The View of Religious Officials on Organ Donation and Transplantation in the Zeytinburnu District of Istanbul

TARHAN M., Dalar L., Yildirimoglu H., Sayar A., Altin S.

Journal of Religion and Health, vol.54, no.6, pp.1975-1985, 2015 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 54 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10943-014-9851-1
  • Journal Name: Journal of Religion and Health
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1975-1985
  • Keywords: Attitude, Organ donation, Organ transplantation, Religious officials
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


One of the obstacles to organ donation and transplantation in Turkey is that of religious beliefs and, at this point, religious officials constitute a key aspect of this problem. Positive or negative viewpoints held by religious officials regarding organ donation and transplantation are influential in guiding the public. This descriptive study was conducted for the purpose of describing religious officials’ viewpoints on this subject. To determine the opinions of 40 religious officials from among the imams and muezzins working in Zeytinburnu District Mufti (Religious Officials Superior) Station who participated in a normal meeting in April and who fully completed the survey. A 27-question survey form was used that consisted of open-ended and closed questions, 5 of which were on socio-demographic characteristics, 13 on viewpoints on organ donation and transplantation, and 9 on the Islamic viewpoint regarding organ donation and transplantation. For the analysis of the results, Student’s t test and one-way ANOVA tests were used. It was found that all of the religious officials believed in the importance of organ donation, 80 % considered donating their organs, and 5 % had made an organ donation. Of the religious officials who had not donated organs, 35 % gave an answer that there was no specific reason and 27.5 % stated that they had never considered the subject. While the number of those stating that they would donate the organs of a close associate who had died, 77.5 % of them who did not want to donate gave as their reason the idea that if it were him, he would perhaps not want to give his organs after death. Of the religious officials questioned, 92.5 % asserted that the religion of Islam looked positively on organ donation and transplantation, 55 % stated that the knowledge of religious officials in the country was inadequate regarding this subject, and 65 % said that for interest in organ donation to increase, religious officials should make speeches and raise the issue with the public in conversations, meetings, and sermons. Fully 85 % asserted that for interest in organ donation in Turkey to increase, religious officials have to lead on the subject. Of those questioned, 52.5 % considered their knowledge on organ donation and transplantation to be adequate and that they had obtained 52.5 % of such information from seminars/conferences, 50 % from television/radio, and 45 % from Directorate of Religious Affairs publications. However, 40 % expressed that they did not know where organ donations were made. One reason for inadequate organ donation in Turkey is that of incorrect religious beliefs. Thus, it is necessary that informative efforts are made by the Directorate of Religious Affairs through in-house training programs, and that healthcare, religious, and legal officials work jointly to inform the public about organ donation, organ transplantation, and brain death. Additionally, religious officials should donate organs by the way of example and, to increase their sensitivity, healthcare professionals should go more frequently to mosques and Mufti Stations.