What do the scholars of the Din and muftis of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: Does Islam permit blood transfusion for a patient who needs it? What is the ruling if it is a question of life and death? What is the ruling upon the one who donates blood as he is not in need of doing so?
Questioner: Tahir from London, UK
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
It is permissible to transfuse blood to a patient to save his life or any bodily organ from becoming dysfunctional or severely damaged. It is permissible to transfuse blood in a quantity that can fulfil the need.
The prohibition of blood transfusion is not qat’i (absolute) but is zanni (speculative). Our scholars differ over the use of haram (prohibited) things as medicine for treatment. However, this difference of opinion is in the case when there is no certainty or prevailing suspicion regarding the cure obtained from it. If there is certainty or prevailing suspicion regarding the cure obtained from haram things, then there is no problem in using them as medicine.
It is mentioned in al-Bahr al-ra’iq:
وَقَدْ وَقَعَ الِاخْتِلَافُ بَيْنَ مَشَايِخِنَا فِي التَّدَاوِي بِالْمُحَرَّمِ فَفِي النِّهَايَةِ عَنْ الذَّخِيرَةِ الِاسْتِشْفَاءُ بِالْحَرَامِ يَجُوزُ إذَا عُلِمَ أَنَّ فِيهِ شِفَاءً وَلَمْ يُعْلَمْ دَوَاءٌ آخَرُ
Translation: “Our scholars differ over the use of haram (prohibited) things as medicine for treatment. It is stated in al-Nihayah, ‘If cure from a prohibited thing is known and there is no other medicine available, then it is permissible to use it.’” [al-Bahr al-ra’iq, vol. 1, pg. 122]
It has been proven through observation and experience that by transfusing blood, a patient is saved from severe harm and sometimes his life is also protected.
The author of al-Hidaya has preferred this opinion on the usage of prohibited things as medicine. It is also mentioned in al-Bahr:
وَكَذَا اخْتَارَ صَاحِبُ الْهِدَايَةِ فِي التَّجْنِيسِ فَقَالَ إذَا سَالَ الدَّمُ مِنْ أَنْفِ إنْسَانٍ يَكْتُبُ فَاتِحَةَ الْكِتَابِ بِالدَّمِ عَلَى جَبْهَتِهِ وَأَنْفِهِ وَيَجُوزُ ذَلِكَ لِلِاسْتِشْفَاءِ وَالْمُعَالَجَةِ، وَلَوْ كَتَبَ بِالْبَوْلِ إنْ عُلِمَ أَنَّ فِيهِ شِفَاءً لَا بَأْسَ بِذَلِكَ لَكِنْ لَمْ يُنْقَلْ، وَهَذَا؛ لِأَنَّ الْحُرْمَةُ سَاقِطَةٌ عِنْدَ الِاسْتِشْفَاءِ أَلَا تَرَى أَنَّ الْعَطْشَانَ يَجُوزُ لَهُ شُرْبُ الْخَمْرِ وَالْجَائِعُ يَحِلُّ لَهُ أَكْلُ الْمَيْتَةِ
Imam Ibn ‘Abidin al-Shami (may Allah have mercy upon him) has mentioned with the reference of Imam ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nablusi (may Allah have mercy upon him), “There is consensus, not difference, among the Hanafi scholars over the use of haram things as medicine in times of necessity.”
وَأَفَادَ سَيِّدِي عَبْدُ الْغَنِيِّ أَنَّهُ لَا يَظْهَرُ الِاخْتِلَافُ فِي كَلَامِهِمْ لِاتِّفَاقِهِمْ عَلَى الْجَوَازِ لِلضَّرُورَةِ، وَاشْتِرَاطُ صَاحِبِ النِّهَايَةِ الْعِلْمَ لَا يُنَافِيهِ اشْتِرَاطُ مَنْ بَعْدَهُ الشِّفَاءَ وَلِذَا قَالَ وَالِدِي فِي شَرْحِ الدُّرَرِ: إنَّ قَوْلَهُ لَا لِلتَّدَاوِي مَحْمُولٌ عَلَى الْمَظْنُونِ وَإِلَّا فَجَوَازُهُ بِالْيَقِينِيِّ اتِّفَاقٌ
[Radd al-muhtar, vol. 1, pg. 210]
It is permissible, in all the above-mentioned scenarios, for a person to donate blood in order to save the life of a Muslim patient. The needs of fellow Muslims are also considered in our Shari’ah.
It is mentioned in Fatawa Ridawiyyah: “Ones needs are to be taken care of but others’ needs are also to be looked after. For instance, if a person is praying on the bank of a river and if someone starts to drown, and this person can save him, it is necessary for him to break his intention (of prayer) and save him. Whereas, it was haram to nullify the act (of prayer). Allah ﷻ states,
‘Do not invalidate your deeds’” [Fatawa Ridawiyyah, vol. 21, pg. 207]
واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری
Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by the SeekersPath team
Read the original answer in Urdu here – [Q-ID0396] What is the Islamic ruling on giving blood?