Question 57 : Assalaamu ‘alaykum Shaikhs,
One brother’s wife will delivering a baby soon. Are there any specific rulings to do with burying the placenta?
Answer: Walaikumussalam Br Ismail Ibn Ahmed
Generally a once living tissue upon its death/removal should be disposed off in a way that it does not cause health hazards, etc. With a human body after death, a need for doing so respectfully comes in too. Hence, Islam directed Muslims to bury a dead body – this combines the health benefits of safely allowing it to decompose in the earth naturally as well as doing so respectfully.
The above is for a dead human body. As for individual body parts, there seems to be no specific text dictating any specific way.
Thus scholars suggested to bury living tissue once it comes out such as placenta or limbs amputated in surgery (as opposed to teeth or hair – they can he thrown away). As far as amoutated limbs are concerned, no doubt they should he buried.
Having said that as for a placenta, on the other hand, it maybe like the tissue that comes out in menstrual blood – there is no requirement to bury uterine lining that sheds each month in menstrual blood and tissue mass though it is uterine human tissue being disposed of.
Combining all the above, it seems that any living tissue that can rot and decompose must be burried, ideally, for health type of reasons. Doing so respectfully by not disposing it in a toilet is good given it is human tissue. But no rituals are required nor should be done. But if the tissue was not buried, rather was incinerated – as is the case in hospitals in Australia today – then there seems to nothing haraam or Makruh with it as it is disposing of it in a healthy way also.
Some scholars who said not to burn it (see fatwa link of Standing committee below) perhaps said so because we should not burn alive anyone and/or because it resembles hell fire punishment and/or it is not Islamic way for dead body to be burnt, and thus to avoid burning even while disposing body parts such as placenta. Obviously these are preferences understood from general texts and concepts by respectful scholars but not specifically directed by Allah or His Messenger (s a.w) hence these are not binding yet are deserving of consideration.
♧♧♧ Summary Below♧♧♧
Combing all above, burying a placenta is the safest opinion to follow as a good practice, but there are no sufficient reason for it to be obligatory. But if someone let the hospital incinerate it if that was easier for the parents due to much else “on their plate” at that moment, there seems nothing haraam or wrong in that either. What would be wrong is to show senseless disregard to health issues as well as respect issues by dumping it for animals to feed on or rot in open air, etc.
Generally, (1) an integral body part that is normally meant to be in the body, should be buried in a cleam place and this is obligatory according to the Standing Committee for fatwa mentioned in similar matter. An example of this is an amputated hand or leg. But (2) if it is a body part that is naturally shed off (e.g. hair or placenta) or meant to be shed/cut off (e.g.finger nail), then (A) if it is a fleshy body part that starts decomposing immediately such as a placenta, then it must be disposed of in a hygeinic respectful manner without any rituals such as burying it anywhere clean and it is permissible to incinerate it for hygiene and not haraam if disposed with ordinary fleshy waste disposal without any thing that is an intention of disrespect and (B) if it is NOT a fleshy object that does not decompose immediately (e.g. hair, finger nail, or a fallen tooth), then it maybe disposed of in any way without any intended disrespect (e.g. either burried, with other ordinary waste disposal).
And Allah knows best.
ps: Also SheikhArshad Abujafar said he read Sheikh Ibn Utheimin say its ok to throw placenta away.
ps Please see fatawa below for above and also for slight variations from above.
Fatwa from Standing Committee: