Organ donation and transplant: The Islamic perspective

Clin Transplant. 2020 Apr;34(4):e13832. doi: 10.1111/ctr.13832. Epub 2020 Mar 11.


Islam is the second most practiced religion globally, and the number of Muslims in Western countries has been increasing due to recent trends in migration. Studies have shown that Muslims in the Western world have more negative attitudes toward organ donation and transplantation compared with individuals from other religious backgrounds. Multiple barriers have been postulated that may prevent Muslims from exploring organ donation or transplantation. We conducted a literature review with the goal of summarizing the opinions of major Sunni and Shia scholars and Islamic bodies about organ donation and transplantation, including their opinions and rulings on the neurological determination of death to inform healthcare professionals, community members, and leaders. We also identified factors and attitudes that may prevent members of the Muslim community from achieving equitable access to transplantation or from consenting to donate organs during life or after death. Key factors or concerns identified included: lack of information regarding organ donation, mistrust of the healthcare system, family opinions, sacredness of the body, lack of clear understanding of religious rulings, and opinions of religious leaders. Studies have suggested that partnering with religious leaders to address these concerns may help foster positive attitudes toward organ donation and transplantation.

Keywords: Islam; organ donation; religion and medicine; solid organ transplantation; tissue and organ procurement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Islam
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*