Islamic fatwa approves organ donation after Bristol man's efforts

Amjid Ali, organ recipient
Image caption Amjid Ali waited 23 years for a new kidney

A man who had to wait for 23 years for a kidney transplant has won changes to Islamic guidance to allow organ donation in the UK.

Amjid Ali, from Bristol, began a campaign for the changes in 2013 and has been working for the NHS.

Muslims are allowed to accept transplants, but previously some had not felt able to donate themselves.

Mr Ali said: "It was something I wanted to give back, having been on dialysis and the waiting list for a long time."

NHS figures show that 17% of people on the transplant waiting list are of Asian origin.

Life-saving operation

However, less than 2% of Asian people are on the organ donor register.

In September 2013, Mr Ali led a conference with 56 scholars, organisations, imams and chaplains about the issue, two years after his own life-saving operation.

"Many Muslims feel [organ donation] is not in line with their faith," said Mr Ali, who is the NHS lead on the Transplantation in Islam project.

"They needed an authoritative religious figure to be able to give them the satisfaction that they've researched the subject in such a way that covers all of the key points around the permissibility of organ donation."

Image caption Mufti Mohammed Zubair Butt extensively researched the issue of organ donation

Two fatwas - or religious edicts - were issued in 1995 and 2000 but were aimed at Arab Muslims. Now another, for the Sunni community, has also been issued.

This new fatwa complements the previous fatwas and is aimed at British Muslims who are predominantly of south Asian background and heritage.

Scholar Mufti Mohammed Zubair Butt, who issued the fatwa, said he hoped the move would help to "serve as a catalyst" for change.

The edict covers all forms of donation, including blood, stem cells, living donation and organ donation after death.

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