Muslim Organ Donors Challenges & Opportunities

Reprint from Halal Newsweek

“Towards جنّة‎ Jannah-Provisions for the Traveler.”

We would like to share a little information on organ and tissue donation which has helped us to launch an initiative along with a story about a beloved Muslim in need of a kidney transplant. If you are new to the Halal Newsweek, you will find that we tackle controversial and tough topics. This will be the first in a series of articles introducing a National Initiative titled “Towards Jannah-Provisions for the Traveler.” This effort sprang forth after a group of indigenous African-Americans (call me Bilalian) Muslims were invited to an all day Fiqh Forum at the International Institute of Islamic thought (IIIT) headquarters in Herndon, Virginia on July 20, 2016 … titled “Reaching Consensus on Organ Donation: A Call to the American Muslim Community.” 

We were all invited by Lesley Compagnone, Director of Community Affairs, Washington Regional Transplant Community. Our team included Chaplain Tahara Akmal, Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, Shuaib (Saisa) Neel, Karim (Felicia) Ali, and Gloria (Samuel) Shareef. The forum featured a number of Islamic Scholars, among them were … Dr. Jamal Badawi, Dr. Hisham Altalib President of IIIT, Dr. Ilham Altalib Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Ikram- Foundation for the Empowerment of Muslim Women, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, Dr, Abubaker Al-Shingietti Executive Director of IIIT, and the list continued. There were also a number of executives from a few of the National Health Sciences Organizations in attendance; Dr. Melissa Greenwald Director of the Division of Transplantation at the Health Resources and Services Administration, Dr. Shakir Hussein Surgical Director and Clinical Chief of the Renal Transplant Program At Wayne State University School of Medicine, Dr. Khalid M. Khan transplant surgeon with the MedStar Georgetown University Center’s Transplant Institute, and quite a few more.

The greatest take away for our group, however, was the low donor participation rate of Muslims. I think we took it personal that of all the groups in America our community had the lowest donor rate.  In the weeks that followed our group kept in touch, and after quite a bit of discourse, decided that if we were indeed a community dedicated to all that is good … what greater good could there be than donating, saving, and sustaining life. We also learned that just as there were daunting, mitigating, and controversial dynamics surrounding our low participation rate, this dilemma resided inside the course of our entire life’s journey. A journey which we all began at birth, and that we would be on until we reach the stage in our lives at which we transition out of this earthly existence. So much transpires on this journey. So much that needed addressing, Karim Ali was inspired to coin the initiative“Towards Jannah-Provisions for the Traveler.” This formulation took place in Kansas City, Missouri at the “A Time to Be Grateful” Celebration. The following article about Brother Umar Hussein an Atlanta native was written by Sister SiasaNeela retired nurse living in the Capital Beltway Region.Click to read more. Remember, we welcome your comments.

Samuel Shareef

Author Samuel Shareef

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