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USING THE COVID-19 VACCINE

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net
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With respect to the ruling of taking the Covid-19 vaccine that is now available, the Fuqaha (jurists experts) have given certain guidelines which have been adopted and endorsed by many present – day scholars. The gist/summary of these guidelines are:-

  1. If one is simply taking the vaccine as a preventative measure and he/she has not actually contracted the Covid-19 virus, then if the vaccine does not contain any Haram/Unlawful ingredient and it does not cause any destruction or serious harm to one’s health, it will be permissible for the person to take.

 

  1. If the vaccine contains haram/unlawful ingredients, but through the process of chemical changes in the drug, a complete change has come about in the components, to the extent that the original unlawful ingredients have undergone a total change other than what they were, then it will be permissible for one to use the vaccine, since it will no longer be regarded as having unlawful ingredients due to the process of a complete change that occurred in the development of the drug.

Regarding this, the Fuqaha (jurist experts) have stated:-

‘Those things which the Shariah has regarded as unlawful and impure, are rulings that are connected to the state in which those things exist. If, due to any human action, chemical or non-chemical reaction, or through the drug interaction, such effects come about which cause the original nature and state of the unlawful thing to be completely changed, then the previous ruling of the thing being impure and unlawful would not remain. (In other words, these things would no longer be regarded as being impure and unlawful)’. {Qamoos Al Fiqh (Allama Khalid Saifullah Rahmani) Vol. 2 Page 94 Zam Zam Karachi 2007}

  1. If the vaccine contain Haram/unlawful ingredients which did not undergo any change during the development process (it remained with the same unlawful ingredients), and the person taking it is healthy and does so only as a preventative measure, then it will not be permissible for him to take it. The reason is that anything containing unlawful substances will only be allowed to be taken when a person has a dire need of using it to remove a sickness or to save his life, and there is no other halal medication available to be used, and Muslim medical specialists have stated that the particular medication can cure the person. When one uses it only as a preventative measure, then it does not fall under the category of being ‘a dire necessity’ since he is not presently sick with the Covid-19 virus. As a preventative measure, he can continue to adopt the health guidelines which health organizations have given to prevent contracting the virus. Some scholars have allowed a person to use the vaccine, as a preventative measure stating that in the face of a widespread pandemic, one needs to protect himself against becoming infected. As such, even though this person is not presently sick with the Covid-19 virus, he is still allowed to use the vaccine although it contains unlawful substances. The other scholars have argued that using anything which contains haram/unlawful ingredients is generally not permissible for a Muslim except that there is a dire necessity to do so.

 

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Since the person is not ill with the virus, there is no real necessity to allow him to use medication which has haram ingredients in it. As a preventative measure, he can continue to follow the guidelines which health officials have given and are working well among people, or he can try to obtain the vaccine which is free from unlawful ingredients. However, with respect to doctors, nurses, health care workers who treat patients with the sickness and are constantly interacting with them, it will be permissible for them to take the vaccine as a preventative measure since they are connected to persons with the sickness on a daily basis.

 

  1. If a person has actually contracted the Covid-19 virus or has symptoms of it which may actually make him become sick with the virus, then it will be permissible for him to use the vaccine even if there are unlawful substance in the vaccine.

The reason for this is that although it is generally not permissible to use medication containing haram (unlawful) substances, it becomes allowed to use it in cases of a dire need where a person is forced by necessity (to use it) to remove a sickness when there is no other alternative except that particular medication, and the Muslim medical specialists have concluded and agreed that the particular medication will provide a cure for the sickness.

If the unlawful ingredients in the vaccine went through the process of change during the development stages and they did not remain in the same state as before, then the vaccine will be deemed as being pure/ halal for usage (containing no unlawful ingredients, due to the total change which has occurred in the drug).

