permitting this matter are:
First: Transplanting organs from the deceased to the living safeguards human beings, which is one of the aims of Islamic law(Sharia).
Second: Undoubtedly, blindness, or losing sight is a damage that befalls a human being, and preventing it is a necessity, in Islamic law, that allows transplanting corneas of the deceased in the eyes of the living, and this goes in line with the agreed upon jurisprudential rulings such as: “ Necessity knows no prohibitions “, “ Necessity is assessed by its degree, and “The milder of two harms is permissible in case of necessity “
Third: Transplanting the cornea of a deceased person in the eyes of a blind living person to regain his/her sight isn`t the kind of mutilation which has been forbidden by the Prophet(PBUH). He(PBUH) forbade the mutilation which humiliates the dead person and violates his/her honor. In light of Islamic Sharia, the dead person is honored by having donated his/her cornea since he/she will receive a recompense from Almighty Allah. Similarly, the living is honored by regaining his/her sight,  enjoying this favor bestowed upon him/her from Almighty Allah and thanking Him for it.
Therefore, Muslim jurists permit cutting open the belly of a dead pregnant woman in order to save her fetus who is most probably alive. They also permit cutting open the belly of a deceased who had swallowed the money of another person. They interpreted this permission as follows: “ Honoring the living and safeguarding him/her take precedence over safeguarding the dead from mutilation .“Almighty Allah said in the Holy Quran: “Nor are alike those that are living and those that are dead “{Fatir/22}.
Fourth: Islamic Sharia encouraged people to seek treatment for the Prophet(PBUH) said: “ Allah has sent down ailment and cure, and made a cure for each ailment, so seek treatment, but avoid forbidden cures “ Transplanting corneas of the dead in the eyes of the living is an act of treatment.
Fifth: Donating corneas to the blind is from charity that Sharia encouraged giving to those in need, for a blind person`s need for sight is greater than a poor person`s need for money, and his(the blind) need for food and drink. Prophet Mohammad(PBUH) said in this regard: “Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection, and whoever helps his (Muslim) brother Allah will help him. “{Muslim}. And Allah knows best.

The Fatwa Committee


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