‘Organ donation is allowed in Islam, needs to be promoted in Kashmir’

Srinagar:  “Cadaveric transplantation is the need of the hour in Kashmir. It is permissible and appreciated in Islam as one cadaver saves eight lives by donating his eight different organs.”
This was the message from religious scholars, doctors and other medical functionaries in a seminar held here by Department of Nephrology, Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) on Saturday.
The seminar titled, “Cadaveric Transplantation Need of the Hour” was a part of the awareness campaign launched by the SKIMS in order to start its cadaveric transplant program in Kashmir.
Cadaveric transplantation is transfer of organs like kidney, liver or heart from a cadaver donor, a person who is brain dead (a neurologically dead person), to other person who needs them desperately.
On the occasion, Director, SKIMS, Dr Showkat Ahmad Zargar said that in Jammu and Kashmir every year approximately 4000 to 5000 patients need kidney or liver transplantation, but less than three percent of them get kidney transplant done.
“There is lot of difference between demand and available donors in Kashmir. The patients who get their kidneys transplanted get them from living donors who are their relatives. If cadaveric donation is in place then living transplantation is not necessary,” Dr Zargar said.
He said that SKIMS was launching a program for promoting a cadaveric transplantation, and for launching awareness among the people the Institute needs the support of social activists, religious scholars and media.
Speaking on the issue, prominent Islamic scholar Mufti Nazir Ahmad said that in Islam organ donation, living or cadaveric, is permissible and appreciated, but with certain conditions.
“Earlier when the organ transplantation was introduced by the medical science, the Islamic scholars decreed that it was not allowed in Islam because of various reasons including that human body is scared and gift from Allah, and if organ transplantation is permitted it may lead to the organ trade or human organs will be used for manufacturing of various goods,” said Mufti.
He said that later in various religious conventions like one held by Fiqah Academy, Makkah and World Fiqah Academy, Jeddah, the religious scholars after discussing the issue had an ijtihad (consensus) that organ donation is allowed in Islam provided there is consent of the donor, there is no danger to the life of the donor itself and the organs are not being sold.
“Later the Islamic scholars in the subcontinent also had a similar fatwa (decree) on the issue,” said Mufti.
Moulana Aijaz Ahmad, a religious scholar belonging to the Shia school of thought also expressed similar views. “According to the consensus of religious leaders in our school of thought, organ donation is allowed if it saves the life of any person and it is not being sold to them,” he said.
Dr. Gul Javeed, Head of the Department of Gastroenterology, SKIMS, said that cadaveric donation is very prevalent in all European and Middle East countries and in India there is lack of such donations due to which every year around two lakh people die because they don’t get such organ donors.
“If people here will opt for cadaveric donation there is no need of living donations and lives of around 25000 people will be saved every year,” said Dr Gul.
He said that in cadaveric transplantations, a person donates at least eight organs which include heart, lungs, kidney, liver, pancreases, small bowel, heart valves and corneas, and can save life of eight individuals who are in need of these organs.
Giving the overview of Kidney transplantation in SKIMS, Dr. Imtiyaz Ahmad Wani on the occasion said that the kidney transplantation was started in SKIMS in 1999 and so far the Institute has performed 93 such transplantations of which 23 transplantations were done last year and six have been done this year so far.
“In almost 65 cases, organs were donated by patient’s relatives including mothers, fathers, brothers, daughters, husbands and wives, and in only 28 cases organs were donated by non-relatives, which shows how much awareness we need to create among masses in Kashmir,” said Dr Wani.
On the occasion, Justice (retd) Bashir Ahmad Kirmani said that it is not law but moral education which can prepare people to come forward for organ donation and “for that we need educate people in homes, schools and religious places.”
Among others who spoke on the occasion included Dr. G Q Allaqaband, Dr Muzaffar Wani, and Dr Saleem Wani.