Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lakhani's dilemma

One well meaning gentleman, Mr. Abidali Lakhani from Bandra suburb, Mumbai, thought reasonably that since he has nothing more to get from this worldly life after death he should donate his vital parts to science so that it may help science and some other needy person. Therefore, he decided to donate his body parts those can be retrieved after his death from his body and put to some good use. Apparently this is not a big thing as many well meaning persons these days think on this line. But in case of Abidali Lakhani things are not that simple. He never expected that a remote thing such as his religion can come in way and sabotage his sweet dream of donating his body for better use. When he consulted his near priest he was told that a Muslim cannot donate body parts to anybody after death. The reason given is very unreasonable for others but for Muslims it means much ado.

Mr. Abidali Lakhani seventy seven of age is a Khoja Muslim person from Shia sect in Islam. He has been writing on Shia Muslim activities in a Gujarati periodical. When he disclosed his will his family of three daughters objected to it. In addition to that commotion, Shia clerics also condemned that idea. They gave reason, as per Islam a Muslim after death must be buried in whole body and that is very important because as per their belief at the end of the world their almighty god, Allah will CALL them all and they shall rise out of their tombs and after that Allah shall proclaim who amongst them will go to Heaven and who will go to Hell! If the dead is buried not intact he/she cannot rise to the CALL and so that parson is condemned for ever! All semitic religions have more or less similar theory about after death.

If a Muslim donates his body as whole or in parts naturally he will never be able to rise for the CALL and Mr. Abidali Lakhani will be condemned for ever. This his daughters did not approve of. As Mr. Lakhani did not get support from his family and clerics he decided to contact many other highly placed authorities in Shia Islamic ideology in other parts of the world. Amongst them were other clerics of Sunni sect also and they too insisted that he should forget the idea however good it may appear to all other people. Only one priest from Delhi, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan suggested one mid option and that was, he can donate the parts to another Muslim only. The hitch in this option is in the process of donation. As somebody 'donates' any thing he loses ownership right on it. That means, as Mr. Lakhani donates his body and or body parts to the research institute or hospital that becomes property of that research institute or hospital and in that case he cannot dictate as to whom the parts may be transplanted. They may go on a Jew, Hindu, Christian or Parsee. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan a moderate Shia cleric said that donation of body part is the noblest cause and Allah will only appreciate it and so Mr. Abidali is sure to go in Heaven. However, his condition that the parts must go to another Muslim is not possibly acceptable for reasons given here. Other Ulema rejected this interpretation of Maulana Wahiduddin that charity of money and kinds is recommended and charity of human body parts after death is not considered even remotely in Koran or Hadith. Lakhani says if this facility were available at the time of Prophet HE would have definitely accepted this suggestion but that is not the thing and so at present interpretation such charity is not acceptable to Islam.

Abidali wanted to give his cornea, liver, kidney, skin, heart valves, and bones for research and also for implant on other needy person. He did not agree with these clerics and was firm on donating his parts after his death but finally his family became more important to him and he has decided not to donate any part because that will disturb his three daughters. Abidali's dream to continue to live through these parts will not materialize.
This news is having many off shoots to be discussed. There is corollary to this act of donation. The corollary is that if a Muslim cannot donate his part then he cannot also accept body parts of another person for the same argument. That is not all; he/she cannot donate blood or accept blood transfusion also. That is because these treatments shall change his body to some alien conditions. That person is no more the same person as per strict Islamic law. Some clerics demanded that any Muslim who violets this order and donates his body or part thereof or blood or accepts body parts or blood of another person, he does not remain to be the same person and true Muslim.

In Chembur suburb where I stay there is a small cemetery of Muslims. Undertaker of that place was my friend and he had shown me a well within that cemetery in that well many bones, skulls were dumped. He told me that because, the place is very small they have to exhume old bodies to make place for new dead persons. Those bones are dumped in that well. He jokingly told me his worry, saying, when our Allah will CALL these people how can they get out of it? Their heads, ribs and all other bones are so much intermingled that it is not possible for them to rise on the CALL. He was not an educated person but he often laughed at the very idea; but it is the saying by your prophet, I reminded him. Idea that Allah will CALL and dead will rise for the CALL in body appears to be very unrealistic. He told me it is an absurd idea, I am in cemetery all my life and from this experience I know, that idea is not possible. When I asked him how is it that your prophet said this he laughed away that question. This I am writing here because, an uneducated undertaker of a cemetery knows the stupidity in that idea but these so-called Ulema are not understanding it. What a shame.