Therefore, based upon the above explanations given by the jurist experts, one will be allowed to use the COVID-19 vaccine even if there are unlawful ingredients in it based on the guidelines mentioned above. However, based on information given by officials, the vaccines bearing the names AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have been checked and looked into by Muslim Scholars, and they have concluded that these vaccines do not contain Haram substances which are unlawful for use by Muslims. In fact, BBC NEWS carried an article ‘Is the Covid vaccine safe’ by Michelle Roberts (Health editor, BBC NEWS Online) on 5th February 2021, and discussed the vaccines approved by UK Health Authority. In that article, it stated, ‘Some vaccines, such as the shingles vaccine and the children’s nasal flu vaccine, can contain pork gelatin. The Covid vaccine from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca do not contain this, or any other animal products. The British Islamic Medical Association says there is negligible alcohol in it – no more than in bread, for example’.

The board of British Muslim Medical Professionals has approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and also the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – for use by Muslims.

The body of ‘Wifaqul Ulamaa’ of UK has also confirmed that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is permissible for Muslims to use.

The Darul Uloom Halaal Committee together with the Darul Iftaa of Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago have looked into, and reviewed the ingredients of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and confirm that it is free from Haram/unlawful ingredients, and permissible for Muslims to use.

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(1)  و فى النهاية: يجوز التداوى بالمحرم كالخمر والبول إذا اخبره طبيب مسلم ان فيه شفآء و لم يجد غيره من المباح ما يقوم مقامه والحرمة ترتفع للضرورة فلم يكن متداويا بالحرام

 (Tabyeen Al Haqaa’iq Vol. 6 page. 33 Jadeed Fiqhi Masaa’il Vol. 5 page 64 Maktaba Na’eemiya UP India 1998)

 (2) يجوز للعليل شرب الدم والبول و اكل الميتة للتداوى إذا اخبره طبيب مسلم شفائه فيه و لم يجد من المباح ما يقوم مقامه وان قال الطبيب يتعجل شفاك فيه و جهان

Al Fatawaa Al Hindiya. Kitab Al Karahiya – Chapter 18, At Tadawi Wal Mu’alajaat Vol. 5 page. 355 Maktaba Rasheediya (Maktaba Majidiya) Queta Pakistan 1986)

(3) قال فى الدر المختار: وجوّزه فى النهاية بمحرم أذا أخبره طبيب مسلم ان فيه شفآء و لم يجد مباحا يقوم مقامه.

قلت: و فى البزازية و معنى قوله عليه الصلاة و سّلام “انّ الله لم يجعل شفاءكم فيما حرّم عليكم” نفى الحرمة عند العلم بالشفاء دل عليه جواز شربه لإزالة العطش….

و على هذا قال ابن عابدين فى ردّ المحتار (قوله وجوزه فى النهاية الخ) ونصه و فى التهزيب: يجوز للعليل شرب البول و الدم و الميتة للتداوي إذا اخبره طبيب مسلم ان شفاء فيه، و لم يجد من المباح ما يقوم مقامه…..

و حاصل المعنى حينئذ انّ الله تعالى أذن لكم بالتداوى، و جعل لكلّ داء دواء فإذا كان فى ذالك الدواء شئ محرم و علمتم به الشفاء فقد زالت حرمة استعماله لإنه تعالى لم يجعل شفاءكم فيما حرّم عليكم.

(Raddul Muhtar Ma’a Ad Durr Al Mukhtar Vol. 6 Page. 389 HM Saeed Karachi)

(4) الاستحالة التى تعنى انقلاب العين إلى عين أخرى تغايرها فى صفاتها تحوّل المواد النجسة او المتنجسة إلى مواد طاهرة و تحول المواد المحرمة إلى مباحة شرعاً

(Al Fiqh Al Islami Wa Adillatuhu Vol. 7 Page. 5265 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta)

(5) و فى البحر الرائق: من الأمور التى يكون بها التطهير انقلاب العين

(Al Bahr Ar Ra’iq Vol. 1 Page. 239).

 

And Allah Knows best

Mufti Waseem Khan

25/02/2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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