The debate over autopsies and organ donation in the context of the Islamic religion is still a relatively new one, and each country determines its own specific needs under laws known as fetwahs, which differ from religious fetwahs. An autopsy is allowed only if truly necessary to determine the cause of death, and the family must agree to the autopsy. The body must be treated with the utmost respect at all times, and only the organs that need to be examined should be removed, and they must be replaced in the body before burial.
A virtual autopsy (virtopsy), which uses images from computerized tomography scans (CT scans) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows examiners to access a particular body area from several different planes without destroying forensic evidence (Moyer). High-resolution MRI, combined with three-dimensional CT scans can be used to determine the cause of death without having to perform an autopsy, which would be an advantage in cultures and religions in which this procedure is either forbidden, or not as readily acceptable as in Western society. Researchers in Switzerland already have stored data from 100 cases of such ˘virtual autopsies÷ for use at a further date to validate the procedure, which they do not believe will become widely accepted for another 10 to 15 years. They presented their findings at the 89th annual meeting of the Radiological Societ