Al-Azhar issues fatwa allowing pigs’ kidneys to be transplanted to humans

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Egypt’s top religious institution, Al-Azhar, has issued a fatwa permitting pig’s kidneys to be transplanted into a human body, but only under certain conditions.

The university ended an ongoing debate this week by issuing a fatwa (or religious ruling)

According to a report by New Arab, 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.

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