Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Islamic State and Body Parts

While the fight against ISIS/ISIL rarely appears on the front pages or headline stories of the mainstream except in cases where there appears to be a link between ISIS/ISIL and a terrorist attack, an interesting fatwa or legal Islamic declaration has been released by the ISIL Committee of Research and Fatwas.  

Fatwa Number 68, dated January 31, 2015 and found during a December 2015 raid in eastern Syria answers the age-old question:

"Is it permissible to take the captured apostate's body organs and give them to Muslims who are in need of them?"

The Islamic scholars that answered this question did so stating that Muslim hospitals are overwhelmed with diseases that are both "incurable by doctors and harsh on patients" and stated that Allah Almighty knows best what is right and what is wrong.  The scholars go on to point out that verse 5:32 of the Quran states the following:

"Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.  And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors." (my bold)

From this verse, ISIS' Islamic scholars claim that "saving a Muslim from death or deterioration is an Islamic legal duty that should be performed with every legitimate way or financial means.".  As well, they claim that jurists of two Islamic schools allowed Muslim warriors to actually consume the flesh of infidels and apostate Muslims when it is necessary to save their own lives.

In addition, ISIS' scholars claim that it is even more appropriate to transplant organs from the apostate to the Muslim to save the life of the Muslim since it has been ruled that the apostate's life and organs are not protected by Islamic law.  The categories of the apostate's organs are broken down into three types:

1.) the rule allowing the taking of apostate's organs is applicable when the organs could be put to use in both pre- and post-mortem cases.

2.) the organs that can only be used pre-mortem are divided into two groups:

a.) those organs that, when removed, would not be fatal to the captive.  Removal of these organs is permitted.

b.) those organs that, when removed, would be fatal to the captive.  Removal of these organs is also permitted as it is part of the Muslim's duty to benefit from the captive's body.

ISIS scholars then close the fatwa with the following verse from the Quran (verse 2:185):

"Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you."

In case you are interested, here is a graphic showing an English interpretation of the two page fatwa:



Let's close with a brief excerpt from a February 2016 article on the website of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism:

"In September of 2015, former ISIS prisoner Abo Rida was reported stating that surgeons for the terror group removed kidneys and corneas from prisoners. Rida reported ISIS informing their captives that “the fate of these prisoners (was) inevitable death” and the jihadists were “more deserving” of the organs. Rida said he escaped from ISIS after a counter-terrorism raid damaged their prison, but that he was fired upon trying to escape and was only one of four who made it out alive... 

In our ISIS Defector Interview Project at the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism we were also informed by an ISIS defector in December of 2015 who maintains ties with other Islamic State cadres, both still in and out of the group that, “There is a statement now from Daesh:  ‘From this point you do not kill the slaves.  We need to use their bodies to make money [for organ trade].’ Basically, they are saying that the slaves are already ‘dead’. We need to make money off their bodies by selling body parts. "


With this in mind, it is interesting to note that ISIS/ISIL adheres to the strictest interpretation of Islamic law.