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Is It Permissible for a Muslim to Get an Autopsy?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


Is an autopsy permissible in Islam when there has been a young person’s death whose reason for death was sudden and unknown? Is it permissible in general?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah guide us to that which pleases Him, forgive us for our shortcomings, and alleviate our difficulties, Amin.

Autopsies are generally viewed as impermissible mutilation of the deceased but are permissible in cases of necessity and only to the extent required, and Allah knows best.

Autopsies in Islam

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Breaking the bone of a dead person is similar (in sin) to breaking the bone of a living person.” [Abu Dawud]

Therefore, autopsies will only be permissible in cases of necessity when required by law or in criminal cases.

Most of the Arab world’s scholars have approved autopsies for medical science research. This issue was discussed by the Islamic Fiqh Academy of Makkah Mukarrama in October of 1987, where the ruling of permissibility was passed if the following conditions were fulfilled:

  1. An approval should be obtained from the deceased before his death, or his heirs should agree;
  2. The body should not be opened up more than necessary;
  3. Only female doctors should perform a post-mortem of a female body (if possible);
  4. All Islamic funeral rites should be fulfilled, and the body should always be buried. [Fiqhi Feslain, Islamic Fiqhi Academy India]

I pray this is of benefit.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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