I have dedicated this post to this auspicious day of 13th August - The Organ Donation Day.
Going through the news a few days back I read about this near approaching day.
Though I wasn't unaware of this concept entirely, I had never been curious enough to delve deep into the matter and get my facts correct. My first reaction to this was " Why not ". But as prudence set in, I realised that this wasn't as simple as it seemed. Even if I did pledge to donate my organs after death, I had to inform my near and dear ones and and answer their queries. As far as I am concerned, religious hurdles are least obstructing to me but it always pays to be religiously correct as well.
Brain death is not the same as coma. In coma, a person is unconscious but alive. He may be breathing on his own, has a few brain reflexes present and shows electrical brain activity. As compared to this, a brain dead person has a heart that is beating on its own without impulses from the brain. There is no activity in the brain and no respiration. In effect, a brain dead person is DEAD.
I had to now analyse the religious aspects of Organ donation.
All major religions either accept organ donation or accept the right of individual members to make their own decision. Most religions like the Roman Catholic Church are in favour of organ donation as acts of charity and as a means of saving a life.
Jains, who regard compassion to be a main principle of their faith, donate organs pro-actively. It has been reported that in Mumbai, 85-90% of all organ donations including eye donations, are by Jains and Gujaratis.
Life after death is a strong belief of Hinduism and is an ongoing process of rebirth. It is a perpetual circle of birth and rebirth. So, the physical body is insignificant.
Judaism encourages organ donation but the views are divided as regards the definition of death. One school of thought which defines death as the complete stoppage of heart beating and not brain death, opposes the transplantation of the heart from the brain dead person as that is tantamount to mercy killing. However, the other school which believes brain death to be the actual death of the individual irrespective of a beating heart, encourages donation of vital organs for the sake of saving another life.
Islam has conflicting views on this subject.
According to a number of Muslim scholars organ donation is not permitted. They consider that organ donation compromises the special honour accorded to man and this cannot be allowed whatever the cost.
The proponents of organ donation quote the following:
“Whosoever saves the life of one person it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.”
Holy Qur'an, chapter 5 vs. 32
"Whosoever helps another will be granted help from Allah."
Prophet Muhammed (pbuh)
Resolutions of the Islamic Fiqh Council:
1.It is permissible to transplant an organ but attention must be paid to ensuring that the expected benefits outweigh any possible harm.
2.It is permissible to transplant an organ from a dead person to a living person whose life or basic essential functions depend on that organ, subject to the condition that permission be given by the deceased before his death, or by his heirs after his death, or by the authorities in charge of the Muslims if the identity of the deceased is unknown or he has no heirs.
3. It should be noted that the agreement on the permissibility of organ transplants explained above is subject to the condition that this is not done by selling the organs, because it is not permissible to subject human organs to sale under any circumstances.
Therefore it is very clear that in Islam:
"Organ donation is a very personal choice.”
The demand for organs significantly surpasses the number of donors everywhere in the world. The only way this gap can be reduced is by encouraging organ donation. A kidney for a person on thrice weekly hemodialysis, a liver for a swollen and bleeding Hepatitis B positive patient, and a cornea for a blind person who hasn’t seen the world, is priceless.
"Don't think of organ donation as giving up part of yourself to keep a total stranger alive. It's really a total stranger giving up almost all of themselves to keep part of you alive".
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
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Register now. Donate for yourself.