Vaccination from an Islamic View Point (Part 1)
What is a Vaccine?
It is a substance produced from microorganisms that is given to adults or children to stimulate immunity and to prevent infectious disease. Immunisation is a process intended to increase body defense towards infectious disease, be it passive or active. Passive immunisation occurs when a human is injected with antibodies available to prevent specific disease. Active immunisation occurs when a human body is stimulated to produce antibodies via exposure to vaccine or an infectious disease agent. From an Islamic viewpoint, vaccine is important as Islam emphasizes health. Preserving life is the 2nd most important property in Islam after aqidah.
Are Vaccines allowed?
Most fatwa like Bin Baz, Syeikh Muhammad Shalih, European Fatwa & Research Council, Indonesian Ulama Council and the Malaysian National Fatwa Council has allowed and made mubah the use of vaccines for Muslims. There are a minority of ulamas, such as in Kano, Nigeria who have rejected vaccines and as a result, cases of polio in Kano have increased.
It is clear that the majority of ulamas have agreed that the vaccine is permissible for benefit of global well being. Based on fatwa from all corners of the world, most ulamas hold the view that vaccination is necessary to protect the Ummah.
What is the rule on taking a vaccine?
Most fatwa councils stated that its mubah on the basis of the importance of the vaccine for prevention. Vaccines can be classified as a medicine used to increase immunity. This is compatible with the hadith: “Allah does not send down an illness unless that he sends down its cure.”( HR A Hurairah). Vaccination is included as a care issue which is mandated by Islam. Inference is also made from the Hadith, ” Whosoever takes 7 ajwah tamar, he will be protected from poison and black magic that day.” This implies we should take steps to avoid infections and illness.
Verse 196 of Surah Al Baqarah also states, “And do not throw yourself into destruction.” The Quran mentions that each of our actions must not be the cause of destruction, hence vaccination is our effort to avoid ill health.
This includes determining that the vaccine is halal through filtering processes, tests, and robust research methods so that it is safe for consumers.This has to be viewed from the maqasid syariah model (desired aim for human importance/progress or improvement, to prevent and avoid adverse situations) to protect religion, the soul, the mind, descendents and property. Vaccination fits within the maqasid syariah model for ensuring survival of current generations and the next.
A minority of ulama view vaccine as haram. This arises from doubt over content in vaccine such as thimerisol, animal fat and substances said to be dangerous to a human body. When we are in doubt over any matter, we ask experts. If we have queries concerning Islamic issues, we ask sheikhs; likewise, any concerns over medical or health matters should be checked by a healthcare professional. Not use Dr. Google. If 90% of doctors recommend a procedure or vaccine, would you listen to the other 10%? We can’t simply make our own conclusions without understanding the real issue.
We need to also have a non biased look at both short and long term effects on the community should a vaccine not be taken.We have seen a recent surge in measles cases due to a pool of unvaccinated communities.
In part 2 we will look at:
– vaccine and conspiracy theories
-unfounded links between vaccines and autism.
Translated from Original Article by Dr Fahisham Taib, Consultant Paediatrician, University Science Malaysia Hospital.