Buying and selling human bones.

Q. I am a student of medicine. We regularly deal with human bones which we buy from our seniors. I wanted to know whether it is ok for us to sell them at reduced prices, since our juniors will have to buy them in any case. Also can we sell them at a higher price than which we bought because its part of the syllabus to study anatomy on bones.

A. In Islam, it is totally haram (unlawful) to buy and sell human body parts. This is totally prohibited in Islam.

If it is a necessity for you to buy them in order to do your studies, and you cannot get them in any other way, then, as a last resort you can do so, but it will still be unlawful.

However, when you have them in your possessions, it will not be permissible for you to sell them to others, whether at a lower price or at a higher price. You should simply donate them to someone else.

It will be a good idea if a few Muslims come together to start a system where some donate to others, and it will be moving from one hand to the other, without having to buy and sell these human bones. Probably, only the first set of students may have to purchase them.

In a case where you are forced to buy these bones then you can ask one of the senior students to give you these bones free of charge, and you will give them a gift of cash for the value of the bones. For example, if the bones cost Rs 3,000 then you can say to the one from whom you are purchasing it, ‘Give me these bones free of charge, and I will give you a gift of Rs 3,000’.

This is a strategy which you can use to avoid the act of purchasing human bones which is haram. When you have used them, you can simply donate them to other students (without a sale), and they in turn can do the same with other students. Other Muslim students can do the same to protect themselves from falling into haram.

The above explaination is connected to the act of buying and selling real/original human bones. If these are artificial, then you can buy and sell as you like without charging an exorbitant price that is higher than the market value.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan