Top Egyptian Sheikh Revises View of Cornea Transplants
The highest-ranking sheikh at Al Azhar, the top Sunni Muslim authority in the world, has changed his religious decree barring cornea transplants without prior written consent from the donor or next of kin, according to the London-based Arabic daily Al Sharq Al Awsat.
Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi’s original fatwa, or religious decree, made specific reference to the illegality of using the corneas of accident victims without such prior consent.
The issue has caught the eye of theologians because Egypt’s Shura Council, a high-level legislative advisory body, is reviewing a bill permitting organ harvesting without written consent, prior to its review by Parliament.
However, Tantawi said in his new fatwa that the mere knowledge of a law permitting such organ harvesting constituted agreement to the transplant, even without written consent.
“Tantawi has changed his opinion after meeting with Egyptian Minister of Health Ismael Salam, the head of the Egyptian Medical Association, Hamdi Assayyed, and lawmakers,” the daily added.
Meanwhile, MPs Dr. Abdel Rahman Al Adawi and Dr. Abdel Muati Bayyoumi joined the camp of the law’s opponents.
“The bones of a human being cannot be broken while he is alive and therefore his bones should not be broken when he is dead. This applies to the cornea,” Dr. Bayyoumi said.
The two lawmakers were apparently referring to a saying, or Hadith, by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH): “Breaking the bones of a dead person is like breaking them when he is alive.”
The opinion of the two parliamentarians was apparently overlooked – Albawaba.com