Islam teaches us to feed the hungry, to take care of the sick and to save people’s lives. Organ donation is permitted in Islam if it is done within the permissible limits prescribed by the Shari`ah.
As for donating organs of the body after death, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “Ideally, after death, a person’s body must be washed, shrouded and buried as intact as possible after saying the prescribed Prayers; we are not allowed to dissect, mutilate or tamper with the body in any way. The reason for this is that the dead person enjoys a certain amount of sanctity which cannot be violated. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “Cutting up a dead person’s bones is akin to cutting him up while he is alive!”
there are, however, certain exceptions made to the above strict rule in order to address certain specific exigencies or unusual circumstances. In other words, the rigors of the law have been relaxed in some cases, for things that are otherwise deemed as impermissible shall be deemed permissible or even recommended in such cases depending on the severity or extreme necessity. An example of this is when it has been determined that a certain organ or body part of a dead person can be used to save a living person. In such case, we are certainly allowed to harvest a specific organ or body part of a dead person—provided that he has already left specific instructions before his death in his will to that effect or provided his legal heirs have authorized the same. This is based on a ruling of the majority of Muslim jurists who have deliberated on this issue.
According to the above jurists, the body of a person after death can also be subjected to post-mortem in case of a genuine need to do so in order to investigate a crime or to find the cause of serious disease, if doing so is dictated by the need to prevent transmission of such a disease. However, all of the above must be done only under strict regulations. In other words, we cannot take these as blanket approvals for interfering or tampering with the body unnecessarily.
Therefore, if a person wishes to leave instructions to the effect that a certain organ or part of his/her body such as kidneys or liver or heart should be harvested for saving the lives of others, or to find the cause of a certain disease which may be instrumental in preventing further occurrence of the disease, he/she may do so without incurring any sin. Such an act will even be considered as a grand act of charity since there is no charity greater than the gift of life. It is worth remembering that Islam, being as it is primarily a religion of mercy, ennobles all charitable acts to every breathing soul or being.”