Muslims encouraged to learn more about organ donation

Some Muslims are reluctant to donate organs after death due to beliefs about the afterlife.

So a new website encouraging British Muslims to learn more about organ donation has now launched in hopes that more people will open up to staying on the register. summarises what the Islamic position on organ donation is and encourages Muslims to consider signing up.

The website also sets out the new laws which stipulate that all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to donate their organs after their death unless they have recorded a decision not to do so – or are in one of the groups excluded from doing so.

The charity New Horizons in British Islam has been working with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) on the site to help address the critical shortage of organ donors from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Figures from 2019 show that almost a third (31%) of those waiting for a transplant are from BAME backgrounds. That is despite BAME people making up just 14% of the population.

Mother And Child At Doctor's Office

A survey by NHSBT in 2019 also found that 75% of Muslim respondents said they had never spoken about organ donation to anyone before. Kidney donors and recipients are matched by blood group and tissue type, and people from the same ethnic background are more likely to have matching blood groups and tissue types.

Muslims in need of a transplant attest to the need for other BAME people to be on the register as they can face many years without a viable option. Amjid Ali is one such person who had a faulty kidney. He was on the organ donor register for 23 years before he received a kidney in 2011. He was on dialysis during those years until his nephew donated a kidney.

He says: ‘This is an important issue. Members of our community are adversely affected by the lack of donations from BAME donors and as a community, we need to take collective responsibility. ‘I very much hope that this website will help visitors in their search for additional information about the organ donation law change and the current faith position of organ donation in Islam.’

A spokesperson from New Horizons in British Islam told ‘British Muslims have lots of questions about how organ donation sits with their faith and the process but they don’t seem to be talking about it with their families.  ‘Muslims who oppose organ donation most often say they think it’s against their religion or culture but we’ve found lots of evidence to the contrary.

‘On our website you can see references from well-respected Islamic scholars from Egypt to Singapore, and from USA to the Netherlands, all of which say organ donation is Islam is allowed. ‘In 2019 a fatwa was even written in the UK by an Imam with 20+ years as a hospital chaplain, which states that organ donation is permissible.

‘We’re positive the website can be a tool to answer questions, help people make an informed decision and to encourage Muslims to have an honest and open dialogue with their families about it. ‘One of the most important conversations people can have in their lives is about death.’


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