Praise be to Allaah.
This subject is one of the topics which is being researched by the Islamic Fiqh Council (Majma’ al-Fiqh al-Islami), which has issued the following fatwaa:
It is permitted to transplant or graft an organ from one part of a person’s body to another, so long as one is careful to ascertain that the benefits of this operation outweigh any harm that may result from it, and on the condition that this is done to replace something that has been lost, or to restore its appearance or regular function, or to correct some fault or disfigurement which is causing physical or psychological distress.
It is permitted to transplant an organ from one person’s body to another, if it is an organ that can regenerate itself, like skin or blood, on the condition that the donor is mature and understands what he is doing, and that all other pertinent shar’i conditions are met.
It is permitted to use part of an organ that has been removed because of illness to benefit another person, such as using the cornea of an eye removed because of illness.
It is haraam to take an organ on which life depends, such as taking a heart from a living person to transplant into another person.
It is haraam to take an organ from a living person when doing so could impair an essential vital function, even though his life itself may not be under threat, such as removing the corneas of both eyes. However, removing organs which will lead to only partial impairment is a matter which is still under scholarly discussion.
It is permitted to transplant an organ from a dead person to a living person whose life depends on receiving that organ, or whose vital functions are otherwise impaired, on the condition that permission is given either by the person before his death or by his heirs, or by the leader of the Muslims in cases where the dead person’s identity is unknown or he has no heirs.
Care should be taken to ensure that there is proper agreement to the transplant of organs in the cases described above, on the condition that no buying or selling of organs is involved. It is not permitted to trade in human organs under any circumstances. But the question of whether the beneficiary may spend money to obtain an organ he needs, or to show his appreciation, is a matter which is still under scholarly debate.
Anything other than the scenarios described above is still subject to scholarly debate, and requires further detailed research in the light of medical research and shar’i rulings.