Is using a cadaver permissible? Is it religiously appropriate for the students studying and academicians teaching at the faculty of medicine to work on cadavers?
Submitted by on Mon, 16/02/2015 - 10:30
Dear Brother / Sister,
Man is the most honorable being among the creatures. Both his living body and dead body are respectable. Therefore, it is forbidden for Muslims to harm the dead bodies of non-Muslim soldiers killed during a battle. It is forbidden to commit muthla (that is, to pull the dead body into pieces, to cut off the organs of a person like the ears. nose, and eyes and to remove the internal organs of a dead body.)Muthla was rendered haram after the Battle of Uhud.
- Today plastic equivalents instead of cadavers should be preferred if it is possible. That is, it is not appropriate to play with the dead body of a person unnecessarily. Both the living body and dead body of man need to be respected. For, a single person is like a species of other living beings. To eliminate a species is a big crime; it is not appropriate to overlook a species. Therefore, it is a big sin to kill a person.
- Dissection (cutting up a dead person in order to study it) reached the Islamic world through ancient India, Egypt and Greece. In the Ottoman state, the studies of anatomy and dissection started in the 19th century. In 1841, the Sultan issued a decree and officially gave the permission of working on a cadaver. It is narrated that the Ottoman medicine worked on horse cadavers before that. In the West, the first work on cadavers started in the 12th century.
- In Islam, the following rule exists: "Necessities render harams permissible." This rule is included in Majalla (Ottoman Civil Code). Therefore, a person who is about to die due to thirst and who cannot find water can drink alcohol, which is haram, so little as to save him from death. A person who is about to die of hunger and who cannot find halal food can eat something haram in order to survive. Acting upon this point, if working on cadavers is a necessity (we use necessity as an Islamic law term meaning "zarurah") in terms of human life, it is permissible. For, Islam gives great importance to protecting property, life, religion, etc.
- While working on the dead body or after it, respect needs to be shown to the human body and it should be buried in accordance with the rules.
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