Arab-American Muslims and Organ Donation

May 20, 2000

Source: The New York Times

On May 20, 2000, The New York Times published an article on the issues for Arab-American Muslims surrounding organ donation, which is said to be forbidden for Muslims because they are supposed to return to God in Heaven in the same body. Najah Bazzy, a 40-year-old Lebanese nurse, is spearheading an initiative to include in Islamic wills a section for organ donation: "There is a saying in Islam: He who saves a life saves humanity...Why are we so eager to take our organs with us and give up the opportunity to save a life? How do I know I'm not depriving the world of a genius?" Imam Hassan Qzawani, who heads the Islamic Center of America in Detroit, Michigan, stated: "There is no Islamic taboo banning the donation of organs...People have reservations because it was not practiced in the old countries and because of Islam's strict guidelines about disfiguring the body. But as long as you're not giving your eyes or an organ that is needed for one's own survival, we have the right to help save someone's life." The International Association for Organ Donation, a year-old nonprofit organization, has started an education campaign for Arab-Americans.