CIOGC staff member, Reem Hobeldin, represented a Muslim perspective on Organ Donation at a press conference during the National Organ Donor Sabbath, an interfaith event organized by Secretary of State Jesse White, on Thursday, November 12.
The statement read at the press conference is below:
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, a unifying body of over 60 Muslim mosques, organizations and schools in Chicagoland, is pleased to be a part of this press conference to talk about organ donation. In Islam, there are two opinions regarding organ donation. The opinion of its permissibility firstly reminds us that, as the Quran tells us, when one saves a single life it is as if one has saved all of humanity. Therefore, with intention being a key cornerstone of the Islamic faith, it is important to recognize that donating organs after death is a charitable act with the best of intentions. It is important to note that the sanctity of the human body as viewed in Islam is not violated since the modern day procedures of organ transplant are respectful and the surgeries are clean and not dishonoring of the human body. The opinion of permissibility of organ donation, while following the Islamic conditions and procedures of doing so, is a valid opinion from traditionally trained scholars. Therefore, those who agree with this opinion are encouraged to explain the permissibility to their family and friends and continue to support organ donation, eespecially when so many are in need. When given an opportunity to save a life, we should seize it, with the intention of pleasing God.
Secretary of State Jesse White runs one of the largest organ and tissue donor registries in the nation with 5.8 million people registered. However, more than 122,000 people are waiting for organ donations nationally, and more than 5,000 in Illinois and more than 1,200 in Indiana. Almost 300 die each year in Illinois because organs are not available.
Over ten faith leaders spoke at the press conference representing their views on organ donation from the perspective of many faiths including various sects of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism and others. Gift of Hope, a non-profit organ and tissue donor network that works to educate the public on donation as well as coordinating donations, was also present with two people who were organ donation recipients.