There are other off shoots to this concept of Muslims rising to the CALL by their god, Allah, on the end of this world. One cleric told me the concept has many other wider effects. In that he told me that a Muslim person cannot cut his hair and if he does it he must preserve all those hair and other parts such as nails also he must keep preserved and on his death he will be interred along with all those hair and nails. In case tooth removed it must also be preserved until his/her death and buried along with the body. He further said since nobody preserves cut hair of head as well as beard and mustache and also nails all such Muslims are not qualified to rise on that CALL by Allah and so they are doomed. Not only that but in addition to this he further told me that if any body takes an implant of any body part he must preserve the removed part until his death and that be inhumed along his body; so that will help him in attending to the CALL of Allah. We can see how impossible it is to abide by all these prerequisites to be a true Muslim. I told him, on listening all these difficult conditions, that means, none of the Muslims will rise for that CALL and that means, all Muslims are not going to be given final verdict; they are doomed. If that is happening all Muslims will go to hell because they did not abide by these conditions. I warned that cleric that he has also not saved his hair and nail and so even he is not going to rise on that CALL. He admitted and told me that all these things he realized only after Mr. Abidali raised this issue. I told him if really all Muslims abide by these rules very meticulously they will look like savages; he told me, never mind that, to be with Allah even that is acceptable! I was stunned.

What is the difference in body ejecting feces and urine on one side and removal of hair and nails on the other side. He told me feces and urine are rejected by body and that is why it is not necessary to preserve that. At every time body ejects feces and urine the body becomes purified and so they do not remain parts of body. Whereas, hair and nails are not thrown away by body but they are removed perforce. That is why one must preserve them. He also told me that shaving beard and mustaches and hair of head as well as nails removal is against Islamic laws. That means a Muslim must retain all his/her nails and hair on body until their death.

Finally what remains to be considered by a sensible Muslim is that he/she has to decide what is important to him/her? Living with implants if need be or die because they cannot accept implants. The cleric told me that if any part of body has become useless and so any thought of replacing it comes up, one should understand that since his/her body has become incompetent to live because the body parts have become useless he/she should prefer to die considering that it is the desire of Allah. Prefer that option and prepare to die! He insisted that to accept implants to live longer or blood transfusion against the wishes of Allah is not acceptable to idealistic Islam, it amounts to blasphemy. It is haram he insisted. To insist to live by replacing body parts is not acceptable to Islam. I shall be obliged if any of my readers is Muslim, wright to me on my email and let me know what he has to say on this. I am of opinion that living by breaking these arduous rules of Islamic law is preferred to bothering about rising at the time of last CALL. After all, what are all religions made for? If they are forcing one to die for some fantastic rule made by that religion we should cancel that religion and accept one that helps in living longer. Nevertheless, there is one hope from modern science, artificial body parts and blood is being developed they may be used to replace implants from other humans. However, I still wonder if this idealistic religion of Islam will allow that also because it still means to continue to live against the will of Allah! I hope expert clerics will come with the solution to this query.

All this made me very curious about these rules of Islam. We Hindus do not have any such rule but to be sure I consulted one knowledgeable person. He told me as per Hindu belief this CALL comes to a person immediately after his/her death unlike at the end of the world in Islam or other semitic religions. Decision of his/her after death life is decided in the first 13 days after death. That means it is better than Islamic arrangement. Moreover, since in Hinduism body is cremated rising of body is not expected. It is the Atman that gets the verdict on his/her good and bad deeds during his/her life and he/she is send to suffer or enjoy the effects or return to take next birth. On listening this I felt much better that I am Hindu! In Hinduism there always is a next chance that makes a big difference in Islam or other semitic religions and Hinduism.

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