The new legislation, Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019, comes into force in the spring of next year.

There are two aspects of this legislation that are vitally important for the Muslim community to understand fully and without ambiguity.  Firstly, there is ‘Organ Donation’ and secondly, to be covered in a future piece Insha-Allah, ‘Deemed Consent’.

‘Organ Donation’

You would naturally assume that ‘organs’ are actually just ‘organs’.  However in reality, it means much more than just organs.  

As well as the usual organs for donation, such as heart, kidney and the lungs - the new legislation enables donors to donate their: Penis (Male Genitals);  Uterus (Female Genitals); Brain; Face; Spinal cord; Male Testicles; Arm/Leg;  And much, much more.

After donation, these body parts can be: transplanted; stored; believe it or not - converted into medicine (Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product - ATMP)

However, most importantly, once donated, they are the property of the NHS and no one, not even relatives, have a say in how and where they are used.

All these new organs and human tissues come under the ‘Novel and rare transplants’, and would require express consent being given prior to the death of the donor.  

There is currently a government consultation open, which will decide whether some or all of these move into the standard ‘deemed consent’ category.  However, the reality is that, today they require express consent however in the future they definitely will not.

One final point of note is that, a retired Muslim Medical Doctor stated that he is convinced that human genitalia has now moved into the list of donated organs to potentially meet the needs of transsexuals who are seeking such transplants.

What does the recent Fatwa released in June 2019 have to say about all this?

The new fatwa goes against traditional Hanafi/Sunni rulings and has made organ, body parts and human tissue donations permissible.

In fact, the fatwa makes all body parts permissible for donation, including the female genitals (uterus) and male penis.  The fatwa only makes the gonads impermissible, which are the male testicles and the female ovaries.

The fatwa makes no mention of any ruling regarding storage of Muslim organs by the NHS nor of their potential use for the production of medicine.

Muslim Reflections

Post Mortems:

The Muslim community have long opposed post mortems due to their lack of dignity and respect for the deceased.  This is something that is unanimously upheld by our Jewish brethren with their use of MRI scanners.   However, with regard to organ donation, we are now ‘advocating’ against the very principle we worked hard opposing.

Delays in Releasing the Deceased:

Our faith instructs us to bury the deceased without delay.  In fact, the pious soul will be crying out for their swift burial.  However, inevitably, the deceased who are subject to organ donation will have delays in the release of their body.


It is a requirement in Islam that the bathing of the deceased is carried out prior to the burial.  The ghusl is the penultimate act that family and friends carry out for the deceased.  It is a source of reassurance and comfort, to make the preparation for the ultimate meeting with their Creator.

However, my dear brothers in Islam, what comfort and reassurance will there be in seeing our mothers, sisters, daughters, fathers, brother and sons in a state where:

•  their chest or body has been crudely stitched together;

•  with organ, bones, tendons and muscles missing, the deceased would be a hollow fragile piece of flesh.  A ghusl following Islamic procedures would become extremely difficult to perform and obviously extremely difficult for relatives to bear;

•  they may have missing limbs, eyes, and even face;

• and finally, words could not do justice, to performing a ghusl for a relative with missing genitalia.

My beautiful faith gives women a position of dignity, honour and respect unsurpassed by any faith or culture in human history.  From cradle to grave, this dignity and honour is cherished like a precious jewel hidden from prying eyes.

•  are we now honestly going to allow the dignity and honour of our mothers, sisters and daughters be violated in such a manner?

•  are we seriously going to accept that the satr, modesty and respect of our mothers, sisters and daughters, which we guarded with our lives during their life - will mean nothing after their deaths?

• are we forgetting the request of the beloved daughter of the Prophet of Allah (SAW) and Leader of the women of Jannah, Fatima al-Zahra (ra) who requested that her burial took place at night and that a separate cloth was used to hide her body so that nobody could even see her shape during her funeral.  The ultimate modesty, dignity and respect - even in death.  Surely this is a shining example for the treatments of women in death.

Finally my dear brothers and sister in Islam, Allah the Almighty states that:

We  have  honoured  the  progeny  of  Adam;  …  given  for  them sustenance  things  good  and  pure;  and  conferred  on  them  special favours; above a great part of  Our creation. [The  Glorious  Qurʾān,  Al-Isrāʾ, 17:70] 

The honour and dignity of humankind is explicitly stated by Allah himself.  Surely, that very same honour and dignity, applies in death, just as it did in life