Azhar issues fatwa allowing transplant of pigs' kidneys

Egypt’s Azhar issues fatwa allowing pigs' kidneys to be transplanted to humans
1 min read
26 October, 2021
Egypt's Al-Azhar, the foremost religious institution in Egypt, has ended an ongoing debate by allowing pig's kidneys to be transplanted to humans but only 'if necessary.'
Muslims around the world look to Egypt's Al-Azhar for religious guidance [Getty]

Cairo – Egypt's top religious institution, Al-Azhar, ended an ongoing debate this week by issuing a fatwa (or religious ruling) permitting pig's kidneys to be transplanted into a human body, but only under certain conditions.

The debate began after a group of American surgeons in New York successfully managed to transplant a pig’s kidney to a human patient earlier this month, tapping a renewable source of organs which are in short supply.

In Islam, a pig is considered an unclean animal and the Quran prohibits Muslims from consuming its meat. 

Al-Azhar, which was founded as an Islamic university more than a thousand years ago, is considered Egypt's highest religious authority and Muslims around the world look to it for guidance.

“[Islam] forbids being medicated by whatever is harmful, filthy [or] prohibited,” Al-Azhar said in the fatwa.

However, the fatwa added that if the use of the organ is to save a life, it could be permissible, only “if necessary.”

The Quran places great emphasis on the saving of human life, saying in one verse, "And whoever saves a life it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind".

Exceptions can usually be made to religious rules in order to save lives or for other necessities.